For The Record: Quick News On ‘American Idol,’ Britney Spears, Russell Simmons, Big Daddy Kane, Three 6 Mafia & More

Kevin Covais gets a hometown honor; film examines Spears sculptor; Simmons splits with wife.

He may have been a loser on “American Idol,” but Kevin Covais is still a winner at home. The Long Island, New York, singer was presented with the key to his home county Thursday — now declared “Kevin Covais Day” — by Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, The Associated Press reports. “It’s just great being back home,” Covais said. On Friday (March 31) the 16-year-old is expected to return to Island Trees High School in Levittown, where he’ll be welcomed back with a pep rally. …

Russell Simmons and Kimora Lee have split after seven years of marriage. “Kimora and I will remain committed parents and caring friends with great love and admiration for each other,” the hip-hop mogul said in a statement issued Friday, according to AP. “We will also continue to work side by side on a daily basis as partners in all of our businesses.” … If that sculpture of Britney Spears giving birth left you asking what artist Daniel Edwards was thinking, TriggerStreet.com might have your answer. The online film festival, created by Kevin Spacey, is currently hosting a short documentary called “The Several Severed Heads of Daniel Edwards.” The Goodnight Films production features interviews with Edwards and a look at his previous controversial work, depicting late baseball legend Ted Williams as a cryogenically preserved severed head. …

Big Daddy Kane has been tapped as the headliner of the second annual Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival, set for June 24, and at least one person in the New York City borough is pretty psyched. “I am proud that the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival is entering its second year,” Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said in a post on the festival’s Web site. “By highlighting messages of empowerment and unity, the festival proves that we not only know our hip-hop roots, but that in Brooklyn those roots run deep. And with Big Daddy Kane in the house, we know Brooklyn won’t be half-steppin’!” Fans can register for tickets to the event at BrooklynBodega.com. … The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund is launching a new program in which cell-phone users can make $4.99 donations by texting the word “heal” to 50555. Donors will then have access to limited-edition ring tones by Pearl Jam (their memorable cover of Victoria Williams‘ “Crazy Mary”), OK Go, Tegan and Sara and others. …

The Rollins Band are mapping their return, according to a post on frontman Henry Rollins‘ Web site. Rollins, guitarist Chris Haskett, drummer Sim Cain and bassist Melvin Gibbs “have been practicing on and off for months now, slowly getting it together,” Hank wrote. “We are back together and are planning on getting some shows in by August. Nothing is booked yet. It’s been really cool being back in the practice room with these guys after all these years.” Rollins Band’s last studio album with that lineup was 1997′s Come in and Burn. … After one month in Los Angeles, New York’s French Kicks have returned home with a finished album under their arms. It’s called Two Thousand and was produced in L.A. by Doug Boehm. The LP features 10 tracks (with titles including the Yoda-esque “So Far We Are” and “England Just Will Not Let You Recover”) and will be in stores in July. The Kicks will preview some tunes from the new disc on a brief tour that kicks off April 11 in Baltimore. …

Brooklyn trio Blood on the Wall have been picked to open for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs beginning April 3 in Washington, D.C., and ending April 29 in San Francisco. The band is supporting Awesomer, which was released late last year. … Before joining Thursday on the road beginning April 25, Me Without You will enter the studio with Brad Wood (Smashing Pumpkins, Placebo) to start working on the follow-up to 2004′s Catch for Us the Foxes, which Wood also produced. …

The Accident Experiment, former P.O.D. guitarist Marcos Curiel‘s band, will kick off their tour May 6 in Longview, Texas, to promote their debut album, United We Fear, due May 9. Five.Bolt.Main and Element Eighty are opening on the trek, which wraps up June 10 in Manchester, New Hampshire. … Frank Zappa will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the sixth annual Jammy Awards, set for April 20 at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York. Blues Traveler, Stephen Marley, Guster, Mad Professor and Jane’s Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins‘s side project Banyan are among the artists scheduled to perform at the event. Tickets are available at Jammys.com. …

This summer will see the arrival of “Latin American Idol,” Reuters reports. The “Idol” franchise currently comprises 33 versions, each for a specific country; “Latin American Idol” will be the first regional singing competition. Auditions will be held in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Argentina, where the show will be taped in Buenos Aires.

