For The Record: Quick News On Taylor Hicks, Jim Jones, Redman, Snoop Dogg, Korn, John Popper & More

Hicks reaches out to tornado victims; Jones celebrates 'Icon' game; Redman nabs Snoop for LP.

Taylor Hicks will use the Saturday and Sunday concerts in his Birmingham, Alabama, hometown to help those affected by a devastating tornado that hit Enterprise earlier this month. The “Idol” winner — who will be headlining shows in the city for the first time since he was crowned — has invited the Red Cross to collect money on site. While in Birmingham, Hicks will also be presented with the key to the city, which he is planning to dedicate to the tornado victims. …

Jim Jones appeared at Game Stop in New York on Tuesday to take on challengers in EA’s new “Def Jam: Icon” video game. Later on that night, Jones joined Russell Simmons, Redman, Chamillionaire and Funkmaster Flex at the release party at Ultra in New York. “This game is f—ing nuts,” Redman told MTV News. “This is taking fighting joints to the next level.” …

Speaking of Redman, the rapper has set a March 27 release date for his latest album, Red Gone Wild – Thee Album. Guests include Snoop Dogg, Method Man, Erick Sermon, Keith Murray, Nate Dogg and Biz Markie, while Scott Storch, Timbaland and Rockwilder contributed production. Red, who is performing at South by Southwest on March 16-17, is releasing “Put It Down” as the first single. … Korn are planning a tentative July 17 release for their yet-untitled new album, which they’ve been recording since late last year. The band’s MTV Unplugged hit stores Tuesday. …

Blues Traveler singer John Popper was arrested in Washington on Wednesday after police clocked his black Mercedes SUV going 111 mph on Interstate 90. The Associated Press reports that after they stopped him for speeding, police found a cache of weapons — including four rifles, nine handguns and a switchblade stashed in a series of hidden compartments — as well as a small amount of marijuana in Popper’s car. Authorities also found a Taser and night-vision goggles in the vehicle, which had flashing emergency headlights, a siren and a public-address system. Popper, 39, is the owner of the car, which was being driven by another man and was seized by police. Authorities plan to charge the pair with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. “Popper indicated to troopers that he had installed these items in his vehicle because (in the event of a natural disaster) he didn’t want to be left behind,” the Washington State Patrol said in a news release. Popper also told officers he collected weapons. Both men were booked and released on their own recognizance. …

Ozzy Osbourne, Genesis, Heart and ZZ Top have been named as this year’s class for the second annual “VH1 Rock Honors.” The ceremony will be taped in Las Vegas on May 12 and will air May 24 on VH1. … Peter Gabriel will not join Genesis for the group’s first tour in 15 years, Reuters reports. Expect to see singer/drummer Phil Collins, guitarist Mike Rutherford and keyboardist Tony Banks on the band’s Turn It on Again Tour, which will hit Europe throughout the summer and arrive in North America on September 7. … Hanson raised almost $3,500 through a LIFEbeat auction over the weekend. The funds will be used to help fight AIDS. … O.A.R. are back on the road and will continue to be until May 5 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Later this year, the band is planning to release a DVD and double album recorded at its January 27 show at New York’s Madison Square Garden. … The Sword kick off their tour with Priestbird and Year Long Disaster Friday in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The jaunt runs through March 23 in Dallas. …

Hard-rock rookies Flyleaf are celebrating their self-titled debut LP’s gold status with their first headlining trek — and they’re doing it for a good cause to boot. The Justice & Mercy Tour will raise funds for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization fighting poverty and injustice, via a limited-edition EP and specially designed T-shirt the band is selling while on the road. The jaunt begins March 25 in Memphis and wraps April 30 in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. … The Dismemberment Plan will reunite for a pair of gigs at the Black Cat in their native Washington, D.C., on April 27-28, three-and-a-half years after their breakup. The indie rockers will share the stage with Pilot to Gunner and the Oranges Band the first night, while Beauty Pill and Owls and Crows will open for the Plan the second night. The shows are being held to benefit Callum Robbins, the son of Jawbox frontman J. Robbins; the boy was recently diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, an incurable nerve disorder. Tickets for the shows, priced at $15, have sold out, with all proceeds going directly to the Robbins family. There is no word on whether the reunion will continue beyond these two benefit shows. …

