For The Record: Quick News On Beyonce, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Taylor Hicks, JC Chasez, Beth Orton, Slayer & More

Beyoncé holds open call for musicians; Madonna suits up for retail chain; Jackson trial spawns new court battle.

Beyoncé may have given up her girls in Destiny’s Child, but she wants new ones to back her up — with instruments in hand. The singer is searching for an all-female band to tour in support of her second solo album, B’Day, so she’s holding open auditions for keyboard players, bassists, guitarists, horn players, percussionists and drummers around the country on Monday. Musicians have to be at least 18, should have a “look,” be prepared to re-create “Work It Out” as performed on the “Beyoncé: Live at Wembley” DVD and be able to pull off at least a one-minute solo. Think you’ve got what it takes? Bring a headshot and résumé to auditions at New Jersey’s SST; Atlanta’s Crossover Entertainment Studios; Burbank, California’s Center Staging; Chicago’s Pressure Point Recording Studios; or Houston’s VT2 Studios. Finalists from local auditions must be available to fly to New York to perform for Beyoncé later in the week and must be available to begin working by June 20. …

After rumors surfaced last week that Madonna would be posing for H&M, the company announced Thursday (June 8) that it will supply a complete offstage wardrobe for the singer and her entire touring troupe (including her band, dancers and crew members). In exchange, Madonna and her dancers will pose in an advertising campaign for the retail chain. “Partnering up with H&M feels like a perfect fit,” Madonna said. “We’ll all get to express ourselves in our own individual ways. The dancers and I are excited to go shopping together.” H&M will also produce a specially designed Madonna tracksuit, which will be in stores in mid-August. …

In a strange twist of fate, a woman who worked for the prosecution during the Michael Jackson child molestation trial is now suing the Santa Barbara district attorney’s office — and she’s represented by one of the singer’s lawyers. Annette Reichert was hired to develop a searchable computer database of documents, images and other evidence during the trial, and in a federal lawsuit filed Friday, she claims she wasn’t compensated for her work. Her lawyer, Brian Oxman — who also represented Jackson during part of the trial and often represents the Jackson family — says Reichert is due $40,000 for the work and another $100,000 for giving up other work to create the database in the first place. Her former boss, Tom Sneddon, however, counters that Reichert never completed her task and disappeared during the middle of the trial. …

Taylor Hicks will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of his single “Do I Make You Proud” to the American Red Cross. The single is due June 13. … JC Chasez has finished recording his second solo album, according to a post on his MySpace page. The former ‘NSYNCer leaked one track already called “I’m Not Sleeping Alone.” … Beth Orton will support her recently released Comfort of Strangers with a second North American trek, kicking off July 7 in Burlington, Vermont. The outing ends July 31 in Los Angeles. … Sonic Youth are playing a private Los Angeles show on July 8 for fans who purchase their new album at certain retailers (listed on their Web site). The band’s Rather Ripped is due June 13. …

A Catholic seminary located in Yonkers, New York, was desecrated on Tuesday by vandals who apparently took the National Day of Slayer a bit too far. According to a St. Joseph’s Seminary staffer who asked not to be named, workers discovered early Wednesday morning that the building has been defiled with spray-painted pentagrams, upside-down crosses and Slayer-related messages, including “Reign in Blood,” the title of the metal band’s classic 1986 album. The phrases “Better to Reign in Hell” and “Than To Serve In Heaven” were spray-painted across two columns near the building’s main entrance. A statue of Jesus was also marred with pentagrams. About a month before the advent of June 6, a Web site was launched calling on Slayer fans to honor the National Day of Slayer by listening to the band’s music, killing a “neighbor’s dog” and spray-painting “Slayer logos on churches, synagogues or cemeteries.” The site is registered to someone affiliated with the American Nihilist Underground Society. …

Blame Janet. The House overwhelmingly approved legislation on Wednesday to increase fines on indecent programming tenfold, from $32,500 per incident to $325,000. President Bush praised the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act and vowed to sign it into law, saying in a statement, “I believe that government has a responsibility to help strengthen families. This legislation will make television and radio more family-friendly by allowing the FCC to impose stiffer fines on broadcasters who air obscene or indecent programming.” After approval in the Senate last month, the legislation passed in the House by a 379-35 vote. … Petra Haden, who is touring as a violinist with the Foo Fighters this summer, has recorded an a cappella rendition of the Beach Boys‘ “God Only Knows” as a quasi-sequel to her acclaimed Petra Sings: The Who Sell Out album. The song is available for free download at PetraHadenMusic.com. …

