For The Record: Quick News On Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, Korn, C-Murder, Usher, Jack Black & More

Jessica hits disco for new single; Ashlee promotes good body image; Korn frontman leaves hospital.

Daisy Duke’s going to the disco. Jessica Simpson has chosen “A Public Affair” as the first single off her new album of the same name, and while some may assume the song would be a commentary on her divorce from Nick Lachey, it’s actually an ode to going out with the girls. “That was a statement she wanted to make,” said Epic Records President Charlie Walk at a Monday night listening session for the record. “Everything she does is a public affair … [but] this is about having fun.” The song has an early Madonna vibe with a touch of Motown and Earth, Wind & Fire‘s “Let’s Groove.”

“All the girls are stepping out for a public affair/ All night, let’s rock ’cause the party don’t stop/ You know the cameras come out for a public affair,” Simpson sings in a breathy, higher register. She actually debuted the Lester Mendez (Shakira, Carlos Santana)-produced tune Thursday at New York’s Butter during a Natasha Bedingfield party, where Wyclef Jean, Cheyenne and Swizz Beatz enjoyed the song without at first knowing whose it was. “It was cool to watch everyone dancing to it,” Walk said, “and people that heard it wanted to hear it again and again.” “X-Men: The Last Stand” director Brett Ratner is shooting the star-studded, roller-disco-themed video June 26 and 27 in Los Angeles. The single is due June 23 and the album will be out August 29. …

In the meantime, it appears Jessica’s sister has had enough of U.S. culture promoting bad body image. So now Ashlee Simpson is trying to do something about it by helping a group of teenage girls make a mural that celebrates the female figure in the new issue of Marie Claire. The girls from Los Angeles’ Green Dot Public Schools painted messages of empowerment such as “Beautiful Mind,” “Confidence Is Sexy” and “Women Rock” on the mural. “Everyone is made differently, and that’s what makes us beautiful and unique. I want girls to look in the mirror and feel confident,” the singer told the magazine. Still, that doesn’t mean Simpson hasn’t succumbed to the dangers she’s trying to discourage. Simpson reveals, for instance, that she was on the verge of having an eating disorder while studying dance at New York’s School of American Ballet. “I would eat half a Nutri-Grain bar and some Blow-Pops and call it a day. I was super skinny.” But whatever cosmetic changes she might make to herself, she says her beauty image is only skin deep. “Have there been times when I’ve been insecure? Hell, yeah! But have I ever felt unhappy with what I’m actually doing in my life? No.” …

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has been released from the London hospital where he had been receiving treatment for a blood illness since Friday, and plans to return to the United States within the next day or two, The Bakersfield Californian reports. Davis’ father, Rick, told the Californian that his son will “remain under close medical attention. He’ll probably go directly to a medical facility.” British doctors diagnosed Davis with immune thrombocytopenic purpura, an autoimmune disorder in which a low blood-platelet count prohibits the blood from clotting as it should. The singer’s blood-platelet count fell critically low due to an allergic reaction to a medication he’d been taking. “His spirits have been good through the whole thing, but he appreciates the severity of the disorder and the importance of getting medical attention,” said Rick Davis, adding that the rest of Korn are still in London with Davis and will be on the same flight with him when he returns. “They said they would not leave their brother behind.” …

A motion was filed last week by the prosecutorial team who’ll be trying rapper C-Murder (whose real name is Corey Miller) a second time for the January 2002 fatal shooting of 16-year-old Steve Thomas outside a nightclub in Harvey, Louisiana. According to The Associated Press, the motion seeks to place Miller, who has been under house arrest since late March when the Louisiana Supreme Court overturned his second-degree murder conviction, back behind bars while he awaits the start of his second trial. The AP reports that in the motion, the prosecution suggests Miller violated the terms of his house arrest with an unauthorized visit to a drive-in restaurant. The filing also claims Miller returned home late from a court-approved trip and has traveled beyond the range of his electronic-monitoring equipment twice. A judge has yet to rule on the motion. …

