For The Record: Quick News On Diddy, Justin Timberlake, Eminem, Usher, Guns N’ Roses, Lupe Fiasco & More

Diddy tells kids to stay in school; Timberlake hosting MTV Europe Music Awards.

Diddy spoke to 750 students at Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin High School on Tuesday (September 19), telling them to stay in school and work hard, according to The Associated Press. “Take responsibility for your future. No excuses!” he told the students at the school, which is planning to use his message as part of an anti-truancy effort. Later in the day, he visited Winston Middle School in Baltimore and held a press conference at the Baltimore Hyatt Regency to promote his new album, Press Play, Baltimore Business Journal reports. At the conference, Diddy reiterated that he is still boycotting Cristal, an effort Jay-Z launched after reading a July Economist article in which the company’s CEO made some allegedly racist comments. Diddy’s promotional tour will resume in Maryland on Wednesday and last through October 13 in Chicago. Press Play streets four days later. …

Justin Timberlake will host and perform at this year’s MTV Europe Music Awards, to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, on November 2. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, who lead the nominee pack with four, will also play, as will Nelly Furtado, Muse and others. … Eminem‘s second divorce from wife Kimberly Mathers is making some progress. Tuesday morning, the couple met during an hour-long private hearing, after which Macomb County Circuit Judge Antonio Viviano revealed to AP that the Mathers case has been referred to a mediator, although a mediation date has not been set. Lawyers for both sides said they hope the matter can be settled amicably. Em filed for divorce in April, just 82 days after remarrying Kim in January. …

Usher just can’t get enough of “Chicago.” The R&B star, who made his Broadway debut in the revival of the popular show in the role of shady lawyer Billy Flynn last month, has signed on to do an extra two weeks of performances, with his engagement now ending on October 14. Co-producer Barry Weissler said in a statement, “I am so happy to have concluded the negotiation for the extension, which certainly makes Usher the King of Broadway!” Usher’s presence has boosted box-office sales for the musical since he joined the cast on August 22 — the show played to more than 97 percent capacity at the Ambassador Theater last week. …

Three more dates have been added to Guns N’ Roses‘ current U.S. tour: October 31 (Greensboro, North Carolina), November 8 (Worcester, Massachusetts) and November 24 (Cleveland). Wednesday night, the band will perform at the Warfield in San Francisco. … Fast-rising Chicago MC Lupe Fiasco has been forced to cancel several appearances due to strep throat. He was diagnosed on Friday and canceled shows over the weekend and interviews this week. While Fiasco will be participating in three (non-speaking) in-store appearances in Chicago on Tuesday, the status of his show in the city on Tuesday night had not been determined at press time. It’s unfortunate timing for Fiasco, whose Food & Liquor LP — which features contributions from Jay-Z, Kanye West, the Neptunes and others — came out Tuesday. …

Stone Sour‘s Corey Taylor joined Korn onstage during the Camden, New Jersey, Family Values Tour stop on Friday. Taylor performed “Freak on a Leash” with the band, sharing vocal detail with frontman Jonathan Davis. … Aerosmith‘s Steven Tyler joined Mötley Crüe onstage for a suitably shambolic version of the Beatles‘ “Helter Skelter” in New York on Monday night. The Crüe were playing a special set at the Times Square Hard Rock Cafe, celebrating the company’s 35th anniversary. Luminaries spotted at the gig included Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run-DMC, Anthrax‘s Scott Ian, comic Jim Breuer, Bruce Springsteen drummer Max Weinberg and several “Rock Star: Supernova” finalists, including Jill Gioia, who said she’s hoping to work on a single with Tommy Lee. Aerosmith and the Crüe begin their two-month North American tour Tuesday night in Long Island, New York. …

Lady Sovereign has recorded a cover of the Sex Pistols‘ “Pretty Vacant” for an upcoming episode of “The O.C.” and a subsequent soundtrack. The U.K. grime gal’s first single, “Love Me or Hate Me,” which is available exclusively through the Verizon Wireless V Cast Music, will also be featured on the show. Sov’s debut, Public Warning, is due October 17 and will be promoted with a North American tour kicking off October 23 in Montreal and wrapping up December 1 in Atlanta. … DJ Shadow, whose The Outsider dropped Tuesday, kicks off a U.S. tour Wednesday in Seattle. The outing lasts through October 17 in New York. … Director Penelope Spheeris (“The Decline of Western Civilization,” “Wayne’s World”) has ramped up production on her long-delayed Janis Joplin biopic, “The Gospel According to Janis,” and has chosen Zooey Deschanel (“Almost Famous”) to replace Pink in the lead role, according to Variety. Pink pulled out of the flick earlier this year; Deschanel has spent four months working with a vocal coach in preparation for filming, which is scheduled to begin in November. The movie is slated for release in 2008. …

