Diddy Has Not Changed His Name, Despite Reports; Plus Britney Spears, Sylvester Stallone, John McCain & More, In For The Record

Spears' friend deposed by Kevin Federline's lawyer; Sly backing McCain; Bono visits with U.S. defense secretary.

Despite widespread reports that Sean “Diddy” Combs had changed his name to Sean John, his rep clarified the situation to MTV News on Thursday (January 24). “Recent reports of a name change are totally false, he is still Diddy,” the rep wrote. “He is currently in ‘Sean John’ mode as the upcoming Sean John fashion show is scheduled for February 8 in New York.” …

One of Britney Spears‘ friends was deposed Thursday by Kevin Federline‘s lawyer Mark Vincent Kaplan as he prepares for an April trial involving a request by Spears’ ex for primary physical custody of their children. Sam Lufti had previously avoided a notice to appear by Federline’s team of lawyers but was eventually served in November. … Lionsgate said Thursday that it had reached an agreement with striking writers to work on its projects, according to Reuters. “Lionsgate signed an interim agreement with the Writers Guild of America today,” the entertainment company reportedly said in a statement. “The writers’ issue seems on its way to being solved, and Lionsgate felt it was an important time, particularly in view of our TV series, to have our writer partners get back to work. We look forward to a broad industry agreement soon.” …

John McCain is getting support from another Vietnam veteran, albeit a fictional one: Rambo. Sylvester Stallone recently voiced his support for the Arizona senator, who is in a tight race for the Republican presidential nomination, on TV’s “Fox and Friends,” according to a press release from his campaign. “I like McCain a lot,” Stallone said. “A lot. And you know, things may change along the way, but there’s something about matching the character with the script. And right now, the script that’s being written — and reality — is pretty brutal and pretty hard-edged, like a rough action film. … You need somebody who’s been in that to deal with it.” When host Brian Kilmeade informed McCain of the “Rocky Balboa” star’s endorsement on Thursday morning (January 24), he reportedly replied, “I’m going to Philadelphia and running up the steps.” …

Bono swung by the Pentagon to talk about Africa and global poverty with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday, according to Reuters. The two reportedly met for 20 minutes and discussed plans to construct a new U.S. military command for Africa. The U2 singer was reportedly in Washington, D.C., to meet with congressional budget committees, and his meeting with Gates was not publicized ahead of time. … Trey Anastasio spent the weekend in the pokey for violating the conditions of his drug-treatment program last year, The Associated Press reports. The former Phish frontman was punished for an unspecified violation of a court contract that resulted after he pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in April. Anastasio, who lives in Richmond, Vermont, was in a jail in upstate New York for two days. …

Scarlett Johansson has finally firmed up details surrounding her first music album, a collection of mostly Tom Waits covers. Anywhere I Lay My Head will drop May 20 and feature 10 Waits tribute tracks plus an original cut. The “Nanny Diaries” actress hammered out the effort in Maurice, Louisiana, during a five-week visit at Dockside Studio in spring 2007. She got some assists from Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner, Sean Antanaitis from Celebration and TV on the Radio‘s David Sitek, who produced the LP. … The 35th annual Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll has named Sound of Silver by LCD Soundsystem as its top album of 2007. The rest of the top 10 albums in the poll, voted on by hundreds of rock critics, included In Rainbows (Radiohead), Kala (M.I.A.), Back to Black (Amy Winehouse), Neon Bible (Arcade Fire), Graduation (Kanye West), Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (Spoon), Raising Sand (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss) and Magic (Bruce Springsteen). Winehouse topped the singles list with her hit “Rehab,” followed by “Umbrella” (Rihanna), “All My Friends” (LCD Soundsystem), “1234″ (Feist), “D.A.N.C.E.” (Justice), “Paper Planes” (M.I.A.), “Stronger” (Kanye West), “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)” (UGK) and “Young Folks” (Peter Bjorn and John). …