Usher is the latest celebrity to lend New Orleans a hand, AP reports. The singer showed up at the International School of Louisiana on Tuesday (June 13), hooking up with volunteers to help clear vines and brush at the charter school, which has been closed since August 29. Usher visited neighborhoods in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish on Monday. “I’m here to physically do something and hopefully motivate other people to do the same,” he told AP.Jack Black has a big weekend ahead, with “Nacho Libre” hitting theaters Friday, and Sunday marking his first Father’s Day. The actor announced the arrival of his son, who was born Saturday to Black and his wife Tanya Haden, to “Access Hollywood” at Monday’s Los Angeles premiere of “Nacho Libre.” And Black explained to Us Weekly that he’s got his eyes on the poppa prize: “I’m going to be the best daddy on the planet, and I’m going to enter the best daddy competition. And I’m going to win it.” … Black may face some competition from Matt Damon, who welcomed his first child with wife Luciana Bozan on Sunday, AP reports. Daughter Isabella was born in Miami, and mother and baby are “wonderful, fine,” Damon’s publicist said. …

Jennifer Lopez has won a court battle over her “Flashdance”-inspired video for “I’m Glad.” The dismissal of the 2003 copyright-infringement suit filed by Maureen Marder, the former welder/dancer who inspired the 1983 film, was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeal for the 9th Circuit on Monday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Marder’s suit, which named Lopez along with Sony Music Entertainment and Paramount Pictures, alleged that she’d refused to grant sequel rights or permit further use of her story after “Flashdance.” The court found that the terms of the release Marder signed in 1982 were broad enough to OK the “I’m Glad” video. … Kylie Minogue made a brief return to the stage on Saturday with her first live performance since she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, Reuters reports. Kylie joined sister Dannii Minogue onstage at London’s G-A-Y club, performing Dannii’s song “Jump to the Beat.” …

Rapper El-P has enlisted the talents of Nine Inch Nails frontman Trent Reznor and the Mars Volta for his forthcoming LP. A posting to El-P’s MySpace page reports he’s about four songs away from completing the record, which will feature Reznor on the track “Flyentology” and the Volta on an as-yet-untitled cut. … In other Mars Volta news, the band has completed work on their forthcoming album — the follow-up to 2005′s Frances the Mute. The album will be called Amputechture, and should be out later this summer. No official release date has been set, and there is no additional specific information about the offering. The Mars Volta will be hitting the road on August 11 in Portland, Oregon, as direct support on the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ North American tour. Dates for that trek run through November 5 in St. Paul, Minnesota. …

The unidentified architect behind the National Day of Slayer campaign — which directed Slayer’s fans to commemorate June 6 by, among other things, listening to the metal band’s music and spray-painting “Slayer logos on churches, synagogues or cemeteries” — has taken credit for inspiring the desecration of a Catholic seminary in Yonkers, New York, last week. Police have yet to apprehend the vandals who’d painted the building with pentagrams, upside-down crosses, and Slayer-related messages, including “Reign in Blood,” the title of the group’s classic 1986 album. A message posted on the National Day of Slayer Web site states that “reports of activism surrounding [the fledgling holiday] have been coming in by the hour. One notable instance was the desecration of a local church in Yonkers, where celebrants spray-painted a pentagram, and more significantly, ‘Reign in Blood,’ on the steps of the church. We are overwhelmed with the response.”

06.12.2006

Think Hilary Duff‘s just a goodie-two-shoes for the tween set? She ditches that too-sweet side in the new issue of Elle, taking on her critics in a cover story for the magazine’s July issue. Asked about the fluffy nature of most of her films, she responds, “Um, are you saying my movies are crap?” Even if Elle doesn’t, there’s no denying the critics’ response — after all, The New York TimesStephen Holden called her “talent-challenged.” “He doesn’t really fit the demographic,” Duff replied. “So I could really care less. Look at me, and look at where he is — sorry! Would he prefer that I take some super-adult role that is inappropriate so I would have no place to grow? … Suppose the next thing I did was this super-edgy independent movie where I was pregnant or shooting up. What would that do to my fanbase?” She also has no love for the music critics and radio programmers who dismiss her pop music. “I feel like I do so much,” she tells the mag. “And it strikes me that I don’t hear myself on the radio. That critics don’t really talk about my music. I mean, a song like ‘Wake Up’ is not for a 50-year-old man with arthritis who doesn’t want to get out of bed” (Click to see photos from Duff’s Elle layout. ). The July issue of Elle also features a peek at John Mayer‘s new album. …