Fans of Zakk Wylde‘s Black Label Society who anticipated grabbing a copy of the band’s forthcoming album, Shot to Hell, on July 3 will now need to wait until September 19, according to a spokesperson for the Society’s label. No explanation for the rescheduled release date was offered. … Double-disc reissues of classic Cure albums The Top, The Head on the Door and Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me are due in stores August 8. The deluxe editions of the band’s 1984-1987 LPs will feature unreleased music, including live performances as well as home and studio demos. Rhino Records, the label releasing the discs, will reissue a double-disc version of Blue Sunshine, the only album from Cure frontman Robert Smith‘s side project, The Glove, on August 8 as well. …

Teddy Geiger has added some more stops to his summer tour, which is now set to begin Saturday with a show on Pier 17 at New York’s South Street Seaport and wrap up September 23 at Washington’s Puyallup Fair. Dirtie Blonde will open for Geiger for much of the tour, including stops in St. Louis (July 13), Dallas (July 18), New Orleans (July 22) and Chicago (August 16). … Nebraskan indie rockers Cursive are hitting the road July 5 for a nine-date tour that’s set to run through July 15. The band will be previewing fresh material from its forthcoming album Happy Hollow, which lands in stores August 22. The trek, which kicks off in Champaign, Illinois, will make stops in Lansing, Michigan; Cleveland; Pittsburgh; New York; Norfolk, Virginia; Newport, Kentucky; Des Moines, Iowa; and the final destination on the tour, Omaha, Nebraska. Cursive will be performing August 4 as part of this year’s Lollapalooza Festival in Chicago.

06.07.2006

Lawyers representing the city of Los Angeles in the long-running Notorious B.I.G. (born Christopher Wallace) wrongful-death lawsuit lashed out against the slain rapper’s family in court papers filed Tuesday, The Associated Press reports. The attorneys accused the Wallace family of going to “odious” and “absurd” lengths to “satisfy their ambition to extract hundreds of millions of dollars” from the municipality. The city’s attorneys allege the Wallace family misled the court by claiming city attorneys and the Los Angeles Police Department withheld informant statements and additional evidence, linking two rogue cops to the rapper’s unsolved 1997 shooting death. One of the family’s attorneys, Perry Sanders, has denied any deliberate attempts to deceive the court. Dorothy Wolpert, one of the city’s attorneys, suggested in the filing that the Wallace family lied because they “were not happy with the way the trial was developing,” and asked U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper, who declared a mistrial in the wrongful-death case last July, to pave the way for a new trial to commence “as soon as [the court's] calendar will allow.” …

Hearing wedding bells for Brad and Angelina? Maybe your ears are ringing. “There is nothing in the air,” Jolie said Wednesday (June 7) during a news conference for local journalists in the Namibian coastal town of Swakopmund, The Associated Press reports. “The focus is the kids, and we are obviously extremely committed to the children and as parents together. So that kind of says it for us, and to have a ceremony on top of it is nothing.” The couple plans to leave Namibia in the coming days. “We are very proud that our daughter was born here,” Brad Pitt said, “and we leave with fond memories and definitely hungry to return.” The press conference was the couple’s first public appearance since the birth of their daughter, Shiloh Nouvel. In other Brangelina baby news, People and Hello! magazines, which bought publishing rights for the photos in the U.S. and U.K., respectively, have launched legal action against two Web sites that posted what appeared to be the upcoming cover of Hello! featuring a photo of the couple with their new baby. …

After announcing in mid-April that she would be joining the Aaron Eckhart comedy “Bill,” Lindsay Lohan has dropped out of the production because of a scheduling conflict, the film’s producers said. Lohan was set to play the part of Lucy, the friend of a rebellious teenage boy who Eckhart’s character mentors as he tries to find a new purpose in his life. Lohan will be replaced by Jessica Alba when filming starts Thursday in St. Louis. … Jennifer Lopez was honored Tuesday at the Women in Film’s Crystal and Lucy Awards in Los Angeles, and her husband Marc Anthony took out a full-page ad in Variety to show his support. The ad, designed as a mock page from a screenplay, described Lopez (who he called “Lola”) receiving her award. “Cut to: Marc Anthony, her proud husband, sitting in the audience aware of how lucky he is to be with the love of his life and sharing in this moment.” Geena Davis was also honored. …

Ashanti‘s former manager, Linda Berk, filed suit against the singer in a New York federal court on Tuesday, seeking millions of dollars in damages for breach of contract. According to a Reuters report, Berk — who co-managed along with Ashanti’s mother — claims that she was instrumental in guiding the career of the 25-year-old R&B singer from an unknown teen to a “music and entertainment superstar” before her contract was cut short in May 2003. Ashanti’s spokesperson said Berk’s contract expired and wasn’t renewed. … Police in Florida’s Miami-Dade County are investigating an act of vandalism that transpired outside the home of ex-2 Live Crew member Luther “Luke” Campbell Wednesday morning. A landscaping brick was allegedly thrown through the window of one of Campbell’s cars and had several notes attached to it. According to reports, one of the notes said ”Sign or die.” Miami police have not named a suspect in the incident. …

