For The Record: Quick News On Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Snoop Dogg, Mariah Carey, Jennifer Lopez, Justin Timberlake & More

Spears' former assistant reaches out to pop star; Snoop, Fergie to attend Paris' birthday bash; Mariah denies hogging plane seats.

Former WorldofBritney.com fan site webmaster Ruben Garay posted a message on his site ThatOtherBlog.com wondering about Britney Spears' ex-assistant Felicia Culotta. He got his answer — the singer's former employee responded with a letter expressing concern that Brit's headed for a big fall. "We (as in her family and nearest and dearest — all of whom are not on the payroll anymore!!) are doing everything in our power to get help for Britney," she wrote in the letter. Culotta, who has relocated to Mississippi, said she hopes that any drop is followed by a resurgence for Spears. "When she does indeed hit rock bottom, she'll stand up and walk away from this whole fiasco a new, confident, changed, career-driven Britney like we all knew and loved." A spokesperson for Spears' label, Jive Records, could not be reached for comment. ...

It looks like the NBA All-Star Game might not be the hottest event in Vegas this weekend. Heiress/ reality-TV star/ wannabe singer Paris Hilton will celebrate her birthday on Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Sin City. Some of Hilton's famous friends — including Fergie, Snoop Dogg, Nicole Richie and Fat Joe — will help her blow out the candles, according to a press release. Also, one of her musically minded pals will perform a surprise concert for guests. ... Is there any reality in the rumor that Mariah Carey honored a request by producers to fly coach to the set of her drama "Tennessee" — only she bought out the entire economy class to keep it to herself? "No, it's not true," Carey told MTV Europe. "That is probably one of those things that is going to haunt me for the rest of my life, but that would be pretty funny if somebody was stupid enough do that. I took my tour bus down because I wanted to be in the environment, like experience what it would be like to live in the area where we are filming and just go to real places to eat and meet people along the way and stuff like that." ...

Jennifer Lopez was presented with an Artist for Amnesty award in Berlin on Wednesday, honored by Amnesty International for her film "Bordertown," which chronicles the serial murders of women in Ciudad Juarez, on Mexico's border with the U.S. Amnesty International estimates that more than 400 women and girls have been killed in the area since 1993. Lopez, who produced "Bordertown" and stars as a journalist reporting on the killings, described the murders as "one of the world's most shocking and disturbing, underreported crimes against humanity" while accepting the award. The film premieres Thursday (February 16) at the Berlin International Film Festival. ...

The Arctic Monkeys were big winners at Wednesday night's Brit Awards in London, taking prizes for Best British Group and Album for their debut, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not. The boys accepted their prizes at the British equivalent of the Grammys via video, dressed first as characters from "The Wizard of Oz" and then as members of the Village People. The Killers also bagged two awards, scoring the International Group trophy along with the International Album award for Sam's Town. Other winners included Justin Timberlake (International Male Solo Artist), Muse (British Live Act), Nelly Furtado (International Female Solo Artist), Oasis (Outstanding Contribution to Music) and Amy Winehouse (British Female Solo Artist). ...

What looks better than a pair of Grammys on the coffee table? A copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition next to them — with your picture inside. Gnarls Barkley's Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse will score that rare double shot this week with inclusion of their pictorial with supermodel Jessica White in the annual bathing-suit edition of the magazine, which features Beyoncé on the cover. Kanye West and Panic! at the Disco are also included in the issue. (Check out Beyoncé's hot cover shot right here.) ...

The only thing stranger than the upcoming major motion picture about disgraced 1980s pop duo Milli Vanilli is that the living half of the duo, Fabrice Morvan, has signed off on the movie chronicling the extension-loving pair's fraudulent exploits. Variety magazine reports that Jeff Nathanson — who wrote the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring scam-artist movie "Catch Me if You Can" — will write and direct a film about the lip-synching group that lost their Best New Artist Grammy in 1990 when it was revealed that they hadn't sung on such hit records as "Girl You Know It's True." Morvan is on board with the project, as is the estate of former partner Rob Pilatus, who died of a drug overdose in 1998. "I've always been fascinated by the notion of fakes and frauds, and in this case, you had guys who pulled off the ultimate con, selling 30 million singles and 11 million albums and then becoming the biggest laughing-stocks of pop entertainment," Nathanson told Variety. ...

Leave it to the Queens of the Stone Age to find the most nonsensical way to announce the title of their new album. On their MySpace page, under the heading "I was at the Sizzler today," they detail an excursion to the "fast casual" establishment, complete with mentions of cheese bread and flatulent Frenchmen, when they casually drop that "the record is called Era Vulgaris. It's coming out in June." They then went on to post a number of song titles, including "Into the Hollow," "Misfit Love" and "Battery Acid," though they do add that those phrases "could be song titles. Or could not." A spokesperson for the band's label, Interscope Records, could not be reached for comment. ...

Grammy winner Joss Stone, who was also a presenter at the Brit Awards, told MTV Europe that she has "no idea" why she scored a golden trophy on Sunday. "I just sang a hook," she said of her contribution to Best R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals winner "Family Affair," by Sly and the Family Stone, which also featured John Legend and Van Hunt. "It was Randy Jackson who won the Grammy. He was the one who made the project." Stone says that when she found out about the win, she couldn't even share the excitement. "I called my mom, and she didn't pick up the phone. I was like, 'Mum, pick up the phone!' I left her a message." ...

