For The Record: Quick News On MCR, Madonna, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Pink, Gwen, NIN, AFI, Steve-O & More

My Chemical Romance guitarist leaves tour; Madonna to screen 'Arthur' at schools; Keys nabs Legend for LP.

My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero was forced to return to the U.S. Thursday morning (January 11) due to “a sudden attack of illness,” according to a spokesperson for the band. The spokesperson would not discuss Iero’s condition or the nature of his malaise. The New Jersey rockers were in Tokyo, where they were expected to launch a four-gig tour, and they’ve since called on Drive By guitarist Todd Price to fill in for their fallen comrade. After leaving Japan on Sunday, the band is expected to hit New Zealand and Australia between January 19 and February 4, then launch a U.S. tour February 22. …

Oprah Winfrey had to settle for a satellite feed, but when it comes to New York school kids, Madonna will make the trip across the Atlantic. The London-based singer hosts a special screening of “Arthur and the Invisibles” — which features her voice-acting skills — Thursday for students from two New York charter schools. The animated feature hits theaters Friday. … What Alicia Keys wants, Alicia Keys gets. John Legend and John Mayer have been confirmed as the “mystery guests” to be featured on the singer’s upcoming album. …

Pink‘s directorial debut is about to see the light of day. The singer, who partnered with Glamour magazine to put a spotlight on emerging female artists via the Nissan-sponsored Reel Music contest, took the helm for “Hello Bonjour,” a music video for winning duo Pretty Boys. (Check out photos from the set right here. ) “Pink made us feel gorgeous and charming and fun and we loved working with her!” the band wrote of the August shoot on its MySpace blog. Fans in the Los Angeles area can sign up at Glamour.com/ReelMusic for free tickets to attend Tuesday’s video premiere event. The site is also hosting behind-the-scenes interviews from the set and will debut the video Wednesday. …

Gwen Stefani is a girl in a gilded cage in her video for “The Sweet Escape,” directed by Joseph Kahn (Kelly Clarkson‘s “Walk Away,” Britney Spears‘ “Toxic”). In the clip — which premieres Thursday on “TRL” — Stefani dreams of making a jailbreak with the help of stolen keys, Rapunzel-like braids and a getaway car driven by Akon. Her Harajuku Girls double as accomplices and pursuers/jailers. … “The Real World” is heading down under. Bunim-Murray Productions announced Wednesday that the 19th season of the reality series will begin production in Sydney, Australia, in the coming weeks. “The Real World: Sydney” will premiere later this year. … Nine Inch Nails have set Year Zero as the title of their forthcoming album, due in April. … AFI will perform on “Saturday Night Live” January 20. “Entourage” actor Jeremy Piven is hosting. … Joaquin Phoenix, Naomi Watts and the cast of “Heroes” have been added to the ever-growing list of Golden Globe Awards presenters. The ceremony will air live on NBC Monday at 8 p.m. ET. …

Steve-O has teamed up with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to voice his concerns about the treatment of circus animals. “In my career, and in my life, I only intend for there to be one victim — ME!” he explained in an e-mail. The Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Clown College graduate said he witnessed the mistreatment of animals firsthand during his time under the big top. “I’m just a guy who used to need to be in the circus to make a living, was horrified by what I saw, and am now in a position to say something about it.” Steve-O’s video rant is posted at PETA2.com, where you can enter to win his autographed T-shirt. … Coheed and Cambria have been added to the lineup for this summer’s Warped Tour. Bad Religion, Paramore, Cute Is What We Aim For, Tiger Army, the Almost, the Gallows, Big D and the Kids Table, K-os and the Fabulous Rudies are also on the festival’s bill. … Slash will be inducted into Hollywood’s RockWalk Wednesday. Metal singer Ronnie James Dio and Frank Zappa drummer Terry Bozzio are also getting sidewalk honors. …

