Avril Lavigne Stands Up For Britney Spears; Plus Beyonce, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Spice Girls & More, In For The Record

Mathew Knowles defends daughter in Aretha Franklin row; J. Lo, Shakira back Alejandro Sanz in Hugo Chavez dispute; Spice Girls unlikely to tour again.

Avril Lavigne, who was once known as the “anti-Britney,” now has nothing but sympathy for the pop star, as she reveals in the new issue of Maxim. “No one else has it as hard as Britney,” she told the magazine. “I feel bad for her. How does she even think with all those flashbulbs? When I’m being followed, everything’s thrown off. They run red lights. They cause accidents. She can’t even walk to her car. F—ing stalkers.” Lavigne, who has been known to flip off and spit on the paparazzi in the past, also said she’s disgusted at speculation that she’s pregnant with her first child. “Remember in high school when people would start fake rumors about you?” she asked. “Well, this isn’t high school. It’s like, the entire world.” Check out more Avril photos from the mag’s March issue at Maxim.com.

A Los Angeles judge decided Thursday (February 14) to extend the temporary conservatory powers that Britney Spears‘ father has over the singer’s affairs — at least through the next hearing, on March 10. Jamie Spears had been granted control to oversee Britney’s well-being and her estate earlier this month, along with co-conservator Andrew Wallet. Court-appointed investigator Samuel Ingham told the court Thursday that he had not finished his psychological evaluation of the singer and was granted an extension until the next hearing. Also by March 10, Britney must undergo a 730 evaluation to study her family to determine the best custody arrangements, Commissioner Reva Goetz decided. Goetz also named Britney’s older brother, Bryan — who used to work on her former management team — along with New York estate attorney Ivan Taback as co-trustees for the singer’s trust while she is considered unable to manage her own affairs. Meanwhile, Britney’s current manager Sam Lutfi has yet to be served with a restraining order. The lawyers for the conservatorship concluded that Lutfi was intentionally avoiding being served because they’d already spent over 200 hours trying to reach him. A hearing about the restraining order is scheduled for February 22. …

Beyoncé‘s father, Mathew Knowles, isn’t too happy about Aretha Franklin scolding his daughter for comments she made about the Queen of Soul at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. “Something this ridiculous — it’s childish, it’s unprofessional,” he said in a statement on Thursday, according to People. “And it’s a sad day when egos get bruised because somebody used the word ‘king,’ ‘queen,’ ‘prince’ or ‘princess.’ ” Beyoncé introduced Tina Turner as “the queen” during the ceremony, after which Franklin released a statement in which she said, “I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé. … However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy.” …

Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ricky Martin and others are voicing support for Alejandro Sanz after the cancellation of a concert he intended to play in Venezuela, Reuters reports. In 2004, the Latin American singer claimed President Hugo Chávez had tried to quash a campaign for a recall referendum against him. Sanz supporters are reportedly accusing Chávez of censorship in the wake of the concert cancellation. … White Stripes are getting some extra lovin’ at Best Buy, Pitchfork reports. The retail chain is selling a five-track EP surrounding the band’s new single, “Conquest,” that features all the accompanying B-sides that were previously available only on vinyl or in digital form. The EP comes free with the purchase of the band’s Icky Thump album, or it can be bought separately. …

Well, so much for all those reunion tours. A day after Billboard.com reported that the Police would be retiring for good after their upcoming North American trek comes news that the reunited Spice Girls likely won’t go on either. Geri Halliwell — or Ginger Spice, to the fans — told the site she isn’t anticipating a follow-up to the group’s current run, which ends February 26 in Toronto. “It probably won’t happen ever again,” she said. “I’m still absolutely blown away that we did more than one show. So right now I’m thinking this is it. This is the last time you will ever get to see this Girl Power, the five Spices on the stage as one.” Still, she added the requisite nugget of wisdom: “You can never say never.” …

The Smashing Pumpkins have dished up an unreleased track, “SuperChrist,” for a limited-edition CD that will be made available March 1 at Guitar Center locations, according to Billboard.com. The compilation disc, which doesn’t have a name, was curated by Billy Corgan and the gang — they picked acts that feature Guitar Center employees based on submissions from them. “SuperChrist” was a leftover track from the Pumpkins’ 2007 album, Zeitgist, and the band has previously played it on tour. An accompanying video will premiere February 27 on MySpace. … Guitar Center has another limited-edition goody too: a Roland RZA/Forat Custom MV8800 machine designed by the RZA and electronic trailblazer Bruce Forat. The hand-painted device features original artwork by the two, including allusions to the Wu-Tang Clan‘s recent 8 Diagrams LP. If you’re interested in getting one, though, you’ll have to throw down big bucks and act fast when they go on sale February 28: Only eight machines are being made available, and they cost a pricey $5,999 apiece. …

Christina Aguilera has “never had more respect for the female body,” the new mom told People for its new issue, which hits newsstands Friday. She added of her C-section to deliver her 4-week-old son, Max: “The hardest part was deciding on his birthday. I wanted to leave it up to fate, but at the same time I was ready to be done early!” The singer, who shared photos of her baby with the magazine, said she intends to start recording in her home studio this month. As for what she and husband Jordan Bratman have been spinning lately, she revealed: “Yesterday we had Led Zeppelin blaring through the house. Most new moms play Beethoven, but we’re playing Metallica, Bob Marley, the Stones.” …

An interview with Michelle Williams in which she addressed her breakup with Heath Ledger, who died from an accidental drug overdose late last month, has just been published. “Obviously so much has changed for me in the last few months that I don’t really have an idea of what my life is going to be,” Williams told the U.K.’s Wonderland Magazine for what is said to be her last interview before the actor’s death. “I thought I knew certain things and it turned out that I didn’t, so I don’t really try and anticipate so much anymore. I’m not making any bets on the future.” …

