For The Record: Quick News On Lloyd Banks, Young Buck, Jay-Z, Michael Jackson, Reese Witherspoon & More

Gun-possession charges dismissed against Banks, Buck; Jay-Z hosting radio show; Jackson performing at World Music Awards.

A New York judge dismissed gun-possession charges on Wednesday (November 8) that had been brought against G-Unit members Lloyd Banks and Young Buck. The charges stemmed from their 2005 arrest after an Anger Management performance at Madison Square Garden, according to the pair’s lawyer, Scott E. Leemon. The gun rap was the second felony charge in New York that Banks has seen thrown out. …

Jay-Z will play some of his favorite tracks and take calls from listeners when he hosts the live radio program “Street Certified” on November 18. The Def Jam president’s DJ gig begins at 8 p.m. on Sirius Satellite Radio’s Hip-Hop Nation channel. …

Organizers of the World Music Awards announced Wednesday that Michael Jackson will perform “Thriller” at the November 15 event in London, according to The Associated Press. Jackson’s rare public appearance will also include the singer receiving a Diamond Award during the ceremony. The honor is bestowed upon artists who have sold more than 100 million albums worldwide. … The Grammys are bringing out Justin Timberlake, Mary J. Blige, Ludacris, Evanescence‘s Amy Lee and Chris Brown — and that’s just to announce the nominations. The stars will convene in Los Angeles on December 7 to reveal the contenders for the 49th annual Grammy Awards. The prizes will be handed out February 11. …

Reese Witherspoon has officially filed for divorce from Ryan Phillippe, according to court documents. Witherspoon is asking the judge to block any attempt on Phillippe’s part to get spousal support. … U2 opened their Australian tour in Brisbane on Tuesday with a plea to return terrorism suspect David Hicks, who is being held by the U.S. military at Guantánamo Bay, to his Australian homeland for trial. AP reports that Bono interrupted the performance of “Sunday Bloody Sunday” to call for the accused Taliban fighter’s release to Australian authorities after being held for nearly five years without trial. … AFI‘s first DVD release has been titled “I Heard a Voice” and will hit stores December 12. The effort is expected to contain 18 live tracks, as well as behind-the-scenes footage and extensive interviews with the four bandmembers. …

Sum 41 have entered a recording studio to begin tracking their follow-up to 2004′s Chuck. The album will hit stores this spring or summer, according to the band’s studio journal. … The Flaming Lips were robbed on Saturday, just as they were about to take the stage for the first date of their current U.K. tour. Drummer Steven Drozd‘s laptop, a $4,000 camera belonging to frontman Wayne Coyne‘s wife Michelle and another camera owned by bassist Michael Ivins were stolen from the band’s dressing room. “We know it wasn’t a Flaming Lips fan,” the band said on its Web site, “because Flaming Lips fans don’t do that. The worst they do is get drunk and yell the same song request all night long.” …

“Rock Star: Supernova” finalist Toby Rand and his Australian band Juke Kartel are touring the States this fall, beginning November 18 in San Juan Capistrano, California, and ending December 15 in Atlanta. The band is also recording its debut album in Los Angeles. … Genesis will head out for their first tour in 15 years in 2007. The band, featuring Phil Collins, will play at stadiums throughout Europe starting June 11 in Finland and ending July 14 in Italy. They’ve dubbed the jaunt Turn It on Again – The Tour. … And in yet more tour news, Hoobastank will hit the road for an 18-date tour that runs through December 21 in Tempe, Arizona. The run kicks off Wednesday in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and will make stops in Baltimore, Houston, Denver and elsewhere. …

Singer/pianist Charlotte Martin will host a Save Darfur benefit concert at the Knitting Factory Hollywood on December 2. She will be joined by a handful of guest performers who have collaborated with her — and have also performed with Beck, Ben Harper and Eels — in the past. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Save Darfur Coalition. … Rob Thomas has gone all soft on us. The Matchbox Twenty singer has written and recorded a song titled “Little Wonders” for the upcoming Disney movie “Meet the Robinsons,” set to hit theaters in the spring. The song is like “Jack Johnson meets Peter Gabriel,” Thomas told MTV News at the Music Has Power Awards Monday night. “It’s a happy little song about the little things in life,” he said. “I wrote it while walking my dog. It inadvertently fit exactly with the film.” Thomas added that he’s also working on a label, R Tel Records, and hinted that a Matchbox Twenty greatest-hits album might be in the works. …

