For The Record: Quick News On Busta Rhymes, Coldplay, Metallica, Jay-Z, Michael Jackson & More

Busta accused of withholding information; Coldplay deny break-up rumors; Metallica team with Rick Rubin.

Two weeks after 29-year-old bodyguard Israel Ramirez was shot and killed on the New York set of a Busta Rhymes video, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly continues to express frustration at the lack of cooperation from witnesses in the investigation. In a press conference on Wednesday, Kelly accused Rhymes of withholding information about the murder of his bodyguard and said the failure of several potential witnesses to talk has hung up the investigation, according to The Associated Press. “I’d think he’d be knocking on the door,” Kelly said of Rhymes. “If your employee’s murdered in front of you, you think you might want to talk to the police.” Witnesses may be called in front of a grand jury if they keep stonewalling, Kelly said, adding, “I find it quite disturbing. This individual was shot in front of a lot of people.” A police spokesperson had no update on the investigation into the February 5 shooting, which occurred outside a crowded soundstage being used to film the video for the remix of Rhymes’ single “Touch It.” …

It appears that the British tabloids might have jumped the gun by reporting that Coldplay are calling it quits. The whole thing started Tuesday night when frontman Chris Martin told the audience at the Brit Awards (sort of the U.K. equivalent of the People’s Choice Awards), “It’s going to be a few years before you see us again … People are fed up with us — and so are we.” Most of the British press took this to mean that the band was actually splitting up, and they reported thusly, sending Coldplay fans worldwide into a tizzy. But according to the band’s label, Capitol Records, the reports are not true. “Coldplay are not quitting,” read a statement by the label. “They are on the road until July, when their 16-month X&Y world tour ends in Japan. They will then continue working on new material.” … Speaking of the Brit Awards, Kaiser Chiefs and crooner James Blunt helped Coldplay take home the major prizes. Former British Army captain Blunt won Best British Male and Best Pop Act for his debut, Back to Bedlam, the bestselling album in Britain last year. The Kaiser Chiefs snagged Best British Group, Best British Rock Act and Best British Live Act. Coldplay won Best British Single for “Speed of Sound” and Best Album for X&Y. Madonna won Best International Female and Green Day got the Best International Group and Best International Album for American Idiot, while Kanye West won Best International Male. The show featured performances from Prince, Coldplay, Gorillaz and West. … A spokesperson for Madonna said Thursday (February 16) that the singer has received recent treatment for a hernia, but that she’s doing “absolutely fine.” According to Reuters, the spokesperson said Madonna “had a minor procedure for a hernia,” but wouldn’t elaborate on when the operation took place or how serious the condition was. …

According to a post on Metallica‘s Web site, the band has recruited Rick Rubin (Slayer, Jay-Z, Red Hot Chili Peppers) to produce its forthcoming studio LP. The news is accompanied on the site by several pictures of Metallica in the studio with a shoeless Rubin. … How would you like to spend an hour in the studio with Snoop Dogg? That stellar VIP experience is just one of the more than 50 items up for grabs in the “Housewarming for Habitat” celebrity auction benefiting the victims of the Gulf Coast hurricanes. Starting Monday on eBay (eBay.com/ColdwellBanker), bidders can score everything from a guitar signed by A Perfect Circle to seats for a taping of “American Idol” and tickets to the “Miami Vice” movie premiere. All proceeds will go toward rebuilding homes destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. … Def Jam honcho Jay-Z needs a theme song for his New Jersey Nets, the NBA franchise he owns with real-estate developer Bruce Ratner. This week Jay launched a contest that will give novice rappers a chance to write and record the tune. If you win the competition, co-sponsored by Sprite and New York radio station Hot 97, you’ll get a chance to hang with Jay and perform the cut at a Nets home game. A recorded version of the track will also go out over the PA at all the team’s home-court showdowns. Submissions will be accepted through March 5 and must be recorded on either a CD or cassette tape. More information on where to send your track can be found at Hot 97′s Web site. …