Danger Mouse will serve as the Artist in Residence at the 2006 Los Angeles Film Festival. The Gnarls Barkley/ Gorillaz producer has scheduled several films that have inspired his music, including Woody Allen‘s “Deconstructing Harry” and Richard Kelly‘s “Donnie Darko,” for his portion of the event. Danger Mouse will also partake in a pre-festival discussion June 12 at the Hammer Museum. … After nearly 16 years as lead singer, Paul Roberts has left the Stranglers to concentrate on his new band, Soulsec. Roberts joined the scowling British punks in the early ’90s after their original singer/guitarist, Hugh Cornwell, departed for a solo career. Initially renowned for deliberately provocative songs like “Bring on the Nubiles” and “Nice ‘N’ Sleazy,” the Stranglers gradually moved away from their willfully contemptuous origins toward mainstream pop in the late ’80s and maintained their sizable following in Europe throughout the ’90s with Roberts. Though longtime fans may pine for an unlikely reunion of the original foursome, the Stranglers plan to soldier on with guitarist Baz Warne assuming vocal duties. …

Queen Latifah knows rap, soul, acting — and politics? The singer/actress was on Capitol Hill Wednesday to advocate for a National Women’s Confidence Day, according to AP. “I got the support I needed from my mother, grandmother and aunts. But many women today do not have the confidence they need,” Latifah said, backing the day of observance Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) wants celebrated in June. How does Congresswoman Dana Owens sound? … Bunny Wailer — who played with Bob Marley as part of the original Wailers — is hooking up with his late friend’s sons on this summer’s Roots, Rock, Reggae Festival, AP reports. The 59-year-old legend will be on the bill alongside Stephen and Ziggy Marley when the monthlong tour kicks off August 6 in Redway, California. …

After struggling for nearly three years, the founders of WeirdAlStar.com — the Web site dedicated to raising the $15,000 necessary to land “Weird” Al Yankovic his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame — have announced that they’ve finally reached their goal. The $15,000 needed for the honor will be sent (along with Al’s application) to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which will decide later this month if he’s worthy of a star. If all goes according to plan, Yankovic could have people walking all over him by 2007. … The first pressing of the New York Dolls‘ July 25 release, One Day It Will Please Us to Remember Even This, will feature a 45-minute making-of DVD chronicling the creation of the seminal rock act’s first album in more than 30 years. The DVD will also boast a special bonus tune called “17.” …

The Jared Leto-led 30 Seconds to Mars have extended their touring plans by 17 gigs. The band is booked to play Louisville, Kentucky, on June 17, followed by stops in Knoxville, Tennessee; Buffalo, New York; Hartford, Connecticut; Asbury Park, New Jersey; Salt Lake City; and Denver. The group’s traveling plans end with an August 5 appearance at this year’s Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. … Disco-pop act Scissor Sisters and Scandinavian shoegazers Serena Maneesh have been added to the 6th annual Village Voice Siren Music Festival lineup, which already includes She Wants Revenge, Stars, Tapes ‘N Tapes and the Stills. Other new additions include Man Man, the Roger Sisters and Deadboy & the Elephantmen. The Siren fest takes place at New York’s Coney Island on July 15. …

Stone Sour recently shot a video with director Tony Petrossian (Head Automatica, Avenged Sevenfold) for the track “Through Glass,” the first single off of the band’s forthcoming album Come What(ever) May. The album’s set to hit stores August 1, with the single expected to hit rock radio’s airwaves later this month. … Long Island, New York, hardcore legends Vision of Disorder, who have temporarily reunited for a spate of summer gigs, looked to have added some dates to their schedule. In addition to the band’s appearances on the Sounds of the Underground Tour July 16 in Camden, New Jersey, and the Strhess Tour 2006 on August 12 in Worcester, Massachusetts, Vision of Disorder have booked an August 11 gig at Club Ritual in Levittown, New York, with God Forbid, and another for August 13 — same town and venue — with Nora. …

Ozomatli will kick off the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour’s Toyota Hermosa Beach Open with a free concert at California’s Hermosa Beach Pier on Friday. The band’s performance, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., will feature songs from their Grammy-winning Street Signs as well as new music. … If listening to discs from the Kidz Bop Kids has you wishing you could experience the sound of top hits (by everyone from Rihanna to Green Day) performed by children live, you’re in luck. Club Kidz Bop, billed as an “interactive concert,” will be entertaining Six Flags theme parks this summer. The tour, which kicks off Wednesday at Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, will hit parks across the country before wrapping up at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, on September 3.