Months before users even get their hands on Apple’s new iPhone, the latest game-changing gadget from the company has inspired a lawsuit. Network equipment leader Cisco Systems filed suit against Apple Inc. in San Francisco federal court Wednesday, claiming that the computer company’s iPhone violates Cisco’s trademark on the term “iPhone,” which it has held since 2000, according to an Associated Press report. Cisco said that it has been using the name for its own Internet-enabled phones, which began shipping last spring and officially launched three weeks ago. It also said that Apple approached the company several years ago with an interest in using the name, and that the two companies have been negotiating ever since to hammer out a licensing agreement, but that talks broke down just hours before Apple boss Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone on Tuesday at the Macworld Conference. Apple has argued that it is entitled to use the name because the products are “materially” different. A spokesperson for Apple called the lawsuit “silly.” …

A California high school has banned the image of late rapper Mac Dre from its halls. Riverbank Unified School District board members voted unanimously on Tuesday to add a Mac Dre ban to Riverbank High School’s dress code on the grounds that he glorified drug use, The Modesto Bee reports. Principal Ken Gesick said the decision is an answer to shirts with images of the later rapper apparently smoking marijuana. “It’s glaringly obvious,” he said. … Former glam rocker Gary Glitter, who was convicted in March of molesting two Vietnamese children, could end his three-year prison term early, AP reports. Glitter is on a list of inmates whose sentences may be reduced as part of next month’s Lunar New Year celebrations. He could be released as early as May. …

Tegan and Sara continue to work on new material with Death Cab for Cutie guitarist Chris Walla, who has also produced Hot Hot Heat and the Decemberists. The band is working on the follow-up to 2004′s So Jealous, but a title and release date for the next LP have yet to be revealed. … Bright Eyes will head out this spring for a spate of live gigs in support of the act’s forthcoming LP, Cassadaga, which drops April 10. The tour gets under way in Chicago on February 25 and runs through a March 11 show in Seattle. …Kevin Devine and the Manchester Orchestra are supporting Brand New on a 33-date U.S. tour. The trek kicks off March 15 in Buffalo, New York, and wraps April 25 in Philadelphia. … ATO Records labelmates Gomez and Ben Kweller are joining forces for a co-headlining North American tour kicking off February 15 in Seattle and wrapping up March 11 in Northampton, Massachusetts. Each artist will also perform select, separate headline dates.

01.10.2007

Forget the Rock Hall: Jay-Z is headed to the Football Hall of Fame. Record-breaking running back Larry Johnson is donating his Jay-crafted cleats — Reebok S. Carters, to be exact — to the Hall, putting Hova alongside names like Joe Montana and Walter Payton. …

HBO is developing an unscripted series that will star Kanye West, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Details are sketchy, but the still-untitled project from Larry Charles (“Borat,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm”) will focus on a day in West’s hectic life. Producer Rick Rubin is also reportedly attached as an executive producer on the show. … Evanescence frontwoman Amy Lee is off the market. The singer is now engaged to her boyfriend, a psychiatrist she has been dating for a year. The couple announced the engagement during a live appearance on Canadian network MuchMusic on Tuesday. Lee’s beau popped the question the night before. …

Mary J. Blige and Lionel Richie have joined the lineup for the Essence Music Festival, which returns to New Orleans from July 5-7. Blige and Richie will headline the fest’s closing night, while Beyoncé is scheduled to perform the second day. … Madame Tussauds Las Vegas is unveiling a new “American Idol” wax attraction on Tuesday, the day the sixth season begins. The exhibit will feature wax replicas of Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest as an interactive element tied in to “Karaoke Revolution Presents: ‘American Idol.’ ” …

Already a purveyor of rhymes, branded water and G-Unit attire, 50 Cent is getting into the latex business. The rapper — whose G-Unit Books debuted Tuesday — will release his own line of condoms. “The kids become immune when you constantly beat them over the head — read a book, read a book,” 50 said in an interview with The New York Post. “We have to be a little more creative about it. It’s the same with safe sex. As opposed to being part of a safe-sex campaign, I’m going to make condoms and donate a part of the proceeds to HIV awareness.” There’s no word yet on when the prophylactics will hit the market. …

