For The Record: Quick News On Ludacris, Kanye West, White Stripes, Foo Fighters, Yellowcard & More

Ludacris, West appear in New York court; Jack White calls Detroit 'super-negative'; Foos add acoustic dates.

Is Ludacris a straight shooter? That’s for the jury to decide, as they say. The rapper testified in a New York courtroom Thursday (May 25) that he had never heard the expression “straight like that” prior to recording his 2003 hit “Stand Up,” according to The Associated Press. He also said he’s never received any copies of the song “Straight Like That” by New Jersey’s I.O.F., who are suing Ludacris for copyright infringement. “I do not know what the term ‘straight like that’ means, sir,” Ludacris said on the stand, addressing the prosecution. Kanye West, who co-wrote “Stand Up,” was also in court and is expected to testify before the trial ends. …

Jack White has revealed the reason he left Detroit for Nashville earlier this year. “I couldn’t take the negativity anymore,” he recently told AP. “It was so super-negative. It was draining me, I had to get somewhere where I could breathe again.” White spent time in Nashville to produce Loretta Lynn‘s 2004 album, Van Lear Rose, and he lives there now with his wife, model Karen Elson, and their new daughter, Scarlett. …

Foo Fighters have tacked a few new dates onto their long-awaited acoustic tour. Having already sold out their July 13 gig in Berkeley, California, the band will also play the following day there, also at the Berkeley Community Theatre. Two Canadian dates have been added as well: July 10 at Vancouver, British Columbia’s Orpheum Theatre, and August 23 at Toronto’s Hummingbird Centre. …

Former Yellowcard guitarist Ben Harper gave his mom a not-so-special Mother’s Day present when he was arrested in the wee hours of May 14 under suspicion of DUI, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Harper’s vehicle was pulled over at 4:27 a.m. for speeding when an officer smelled what he said he believed was marijuana in the car. “The officer then asked me to perform a Breathalyzer test, and I declined, because I had been at a show and had a few drinks,” Harper told MTV News. “So they took me in under suspicion and made me take the test then, and I blew a number under the legal limit.” He was released on $5,000 bail and told to return for a court hearing June 8 for charges related to a separate speeding incident. …

Alice in Chains, who wrapped up a five-date tour in New York on Tuesday, have lined up four more U.S. club gigs for August. In the interim, the reunited rockers will head overseas for a spate of festival appearances. More dates are believed to be forthcoming, but for now the band plans to perform August 3 in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire; August 4 in Sayreville, New Jersey; August 5 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania; and August 12 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. …

KT Tunstall will contribute a brand-new song, “Warm,” to the soundtrack of “Ruby Red Chequer,” the first film from Kevin Spacey‘s London-based Old Vic Theatre Company. There are also rumors that Tunstall may make a cameo in the film, but at the moment, her label, Virgin Records, says that hasn’t been confirmed. … Apparently Janet Jackson wasn’t letting herself go when she gained 60 pounds — she tells Us Weekly that she was plumping up for a role she ended up having to forgo anyway. As it turned out, the movie “Tennessee” conflicted with Jackson’s plan to finish her forthcoming album, 20 Years Old, in time for its September 26 release date. “They wanted to see me in a different light, as a heavier woman. They really wanted to make a statement with the film,” Jackson tells the magazine. “I didn’t feel bad about myself at all. It was part of my job.” …

You may be able to buy two Nintendo Wiis for the price of one PlayStation 3, if the latest price announcement regarding the fall’s new video game systems holds true. Nintendo announced Thursday that its forthcoming Wii won’t cost more than $250 when it launches at the end of the year. The specific price is still a mystery, though $10 can probably be safely excluded. Sony’s PS3, expected in the U.S. on November 17, is still penciled in at $499 for the basic version and $599 for the fully featured edition. Nintendo also announced that the company intends to ship 6 million units of the Wii by March 31. … McFarlane Toys has announced plans to create a line of figures based on the hit TV show “Lost.” Slated to reach stores this fall, the first series of figures will feature Jack, Kate, Hurley, Locke, Charlie and Shannon, each replete with a detailed base and backdrop that focuses on a specific moment in the character’s story.” (Click to see the Charlie Pace “Lost” figure. ) There are also plans to release “Lost” deluxe box sets that re-create key moments between characters, plus dioramas of some of the show’s famous locales, like the crash site and the hatch.

