For The Record: Quick News On Britney Spears, Chris Penn, Jennifer Lopez, Hilary Duff, P.O.D. & More

Spears will celebrate Mardi Gras in New Orleans; Penn's death ruled an accident; Lopez appeals for bone-marrow donors.

Britney Spears plans to visit Mardi Gras in New Orleans on February 28, and “Good Morning America” will be there to broadcast her appearance as part of its coverage of the city’s celebrations. “It is so important for this amazing city to continue its annual traditions, and I am really looking forward to being involved,” Spears said in a statement. The singer will bring “surprises” for a group of “very deserving young residents.” …

The autopsy and toxicology test results for “Reservoir Dogs” actor Chris Penn were released Monday (February 13), with the Los Angeles county coroner’s office concluding that the 40-year-old’s January 24 death was an accident. Although Penn had several prescription medications in his system, including the highly addictive Promethazine, it was an oversized heart that has been ruled as the primary cause of death. A full coroner’s report, containing additional details, is expected to be released in a few weeks. …

Jennifer Lopez is appealing to Hispanics to donate bone marrow during a February 24-25 drive in New York for 29-year-old Janet Ovalles, who is suffering from blood cancer. Doctors say Ovalles’ only chance for survival is a marrow transplant, and most matches come from people with the same ethnic background. In a statement released by DKMS, the German bone-marrow-donor center organizing the drive, Lopez said, “I am a young Hispanic woman, so is Janet. I could empathize with her situation so much.” … Snoop Dogg is also using his free time for a good cause. He’s hosting the Rapper’s Challenge Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament, a one-day event in which poker players and celebs alike will bluff their way toward $25,000 and $50,000 prizes. The no-limit game will take place May 5 in the Port of Miami aboard a casino ship; Snoop’s Uncle Reo will cook BBQ on the top deck. … Christina Milian has set an April 25 release date for her third album, So Amazin’, produced by the team behind “Lean Back,” Cool and Dre. Christina shot the video for the first single, “Say I” featuring Young Jeezy, in Los Angeles over the weekend with Ray Kay (Destiny’s Child‘s “Soldier”). In July Milian will return to theaters with “Pulse,” a horror thriller based on the Japanese film “Kairo.” …

Hilary Duff will serve as honorary starter and Fantasia will sing the national anthem for the California Speedway Auto Club 500 on February 26. Hilary will be joined at the Fontana, California, track and on the starter’s stand by sister Haylie Duff, and together they’ll tour the track during driver introductions. One week after the Daytona 500, Auto Club 500 is the second race of the season for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series. … After finishing the current Wu-Tang Clan reunion tour, Ghostface Killah will hit the road on a 32-date North American headlining trek, kicking off March 5 in Pittsburgh and wrapping up April 23 in Buffalo. Ghost is promoting Fishscale, due March 28 and featuring the single “Back Like That” featuring Ne-Yo. … 3 Doors Down frontman Brad Arnold was injured in a car crash earlier this month, according to the band’s Web site. The one-car accident occurred February 1 on a rainy road in Mississippi, and Arnold required stitches for his injuries. He is expected to make a full recovery. His wife, who was driving the vehicle, was not injured. 3 Doors Down canceled their February 4 performance at Bud Bowl, a pre-Super Bowl event in Detroit, due to the crash. …

Drummer Christopher Emery has left American Head Charge, although it’s unclear whether he quit or was fired. The band’s bassist Mr. H.C. Banks III and singer Martin Cock said they axed Emery for “major irresponsibility, decreased drumming ability and an inflated sense of entitlement,” according to a joint statement. “It turns out Chris was thinking of leaving anyway, although we only just found out by his posting on our Web site,” the statement read. Emery had said he quit the band in a post that hit the site over the weekend, in which he stated, “I’m tired of watching drugs and alcohol destroy everyone around me, including myself.” … P.O.D. will hit the road this spring with Pillar, the Chariot and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster as part of the Warriors Tour 2: Guilty by Association run. No word yet on when the tour starts or how many cities the trek will encompass. … Papa Roach, who’ve been working on their forthcoming sixth album, have posted on their Web site a video shot during the band’s latest studio sessions. A series of videos is set to appear on the site as the Roach get further along in the process. The disc should be in stores before the end of the year. … The Offspring have started work on their next studio LP, the follow-up to 2003′s Splinter. In a post on the band’s Web site, lead singer Dexter Holland said he and guitarist Noodles hit the studio to begin recording demo material. There’s no word yet on when the Offspring plan to release the effort or when its official recording will begin. “[It's been] a blast,” Holland wrote. “It feels good to get back in the studio and do some recording and just be a band, you know? I’m sure you do if you’re in a band.” …

The Sounds — whose Dying to Say This to You is due March 21 — are teaming with Morningwood for a 40-date North American tour beginning March 22 in Los Angeles. Action Action are also on the bill. … Stereolab will release Fab Four Suture — a collection of six singles previously available only as 7-inches, as well as six never-before-heard tracks — March 7. Look for the album to include “Get a Shot of the Refrigerator,” “Whisper Pitch” and “I Was a Sunny Rainphase.” … She’s only 19 years old (in about a week she’ll be 20), but Charlotte Church is already writing her memoirs (again). The singer’s just inked a deal with Orion to write her life story, which she’s calling rather straightforwardly “Charlotte Church: The Autobiography.” This would, of course, be her second such autobio, since she released “Voice of an Angel: My Life (So Far)” in 2001. … Bassist Jimmy MacDonough has quit Megadeth, but no explanation has been offered for his unexpected departure. In his place, Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine has hired James LoMenzo, who has done time with Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society, White Lion and David Lee Roth. … Former Sunny Day Real Estate frontman Jeremy Enigk will release his second solo album and follow-up to 1996′s Return of the Frog Queen this summer. The singer/guitarist, also of the Fire Theft, will tour Europe in July and the U.S. in August.