On Wednesday an appeals court refused to reinstate an order giving Michael Jackson sole custody of his two children with ex-wife Debbie Rowe. According to a Reuters report, the court ruled that a judge did not properly handle the proceedings in a case in which Rowe signed away her parental rights in 2001 to Jackson’s two oldest children, Michael Jr. and Paris. Rowe convinced a Los Angeles Superior Court judge to overturn the child-custody agreement in 2004 on legal grounds, citing accusations of child molestation against Jackson and his association with the Nation of Islam, whose members briefly provided security for the singer during last year’s trial. … Maureen Yancey — the mother of late hip-hop producer Jay Dee, who took care of him during his lengthy battle with lupus — has asked that any donations intended for the family be sent to a fund that has been set up in her name. For detailed information about where to send your gift, hit up J Dilla’s label at StonesThrow.com. … LL Cool J, John Legend, Sheryl Crow, Elvis Costello, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Robert De Niro, Whoopi Goldberg, Chaka Khan, the Bacon Brothers, Tony Bennett, Smokey Robinson, Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess, Chris Botti and New York Giant Tiki Barber will perform songs from Motown’s golden era March 15 during “Hollywood Meets Motown.” The benefit will raise funds for the Jay Monahan Center for Gastrointestinal Health and the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance. Katie Couric co-founded the NCRA, and the center was named in honor of her late husband. Tickets for the benefit, which will take place at the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, are available through the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Web site. … My Morning Jacket and Ben Folds will headline the 30th annual Rites of Spring Music Festival April 21 and 22 on the Vanderbilt University campus in Nashville. Gov’t Mule, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are also on the bill. …

Lisa Marie Presley has walked down the aisle for the fourth time. The singer recently swapped vows with her guitarist and music producer, Michael Lockwood, in a traditional Japanese wedding in Kyoto, Japan, her publicist Paul Bloch revealed to The Associated Press on Thursday. Presley’s mother, Priscilla, first hubby Danny Keough and their two children — daughter Riley and son Benjamin — were all included in the intimate ceremony. … Nicky Hilton is debuting the fall/winter season of her clothing line during the Atlanta Women & Children’s Market and the Atlanta International Bride & Special Occasion Market. Hilton’s showcase takes place March 24. … Nickelback lead this year’s pack of nominees for the Juno Awards, Canada’s Grammy equivalent. The band has six nominations, including Album of the Year for All the Right Reasons and Single of the Year for “Photograph.” Diana Krall and Michael Bublé scored five nods apiece (both are in the running for Artist of the Year), and Neil Young received three nominations. Simple Plan will duke it out with Krall, Bublé, the ‘Back and Celine Dion for the Juno Fan Choice Award, while 50 Cent‘s The Massacre, Black Eyed PeasMonkey Business, Coldplay’s X&Y, Gwen Stefani‘s Love, Angel, Music, Baby and Kelly Clarkson‘s Breakaway will contend for the International Album of the Year Juno. The Arcade Fire were nominated in the Songwriter of the Year category, while Hot Hot Heat, Tegan and Sara, the New Pornographers, Broken Social Scene and Metric will vie for Alternative Album of the Year honors.

02.15.2006

Jessica Simpson‘s boots aren’t just made for walking — they’re made for selling, too. The singer showed off her spring footwear line Saturday at Las Vegas’ World Show Association convention, where her line was one of 6,000 brands exhibited. Simpson also models her line in an upcoming ad campaign shot by Wayne Maser and debuting in March issues of women’s and entertainment magazines. …

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are also modeling for a spring campaign, but not for one of their own brands. The twins have partnered with Badgley Mischka and will star in ads with a “modern-day Cinderella” theme shot by Gilles Bensimon. The ads are set to debut in April issues of fashion magazines. “When I wear Badgley Mischka, I feel sexy and feminine,” Ashley said. “We have been fans for years.” Mary-Kate called the clothes “glamorous, beautiful, colorful and fun.” … Another John will take the stage with Elton at his AIDS Foundation Oscar party in Los Angeles on March 5: John Legend. “I have been a huge fan of John’s since I first heard his album Get Lifted,” Elton John said. “I am so thrilled he won three Grammys last week and even more thrilled that he will be playing at our Oscar party.” … It looks like the Killers are too busy for love. While the rest of us were spending Valentine’s Day buying that special someone candy or flowers, the glittery Las Vegas quartet chose V-Day as the day to start work on their hotly anticipated sophomore album. According to the band’s label, Island Records, the Killers have entered the Palms Studio in Vegas with producers Flood and Alan Moulder to begin recording. The LP is tentatively due later this year. …

