Over the last few weeks, hundreds of undiscovered singers have been blindly auditioning for the second season of CBS’ “Rock Star,” not knowing which band they’d be asked to front should they follow in J.D. Fortune’s footsteps and walk away from the reality television experiment victorious.
The producers behind “Rock Star” have now revealed that they’ve recruited three big names to form a rock supergroup, musicians who will leave it up to America to find the band’s voice.
Mötley Crüe kitman Tommy Lee, former Metallica bassist and current Voivod member Jason Newsted, and onetime Guns N’ Roses axeman Gilby Clarke will be banding together as Supernova, utilizing the Mark Burnett-produced “Rock Star” to secure a lead singer.
The show’s first season featured the surviving members of INXS. Fortune was picked to replace the late Michael Hutchence, and the revived outfit released Switch in November (see “INXS Insist Finding J.D. Was An ’Organic’ Process, Think ’Angels Got Together’ “ ). To date, the album has sold close to 308,000 copies.
Burnett’s team has enlisted songwriter Butch Walker to produce the inaugural Supernova offering, which will be released in 2007, in conjunction with a full U.S. tour. Walker has produced and written tunes for the likes of Avril Lavigne, Pink, Bowling for Soup, Sevendust and Lindsay Lohan. He also worked with Lee on his 2005 solo release, Tommyland: The Ride.
Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke are set to return as the show’s hosts. Each week, “Rock Star” will feature guest appearances by notable musicians and other celebrities. “Friends of mine, like Slash, Macy Gray, Moby and Rob Zombie, will join us and throw in their two cents about who should stay and who should go,” Navarro told Variety.
Lee remains an active Crüe member, and Newsted — who left Metallica five years ago — is preparing for the spring launch of Katorz, the first Voivod album in the band’s 20-plus-year career recorded without founding guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour, who succumbed to colon cancer back in late August (see “Voivod Guitarist Denis ’Piggy’ D’Amour Dies Of Cancer At 45 “ ). Clarke’s résumé includes his three-year tenure as the rhythm guitarist for GN’R, and a brief stint with L.A. Guns. He also played with the reformed MC5 on their 2005 European tour.
Alice in Chains drummer Sean Kinney told MTV News last month that the band had been approached by the producers of “Rock Star” for the second season, but that they turned the offer down (see “Remaining Alice In Chains Members Reuniting For Summer Gigs “ ). The surviving members of that group — Kinney, bassist Mike Inez, and guitarist Jerry Cantrell — have reunited, and are planning a brief run of U.S. clubs this May. Alice in Chains are in the process of auditioning singers who’ll be asked to step into the late Layne Staley’s shoes for the group’s imminent touring and recording plans.
With Supernova in place for the talent contest, the “Rock Star” camp could end up running into some legal trouble down the line over the supergroup’s name. Back in the early 1990s, a poppy punk trio called Supernova emerged from California’s Orange County. The band, which released its first album on Atlantic Records in 1995, is perhaps best known for the track “Chewbacca,” which appeared on the soundtrack to Kevin Smith’s “Clerks.”