Hatebreed will close out 2006 with two nights of unadulterated hardcore at Toad’s Place in New Haven, Connecticut. The annual Stillborn Fest has been scheduled for December 30 and 31, with Hatebreed headlining both nights. Overcast, Suffocation, Full Blown Chaos and Subzero are also scheduled to take the stage for the festival. … Blue October frontman Justin Furstenfeld was admitted to a Michigan hospital Tuesday morning for treatment of a leg injury. Furstenfeld broke his leg in May while running the bases after a minor league baseball game, and it appears he never made a full recovery. Doctors ordered X-rays of the leg, and determined the bone and ligaments had been damaged. As a result, the band was forced to cancel a concert scheduled for Tuesday night in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They’ve also canceled Thursday’s stop in Toronto, a Saturday gig in Quebec City and a show scheduled in Boston on Sunday. The canceled dates will be rescheduled. …

Babyshambles frontman Pete Doherty was fined the equivalent of $1,400 Wednesday and ordered to pay an additional $475 in compensation and $380 in court costs after pleading guilty to assaulting a journalist, AP reports. Doherty — who told the court he couldn’t pay the fine that morning because he only had 50 cents with him — admitted that he kicked BBC reporter Trudi Barber in a scuffle with the press in front of a London court on March 23, where he’d entered a plea on drug charges. Doherty’s lawyer said the singer changed his assault plea from innocent to guilty after seeing televised footage of the incident. In the meantime, Babyshambles have pegged December 5 as the release date for their new EP, The Blinding. The CD features “The Blinding,” “Love You But You’re Green,” “I Wish,” “Beg, Steal or Borrow” and “Sedative.”

11.07.2006

Chris Brown started shooting his recurring role on “The O.C.” last week, according to Fox. (Click here for photos of Brown as his “O.C.” character. ) Brown’s TV alter ego, band geek Will Tutt, will debut on the series in January. His multi-episode story line as a classmate/ unlikely romantic interest for bad girl Kaitlin Cooper (Willa Holland) will last throughout the season. …

Shakira, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Carrie Underwood are double nominees for the 33rd annual People’s Choice Awards, which CBS will broadcast from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 9. Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie” will compete against Nelly Furtado‘s “Promiscuous” and Pink‘s “Stupid Girls” in the Pop Song category. Justin Timberlake, Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Evanescence, Black Eyed Peas, Nickelback, Nelly, Eminem and Chamillionaire have one nomination apiece in the music categories. “American Idol” is nominated for best Competition/ Reality Show. …

Christina Aguilera is returning to “Saturday Night Live” this weekend. The singer, who has served as the show’s musical guest twice (in 2000 and 2003) and even hosted the show in 2004, will perform on Saturday’s episode, hosted by Alec Baldwin. … T.I. will perform at Philips Arena on Saturday immediately following the Atlanta Hawks’ game against the Seattle Sonics. Later that night, he and Diddy are hosting a party for the launch of Dapper, T.I.’s new magazine. …

Given Britney Spears‘ televised make-out session with Madonna and her scantily clad video gyrations, a Los Angeles judge ruled last week to toss a defamation lawsuit brought by the singer against Us Weekly over a report that she and ex-husband Kevin Federline had made a sex tape and giggled as they screened it for lawyers amid fears it would be released. According to the Los Angeles Times, Superior Court Judge Lisa Hart Cole ruled that the former couple can’t be defamed by rumors of a sex tape because, “the plaintiff herself has put her modern sexuality squarely, and profitably, before the public eye.” Spears’ representatives have denied all along that the tape the magazine reported on in an October 17, 2005, issue exists. Spears filed suit in December seeking $10 million, claiming that the article was a “false and outrageous fabrication” that portrayed her in a “despicable … light.” The ruling did not address whether or not the story was true. …