Aaron Carter popped the question to Playboy Playmate and former Miss Teen USA 2003 Kari Ann Peniche in Las Vegas over the weekend. According to People magazine, Carter, 18, did the deed onstage in front of 200 people during the Playboy Hollywood Comedy Tour at the Palms Casino Resort on Saturday night. “I’m very excited about it,” Peniche, 22, told the magazine. “Aaron is the most genuine person I know. He’s kind, loving, and I love him so much.” Peniche was stripped of her Miss Teen title after posing for Playboy. Carter will next appear on the E! reality show “House of Carters,” which premieres next month. … Björk is set to reunite with her old band, the Sugarcubes, for a one-night-only gig in Reykjavik, Iceland, on November 17. The group, which split more than 14 years ago, is getting together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of its first single, “Birthday,” according to Björk’s Web site. All proceeds from the show will go to Smekkleysa SM (“bad taste”), the independent label the group formed to release “Birthday,” and which has continued to function as a nonprofit aimed at helping to popularize Icelandic music and art. …

In other reunion news, the Afghan Whigs are about to begin rehearsals in their native Cincinnati before heading to Ardent Studios in Memphis to record their first new material together in eight years. Singer Greg Dulli posted the news on his Web site, saying that the group is prepping to cut two new tracks for an upcoming Rhino Records career retrospective titled Unbreakable. … The reconstituted INXS are no longer with Epic Records in North America. The group, which recruited new frontman J.D. Fortune via the first season of the CBS reality series “Rock Star,” sold approximately 375,000 copies of its 2005 album Switch, according to SoundScan. … The youngest son of famed “The Lord of the Rings” author J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, is wrapping up work on one of his father’s most famous unfinished works. Christopher Tolkien has spent 30 years editing together “The Children of Hurin,” a novel his father started in 1918 but abandoned without finishing, BBC News reported. Excerpts from the book, which features the familiar elves and dwarves that appear in Tolkien’s other works, have been published in the past, but the full book is finally scheduled to hit shelves next year. … Mel Gibson‘s only daughter, Hannah, 26, married blues-rock guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd, 29, on Saturday, The Shreveport Times reports. Louisiana native Shepherd proposed to Gibson — the eldest of the actor’s seven children — on New Year’s Eve 2004 in Rome.

09.18.2006

Christina Aguilera is creating a video montage of fan testimonials for her upcoming tour — and she’s reaching out to them for help. The singer is asking fans to send in video clips lasting 15 seconds or less that express what Aguilera’s music means to them and how it has inspired them. Fans should upload the clips on BabyJaneFanClub.com, and the winners will be announced on the site November 17. …

Does Britney Spears think Kevin Federline is “Crazy”? Maybe so — she’ll be appearing on that song on K-Fed’s new album, Playing With Fire. Ya Boy (“Dance With a Pimp”) and Bosco (“Privilege”) will also appear on the album, due October 31. …

For Avenged Sevenfold fans, there’s both good and bad news this week. The bad news — at least for those of you living in the U.K. — is that the band has nixed its plans to tour England next month. But the good news is the why. Rather than play foreign gigs, Avenged will stay at home to continue working on their next LP. “Things have been insane for us lately and with ‘City of Evil’ exploding Stateside, our commitments here in the U.S. have made it impossible for us to head overseas right now,” reads a statement from the ‘Fold. …

LL Cool J has hooked up with the creator of the “CSI” TV franchise to develop a cop drama called “The Man,” in which the veteran rapper would play a well-connected undercover LAPD officer who spends nights chasing criminals and days taking care of his three adopted kids. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the MC’s troubled brood will include an abused boy with an aggression problem, a former prostitute and a recovering addict/skateboarder. “CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker said the show was inspired by Cool J’s real life, in which he balances being a world-famous rapper with his role as a husband and father of four. …

