Game Rejects Plea Deal; Plus Akon, Britney, Harry Potter, Ciara, White Stripes, Kelly Clarkson & More In For The Record

Akon says 'Sorry Blame Me'; Spears' mom says singer is 'just figuring things out'; J.K. Rowling to give 'Deathly' exclusive interview.

The Game rejected a deal Wednesday (June 13) that would have allowed him to plead guilty in exchange for the time he spent waiting to go to court after he was arrested on charges of impersonating a police officer last year, The Associated Press reports. “He is innocent,” his lawyer Jeffrey Lichtman said outside the court. “It’s rare that I have a 100 percent innocent defendant, but this is one.” The rapper — whose real name is Jayceon Taylor — was arrested in November after allegedly telling a cab driver he was an undercover police officer and convincing him to run several stoplights. In more upbeat Game news, he and his girlfriend Tiffany Webb recently welcomed the birth of their newborn son, King Justice, the rapper announced in a post on his Black Wall Street blog Wednesday morning. The baby was born April 25, a representative from Geffen Records confirmed; Game also has a son, Harlem, from a previous relationship. …

Akon is apologizing again — this time for dragging a girl onstage for a romp at a recent concert, only to later find out she was underage. The act of contrition comes courtesy “Sorry Blame Me,” a track the singer has posted on his MySpace page. “As life goes on, I’m starting to learn more and more about responsibility,” Akon says in the tune’s intro. “And I realize everything I do is affecting the people around me.” …

Britney Spears‘ mom has an explanation for the star’s recent meltdown and strange behavior: “She’s just figuring things out.” Lynne Spears, a mother of three, told Us Weekly for its latest issue that “Britney Jean Spears is the sweetest and the most sensitive and loving of all my children. … I can see her life picking up, and it’s just going to hold great things for her. … It’s sad that the whole world had to watch her make mistakes that all of us have made at one time or another.” …

Some wanderful news for Harry Potter fans: J.K. Rowling will give an exclusive interview to NBC’s Meredith Vieira in Edinburgh, Scotland, after the July 21 release of the final book in the series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” The interview — set to air on the “Today” show July 26-27 and “Dateline” on July 29 — is slated to be Rowling’s only televised chat surrounding the book’s release. …

Ciara is warming up for the summer. Along with recently announcing that she and T.I. will soon co-headline Screamfest ’07, over the weekend the sultry singer shot the video for her third single from Ciara: The Evolution, the 50 Cent-assisted “Can’t Leave ‘Em Alone.” The Fat Cats-directed clip was set in Atlanta. (See Ciara on the set of her new video right here. ) …

The White Stripes are picking some bizarre venues to hype their Icky Thump album, which is due Tuesday. The Associated Press reports that the band played a six-song acoustic set a day ago for retired servicemen — dressed as 17-century solders, no less — at a London hospital for elderly British military vets. The Stripes are planning to donate proceeds from another gig in London to help fund a new infirmary at the hospital. And on June 20, the band will play a free gig in West Hollywood, California, at “Icky Thump Records” — a specially constructed store where the Tower Records store on Sunset Boulevard used to be located. The first 200 fans who buy Icky Thump at the store will gain entry to the show. …

Kelly Clarkson has fired her longtime manager just two weeks before the scheduled release of My December, Entertainment Weekly reported. Amid the ongoing conflict between the singer and her label over the direction of her third LP, Clarkson cut ties with the Firm’s Jeff Kwatinetz, who “exacerbated a thermonuclear situation,” a source close to the situation told the magazine. “Jeff did everything he could to control Kelly and her career suffered. He should have steered her in the right direction.” In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Firm said, “Kelly Clarkson is an enormously talented artist. We are pleased to have served as her managers during her well-deserved rise to stardom and are proud of the role we played in backing her creative choices. We believed in Kelly from the day we met her and believe in her now. We have only the best wishes and hopes for her in the future.” …

Clarkson spoke out in the July issue of Elle magazine, revealing that label mogul Clive Davis offered her $10 million to cut five of her songs from My December in favor of more likely hits. “My resistance upsets a lot of people, because we could make a lot of money,” Clarkson said in the interview. “And I’m not hatin’ on money. … I’m just not comfortable doing things that don’t feel like me.” The cover girl of the fashion mag’s music issue also said that she expects her fans to find something better to listen to sooner or later. “It is weird when a 12-year-old tells me I am their favorite artist,” Clarkson explained. “I’m always like, ‘It’s just because you’re young and you haven’t heard everybody yet.’ In time, I’ll be weeded out. And that’s cool.” Also weighing in on the perks and price of fame are Rihanna (“I’ve had a few encounters with fans who start crying, and that freaks me out because I don’t know what to do.”); Fergie (“I think a normal girl can relate to me more than somebody who’s always looking perfect or always doing the right thing.”); and Lily Allen (“I got led straight to the VIP table. … I felt like Lindsay Lohan.”). …