A retrial date of October 16 has been set for the wrongful-death suit filed by the family of Notorious B.I.G. against the city of Los Angeles. In a ruling on Thursday, Judge Florence-Marie Cooper reversed the position she stated last month, when the judge accused lawyers for Biggie’s family of misleading the court by claiming that the Los Angeles Police Department and city attorneys withheld documents. Cooper said she now believes that no deception occurred and urged both parties to continue the information-sharing process leading up to the new trial date. …

Jury selection is under way in the trial between the White Stripes and producer Jim Diamond, who says Jack and Meg White owe him royalties after he played an important role in the band’s development. Diamond — who owns Detroit’s Ghetto Recorders studio — is listed as co-producer on the Stripes’ 1999 self-titled debut and as sound mixer on their 2000 album, De Stijl, and as such, argues that he helped develop their signature sound. The White Stripes deny Diamond’s claims and have said in court documents that they paid him $35 an hour for their time at Ghetto Recorders. …

With Radiohead‘s North American tour under way and Thom Yorke‘s “not-solo” album (The Eraser) due July 11, can fans ask for much more? Well, yes, apparently: Yorke will perform on “The Henry Rollins Show” on the Independent Film Channel July 15 at 10 p.m. ET (you know celebrity guest John C. Reilly is stoked). The show will repeat on the 20th at 11 p.m., while other upcoming performances include Dinosaur Jr. and Daniel Johnston. … Omarion is almost done recording his new LP, slated for an August 22 release. The singer’s record will be called 21, coinciding with his age, and the first single is named “Entourage.” …

Snow Patrol have been forced to postpone their entire U.S. summer tour after singer Gary Lightbody‘s throat specialist ordered the vocalist to rest his voice until mid-July, according to the band’s spokesperson. Snow Patrol will reschedule all the dates in the previously announced cities for September 6-30, with the addition of shows in San Diego and Las Vegas on as-yet-unannounced dates. Tickets for canceled dates will be honored at the rescheduled shows. … Musicians planning to spend their Monday (June 12) in New Jersey trying out for a place in Beyoncé‘s all-female backing band will now have to get to New York if they want to be heard. Auditions have been moved to Sony Music Studios in Manhattan, and will be held Monday from noon to 9 p.m. For more information on the auditions, which will also be held in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston and Burbank, California, visit Beyonce.com. …

Velvet Revolver, who continue to work on their forthcoming second album, will take a break from the studio in late July for a pair of live appearances. Look for the Revolver to rock Kelseyville, California, on July 29 and Paso Robles, California on July 30. … Mötley Crüe frontman Vince Neil will be opening a tattoo shop inside the Flamingo Casino and Resort in Las Vegas; construction on the shop begins next week. Neil told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that, as you might expect, his tattoo shop will have a “rock and roll vibe.” A late summer opening is planned. … Shinedown have been tapped as the opening act for the upcoming Godsmack and Rob Zombie tour, which kicks off on August 25 in Dallas, Texas, and runs through October 1 in Concord, California. …

It’s been about a decade since the release of Violent Demise: Last Days, Body Count‘s third and supposedly final release. But on August 1, Ice-T and his reunited band will issue a 12-track LP called Murder 4 Hire, which promises to be just as controversial as the band’s 1992′s self-titled debut — the record that originally featured the infamous “Cop Killer” track. Ice-T, who plays a detective on “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” kicks off Murder with “Invincible Gangsta,” which contains the line, “F— the cops.” Look for the record to feature “In My Head,” “Dirty Bomb” and “Down in the Bayou.” …

The son of late N.W.A rapper Eazy-E, Eric Wright Jr. — better known as Lil’ Eazy-E — was arrested in Compton, California, Saturday night and charged with possession of a firearm, according to The Los Angeles Times. Lil’ Eazy, 22, who released his first album, Prince of Compton, earlier this year, was driving a car that was pulled over for a traffic violation when police allegedly found a pistol on him. Two other unidentified people in the car were also arrested, one for possession of a handgun, the other for a probation violation. … Dance-music artist Kevin Aviance, 38, was in stable condition in a New York City hospital over the weekend after being attacked by four people in what police are calling a hate crime. According to a Reuters report, Aviance, who has scored #1 hits on the Billboard dance chart with songs including “Da Da Din” and “Alive,” was kicked and beaten early Saturday morning as he left a gay bar, attacked by four youths who called him “f—-t.” The singer suffered head trauma in the incident, which resulted in charges of hate crime assault and hate crime harassment for the four attackers, aged 16-20.