Dashboard Confessional have scheduled a fall tour to kick off October 13 in Mesa, Arizona, and wrap up December 9 in Boston. Brand New will open on all dates. … Sum 41 have begun working on a new album, which they hope to have in stores by the middle of 2007, according to a rather lengthy Q&A the band posted on Sum41.com. In the chat, bassist Jason “Cone” McCaslin also revealed that Sum have already written 15 songs for the new record, which is shaping up to be “more like our first two albums [2000's Half Hour of Power and 2001's All Killer, No Filler], upbeat and fun with a few slower songs as well.” Frontman Deryck Whibley also wrote that while Sum will not be replacing guitarist Dave “Brown Sound” Baksh — who left the band to start the hard-rockin’ Brown Brigade — they would be auditioning guitarists to accompany them on a world tour in support of the still-untitled new disc. …

Switchfoot are offering fans a free download of a new track called “Daylight to Break” on their Web site, Switchfoot.com. The song is an outtake from their upcoming Steve Lillywhite-produced album, Oh! Gravity.Thursday will hit the road with Rise Against, Circa Survive and Billy Talent on October 23 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, for a North American run. They’ll also hit Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Denver, Detroit and New York before wrapping up in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on November 22. … P.O.D. will issue Greatest Hits – The Atlantic Years on November 21. the collection will boast 17 tracks, including a previously unreleased song from the Testify sessions, and a new cut that’s being recorded this week with producer Travis Wyrick (Pillar). P.O.D. plan to write and record throughout the fall for a spring release. …

Miss Independent Kelly Clarkson was spotted at Sunday night’s Yankees/ Red Sox game in New York. The crowd cheered as she was shown on the stadium scoreboard shyly smiling and waving from a box seat. No word on which team Kelly was rooting for. … Nobody saw this one coming: Country legend and marijuana advocate Willie Nelson, 73, and four members of his band were given misdemeanor citations for possession of narcotic mushrooms and marijuana after their tour bus was stopped Monday morning (September 18) on Interstate 10 in Louisiana, according to The Associated Press. The bus was pulled over for a commercial-vehicle inspection early Monday morning and searched when the trooper boarded and noticed the strong smell of marijuana. The search turned up one and a half pounds of pot and two-tenths a pound of mushrooms. Nelson and his fellow passengers, including his 75-year-old sister, Bobbie Nelson, were charged and released. …

Now when you watch that Red Hot Chili Peppers video on YouTube, it will be legit. The Warner Music Group has signed a deal to distribute videos by Warner artists (which include Madonna, the Peppers and Sean Paul) on the video-sharing site, according to a Reuters report. The agreement includes music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, artist interviews and original programming and will provide YouTube users with the ability to incorporate music by Warner’s artists into video they create and upload to the site. … Superchunk, Clem Snide and the Upper Crust will hail Jon Stewart, Ed Helms and the cast of “The Daily Show” with an anniversary gig the TV show is calling “Ten F—ing Years (The Concert).” The event will take place November 16 at New York’s Irving Plaza, with a special guest to be announced later. …

Lindsay Lohan was rushed to New York’s Saint Vincent’s Hospital on Friday after tripping and falling at a Fashion Week party and fracturing her wrist, according to “Access Hollywood.” The 20-year-old singer/actress and frequent ER visitor reportedly slipped and fell while attending a show at Milk Studios, breaking her wrist in two places. A rep for Lohan told “Access” that there’s a pending investigation into the accident based on Lohan’s claims that Milk Studios didn’t take precautions to prevent slips on the slick ground inside their building. … Another day, another Richie family beef. This time, though, Nicole has nothing to do with it. In an open letter, New Found Glory have called out pops Lionel Richie over the title of his comeback album, Coming Home. It reads in part, “Congrats this week on the release of your new CD Coming Home — what an awesome title! Sounds familiar though, where did we hear that before? Oh yeah, it’s the name of our new CD which drops Tues, Sept 19. Together we have the same CD title out in the same month. Pure genius! Anyway, we know it is too late for you to change your album title, but we expect a call before your next album comes out. If you don’t, our follow up to Coming Home may be entitled Dancing on the Ceiling with such original punk rock songs as ‘Say You, Say Me’ and ‘All Night Long.’ “