Chamillionaire‘s musical run-ins with the po po keep on coming. The Houston MC just announced that his new single will be the J.R. Rotem-produced “Hip-Hop Police,” which features the legendary Slick Rick. “Hip-Hop Police” has been deemed the first official single from his Ultimate Victory, which has a new release date of September 18. Krazyie Bone, who won a Grammy with Cham for “Ridin’ Dirty,” has been announced as a guest on the album — as have Lil Wayne, Pimp C, Lloyd and Devin the Dude. Cham will be giving away his mixtape Mixtape Messiah and the accompanying DVD of the same name for free on July 18 on his Web site. … Don’t start sending the baby gifts just yet. Star magazine and the New York Post‘s Cindy Adams reported that Kevin Federline was expecting his fifth child, but alleged mom-to-be Shar Jackson says it isn’t true. Jackson, mother of K-Fed’s two eldest children, isn’t even pregnant, her representative told Us Weekly. Federline’s rep also denied the reports. …

Korn frontman Jonathan Davis has started writing material for an opera titled “Oblivion,” according to a report on AOL Music’s Pop Eater blog. The opera will be a collaborative effort with film composer Richard Gibbs and horror writer Clive Barker, and Davis told AOL Music that the project will be very dark, and focus on an account of the world’s end. Davis is also reportedly putting the finishing touches on a coffee-table book featuring 12 of his favorite horror stories illustrated by 12 of his favorite artists. No further information has been revealed about that project. … Lollapalooza has announced the schedule for this year’s event (set for August 3-5 in Chicago’s Grant Park) and, as usual, music fans will have to grit their teeth and make some hard choices when it comes to picking who they check out on the main stages at dusk. Friday night will feature a showdown between Daft Punk and Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals; Saturday’s show is a choice between Muse and Interpol; Sunday will have fans making tough calls between My Morning Jacket and Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon and Iggy and the Stooges, and Lupe Fiasco and Amy Winehouse. Pearl Jam have the final headlining slot all to themselves. …

Fablolous celebrated the release of his latest album, From Nothin’ to Somethin’, Tuesday night at Runway in New York; the star-studded affair was sponsored by Esquire and brought out Swizz Beatz, Remy Ma, Keith Murray, and a host of NFL players. (See Swizz Beatz, Keith Murray and others chill with Fabolous at his album-release party right here. ) … Keith Murray’s Def Squad homies Erick Sermon and Redman are back onboard for his new album, Rap-Murr-Phobia (Fear of Real Hip Hop), although Jamie Foxx — another artist Murray collaborated with for 2003′s He’s Keith Murray — won’t be on deck. The MC has roped in Tyrese and Method Man instead. … Tiger Army will follow in the footsteps of the Killers, Gnarls Barkley and Lily Allen by participating in MySpace’s Secret Show series with a Thursday gig at the Shelter in Detroit. …

Richie Sambora has left a treatment facility in Los Angeles after entering it just last week, People reports. A representative for the Bon Jovi guitarist told the magazine that Sambora has completed a program at the UCLA Medical Center for an undisclosed problem. … Talk about some bad timing. Just as the world is, literally, singing Journey‘s praises thanks to the prominent inclusion of “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” in the finale of “The Sopranos,” the band has announced that it is taking an indefinite hiatus. On Tuesday, the group said it has parted ways with onetime Yngwie Malmsteem singer Jeff Scott Soto, who joined the group in July to replace ailing singer Steve Augeri. Journey will take the rest of 2007 off to “spend time with their families, write new songs and map out plans for 2008.” … Mötley Crüe guitarist Mick Mars will be collaborating with “Rock Star: Supernova” runner-up Dilana Robichaux on tracks for her yet-untitled debut LP, which should surface early next year. The pair are holed up in a Los Angeles studio, where they’ve been working on material for the release. … The Kansas City Royals are sick of hearing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” — so they’re casting an open vote for a replacement for the seventh-inning-stretch song. Vote for Michael Jackson‘s “Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground),” Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” or another tune on the Royals’ home page.