Dipset associate Charly Wingate, a 28-year-old rapper known by the stage name Max B., was remanded to New Jersey’s Bergen County Jail on $2 million bail set Tuesday, Newark newspaper The Star-Ledger reports. Prosecutors said Wingate organized the robbery and murder of a man in Fort Lee on September 22 after his girlfriend told him she had met two men who were carrying large amounts of cash and driving expensive cars. Wingate is alleged to have recruited a friend to help him rob the two men, David Taylor and Allan Plowden; Taylor was killed by a gunshot to the head, while Plowden was bound with duct tape. Wingate’s lawyer questioned the validity of the evidence against his client and maintained that Wingate wasn’t even in the state at the time of the shooting. …

Who doesn’t love Johnny Depp? The swashbuckling actor was the big winner at the 33rd annual People’s Choice Awards Tuesday night, scooping up prizes for favorite male star, male action star and onscreen matchup (with Keira Knightley) as “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” was honored as favorite movie and favorite movie drama. The awards, voted on by fans, also honored Jennifer Aniston (female star), Cameron Diaz (leading lady), Vince Vaughn (leading man) and Halle Berry (female action star). Former “American Idol” winner Carrie Underwood was named favorite female singer, while Nickelback took the favorite group award. Justin Timberlake won favorite R&B song prize for “SexyBack,” Shakira took the pop song award for “Hips Don’t Lie,” and Eminem grabbed the hip-hop honor for “Shake That.” Perennial favorite “The Simpsons” took the animated comedy category, “American Idol” won for best competition/reality show and “Grey’s Anatomy” took the TV drama prize. Though she wasn’t nominated for anything, Britney Spears may as well have won an award — for being the butt of most jokes thanks to her recent spate of underwear-less adventures, which were a running gag during the show. …

Spears did get a mention at the top of one list Tuesday — Mr. Blackwell‘s annual ranking of the year’s worst fashion offenders. The self-imposed arbiter of style — and self-styled poet — lumped Britney and Paris Hilton together as the “Screamgirls,” noting that the “style-free and fashion-deprived” women are “two peas in an overexposed pod.” Ranking at #3 on the worst-dressed lineup is Lindsay Lohan, who went from “adorable to deplorable” in Blackwell’s estimation. Mariah Carey and Meryl Streep (huh?) also made the dishonorable cut, while Blackwell named Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and “The Queen” star Helen Mirren “Fabulous Fashion Independents for 2006″ — and spared them his creatively worded putdowns. … On Wednesday (January 10), a lawyer for George Michael entered a not-guilty plea in a London court on behalf of the singer, who is facing charges of being unfit to drive and marijuana possession stemming from a September arrest. The Associated Press reports that arguments will be heard March 7 to determine whether the blood sample taken from Michael at his arrest is admissible as evidence. The judge set a provisional trial date of April 23. …

Nominations for the NAACP Image Awards were announced Tuesday, and while the film “Dreamgirls” and TV series “Everybody Loves Chris” lead the field with eight nominations each, there’s no topping Beyoncé when it comes to individual achievement. The singer is up for best actress honors, as well as four music prizes: best female artist, video and song (“Irreplaceable”) and album (B’Day). Other multiple nominees include Mary J. Blige — who faces off with Beyoncé for the four music trophies — Fantasia and Jamie Foxx. … More than two weeks after his death, soul legend James Brown has still not been buried as his attorneys and family continue to work on settling his estate and deciding where he will be laid to rest. According to AP, Brown’s body is lying in a sealed casket under the watchful eyes of security guards at his home in Georgia, which has been locked up since hours after his death to protect his memorabilia and personal items. … Yvonne De Carlo, who played Lily Munster in TV’s “The Munsters,” died Monday of natural causes, AP reports. She was 84.