For The Record: Quick News On Beyonce, Jay-Z, Mel Gibson, DMX, Audioslave, Fantasia, Britney Spears & More

Knowles follows Jay's lead; Gibson apologizes again; X stages impromptu show.

When it came time to record B'Day, Beyoncé was inspired by the creative approach that Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella artists take, the singer told Essence in the magazine's September cover story. (Check out the mag's photos of Beyoncé here.) "They usually have a bunch of producers in the studio at one time in different rooms," she explained. "They get this positive competitive energy going." When it came time to lay down her own tracks, Beyoncé followed Jay's lead. "I rented the studio and had different producers in three different rooms. It was so much fun and no pressure." And Jay and B didn't worry that the stress of working together on "Deja Vu" would impact their relationship — because the rapper's part on the track was never planned. "But once he heard it, I saw his lips start moving," Beyoncé told the magazine. "So I was like, 'Would you like to go into the studio and record what you just did?' Now we joke about how we're going to have enough songs to put out a little compilation record." ...

Mel Gibson is pleading with Jewish community leaders to help him find the "appropriate path for healing," The Associated Press reports. The actor/director, who was arrested Friday for driving under the influence, admitted Tuesday (August 1) that he had spouted a series of anti-Semitic slurs at the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office upon his arrest. "I want to apologize specifically to everyone in the Jewish community for the vitriolic and harmful words," said Gibson, who entered rehab for alcohol abuse on Monday. According to CBS News, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, who had rejected Gibson's initial apology, said his Tuesday morning statement was legitimate. AP also reports that ABC has canceled a miniseries about the Holocaust that the network was developing through Gibson's Icon Productions, and that a sheriff's watchdog has found that deputies handled Gibson's arrest properly. ...

DMX is staging an impromptu concert Tuesday to herald the release of his sixth album, Year of the Dog, Again. The rapper will dip into his new record and touch on some classics as well at the afternoon event at Marcus Garvey Park in New York's Harlem district. ... Audioslave have teamed up with Google Earth to give fans a glimpse of the cover art for the band's forthcoming album, Revelations. Those who activate the program can look for the utopian island of Audioslave Nation, which will be located in the Indian Ocean between South America and New Zealand. Revelations will hit stores on September 5. ...

Depeche Mode have been forced to cancel their Thursday concert in Tel Aviv, Israel. Since the Hayarkon Park performance was supposed to cap the band's tour, there are no plans to reschedule the gig. ... A week before Taylor Hicks releases his debut album on November 14, third-season "American Idol" winner Fantasia will drop her second record. Other fall releases announced by Arista/ J Records this week include The Ultimate Luther Vandross on August 22, Monica's The Makings of Me on September 19 and Sarah McLachlan's Wintersong on October 17. Yet-untitled new releases by Maroon 5 and Mario are due November 14 and 21, respectively. ...

Guns N' Roses' 32-date European trek concluded over the weekend, and now frontman Axl Rose plans to return to the U.S. for a road trip this fall. "We have had an amazing tour and it has been fantastic for the band and I to experience this," Rose said in a press release. "I approached this last show with equal parts determination, obligation, responsibility and insanity. It was an amazing night. I want to thank everyone in Europe and the U.K. for inspiring us and for giving us the opportunity to play for them. We are now looking forward to the U.S. in September." No U.S. tour dates have been revealed. The final stop on the GN'R European tour, Sunday night's gig at London's Wembley Arena, nearly didn't go off. Rose was diagnosed with low blood pressure and low blood sugar on Sunday morning, and became ill after performing two concerts the night before. A physician advised that the frontman skip the stage that night and be admitted to a hospital instead. Rose responded with a "F--- that — I have a show to do and I am not missing it," the release said. He did make it through much of the band's two-hour set before collapsing. Sebastian Bach took over for Axl to perform the show's encore, "Paradise City." ...

Minor-league baseball team the Newark Bears are using Britney Spears' parenting goofs to make a positive difference. On Friday, the New Jersey team is hosting Britney Spears Baby Safety Night, where fans will receive information on car-seat safety and get an opportunity to win a free car seat courtesy of AAA. And would-be spectators who bring a baby (age 4 or under), carry a baby toy or go all-out and dress as a baby will receive free admission to the ball park that night. ... The U.S. incarnation of the Download festival hits the East Coast this month and pops up out West in September. 311, Jurassic 5 the Wailers, G. Love & Special Sauce, Dropkick Murphys and Pepper are on the August 20 bill at Mansfield, Massachusetts' Tweeter Center. Beck, Muse, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wolfmother, the Shins, Coheed and Cambria, Rogue Wave, Kinky, the Mutaytor and more artists to be announced will perform at San Francisco's Shoreline Amphitheater on September 30. ...