Brian Dunkleman, Ryan Seacrest‘s co-host for the first season of “American Idol,” has agreed to host an online fantasy game called Idol Go Home (IdolGoHome.com). Dunkleman will also blog about the show on the site, which is not associated with “American Idol.” … Juvenile‘s new album, Reality Check, is due March 7 and will feature software that allows consumers to make their own custom ringtones from any part of any song on the album. A demonstration of the technology, called the UrTone, is available at JuvenileRealityCheck.com. … The Spanish-language version of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” is about to hit stores. “Harry Potter y el Misterio del Principe” will be available starting February 23 at 12:30 p.m. ET. Those who want to sneak a peek beforehand need to snag an invite to the reception at Libreria Lectorum in New York, where the book will be unveiled. As with the five preceding Potters, there will be three different versions of the same translation to reflect the idiomatic differences of the Spanish language in Spain, Argentina and the rest of Latin America. The total print run is expected to exceed 1 million copies. … The Polyphonic Spree have completed basic recording for their new album, The Fragile Army, and set a tentative July 3 due date for the disc, according to the band’s in-studio blog, TheFragileArmy.Blogspot.com. Fourteen songs have been completed at Pachyderm Studios in Cannon Falls, Minnesota, and now await further guitar work and vocals, to be recorded in Chicago and the Spree’s home state of Texas. …

Tool fans might want to consider spending June, part of July and a weekend in August in Europe. After the band closes out this year’s Coachella Festival on April 30, it’ll head to Germany on June 2, 3 and 4 for the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals. Tool are also set to play the Pinkpop Festival in the Netherlands, which is set for June 3 to June 5 (the Red Hot Chili Peppers are also confirmed for the weekend rock show). Between June 15 and 17, Tool will be in Austria for Pannonia Fields II, followed by the Greenfield Festival in Switzerland June 16 to 18. They’ll be in Italy playing three festivals from June 19 to June 22, before heading to Denmark on June 29 for the Roskilde Festival. From June 29 to July 2, they’ll be in Belgium for the Rock Werchter, followed by a stay in Norway for the Quart Festival, scheduled for July 4 – 8. Tool will also be one of the big attractions at this year’s Reading Festival in England, set for the weekend of August 25. … On April 11, Roadrunner Records will issue the third installment in the “Headbangers Ball” compilation series. MTV2 Headbangers Ball: The Revenge will feature 38 tracks on two discs, including exclusive remixes, unreleased tracks and live cuts from host Jamey Jasta‘s Hatebreed, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Korn, HIM, Mastodon, Disturbed, Opeth, As I Lay Dying, Killswitch Engage, Mudvayne, Lamb of God and Iron Maiden, among others. There’s also a track called “Buried in Black” from Kingdom of Sorrow, Jasta’s side project with members of Down, Crowbar and Seemless. …

Saves the Day‘s forthcoming disc, Sound the Alarm, has been set for an April 4 release and will feature 13 tracks, including “Head for the Hills,” “Say You’ll Never Leave” and “Hell Is Here.” … Smash Mouth recently split with drummer Michael Urbano, and now they’re searching for “an A-level drummer to step in to the band immediately.” The next member of the California band doesn’t have to live on the West Coast, but he or she should be able to play and program pads. Interested? Send your résumé, demo and photo or video to Smash Mouth c/o Sound Management Inc., 1525 S. Winchester Blvd., San Jose, CA 95128. … Pantera‘s “3 Vulgar Videos From Hell,” a three-DVD set featuring all the band’s videos as well as live footage shot during the Monsters of Rock gig in Moscow, will be re-released in April by Rhino Video. In addition, Faith No More‘s “Live at the Brixton Academy, You Fat Bastards” and “Who Cares a Lot: Greatest Videos” will be fused into a double-disc set. The discs will include all the Mike Patton-fronted act’s videos along with a full live concert. … John Tempesta, who has done stints with Exodus, Testament, Helmet and White Zombie, has been recruited as the new drummer for the Cult. They’ll be touring throughout the spring, starting March 1 in San Diego. Chris Wyse, who performed on the Cult’s 2001 disc, Beyond Good and Evil, and has worked with Ozzy Osbourne and Jerry Cantrell since, will now be the Cult’s bassist.

