For The Record: Quick News On Jessica Simpson, Ashlee Simpson, Black Eyed Peas, Beyonce, Tom Cruise & More

Jessica admires Ashlee's bod; Peas, Beyoncé honored for ringtones; Jay boycotts Cristal.

Red alert: Jessica Simpson sports a fiery new ‘do on the July cover of Maxim magazine, which hits stands Thursday (June 15). In the issue, the singer/actress makes a promise that has been uttered by others before her: “I will never do another reality-TV show. Been there, done that.” In addition to revealing that guys with vivid imaginations send her “through the rafters” and that she likes kissing with her eyes open, Simpson also let fly her admiration of Ashlee: “My sister has the most perfect [breasts] and skinniest legs,” she said. …

Black Eyed Peas, Beyoncé, AC/DC, Chamillionaire, T-Pain, Cyndi Lauper and D4L are among the artists who were honored with the Recording Industry Association of America’s inaugural Master Ringtone Sales Awards. In a ceremony on Wednesday, 84 gold (500,000 downloads), 40 platinum (1 million downloads) and four multi-platinum certifications were awarded for the music people hold dearest to their hearts — the tracks they don’t mind hearing every time someone calls them. The RIAA has been certifying albums gold and platinum for 47 years, and added ringtones to the mix with Wednesday’s announcements. …

Tom Cruise has topped Forbes magazine’s celebrity power list, beating out the Rolling Stones, Oprah and U2. Cruise, who the magazine says is “Hollywood’s most bankable actor” after having made $67 million last year, previously held the spot five years ago. … Ruben Studdard was awarded $2 million Thursday (June 15) after suing his ex-manager for misappropriating Studdard’s money and credit cards, according to The Associated Press. A judge in a Birmingham, Alabama, court awarded the “American Idol” winner $1.5 million in punitive damages and $500,000 for his actual losses. …

If you’d planned to secure a table at one of Jay-Z‘s 40/40 Clubs with a bottle of Cristal, better consult the drink menu. Jay will no longer serve the pricey champagne name-checked in many hip-hop songs — including Hov’s own “Hard Knock Life” and “Dead Presidents II” — following statements made by the managing director of Louis Roederer, the company that produces Cristal, in a recent interview with The Economist. “It has come to my attention that the managing director of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud, views the hip-hop culture as ‘unwelcome attention,’ ” Jay said in a statement. “I view his comments as racist and will no longer support any of his products through any of my various brands including the 40/40 Club, nor in my personal life.” … Having wrapped production on their second album in Las Vegas, the Killers have headed to London to mix the record. Co-producers Flood and Alan Moulder are overseeing the mixing for the still-untitled sophomore LP, which is tentatively due later this year. …

After a one-day hearing that was closed to the public, a Vietnamese court upheld child molestation charges and a three-year jail sentence for British former glam rock star Gary Glitter on Thursday, according to a Reuters report. The sentence against Glitter, 62, born Paul Francis Gadd, will be imposed from the November 19, 2005, date the disgraced rocker was arrested while trying to leave Vietnam and will require him to be deported upon release. Glitter reportedly shook his head as the judge read the evidence against him — he was convicted on March 3 of sexually molesting two 11-year-old girls — and screamed, “No justice here in Vietnam. … They did not listen to the defense at all,” as he was lead out of the courtroom. Meanwhile, The Boston Globe reports that the National Football League has asked teams to stop playing Glitter’s popular game-day anthem, “Rock and Roll Part 2,” to pump up crowds. …

Los Angeles County prosecutors have declined to file charges against Eric Wright Jr. — a.k.a. Lil’ Eazy-E — in connection with his arrest Saturday on suspicion of carrying a concealed weapon, L.A. CBS affiliate KCAL reports. According to the district attorney’s office, there was not enough evidence to prosecute Wright, who was released from jail Sunday. The 22-year-old rapper is the son of late N.W.A member Eazy-E. … After dueling lawsuits failed to resolve the matter, the U.S. International Trade Commission has launched a probe into whether Apple’s iPod infringes on Creative Technology’s patent for its Zen MP3 player, according to Reuters. The world’s #2 MP3 player maker’s complaint alleges that Apple imported into the U.S. and sold iPods that infringe on Creative’s “Zen” patent, which covers the user interface on its Nomad and Zen models. Creative said it has asked the ITC for a permanent cease-and-desist order against Apple. A ruling is not expected before next year. In June, Apple filed a second patent infringement lawsuit in the U.S. against Creative, which earlier had filed patent complaints against Apple in a federal court.