If you've been aching for "The Return of the Velvet Teddy Bear," there's an end in sight to your pain. That's the title of the first track from the new album of the same name from "American Idol" season-two winner Ruben Studdard. The disc, due September 26, features songs produced by Ne-Yo, Scott Storch and Dre & Vidal — and Studdard did some producing of his own, manning the boards for his cover of the Brenda Russell ballad "If Only for One Night." "Change Me," Studdard's first single from the album, was released to radio Monday. ... Money can buy a lot of things, but not an escape from traffic — well, a legal escape, at least. When Tommy Lee wanted to get from Hollywood to Irvine, California, for a Nine Inch Nails show on July 7, he traveled by helicopter, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sounds pretty cool, except for one thing: Landing a helicopter on a public street violates L.A. law. Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo filed charges against the pilot, David Keith Martz, on Monday. Martz faces one count each of reckless operation of an aircraft, landing an aircraft on a public road and landing an aircraft without a permit — all three carry a maximum penalty of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine, the Times reports. Lee was not charged in connection with the incident. ...

Since Underoath announced last week that they'd be leaving the Warped Tour to focus on the bandmembers' friendships, there has been a load of speculation regarding the move. The most popular explanation making the rounds blames NOFX frontman Fat Mike for their departure. Fat chance, Mike said in a statement posted on PunkNews.org Monday night. "As much as I do like controversy, there really isn't any to report on this subject," he wrote. "Underoath have left the Warped Tour, and as much as people want to give me credit for that, the truth is they just really needed a break apparently. Some people have suggested that they bailed because I made too much fun of them [for their religious beliefs]. Problem with that theory is that I have made fun of plenty of bands on this tour. I have also taken plenty of jabs at Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Muslims. I feel I am an equal opportunist when it comes to getting laughs from an easy target." ... Boysetsfire have thrown in the towel after 12 years. No reason for the split has been offered. The band will finish up its European tour and has promised to play a few East Coast farewell shows this fall. "Boysetsfire, for us, was always a vehicle for changing the world," the band explained in a statement. "We believe that change comes about by starting with yourself, so instead of waiting for certain things to come our way, as always we decided to take our destiny in our own hands."

Meat Loaf fans have lots of news to chew on these days. The singer, who just settled his lawsuit with longtime collaborator Jim Steinman, has October 31 earmarked for the release of his Bat Out of Hell III LP. One of album's tracks is called "The Monster Is Loose" and was co-written by Nikki Sixx, John 5 (Rob Zombie/ex-Marilyn Manson guitarist) and producer Desmond Child. ...

07.31.2006

A special task force formed to further investigate the March 9, 1997, shooting death of Notorious B.I.G. has reinstated a $50,000 reward for anyone who can provide information that leads to a conviction, according to a Los Angeles Police Department spokesperson. LAPD Chief William J. Bratton assigned the six senior homicide detectives to the case in an effort to clear Los Angeles in a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city by the rapper's mother, Voletta Wallace, who contends officers conspired in the shooting. The investigators are using a video filmed by tourists minutes before the shooting to gather more potential witnesses to interview. ...

Mel Gibson has entered rehab following his arrest Friday for driving under the influence, CNN reports. On Monday, The Associated Press reported that the official report on the actor/director proved that he had in fact made anti-Semitic remarks and threatened a deputy, as had previously been reported online. While Gibson has yet to be formally charged, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sent prosecutors their case on Monday, which also states Gibson had a tequila bottle in his 2006 Lexus when he was pulled over. A tentative arraignment date has been set for September 28. ...

Britney Spears has been saying for over a year now that she needs to start her own magazine to combat tabloid rumors, and now hubby Kevin Federline is singing the same tune. Just one month after the Mrs. told Matt Lauer on "Dateline" that she needs to go into publishing so she can say "the real deal," K-Fed is thinking about starting up a magazine called The Real. In a cover story in this week's issue of the New York/ New Jersey magazine Steppin' Out, Mr. Spears claims that he's "serious" about the venture, which would "tell the truth about not just mine and Britney's life ... but everybody!" (Peep K-Fed pics from the magazine right here.) "It's not just us; everybody has been lied about in the tabloids," he continued. "Everybody has false truths and false images and false stuff perceived on them. Maybe not as much as me and my wife get. But everybody has it. You know? I think a magazine like that, if there were just one magazine like that, would attract all the stars. I think they would want to go to that magazine and tell the truth!" K-Fed's so fired up about the idea, he insisted, "I'm not kidding. This is something I want to do for real." ...