Howard Stern and CBS settled their breach of contract suit on Wednesday, but neither side was revealing the details of the deal, according to AP. CBS Radio sued Stern in February, accusing the shock jock of using the CBS airwaves to promote his move to Sirius Satellite Radio during the final 14 months of his time at CBS and cutting his $500 million Sirius deal without properly disclosing his plans to CBS, as required in his contract. … 2 Live Crew and Copiah County, Mississippi, resolved a federal lawsuit with an undisclosed settlement on Wednesday, Mississippi’s Clarion-Ledger reports. The Miami rap group and concert promoters had filed a $15 million claim against the county, alleging that 2 Live Crew were forced to cancel a June 2000 performance after authorities set up a roadblock near the outdoor show and arrested 92 people. Earlier this month, a former Copiah County sheriff testified that he did not want the concert in town, and confirmed that approximately 90 deputies manned roadblocks near the field hosting the show. …

Morningwood are kicking off their Tour Off Your Clothes Tour (a reference to the band’s “Take Off Your Clothes” anthem) June 13 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Rock Kills Kid will open for several shows on the tour, which hits cities including Atlanta, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco before wrapping up with Morningwood’s opening stint for the Go-Go’s at Los Angeles’ Greek Theater on July 14. The band will also perform on “The Late Show With David Letterman” on June 21. … Eamon is back, and it sounds like he’s got more relationship troubles to deal with. The singer, whose hip-hop- and doo-wop-inspired “I Don’t Want You Back” hit back in 2003, is set to release a new single, “How Could You (Bring Him Home),” next month. The track, produced by Frankie J beatmaker Happy Perez, will be featured on Eamon’s second album, Life Is Good, due August 1. … An April 16 trial date has been set for Phil Spector‘s embezzlement suit against his former assistant Michelle Blaine, AP reports. Spector will stand trial in January for the 2003 shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson.

05.24.2006

Ludacris appeared in U.S. District Court in New York Tuesday as the 2004 suit accusing the rapper and Kanye West of ripping off the hook to “Stand Up” comes to trial, The Associated Press reports. The lawsuit claims that New Jersey rap group I.O.F. passed along demo tapes including the song “Straight Like That” to West and Ludacris, who then used the track’s lyrics and beat for “Stand Up.” Ludacris and West maintain that they didn’t hear “Straight Like That” until the suit was filed. The trial is scheduled to run through the week, and Ludacris and West — who was not in court on Tuesday — are expected to testify. If the rappers are found liable, damages will be assessed in a penalty phase. …

The debut solo album from Neptunes mastermind Pharrell Williams is finally (re)scheduled for release after months of delays. In My Mind is now expected to drop July 25, according to a spokesperson. It will include guest spots from Jay-Z, Daddy Yankee, Gwen Stefani and others and be preceded by the new single, “Number 1,” featuring Kanye West. …

A beef between Avenged Sevenfoldand the Dillinger Escape Plan is taking shape. According to Dillinger’s MySpace page, a feud had been festering for several months when Avenged frontman M. Shadows turned up the heat during a recent interview, saying Dillinger “make sh—y noises and try to pass it off as music.” “What about bands that make sh—y noise and try to pass it off as Guns N’ Roses?” a Dillinger MySpace post read in response. “This guy and his merry band of musical clowns get more hilarious by the minute. M. Shadows’ real name is Matt Sanders or some sh–.” With that in mind, Dillinger say they’ve decided to change their stage names in derision. “So, in his honor, our new names are officially as follows: G. Piranha, Blaster Master Weinman, Bullwhip Benoit, Corpsef—er Pennie [and] Leafeater Wilson. Those are going to be the names on our new CD — 100 percent serious.” …