Just when you thought Ozzfest couldn’t get any freakier, the festival’s organizers have added the Bros. Grim Sideshow, billed as “the world’s greatest collection of human oddities, strange people and novel entertainers,” to the tour’s Village of the Damned for nine of the trek’s stops. The Bros. Grim Sideshow will be part of the festivities in San Antonio (July 11); Chicago (July 16); Detroit (July 19); Columbus, Ohio (July 21); Indianapolis (July 23); Buffalo, New York (July 27); New York (July 29); Boston (August 1); Raleigh, North Carolina (August 9); and the festival’s final stop, West Palm Beach, Florida (August 13). … “Gabba Gabba Hey! — A Punk-Rock Musical,” inspired by the songs of the Ramones, will open in London on July 31 for a one-week run of shows set to conclude August 5. Described as “a postmodern fairy tale about the redeeming power of love,” the musical will feature 18 classic Ramones tracks, including “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “Beat on the Brat” and “Blitzkrieg Bop.” Tommy Ramone, the production’s musical director, will be appearing each night during the brief run. …

Dredg vocalist Gavin Hayes will take the stage with Dan “The Automator” Nakamura at the Paramount Theater in Oakland, California, on Sunday. The duo will be performing selections from Nakamura’s Lovage and Handsome Boy Modeling School projects. Hayes will also join Dredg to perform at a benefit to help Day One Symphony pay medical bills following a car accident. The show is set for July 7 in San Francisco. … Thrice frontman Dustin Kensrue has announced plans for a 10-date club tour in support of his forthcoming self-titled solo acoustic debut, which took two years to complete. Ben Nichols of Lucero and Yellow Red Sparks will open on the trek, which kicks off July 27 in Philadelphia with dates scheduled through August 6 in San Francisco. …

Primus frontman Les Claypool will be touring this summer in support of his solo LP, Of Whales and Woe, with several gigs sprinkled on off-nights throughout a run with his revived Oysterhead side project. The next stop on the trek, which is already in full swing, is set for Sunday in St. Louis, Missouri, following two appearances at this weekend’s Bonnaroo Music Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. The tour runs through July 22 in Cleveland. … After months of rumors, Poison the Well have confirmed their split with Atlantic Records. The band continues to work on new material and plans to release an album early next year.

The reunited Germs — with actor Shane West filling the shoes of deceased frontman Darby Crash — are adding more shows to their plate. The band will play three Warped Tour dates, including July 4 in Phoenix. Other cities on the docket include Chula Vista (July 6) and Pomona (July 7), both in California; Detroit (July 25); Chicago (July 26-27); New York (July 29); Boston (July 30); and Washington, D.C. (August 5). … The Ataris have parted ways with Columbia Records, according to frontman Kris Roe. In a post on the band’s MySpace page, Roe said the Ataris made their decision after several people they originally worked with at the label left and, according to Roe, rumors have been circulating about a merger between Columbia and Epic. “Our newfound freedom might cause a slight delay in the release of Welcome the Night,” the band’s forthcoming LP, he wrote. “We consider ourselves fortunate to be able to release our next album under the best possible circumstances.”

06.14.2006

Jay-Z knows plenty about the power of words, and now he’s rewarded six student writers from a field of 700 essay entries with $5,000 each to help their schools. Jay, who had his New Jersey Nets-investor cap on for this venture, launched the contest as part of a rivalry with Charlotte Bobcats owner Robert Johnson. On December 14, the NBA teams raced to the 80-point mark and the owner of the team that hit it last (that’d be Jay’s Nets) agreed to donate the $30,000. “It was great to see the students’ school spirit in their essays,” Jay-Z said. “They showed they want a well-rounded education in a comfortable environment. I hope that these donations help them to achieve their goals.” Three schools in New York and three in New Jersey received donations. …

Von Bondies singer Jason Stollsteimer — who got into a much-publicized fracas with Jack White in 2003 — testified in record producer Jim Diamond‘s case against the White Stripes on Wednesday (June 14), according to The Associated Press. Diamond told a Detroit court he found a profane note pinned to his door, and Stollsteimer testified that he too was left with a note on his door — with a knife stuck in it. White denied posting a note to Diamond’s door and has previously called Stollsteimer’s claims that he also was responsible for that note “a laughable lie.” …

One of the defendants in Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony‘s stolen-wedding-video case pleaded guilty to attempted grand larceny on Wednesday, according to AP. In a New York court, Tito Moses revealed that he had in fact tried to bilk the couple of $1 million through their “representative” — who turned out to be an undercover cop. Justice Bonnie Wittner said Moses will spend one and a half to three years in prison for the crime. The other man accused in the case, Steven Wortman, has pleaded not guilty to his multiple charges. …