02.10.2006

Beyoncé estimates that she’s lost 15 pounds on a diet of protein shakes and fish for her role in “Dreamgirls” — which hasn’t been easy for her. “I love to eat,” she said. But since she wanted to truly transform into her character, she’s happy with the results. “Between the black wigs and the ’60s makeup and me losing the weight, when I’m dressed up, I don’t look like myself at all,” she explained. “That was the point.” …

R. Kelly appeared in a Chicago court Friday (February 10) to ask permission to travel to New York next week to attend to his civil case against Jay-Z. Kelly’s child-pornography case was continued until February 17, when his lawyers will ask permission for him to travel for an upcoming tour. Kelly also added some dates to his trek: April 4 in Waterbury, Connecticut; April 10 in Baltimore; May 4 in Las Vegas; and May 5 in San Diego. … Autographed Sundance photographs of Justin Timberlake, the Beastie Boys and Joel Madden are being auctioned on eBay to benefit Habitat for Humanity International’s Operation Home Delivery, a program providing assistance and rebuilding opportunities in New Orleans. Terrence Howard, Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Smith are also participating. … Britney Spears has called driving with her baby on her lap a “mistake.” The singer told “Access Hollywood”: “I made a mistake and so it is what it is, I guess.” Spears was snapped on Monday driving with Sean Preston on her lap instead of in a car seat, and had blamed it on a too-aggressive photographer. “Being put in the situation that I was in, it was kind of bad with the paparazzi,” she said. “Last week my mom and I went out and they were on us really bad, so you do instinctively what you need to do.” …

Pink has been married nearly a month now, and she’s already confident that she and husband Carey Hart will “never get divorced,” she told MTV Radio. “We’re never together. We’re not together long enough to fight,” she laughed. “I’ll see him in March, maybe, if he comes home for my brother’s wedding, but that’s unlikely.” Still, she’s happy in love, posting on her Web site that “Carey is a piece of pumpkin pie. I like pumpkin pie.” … John Legend will perform during halftime at the 2006 NBA All-Star Game on February 19 in Houston. Legend will sing “So High” on the show, televised on TNT. … Jack Black will host Nickelodeon’s 19th Kids’ Choice Awards. The show is scheduled for April 1 at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion. … Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas is singing the national anthem at the Daytona 500. The race will take place February 19 in Daytona Beach, Florida, and will be broadcast on NBC at 12 p.m. … Kid Rock has changed the title of his concert album to Live Trucker and bumped it a couple of weeks to February 28. The 13-track set captures the Detroit rocker and his Twisted Brown Trucker Band and was recorded in Michigan in 2000 and 2004. Look for the disc to feature “Bawitdaba,” “Cowboy,” “American Bad Ass” and “Only God Knows Why.” …

Fuel‘s founding frontman Brett Scallions has quit the band, according to an official statement posted on the group’s Web site. No explanation for Scallions’ departure has been offered, but guitarist Carl Bell described the split as “amicable.” The remaining members of Fuel are holding auditions for his replacement and will soon begin recording their next LP. Material for the follow-up to 2003′s Natural Selection has been written for months. … Citing financial pressures, the Juliana Theory are disbanding after almost 10 years together. In an extensive posting on their MySpace page, the bandmembers detailed how poor business decisions and a series of unfortunate events led them to this decision. “Financially, we would have to take regular jobs now to keep this thing going,” the statement read. “We’ve always given 100 percent to this thing and it would be an insult to our fans and to ourselves to do it less than 100 percent because we would be spending most of our time making a living elsewhere.” … Two more names have been added to the cast of “Control,” the forthcoming biographical film about late Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. Curtis will be played by newcomer Sam Riley while German actress Alexandra Maria Lara has been cast as Curtis’ lover, Annik Honoré. They join Oscar-nominated actress Samantha Morton, cast as Curtis’ widow, in the Anton Corbijn film that’s expected to begin shooting this spring. …

According to The Associated Press, a band fronted by actor Kevin Costner will make its debut April 29 at the close of the BMW Charity Pro-Am at the Cliffs in Greenville, South Carolina. The group does not have a name yet but features five members, including the singing actor/director. Costner participates in the celebrity-loaded event every year. … Exene Cervenka may be playing with X this month, but she’s got her new band to promote as well. The Original Sinners will release their second album, Sev7en, on March 7. Song titles include “Last Dance,” “Tavern” and a cover of the Gun Club‘s “Ghost on the Highway.” X’s tour starts Wednesday in San Diego and concludes February 25 in San Francisco. The Original Sinners then kick into gear with their own jaunt on March 3 in Corona, California, and wrap March 11 in Denver. … “Miss Seventeen” winner Jen Steele appeared Thursday with White House drug czar John P. Walters at a press conference in New York held by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Steele — whose parents are currently incarcerated for drug and alcohol crimes — talked about her personal experience and discussed new findings that girls are catching up to boys in the use of illicit substances and alcohol. … The Fiery Furnaces just released their third full-length, Rehearsing My Choir, in late October, but they’ve already got a release date set for album number four. Called Bitter Tea, the album will hit stores April 18 and will be released — rather inexplicably — on iconic Mississippi blues label Fat Possum. The band recorded Tea and Choir simultaneously, and both albums were actually supposed to be released around the same time last year, but for reasons only known to the Furnaces, Tea was shelved. The band kick off a tour in support of, well, both albums Friday night in New Haven, Connecticut. … The Flaming Lips have been added to the Noise Pop festival in the Bay Area. The group will play March 27 at Bimbo’s.