DJ Spooky has crafted music for “Stop the Clash of Civilizations,” a political video designed to help resolve the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. Check it out here. … The Bled will reissue their debut LP, Pass the Flask, March 20. The updated version of the disc will boast an additional 11 tracks, including rare and unreleased cuts. The band plans to work on its next offering this month at Baltimore’s Salad Days Studio. The effort will be produced by Brian McTernan (Thrice, Texas Is the Reason) and hit stores this summer. … The Blood Brothers have rolled out a slew of new dates as they continue to tour in support of last year’s Young Machetes. The latest leg of the band’s trek kicks off March 18 in Lawrence, Kansas, and is scheduled to make stops in Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Los Angeles before wrapping up April 27 in Seattle. … Former Cold frontman Scooter Ward‘s new band When November Falls has signed with I AM: Wolfpack, the label founded by producer Ross Robinson. The band will begin tracking its forthcoming debut, tentatively titled The Series of Emotion, in June for a projected fall release.

03.07.2007

Birthday cake, champagne and dope beats: Two hip-hop moguls held big birthday bashes for their friends Tuesday night in Manhattan, New York. The 40/40 Club was poppin’, as Jay-Z called on Roc-A-Fella family members Freeway, Memphis Bleek and the Young Gunz to help celebrate longtime Roc artist Beanie Sigel‘s b-day. Sigel isn’t letting it be known if he’s still signed to Jay-Z’s label, but from the looks of all the smiles Tuesday night, it didn’t matter. Tyrese, model Melyssa Ford, Dres of Black Sheep and of course Beyoncé came out as well. Over at PM, Diddy was in the house for high-ranking Bad Boy executive Harve Pierre’s birthday party. Cassie, Mario Winans, DJ Tony Touch, Joe Budden, D-Nice and former Bad Boy hitmaker Stevie J. were all there. …

Jennifer Hudson is about to become the new Avon lady, Reuters reports. The Oscar winner will be the spokeswoman for the perfume company’s Imari brand and new scent, Imari Seduction, it was announced Wednesday (March 7). … Christina Aguilera‘s fan club closed down Thursday, according to an announcement posted on the singer’s Web site. Former Baby Jane members can log in to the messageboards with their existing username and password, and new users may register for the boards for free. … Lance Bass will open up about his life, music and sexuality in “Out of Sync,” an autobiography due in October, The Associated Press reports. …

Carrie Underwood is returning to “American Idol” Thursday to perform her latest single, “Wasted.” The show will determine the coveted final 12 and is also expected to feature a major announcement from host Ryan Seacrest. Theories are rampant, but it could have something to do with a show executive producer Nigel Lythgoe told MTV News he pitched Fox earlier this year. The program would bring back former “Idol” champs to sing songs written by the finalists of the songwriting competition for this year’s finale song. “Let’s see Constantine Maroulis again, let’s see Ace Young, let’s see Tamyra Gray and all of the great people that we voted for over the years,” Lythgoe said. “I’d love to do that. And with good reason at the end of the day for doing it, which is to produce the song that the next ‘American Idol’ is going to sing.” … In other “Idol” news, along with producing Travis Tritt‘s new album and managing Van Hunt and Nikki Costa, Randy Jackson is launching an independent label and plans to release a jazz-inspired solo record this summer. Jackson compared the project to collaborative efforts released by Quincy Jones. “He had more concept records where he had a bunch of different artists doing a bunch of things,” Jackson said. …

Britney Spears will have a big career comeback if Timbaland has anything to do with it. The producer told Entertainment Weekly that he’d like to work with Spears on new music — and his frequent collaborator (and Britney’s ex) Justin Timberlake may be onboard as well. “I’m the type of person who tries to save the world,” Timbaland said. “I just want to take her away, go overseas and work [it] out. … I asked Justin, ‘How would you feel about me working with Britney?’ … ‘Would you do it with me?’ ” Timbaland told the magazine that JT was willing to get involved. “She’s just gotta be serious.”