Spears’ ex has been appearing on WWE’s “Monday Night Raw” and stirring things up with champ John Cena these past few weeks. Now Federline, who recently released his debut rap album, Playing With Fire, is doing just that, putting his money where his mouth is. Federline will take on Cena — who released his own hip-hop debut, You Can’t See Me, last year, and says he can out-rap K-Fed as well as out-wrestle him — in a sanctioned match. Their face-off will be featured on a New Year’s Day edition of “Raw” airing live from Miami. … While he’s starting trouble with Cena, Federline is wrapping up his conflict with Thomas Dolby, paying an undisclosed sum to settle a copyright-infringement suit with the “She Blinded Me With Science” singer over a sample of the track in a version of the song “America’s Most Wanted” posted on K-Fed’s MySpace page. Dolby plans to use the money to “buy a new sailboat, find a quiet anchorage somewhere, make myself a cup of tea and write some brand new songs,” he said in a statement. … And in even more K-Fed news, he’s teaming with a company called Prodege Search to create SearchWithKevin.com. The site functions as a normal search engine but allows users to win Federline-related prizes just by using it. …

Omarion and his manager/B2K Svengali Chris Stokes have partnered with Mathew Knowles to sign new R&B teen act 2 Much to the singer’s O Records imprint under Knowles’ Music World Music label. The quartet, which includes Stokes’ son, is scheduled to drop their yet-untitled debut album early next year. … Guns N’ Roses canceled their Monday night concert in Portland, Maine, at the last minute — and the reason isn’t exactly clear. The band’s management blames “limitations imposed by local fire marshals,” explaining in a statement, “We have been informed that officials intend to enforce rules and regulations that should not and do not apply in this venue. … It is a regrettable decision, particularly at this late notice, but it is of paramount importance that our fans have the best experience possible without being harassed and threatened.” But local television station WGME-TV reported that the band called off the show due to low ticket sales, with only 3,000 tickets (out of a possible 6,500) sold. …

By this time next year, the String Cheese Incident will be no more. The jam band has announced it will throw in the towel after the summer, when guitarist Billy Nershi will leave the fold to focus on other musical endeavors. The band has a Thanksgiving show scheduled in Atlanta and will play New Year’s Eve in San Francisco. … The Blackout Pact have broken up. “We feel that it would be best to just pull the plug on this thing,” the band said in a statement, citing “some actions and behavior” on its last tour that BP called “completely unacceptable.” The statement didn’t specify the incidents that led to the band’s decision, but concluded, “We had what we feel was a great run. We made a lot of great friends on the road and would like to just remember it that way before things get worse internally.” … Norah Jones will release a new album, Not Too Late, on January 30, marking the first time the Grammy-winning singer has written or co-written all the songs on one of her releases. She told The Associated Press that the new tunes are more “intimate, with a bit of humor,” but retain the laid-back vibe of her previous albums. The singer is also co-starring alongside Jude Law, Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz in the upcoming film “My Blueberry Nights.” …

Bad news for those buying Microsoft’s new Zune portable player: If you’ve downloaded music from the company’s MSN Music store, it won’t work on the new device. BBC News reports that Microsoft will stop selling music from MSN music beginning next week, coinciding with the debut of the Zune in the U.S. — and that MSN-bought tracks will not be compatible with the new device. The issue stems from the MSN Music site’s Plays for Sure standard, which ensures that any music bought from services backing it would work with players that supported it. But since Zune is a new offering, a Microsoft spokesperson said it is “not part of the Plays for Sure ecosystem.” MSN Music purchases won’t be lost, but users will have to burn them to a CD, put them on compatible players or figure out a work-around that won’t be supported by Microsoft. As of November 14, MSN Music customers will be redirected to the Zune Marketplace, while the MSN Music store will be used for hosting live concerts, interviews with bands and other music related-content.