Things keep turning up roses for “American Idol” victor Taylor Hicks. People magazine has named the 29-year-old crooner the hottest bachelor. That’s right — Hicks beat out the likes of Nick Lachey, Jake Gyllenhaal and Matthew McConaughey, giving even more hope to average Joes everywhere. … Bruce Springsteen is feeling the heat from an unlikely source: a labor union. AP reports that the Boss heard from the Milwaukee chapter of an artists union shortly before he staged his tribute to blue-collar folk hero Pete Seeger on Wednesday. The venue he chose, the Bradley Center, is non-unionized. …

Diddy, the master of promotion, will have to wait a little longer before he starts hyping his next LP, which he’s planning to call PD5. The album — due to feature Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera and Nas — has been bumped to October 3. … Dem Franchize Boyz member Maurice “Parlae” Gleaton was arrested Tuesday night in an Atlanta studio after it was raided by police, according to Dem Franchize Boyz’s label, Virgin Records. According to AP, police found drugs, weapons and money in the studio. Everyone present — except two minors, whose parents subsequently picked them up from authorities — were arrested. “Based on what we know, the facts will show that Parlae will be exonerated of any charges in this matter,” read a statement issued by the label. …

With a Cookbook already on the market, Missy Elliott is about to put her life story out there for big-screen consumption. Missy will come to theaters with a little help from Robert De Niro, who will produce the biopic through his Tribeca Films, Variety reports. Elliott’s manager, Mona Scott, will also be involved in producing the film, which is still untitled. … Russell Simmons celebrated the fifth anniversary of his Hip-Hop Summit Action Network Wednesday morning by ringing the opening bell of the NASDAQ Stock Exchange. He was accompanied by Diplomats member Jim Jones, Damon Dash, HSAN President/ CEO Dr. Benjamin Chavis and Warner Music Group Executive Vice President/ HSAN board member Kevin Liles, among others. Simmons is also promoting HSAN’s financial-literacy program, called Get Your Money Right. …

Who says punk rock isn’t educational? A 12-year-old girl from Halifax, England, is crediting the cover of Green Day‘s American Idiot for saving her life. According to BBC News, Ruby Wilson was clearing leaves in her garden when she found a hand grenade, which she recognized from the picture on her Green Day T-shirt. (The album’s cover features a hand clutching a heart-shaped hand grenade with blood dripping off it.) Wilson’s dad called the army, who blew up the grenade, a remnant from the weapons factory that used to stand nearby. … The Veronicas have had to pull out of their North American tour with Ashlee Simpson after doctors advised singer Lisa Origliasso, who has developed nodules on her vocal cords, to rest her voice and get treatment. A full recovery is expected in six weeks, and the band plans to tour the U.S. this fall. …

Former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp has already announced that he’s reforming his neo-new-wave act the Rentals, but now he’s taking the band on the road. Sharp had already announced a pair of California shows — July 2 in Solana Beach and July 7 in Los Angeles — but the band will embark on a proper North American tour July 21 in Bakersfield. They’ll venture outside California before returning to the Golden State to wind down the tour August 15 in Anaheim. Sharp also plans to record a new Rentals album, their first since 1999′s Seven More Minutes.Reggie and the Full Effect have pulled themselves off this summer’s Warped Tour, according to a message posted on the band’s Web site. “Instead, we are going to be in the studio working on a new record with Sean Beavan (Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson),” James Dewees, a.k.a. Reggie, wrote. “We hope you understand, and look forward to seeing everyone in the late fall.” …

Pneumatic retro-futurists Stereolab have a long and eclectic career that Rhino Records will chronicle with the retrospective Serene Velocity — A Stereolab Anthology, which documents the band’s 1993-2004 stint with Elektra Records. Remastered by Stereolab founder Tim Gane at Abbey Road Studios, the collection features 16 tracks including 7-inch versions of “Jenny Ondioline (Part 1)” and “Wow and Flutter,” plus an interview with Gane and singer Laetitia Sadier. … Four suspects in the beating of dance artist Kevin Aviance were arraigned in a New York court this week, charged with first-degree gang assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime, AP reports. Akino George, Gregory Archie, Jarell Sears and Gerard Johnson did not enter pleas at their arraignments and are being held on $25,000 bail. They are scheduled to return to court Friday and face up to 25 years in prison if convicted. Aviance, who suffered a broken jaw, was released from the hospital Monday and hopes to perform at gay-pride events scheduled later this month.

[This story was originally published at 8:31 am E.T. on 06.15.2006]