This year’s New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Fest will take place April 25-27 and May 1-4 and feature sets from the Roots, Raconteurs, Keyshia Cole, Stevie Wonder, Billy Joel, Santana, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Sheryl Crow, Galactic, Ozomatli with Chali 2na, Jimmy Buffett and dozens of other roots, blues, soul, Cajun and jazz artists. … Motion City Soundtrack, Phantom Planet and the Hush Sound have slipped onto the bill for the Honda Civic Tour, which will be anchored by Panic at the Disco. The cities the trek will hit have also been announced: San Francisco (April 10); San Diego (April 12); Phoenix (April 13); Tulsa, Oklahoma (April 15); Ruston, Louisiana (April 17); Dallas (April 18); Austin, Texas (April 19); Houston (April 20); Clearwater, Florida (April 22); Miami Beach, Florida (April 23); Lake Buena Vista, Florida (April 24); Atlanta (April 26); North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (April 29); Washington, D.C. (April 30); Orono, Maine (May 2); Troy, New York (May 3); Rochester, New York (May 6); New York (May 7); Philadelphia (May 9); Wallingford, Connecticut (May 10); Boston (May 11); Montreal (May 13); Toronto (May 14); Cleveland (May 16); Columbus, Ohio (May 17); Indianapolis (May 18); Detroit (May 20); Chicago (May 23); Milwaukee (May 25); Minneapolis (May 27); St. Louis (May 30); Council Bluffs, Iowa (May 31); Kansas City, Missouri (June 1); Denver (June 3); Salt Lake City (June 4); Vancouver, British Columbia (June 6); Seattle (June 7); Portland, Oregon (June 8); Las Vegas (June 13); and Anaheim, California (June 14). …

Uncle Murda was shot in the head late Tuesday night but the injury was not serious, according to New York’s Daily News. The popular upstart rapper, who was signed to Roc-A-Fella Records by Jay-Z and backed by DJ Green Lantern, suffered a minor head wound after he was grazed by a bullet while sitting in a parked car in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. There is no word on whether the rapper has been released from the hospital. Calls made by MTV News to reps for Uncle Murda were not returned as of press time. … Danny Glover was convicted for trespassing on Thursday (January 24) in Niagara Falls, Ontario, according to AP. Canadian Niagara Hotels had charged the actor and two other men after they protested at a Sheraton in September 2006. The protest was part of a larger effort to boost salaries and improve working conditions for hotel workers in North America. They will be sentenced February 8. …

Los Angeles city officials have asked a judge to ban members of the Mob Piru street gang from congregating in a neighborhood of Compton, California, and included on their list of 200 gang members was former Death Row Records boss Marion “Suge” Knight. The Los Angeles Times reports that Knight’s name was on the request, which would ban members of the gang from congregating, carrying guns, drinking alcohol in public or staying out past 10 p.m. Knight, who has struggled to get his label back online after a number of legal tangles and prison time, told the paper he thought the injunction was a “publicity stunt” and that it should not have included him. “This is crazy,” he said. “I’m a 42-year-old businessman, not a gang member. I don’t even live in Compton anymore.” A hearing on the matter is slated for Thursday (January 24). …

Perez Hilton won an $85,000 judgment on Wednesday in a defamation lawsuit brought by celebrity DJ Samantha Ronson. According to AP, a judge ordered Ronson to pay the blogger $85K, plus an additional $2,000 if Hilton (born Mario Lavandeira) requests it, in the suit over a report on Hilton’s blog last year. The post repeated a claim from CelebrityBabylon.com that said Ronson planted cocaine found in friend Lindsay Lohan‘s car during a May car crash involving the actress. “Perez Hilton will take steps to make sure every dime is collected,” his lawyer Bryan J. Freedman said. “This should make one careful before filing a lawsuit against him.” The judge removed Hilton from the suit in November after the blogger’s attorneys argued he was protected by free-speech rights. Ronson’s attorney unsuccessfully argued that Hilton’s lawyers’ fees were excessive and that he should get no more than $13,400 to recover his legal costs. …

And the hits just keep coming … just not the ones the music industry is looking for. According to numbers released by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, global music sales fell by around 10 percent in 2007, falling at a faster rate than they did in 2006, despite a growth in digital-music sales of around 40 percent. The IFPI said illegal downloading continues to be a major problem, with the ratio of illegally downloaded tracks to legal tracks sold at around 20 to 1. Also included in the report was news that the first-ever global music-download sales chart was topped by Avril Lavigne‘s “Girlfriend,” which sold 7.3 million downloads across the world. …

Gallows, a punk band from England, are the latest act to be banned from playing the House of Blues at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, according to The Onion‘s A.V. Club. The group was reportedly barred from playing its scheduled show there Tuesday night because Disney objects to the group’s lyrical content. Machine Head and Cannibal Corpse suffered similar fates at venues located on Disney property last year.