06.12.2007

Good Charlotte will help Justin Timberlake spread the “Summer Love” when they open for him on the second U.S. leg of his FutureSex/LoveShow, which launches August 6 in JT’s Memphis hometown. In other JT news, his “LoveStoned/ I Think She Knows” video, directed by Robert Hales (Gnarls Barkley, Panic Channel), premieres on Yahoo! Music at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Also, according to The Associated Press, Timberlake and former girlfriend/ “Shrek the Third” co-star Cameron Diaz embraced before walking the green carpet at the London premiere of the flick on Monday. “We’re friends,” Diaz said. “It’s good to see him.” …

Everyone knows where Paris Hilton is right now, but questions are still lingering over Sheriff Lee Baca’s controversial “reassignment” of the heiress to house arrest before a judge forced her to return to jail. According to a Tuesday (June 12) report in the Los Angeles Times, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to request that Baca prepare a report to determine whether she was given special treatment. The board’s review will focus on Hilton’s medical condition and whether she could have been treated at the Lynwood jail she was originally sent to. Baca, who has one week to prepare his report, did not detail Hilton’s condition last week, but according to a report on TMZ.com, the heiress takes Adderall for her “extreme” attention-deficit disorder and she is also claustrophobic. Hilton, who is now serving her sentence in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility’s medical ward, may not have been receiving all of her medication while in jail, which led to severe panic attacks, according to TMZ. Paparazzi swarmed the Twin Towers facility Tuesday to cover visitation day, when the heiress was permitted to spend free time with her parents, Rick and Kathy. …

Mary J. Blige tells Hamptons Magazine that recording the follow-up to her Grammy-winning The Breakthrough has taught her the benefits of taking her time in the studio. “It’s like the difference between a rotisserie meal and a microwave dinner,” she explained. “It takes hours to get right, but it’s going to be really good and you won’t forget it. I’m a nice rotisserie — caramel-colored and well-seasoned.” Blige also confessed a secret desire to design her own fashion line. “I want to show people that I care about consumers and how they’ll look in my [line of clothes], not just my name being on the brand,” she said. “I love to see people in nice clothing, especially women. You look beautiful and feel confident when you have on the right stuff.” …

Ch-check it out: Beastie Boys have lined up seven August shows to support their June 26 release, The Mix-Up: Philadelphia (August 1); Boston (August 6); NYC (August 8); Brooklyn, New York (August 9); Denver (August 16); Santa Barbara, California (August 23); and Berkeley, California (August 25). While the group’s new LP is all-instrumental, fans can expect them to pull out some classics at the aforementioned gigs. … Korn are set to shoot the video for “Evolution,” the first single off of their forthcoming untitled album, on Friday in Los Angeles. The band will be touring Europe at the time of the shoot, which has led to speculation that the Korn crew won’t be making an appearance in the clip. The video will be directed by Dave Meyers, who previously worked with the band on their “Twisted Transistor” video. According to the video’s casting call, the clip will be “filled with political satire and humor.” The producers are seeking mostly male actors to play characters such as “hero scientists, religious politicians, doctors, Greenpeace guys, anthropologists, military men and ‘government types.’ ” …

Lindsay Lohan is being sued for crashing into a parked van in Beverly Hills, California, in October 2005, according to TMZ.com. Grandeur, Inc. — owner of the van — filed suit in mid-May in Beverly Hills Small Claims Court for $3,624.84. The case is pending. … DNA evidence is now the focus in testimony in the Phil Spector trial, according to AP. On Monday, Sheriff’s criminalist Steve Renteria testified in the trial — which is now in its seventh week — that while the music producer’s DNA was not detected on the weapon that killed Lana Clarkson, the DNA may have been hidden under the large amount of the actress’ blood on the gun. Renteria also said the many items analyzed by the crime lab only showed Clarkson’s DNA. Spector’s defense is expected to argue that the missing Spector DNA means he didn’t pull the trigger. …

Winners of the Fulbright-mtvU Fellowships were announced Tuesday. The fellowships, which offer students the opportunity to conduct research around international music culture for one academic year, were awarded to Larnies Bowen of New York University, Phally Chroy of Temple University, James Collins of Harvard University and Aaron Shneyer of Georgetown University. Common, Perry Farrell, Fiona Apple and the ShinsJames Mercer reviewed and nominated candidates, with final selections made by Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. The search for the next Fulbright-mtvU Fellows is already on. Applications will be accepted through October 19. For more information, visit the Fulbright site. …