02.14.2006

Avenged Sevenfold and Coheed and Cambria have tapped the support acts for their forthcoming co-headlining spring tour. Head Automatica will open on all of the dates between the tour’s launch on April 7 in Poughkeepsie, New York, through April 27 in San Jose, California. Eighteen Visions will take over on April 28 in San Diego and stay on through the final scheduled show on May 19 in New York. …

U.S. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta marked the start of Child Passenger Safety Week on Monday by making an example of Britney Spears. “Recent photos of Britney Spears driving with her infant son on her lap are troubling,” Mineta said while announcing a new proposal to improve car-seat safety. “And while Ms. Spears has acknowledged her mistake, her actions still send the wrong message to millions of her fans. … No matter who you are, there’s absolutely no excuse for this display — not instinct, not fear, not even reckless paparazzi. It’s irresponsible to compromise the safety of a child for the sake of the moment.” …

It’s been more than two months since Chris and Irv Gotti were cleared of federal money-laundering charges, but according to Chris Gotti’s attorney, Gerald Shargel, there’s some unsettled business between his client and the Brooklyn, New York, U.S. attorney’s office. The government, he explained, hasn’t returned the $35,000 in cash that federal agents seized more than three years ago from a safe inside Chris’ office during a raid of the Inc.’s headquarters. The government said the money, sequestered “for evidentiary purposes,” would be returned within six weeks. But that deadline passed and the cash remains in an IRS bank account. Last week Shargel filed a motion requesting that the cash be returned. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office could not be reached for comment. …

Singer Chris and guitarist Rich Robinson will be leaving the rest of the Black Crowes behind to embark on a road trip across the U.S. as a duo. The Robinsons’ run of acoustic shows, billed Brothers of a Feather: An Acoustic Evening With Chris and Rich Robinson of the Black Crowes, will feature the pair performing cuts from their catalog, tackling covers and debuting some new Crowes material. The 10-gig trek kicks off April 13 in Brooklyn, New York, and wraps up on April 25 in Los Angeles. … 3 Doors Down will perform for the general public in the Middle East for the first time on March 16 at the Desert Rock Festival in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The show kicks off a 13-city tour that wraps April 4 in Wolverhampton, England. …

The Academy Is … will release an acoustic EP called From the Carpet on various Web sites February 21. The collection includes three tracks from the band’s debut album, Almost Here, as well as two new songs and a cover of John Lennon‘s “Working Class Hero.” … Brooklyn’s French Kicks are heading to Los Angeles to begin work on their third full-length, according to their label, Star Time International. The band will once again team with producer Doug Boehm, who helmed the sessions for their 2004 album, The Trial of the Century. The Kicks currently have 16 songs written for the new album, and they hope to have it in stores by the summer. …

Sinéad O’Connor is going back on the road. She’s heading to the U.S. with Sly and Robbie in tow to play more reggae tunes from her album Throw Down Your Arms. O’Connor’s seven-city tour kicks off Monday in Houston and wraps up March 1 in San Francisco. … Built to Spill have rolled out 37 North American tour dates, beginning with a performance in Minneapolis on April 11 — the same day the band’s new album, You in Reverse, hits stores. The trek is set to hit Chicago, Detroit, New York, Boston, Dallas and Washington, D.C., before winding down on May 20 in Austin, Texas. You in Reverse, Built to Spill’s first LP since 2001′s Ancient Melodies of Earth, will contain 10 tracks, including “Goin’ Against Your Mind,” “Wherever You Go,” and “Mess With Time.” …

President Bush presented National Medals of Science and Technology to 15 honorees Monday, including a leader in organ-transplant advancements, the developer of a high-yield wheat that could feed millions around the world — and “Star Wars” director George Lucas. Lucas accepted the medal on behalf of his Industrial Light and Magic, honored for 30 years of innovation in visual effects and technology for the film industry. … Actor Phil Brown, best known for his role as Luke Skywalker‘s Uncle Owen in “Star Wars,” died Thursday of pneumonia, according to The Associated Press. He was 89. Brown worked in film and theater for more than 60 years, but he’s best remembered for his role in the 1977 blockbuster. …

Brooklyn avant-electro rockers TV on the Radio are gearing up for the May release of their still-untitled second full-length (their first since 2004′s Shortlist Music Prize-winning Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes) by hitting the road. Their tour with Baltimore’s Celebration kicks off April 21 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and runs until May 6 in Vancouver, British Colombia. More dates are expected to be announced shortly. …