03.30.06

Three 6 Mafia have discovered another perk of winning an Oscar: it’s brought them a lot closer to Paris Hilton. The Memphis, Tennessee, duo’s Juicy J told hometown newspaper Commercial Appeal that he and partner DJ Paul were in the studio with Hilton on Tuesday working on a song for her upcoming debut album. “We let her listen to a dance track and she really liked it and plans to record it tonight,” Houston told the paper Tuesday. …

Bad Boy Records rapper Black Rob (born Robert Ross) was sentenced to up to seven years in jail for grand larceny Thursday (March 30) in New York. Rob was picked up on a fugitive warrant February 24 after skipping out on an agreement to turn himself in January 24 to begin serving a two-to-six-year sentence on the charges. A spokesperson for the Manhattan district attorney’s office said the rapper was given the maximum sentence on the charge due to his flight. He will begin serving immediately. …

In conjunction with their five-night Demon Days Live stint at the Apollo Theater in New York April 2-6, the Gorillaz are ushering in “a mobile musical adventure.” By simply using their Motorola phones at the shows, fans will be able to download exclusive Gorillaz wallpapers, animation and a demo of an unreleased mobile game starring the animated stars. ‘Rillaz mastermind Damon Albarn and a host of friends will perform the band’s platinum-plus Demon Days in its entirety at the gigs. …

Avenged Sevenfold frontman M. Shadows wouldn’t be happier if he had scored a date with Jenna Jameson. This summer the band will join its heroes from Guns N’ Roses and Metallica during a string of 10 shows in Europe. The jaunt begins June 3 in Nürburgring, Germany, at the Rock Am Ring Festival and concludes in Paris June 20. Avenged will play right before Metallica at three of the shows and will be the main support for Guns for two others. … Two weeks after joining the surviving members of Alice in Chains onstage at a tribute to Heart for VH1 Classic’s “Decades Rock Live!,” Phil Anselmo hooked up with Alice guitarist Jerry Cantrell, Avenged Sevenfold drummer the Rev and cover band Metal Skool to perform Pantera‘s “Walk” Monday night at Hollywood’s Key Club. Cantrell also joined the band for Alice’s “Man in the Box.” …

Working with fellow “American Idol” judge Simon Cowell may look like it’s tough for Paula Abdul, but the singer/choreographer has signed a deal to continue with the popular show for the next three years, according to The Associated Press. Abdul, the “Idol” judge who always finds something nice to say about each of the performers, said in a statement that the contestants “truly inspire and amaze me each week. Of course, I also look forward to putting Simon in his place for years to come.” …

Ruben Studdard — who took home the “American Idol” title at the conclusion of the show’s second season — is doing his part to help teenagers step off the streets and into the music industry. The AP reports that Studdard is creating an after-school program called the Music Alternative Project, which seeks to steer kids away from gangs by teaching them the ins and outs of the biz, from songwriting and production to mixing and marketing. An estimated 100 students from across Alabama will be enrolled each year in free after-school music courses. The project will also provide weekend instruction and activities during the summer months. Birmingham’s Audiostate 55 Recording Studios will serve as the program’s home base. Henry Panion, a music professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, will act as director of the project, and Studdard has expressed interest in teaching some of the courses. …

Johnny Cash‘s 1975 Cadillac Fleetwood will be auctioned off in Florida Friday as part of the Barrett-Jackson Palm Beach Collector Car Event. Jet-black with black leather interior (of course), the sedan has logged 50,000 miles and, except for a two-year-old paint job and rebuilt transmission, boasts all original parts. Full documentation, including the Tennessee title and tags that prove Cash’s ownership, are included in the sale. … World Wrestling Entertainment will use Danko Jones‘ “Baby Hates Me” as the opening music for WrestleMania 22. The big event is scheduled for Sunday in Chicago. …

Sunny indie rockers the Concretes have one busy spring planned. They release their new album, In Colour, Tuesday. And as April albums apparently bring May tours, their three-week North American stint in support of the LP begins May 4 in Toronto and ends May 24 in San Diego. … Ex-Unicorns members Nick Diamonds and J’aime Tambeur, now known as the Islands, set out on their first headlining tour in April. Fresh off a run of live shows with Metric, the duo plan to hit venues across North America with their opening act Why?. The Islands’ debut album, Return to the Sea, — which features contributions from Canadian scenesters from bands including Arcade Fire and Wolf Parade — hits U.S. stores Tuesday.