1.23.08

Officers from Scotland Yard have confirmed that they will investigate the video footage of Amy Winehouse apparently smoking drugs from a glass pipe, according to BBC News. “We will assess the footage to ascertain whether any action needs to be taken,” a police official said of the disturbing footage, which was reportedly shot recently. …

Ardent animal activist Pink, along with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is setting her sights on New York carriage horses. The singer has launched a new campaign that urges people to boycott the rides and that supports a recently introduced bill to ban the carriages in the city. “New York should follow the lead of London, Paris, Toronto, Beijing and progressive U.S. cities that have decided horse-drawn carriages and big city traffic don’t mix,” Pink recently told MTV News in exclusive comments about the campaign. “Manhattan’s carriage horses suffer a miserable, solitary life shackled to a carriage and pulling load after heavy load of tourists, many of whom look like they could use the exercise themselves.” … Paris Hilton wants you to walk in her shoes — the heiress will debut her new line of footwear at Macy’s in Costa Mesa, California, on February 8 from 3-6 p.m. The Paris Hilton Footwear Collection will also be available at Kitson, Lord & Taylor and other boutiques, with suggested retail prices ranging from around $60 to $200 per pair. …

“American Idol” got its edge back on Tuesday night, but viewers probably weren’t aware that one of the contestants has a criminal history, according to TMZ.com. Singer Perrie Cataldo — who shared some details about his gritty past with the judges on Tuesday — was reportedly arrested in 2006 for carrying a concealed weapon into a bar in Arizona. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon and was slapped with a $568 fine, TMZ says. … Jermaine Dupri‘s father, Michael Mauldin, announced Wednesday (January 23) his plans to launch a label based on the popular Scream Tour, which was headed up by T.I. and Ciara last year under the banner “Screamfest ’07.” The Atlantic Records-distributed Scream Star Entertainment will also feature a revamped Web site, ScreamStar.com, which is set to include video highlights from each Scream tour, featuring the likes of Omarion, Ne-Yo and Bow Wow. Last year’s monumental New York stop — which saw Jay-Z, Diddy and Kanye West join T.I. onstage — will also be included in the Scream Tour Anthology that’s scheduled to go live on the site later this week. …

Dr. Jan Adams, the plastic surgeon who operated on Kanye West‘s mother, Donda West, returned to CNN’s “Larry King Live” on Tuesday to discuss the case more than two months after abruptly walking off the set of the show. According to The Associated Press, Adams said the fallout from West’s death has impacted his medical practice “horribly … it’s almost destroyed [it].” West, 58, died at a Los Angeles-area hospital on November 10, a day after Adams performed plastic surgery on her, including a tummy tuck, breast reduction and liposuction. A coroner’s autopsy report found that West most likely died of heart disease coupled with complications after plastic surgery, though an exact cause of death couldn’t be confirmed. “The autopsy said what I expected,” Adams told King, though he would not go into detail, citing patient-doctor privilege. … The wife of Britney Spearspaparazzo pal Adnan Ghalib has reportedly filed for a legal separation from the photographer. People reports that Azlynn Elizabeth Berry cited irreconcilable differences in the papers filed on Friday and is asking for Ghalib to pay spousal support and her attorney’s fees. According to documents, the pair were married on December 18, 2003. The couple have no children. Ghalib’s photo agency, Finalpixx, has said Ghalib has been separated from his wife for more than a year. …

Last.fm has some big news: On Wednesday, the site started offering free streams of full-length tracks and full albums. The site also announced that it will pay artists directly for music it streams. Last.fm claims it got the blessing of the four major labels and now has the biggest collection of music that can be played online for free — legally, of course. … Murs is gathering the masses for the third installment in his underground hip-hop fest, Paid Dues, which will go down March 22 in San Bernardino, California. This year’s roster includes Dilated Peoples, Boot Camp Clik, Living Legends, Sage Francis and Jedi Mind Tricks. … Here’s a blast from the past: Vince Clarke of Depeche Mode and Erasure note has ganged up again with Alison Moyet to perform the first shows by their long-dormant electro-pop group Yaz — or Yazoo, as they are known in the States — in 25 years. In Your Room, a box set with three CDs and one DVD, will drop in May. …

Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr walked off the set of “Live With Regis and Kelly” on Tuesday after being informed he would have to cut in half a performance of the five-minute title track from his new album, Liverpool 8. AP reports that Starr was going to perform the song with friend and former Eurythmics member Dave Stewart. A spokesperson for the show claimed the booking had been made in November and that Starr’s reps agreed at that time to the length of the segment. … Just a week after the Mars Volta release their new album, The Bedlam in Goliath, on Tuesday, guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez will drop a solo album called Calibration. Among the guests on the record are fellow MV members Cedric Bixler-Zavala, Juan Alderete and Thomas Pridgen, as well as Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante and keyboardist Money Mark. The album is due out February 5 on N20 Records.