Pete Yorn will spread the word about his forthcoming album, Nightcrawler, with a 36-gig acoustic tour that launches June 22 in Santa Barbara, California, and wraps August 12 in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Nightcrawler hits stores August 15. … Influential punks Social Distortion, will be back on the road for a two-week run this summer. The band’s trek kicks off July 3 in Las Vegas, with a handful of gigs booked through July 15 in Denver. The Supersuckers and Nine Black Alps will open. Social D are still working on material for the follow-up to 2004′s Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Gorilla Biscuits are getting back together this summer for a 27-date U.S. tour that will coincide with the impending re-release of the hardcore icons’ classic 1989 LP, Start Today. The yet-to-be-scheduled reissue will feature in-depth liner notes by guitarist Walter Schreifels and a DVD featuring the band’s 2005 reunion set at New York’s CBGB. The tour kicks off August 4 in Asbury Park, New Jersey, and wraps up September 2 in New York. … Another recently reunited group, post-hardcore act Lifetime, have announced plans for a spate of gigs in July. The Bronx have been tapped to open five shows in Allston, Massachusetts (July 10); Buffalo, New York (July 13); Cleveland (July 14); Chicago (July 15); and Detroit (July 16). Details on additional dates will be announced in the coming weeks. …

You win some and you lose some — even when you’re Elton John. The singer accepted a $188,000 libel settlement from the British Daily Mail newspaper on Wednesday (May 24), AP reports. Daily Mail had claimed in a June 2005 issue that guests at a charity ball were forbidden to approach John, a report that caused the singer “considerable embarrassment and distress,” his lawyer noted in a hearing at London’s High Court. Other happenings across the Atlantic may also have Elton hurting. “Lestat,” the Broadway musical based on Anne Rice’s “The Vampire Chronicles” and featuring music by John and longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin, is closing after only 39 performances. The $10 million show’s curtain will drop for the last time Sunday. … Ian Copeland, a booking agent who represented R.E.M. and the Police, died Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Copeland — brother of Police drummer Stewart Copeland — succumbed to melanoma after battling the disease for many years. He was 57. …

After initially pushing back two Paris shows in order to allow guitarist Keith Richards to fully recuperate from brain surgery following his recent mystery accident, the Rolling Stones announced Wednesday that they will postpone 15 dates on their Bigger Bang European tour, according to a Reuters report. Richards, 62, is back in the U.S. recuperating from recent surgery in New Zealand to repair damage from a concussion allegedly sustained when he fell out of a coconut tree while on vacation in Fiji last month. The shows were supposed to start in Barcelona on Saturday and run through July 5 in Zagreb, Croatia. Rescheduled dates are expected to be announced before week’s end, with the tour slated to pick up again in early July at a yet-unannounced venue. …

Kaiser Chiefs singer Ricky Wilson was nearly killed in a hit-and-run accident in the British city of Leeds over the weekend. Wilson, who was struck by a car while walking in a crosswalk on Sunday evening, was spared serious injury by one of his patented onstage leaps, according to a post on the band’s Web site. “He’s the luckiest man alive, because he is still alive, it sounds daft, but a ‘Ricky trademark jump’ has probably saved his life,” the post read. “The jump meant he was flipped over the top of the car, hitting the windscreen, rather than getting trapped under it.” Wilson, who suffered a broken toe and bruises, was crossing on a green pedestrian light when he was struck by an unidentified driver; police are investigating the incident. Wilson is expected to be well enough to perform on the band’s upcoming dates June 2-4 in Holland and Germany. …

Nicole Richie and DJ AM are back off. The pair released a statement on Monday explaining that they have called it quits after a brief reconciliation. “We are confirming that we have amicably separated,” the brief statement read, according to AP. Richie and AM called off their nine-month engagement in December but were back together in recent months. … Former Spice Girl Geri Halliwell has named her baby daughter Bluebell Madonna, inspired by the flower and “the singer, whom I love,” she tells British magazine Hello! Bluebell was born May 14 in London.