Ignoring a smoking ban could come back to bite Velvet Revolver‘s Slash and Scott Weiland in the butt. The two rockers may face fines for allegedly smoking onstage during the band’s Thursday set at the Cardiff International Arena in Cardiff, Wales, according to a report on local news site icWales.co.uk. Slash and Weiland reportedly violated a law, enacted in April, against lighting up in any enclosed space. The Cardiff city council said they hadn’t received any formal complaints but are investigating the matter. …

A ballet inspired by the music of Radiohead will be performed in Scotland August 18-20 as part of the Edinburgh International Festival. The Scottish Ballet production “Ride the Beast,” choreographed by Stephen Petronio, features reworkings of five Radiohead tracks — “Fitter Happier,” “Creep,” “Hunting Bears,” “Idioteque” and “National Anthem.” “Radiohead’s music is a brilliant investigation of achingly modern taste,” Petronio said in a Scottish Ballet press release. “They sail through genre and form effortlessly and passionately, and their music demands a physical response from me that bypasses reason.” …

Wendy and Lisa, the psych-funk duo who used to be part of Prince‘s Revolution, are collaborating with the artist for his July 24 release, Planet Earth. His Purpleness is back on Columbia Records’ roster, the label announced Monday, and will issue his new LP — featuring the lead single, “Guitar” — through the label. Tickets for the final six dates of his 21 Nights in London shows at O2 arena go on sale Friday. … This year’s Shortlist Music Prize went to Cat Power for The Greatest album, making singer Chan Marshall the first woman to win the prize. The sixth-annual award was chosen by a panel of nine guest judges, including Franz Ferdinand, Panic! at the Disco and Sufjan Stevens, along with members of Snow Patrol, the Killers and Flaming Lips. …

Anjelique Kidjo and Joss Stone will shoot a video for their “Gimme Shelter” duet Thursday in New York. The song appears on Kidjo’s recent Djin Djin CD. … Former “You Hear It First” picks Plain White T’s and Secondhand Serenade will co-headline mtvU’s Summer Concert Series at Six Flags. The bands will hit up Six Flags parks in Agawam, Massachusetts (July 27); Jackson, New Jersey (July 29); St. Louis (August 3); Austell, Georgia (August 10); and Gurnee, Illinois (August 17). … The Academy Is … have cobbled together dates for their Sleeping With Giants Tour, which will also feature Armor for Sleep, Sherwood and the Rocket Summer. The pop-punk trek gets poppin’ September 5 in Milwaukee and comes to a close in Chicago on November 28. …

Do you happen to be a fan of OK Go and Electric Light Orchestra? Check out the animated rockers covering the veteran prog band’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” on the former’s Live From SoHo EP, available exclusively on iTunes. The five-song set — which also features “Here It Goes Again” and “Do What You Want” — captures OK Go’s recent session at the SoHo Apple store in NYC. … José González has rolled out a raft of shows to promote his upcoming second album, In Our Nature, due September 25. The brooding singer/songwriter will play a preview show August 21 in New York and kick off the tour in proper form with three more NYC gigs September 27-29. The trek wraps October 13 in Minneapolis. …

The debut album by Blaqk Audio, the electronic side project featuring AFI members Davey Havok and Jade Puget, will land in stores August 7. Called CexCells, the set features a dozen cuts — including “Between Breaths (An XX Perspective),” “Where Would You Like Them Left?” and “Wake Up, Open the Door, and Escape to the Sea” — and was produced by Dave Bascombe (Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears). … Former “You Hear It First” rockers Far-Less will issue their next LP, A Toast to Bad Taste, October 23. …

Happy Mondays have been forced to cancel a pair of New York gigs set for Wednesday and Thursday, due to “temporary visa issues,” according to a press release. The band, which recently completed their first album in 15 years, is “gutted” at having to miss the performances. It’s the second time this year that the Mondays have had to deal with visa issues. The band’s iconic dancer/percussionist Bez had to sit out the band’s set at the Coachella fest in Indio, California, two months ago. … Farm Aid is going to the city this year. The event, launched in 1985 to help raise money to support family farms, will play New York’s Randall’s Island on September 9 under the banner Farm Aid 2007: A Homegrown Festival, according to its official Web site. So far, only board members Willie Nelson, Dave Matthews, Neil Young and John Mellencamp have been announced as performers for the first-ever Big Apple Farm Aid date, though more acts will be added soon.