Politically minded punkers Anti-Flag were forced to cut their Canadian tour short after bassist Chris Barker's sister and her boyfriend were killed. While Barker, known to fans as Chris #2, did not reveal details of their deaths, he did post a brief message on the band's MySpace page, which reads, "Of all the people I know, my sister was the most proud of our band. If you live in the Pittsburgh area you may have met her. It was not uncommon for her to strike up a conversation with anyone wearing an Anti-Flag pin, patch or T-shirt. She was anxious to meet anyone who was a member of the community. My sister had two beautiful children, who I'm sure will be just as curious and just as loving." ... Finnish goth metallers H.I.M. will enter Finnvox Studios in Helsinki later this month, with producers Tim Palmer (Sponge, Ned's Atomic Dustbin) and Hiili Hiilesmaa (Sepultura, Lordi) to begin tracking the follow-up to 2005's Dark Light. The new disc is due in July. ...

Guitar legend Carlos Santana branched out into women's footwear with Carlos by Carlos Santana in 2000, and now he's moving on to Mexican food. The first of his Maria Maria restaurants, named after the Grammy-winning 1999 hit, is scheduled to open in Walnut Creek, California, in April. Two additional Maria Maria restaurants are set to start operating in Northern California in May and June.

02.14.2007

Responding to speculation surrounding her strange behavior on "American Idol" and in recent TV appearances, judge Paula Abdul told Us Weekly in its February 16 issue that she's never been drunk, nor has she done recreational drugs in her 20-year career. "There have been 100 million lies about me," the "American Idol" judge said in an interview with the magazine. "I'm squeaky clean. I've worked my ass off my entire life. Being involved in the show causes people to question everything." ... Nas has partnered with 310 Motoring to design and release his own signature line of sneakers, the Disciple Footwear Collection, due in stores this June. ...

A wave of dark music has inspired Good Charlotte to lighten up. "We look around and everything is dark, dark, dark, theatrical death," Benji Madden said in an interview with MTV Europe. "I mean, we did it with Chronicles of Life and Death two years ago. We just see music going that way, and we said on [Good Morning Revival] we just want to go this way. If everyone's wearing black, we want to wear white," he said. "We're wearing black right now," his brother Joel countered. The Maddens did agree on some things, noting that Revival, due March 27, will be "beat-oriented," and though they both love Oasis, Revival "sounds nothing like Oasis." Gotcha. In other Good Charlotte news, the boys are allowing fans to personalize the video to their new single, "The River." At BeIntheRiver.com, fans can upload up to 10 photos to be shown on the huge screens in the background of the performance scenes. ...

Tool will be touring North America again this spring, giving fans who failed to nail tickets to the band's 2006 runs a second chance to experience their latest LP, 10,000 Days, live and in person. The tour will launch March 15 in Las Vegas, and make stops in San Diego; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Orlando, Florida; Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Richmond, Virginia; Albany, New York; Atlantic City, New Jersey; and Portland, Maine, all before wrapping up April 29 in Hamilton, Ontario. ... The first posthumous non-album collection of music from indie-folk rocker Elliott Smith will be released on May 8 by Kill Rock Stars. Titled New Moon, the two-disc compilation will feature 24 songs recorded between 1994 and 1997 — a time in his career that yielded a self-titled album and Either/Or. The final mixing on the album was done by longtime Portland friend and engineering collaborator Larry Crane, who is now the official archivist for the Smith estate. Smith died October 21, 2003, but coroners have been unable to determine the cause of death and the case remains open by the Los Angeles Police Department. ...

Black Sabbath's upcoming best-of collection, featuring three new songs recorded by original members Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi with post-Ozzy-era Sabbath frontman Ronnie James Dio and drummer Vinnie Appice, is due April 3. Black Sabbath: The Dio Years features previously released material as well as new tracks "The Devil Cried," "Shadow of the Wind" and "Ear in the Wall." Butler, Iommi, Dio and Appice will be touring next month as Heaven and Hell. ... Fountains of Wayne are previewing their new single, "Someone to Love," on a special Valentine e-card available at Virgin Records' Web site . The song is featured on Traffic and Weather, due April 3. ...

Lionel Richie said over Grammy weekend that he would be interested in working again with former collaborator Michael Jackson. "I got to get Mike focused," Richie said. "I want him to just do it and deliver it, because what happens is we get into what we call recording syndrome and we don't put it out. But I think he's going to be OK, he's just got to get centered. I'll know after I hear the fifth track that he's serious about where he's going." ... On March 17, British metal legends Iron Maiden will play a show on the grounds of a palace in Bangalore, India, a performance the band's label is trumpeting as the first major metal concert on Indian soil. Frontman Bruce Dickinson said Maiden will "enjoy every moment" in India, calling the event "very special to us" because the band will "be able to play to new fans in countries we've never been to before. We hear the Indian fans are very loud and into their metal." ...

Dan the Automator has produced the debut solo CD from Josh Haden, former vocalist of the band Spain. The two first hooked up for Automator's Handsome Boy Modeling School project in 1999. Featured on the disc is turntable wizard Kid Koala and John Medeski of Medeski, Martin & Wood. ... Toni Braxton has settled a multimillion-dollar lawsuit she filed against her former manager, Barry Hankerson, The Associated Press reports. The R&B diva claimed in the suit that Hankerson deceptively caused her to part ways with her longtime label, Arista, for his Blackground Records. According to the terms of the settlement, Braxton can now only sign with a limited list of companies and must fork over royalties from her next project to Hankerson. ...

Maxwell fans who hit up the crooner's MySpace page Wednesday morning (February 14) expecting a new track were left disappointed when there was an apology posted instead of the promised song. Maxwell began the audio message with a Valentine's Day wish, and explained that the song he hoped to post was not ready. "I've been working on it for about three days straight — actually longer," the singer said, "And, I don't know, I just don't feel it yet. I just want to send it out when it's right." ... Every Time I Die have announced that Steve Evetts (Dillinger Escape Plan, Story of the Year) will be producing their forthcoming LP, which the band will begin tracking in early March. The disc will be released this summer via Ferret Music.


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