Beyoncé doesn't like the speculation that she timed the release of her new album B'Day to interfere with a new album out by former Destiny's Child singer LeToya Luckett — she says it's just not true. Responding to an item in New York's Daily News, Beyoncé insists in a statement that making her album available for preorders before the September 5 release had nothing to do with Luckett's releasing her debut solo album LeToya last week. "I have enormous respect and admiration for LeToya as an artist and as a businesswoman and I wish her incredible success," Beyoncé said. "LeToya and I have known each other since childhood and, because of all we've been through, I know that we both really care — and want what's best — for each other. ... It makes me sad that people are trying to stir up a controversy where there is none." Beyoncé's father/manager Mathew Knowles called it "standard practice" for upcoming albums to go on pre-sale well in advance of an in-store date, and said he was "shocked and amazed that this is even an issue." Meanwhile, Beyoncé's got backup coming from her boyfriend Jay-Z, who will join the star during her performance of "Deja Vu" at this year's Fashion Rocks concert at New York's Radio City Music Hall on September 7. ...

Shots were fired in an Atlanta club Monday morning (July 31) at a party hosted by rapper/producer Jermaine Dupri. A gunman opened fire inside the crowded Atlanta Peach Ballroom after trying to steal another man's gold chain, according to DeKalb County Police Department spokesperson Herschel Grangent. The alleged thief pulled out a gun and fired an undetermined number of times, injuring two women who sustained gunshot wounds to their legs while a third cut her arm trying to flee the scene. Grangent said a male victim was taken to an area hospital shortly after the incident with a non-life-threatening gunshot wound to his chest. Police expect to interview him Monday. It is unknown if Dupri was at the club during the party, which was the culmination of a series of events sponsored by the producer's So So Def label over the weekend. Grangent said no suspects were in custody at press time and there were no other reports of problems at any of the other Dupri-sponsored events. ...

How is Lance Bass doing following his big announcement Wednesday? Reichen Lehmkuhl spoke to "Access Hollywood" on Friday, and said his boyfriend Bass is "happier than he has ever been. It has been a long ride and it's a huge relief and I couldn't be happier for him and I couldn't be more proud of him." The former U.S. Air Force captain and "Amazing Race" winner said he's not concerned about Bass' professional life suffering due to his announcement that he's gay. "I think it is always best in your career to be honest. He is going to have more support and more happiness and more freedom than he had ever before, and it is going to be a liberating experience. I guarantee it." ... Janet Jackson has changed the title of her album from 20 Years Old to 20 Y.O. The disc is due September 26. ... The wait for Kelis' follow-up to her 2003 LP Tasty is nearly over. Kelis Was Here is set to hit stores August 22. ...

30 Seconds to Mars have been added to the Warped Tour lineup. Jared Leto's band will play seven shows as part of the tour beginning Tuesday in Buffalo, New York, and ending August 12 in Toronto. ... Boy George will report to New York's sanitation division on August 14 for five days of work, AP reports. The ex-Culture Club singer was ordered to perform community service after pleading guilty to reporting a false incident earlier this year. ... The Mars Volta have parted ways with drummer Jon Theodore, but have not offered an official explanation for his departure. He's been replaced by Blake Fleming (Laddio Bolocko, Dazzling Killmen), who helped found the Mars Volta in 2001 — hanging around just long enough to record a handful of demos. The band also revealed that guitarist and original At the Drive-In member Pablo Hinojos-Gonzalez would be expanding his onstage duties to include "sound manipulation skills" for the Volta's upcoming tour with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. ...

The Melvins will be hitting the road in September in support of their forthcoming album A Senile Animal, which is slated for an October 10 release. The band is teaming up with Big Business for the trek, which kicks off September 6 in Sacramento, California, with 17 additional dates scheduled through a September 28 show in Chicago. ... Despite the near ubiquity of MySpace, video-sharing site YouTube is actually tops when it comes to daily visitors. According to new data from Internet analysis company Alexa, YouTube had a 3.9 percent share of global Internet visits a day in July, compared with 3.35 percent for MySpace. In the U.S. alone, YouTube's user base has grown 297 percent this year, according to Nielsen/NetRatings, while its reach — defined as the number of users per million who visit the site — rose 155 percent in the past three months, versus a 9 percent increase for MySpace.