Hawthorne Heights won a key court battle this week against their now-former label, Victory Records, when a federal judge ruled that Victory does not have an exclusive right to the band’s services. “The band is free to record and release material either on their own or with any other record company,” said Hawthorne attorney Rhonda Trotter. In an attempt to get out of its contract, the band sued Victory in August, claiming owner Tony Brummel’s “scheming” actions had seriously damaged Hawthorne’s reputation. Though the court ruled that their contract with Victory was nonexclusive, the judge asked for more time to decide whether HH or Victory own the copyrights to the band’s first two albums. Lawyers for Victory filed a motion on Tuesday asking the judge to reconsider the ruling. Trotter said the band is reviewing its options but has not yet decided how it will release its next album. …

Sacha Baron Cohen bum-rushed the White House last year as part of a publicity stunt for his “Borat” movie, but now his character might be finding an unlikely ally in Condi Rice, of all people. According to Reuters, Borat is cited in the State Department’s annual human-rights report, which criticizes Kazakhstan — where Borat supposedly hails from — for numerous abuses, including increased restrictions on free speech. Among the abuses the report points out was the Kazakhstan government’s revocation of Borat.KZ, a site it deemed offensive. … Jimi Hendrix‘s family is suing a vodka seller for what, in a press release, it calls the “unauthorized, tasteless promotion” of the late guitarist’s name in a marketing campaign. Experience Hendrix, the Hendrix family company, filed a federal lawsuit against Seattle businessman Craig Dieffenbach for using trademarked material to market Hendrix Electric Vodka and other products. … Angelina Jolie will be united in three months or sooner with the Vietnamese boy she is adopting, an adoption official from the country has told AP.

After masquerading as the New Pantheon award for all of one year, the Shortlist Music Prize is back, and recently announced its panel of nine listmakers and the initial “long list” of nominees for the award. Panic! at the Disco, Franz Ferdinand, KT Tunstall and Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne are among the artists who have submitted lists of their favorite records of the past year, all of which have been compiled into an initial list of 61 nominees — including Beck‘s The Information, Hot Chip‘s The Warning, the RaconteursBroken Boy Soldiers and the Yeah Yeah YeahsShow Your Bones. That list will be whittled down to 10 finalists in April, with the Shortlist winner to be announced later this spring. Any album released during 2006 was eligible for the Shortlist, so long as it had not been certified gold (500,000 copies shipped) during the calendar year. Previous winners include Sigur Rós, TV on the Radio and Sufjan Stevens.

Tool have rescheduled the 10 tour dates they recently postponed after drummer Danny Carey tore his bicep. The band will play Reno, Nevada, on April 30; San Diego on May 2; Las Cruces, New Mexico, on May 5; Tucson, Arizona, on May 6; Albuquerque, New Mexico, on May 8; Southaven, Missouri, on May 15; Oklahoma City on May 19; San Antonio on May 21; Corpus Christi, Texas, on May 22; and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on May 24. Additional tour dates are expected to be announced shortly. … “American Idol” contestants aren’t safe from judge Simon Cowell, even when they’re long off the show. At the Museum of Television and Radio’s 24th annual Paley Festival in West Hollywood, California, last week, Cowell targeted Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson and “Idol” champ Taylor Hicks. “Hudson said ‘American Idol’ was a ‘stepping stone’ for her,” Cowell said. “Stepping stone? It was her big opportunity to become noticed and she got noticed and she got ‘Dreamgirls,’ ” he said, adding, “The reason people come on the show is because all the doors have been slammed in their face.” As for “Idol” winner Taylor Hicks, “Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson loved him,” Cowell said. “I couldn’t stand him. Just because you win the show doesn’t mean you will sell a lot of records. [Chris Daughtry] is the one who sold the albums, not Taylor.” …

A new law proposed by Connecticut legislators would require social-networking sites such as MySpace to verify users’ ages and get parental consent for minors, AP reports. The bill was presented Wednesday, a day after a Connecticut man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for using MySpace to meet an underage girl he’d planned to have sex with. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal estimated that 10 to 20 other states are considering similar laws. “The technology is available,” he said. “The solution is financially feasible, practically doable. If we can put a man on the moon, we can check ages of people on these Web sites.” … The future of many Internet radio stations could be in jeopardy thanks to a ruling Tuesday by an obscure panel of federal copyright judges. The decision by the Copyright Royalty Board significantly increased the royalties paid to musicians and record labels for streaming digital songs online, ending a discounted fee for small Internet broadcasters that some say could put them out of business, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Per the board’s ruling, the current rate of 0.08 of a cent each time a song is played would more than double by 2010, resulting in fees that many small broadcasters say they cannot afford.