Chris Rock has been confirmed to appear the 2008 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, taking place June 12-15 in Manchester, Tennessee. He’s just one of more than a dozen comedians set to perform at the fest — a list that also includes David Cross and Janeane Garofolo — but he’s the only one that’ll do his work from Bonnaroo’s main stage (the same stage Kanye West, Pearl Jam and Metallica will appear on) in front of 80,000 somewhat-dazed-and-confused festival-goers. …

Madonna premiered her directorial debut Wednesday at the Berlin Film Festival, but she said the flick didn’t come without a “struggle.” Madge and members of the “Filth and Wisdom” cast also held a press conference, during which she said, “One of the themes that I explore in the film is struggle, and if I look back to the beginning of my career, I can recall those moments of struggle like it was yesterday. There are aspects of [the characters'] struggle that I could relate to completely, and I could access that memory and put it into the story.” …

Moby is building anticipation for his upcoming album, Last Night, with an exclusive downloadable preview mix at RCRDLBL.com. Last Night, meanwhile, is due April 1. … As it turns out, Moby has something in common with Norah Jones, Lou Reed, David Byrne and Scissor Sisters: a mutual distaste for the Iraq war. The musicians will come together March 18 — the fifth anniversary of the Iraq invasion — in New York for “Speak Up!: A Benefit Concert for Peace in Iraq & Justice at Home.” The event will take place at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. …

Broken Social Scene have lumped more dates onto their upcoming world tour, Pitchfork reports. In addition to Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore, the band will also hit Taiwan, Mexico, Turkey, Luxembourg, Russia, the U.K., France, and the U.S. … Battles are gearing up for some road action too: The band, adored by indie-philes, will play Bonnaroo June 12, after which it will swing through Washington, D.C., two days later, and then Philadelphia the day after that. … Kristin Hersh, Cornershop‘s Anthony Saffery, Dirty VegasSteve Smith and others have concocted heartfelt covers of songs made famous by Joe Cocker, Bill Withers and others in time for Valentine’s Day. Expansion Team Records just released Souvenirs, which contains the tracks, in CD and digital form. …

Clear Channel Broadcasting — the media giant that owns the radio station that promoted the fatal Great White show in 2003 at the Station club in West Warwick, Rhode Island — agreed Wednesday to pay $22 million for more than 100 claims stemming from the fire that claimed 100 lives. According to The Boston Globe, the settlement is linked to Clear Channel’s WHJY-FM, which ran ads for the show, where station DJ Michael Gonsalves was killed after introducing the band onstage. “We continue to be deeply saddened by the tremendous harm suffered by the victims, their families and the community as a result of this tragic fire,” Andy Levin, chief legal officer of Clear Channel Communications, said in a written statement. “While Clear Channel had no role in causing or contributing to this fire, we are pleased to resolve these claims and, hopefully, contribute in some way to a sense of resolution for the affected victims and their families.” The settlement comes on the heels of a $30 million tentative agreement reached three weeks ago with Rhode Island TV station WPRI-TV, whose photographer was accused of standing in the way of patrons attempting to escape the burning building. …

Three people were arrested at Sunday’s Grammy Awards on suspicion of using stolen passes to get access to the show. According to The Associated Press, Sebastian Bonner, 20, was arrested after he tried to enter the event at Los Angeles’ Staples Center using one of nine stolen all-access passes. Courtney Mitchell, 30, and Pamela Clay, 44, were found with someone else’s event ID card and arrested on suspicion of receiving stolen property. Police believe the motive was a desire to see celebrities. “We eliminated that this wasn’t something more serious than some people who wanted to see the Grammys who are star-struck,” Commander Andrew Smith said. Police believe someone on the inside sold the IDs to friends and acquaintances. … On Tuesday, Oklahoma State University forwarded a list of 11 student names to the Recording Industry Association of America, in compliance with a court order in the RIAA lawsuit accusing the students of unlawfully downloading copyrighted recordings using school servers. The students had filed a motion to quash their subpoenas, but the judge denied it and ordered the school to turn over their names. Wired.com reported that the move by OSU was the latest incidence of a university complying with the RIAA’s newest tactic in combating illegal file-sharing.

2.13.08

There is only one Queen of Soul, and you don’t want to mess with her. Aretha Franklin, who has held that title for decades, lashed out at Beyoncé on Tuesday after the young singer introduced Tina Turner as “the queen” at Sunday’s Grammy Awards. According to an Associated Press report, Franklin released a statement in which she said, “I am not sure of whose toes I may have stepped on or whose ego I may have bruised between the Grammy writers and Beyoncé. … However, I dismissed it as a cheap shot for controversy.” In her intro to Turner’s set, Knowles mentioned Franklin among a list of legendary female singers, then tagged Turner as the “one legend who has the essence of all of those things: the glamour, the soul, the passion, the strength, the talent. … Ladies and gentlemen, stand on your feet and give it up for the queen.” Showing her feelings were not that hurt, the missive from Franklin ended with a thank you to the Grammys and “love to Beyoncé anyway.” …

A day after coming under fire from Consumer Reports for being shown not wearing their seat belts in the new Hannah Montana flick, Billy Ray Cyrus has admitted that he and his daughter Miley were in the wrong. “We got caught up in the moment of filming, and we made a mistake and forgot to buckle our seatbelts,” he told People in regards to the new 3-D movie “Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert.” “Seat-belt safety is extremely important,” he added. … As for Miley, tune in for a chat with the starlet after the Academy Awards on February 24. Along with nominee Ellen Page, Harrison Ford and others, Cyrus will be part of the 27th annual Oscar edition of “The Barbara Walters Special,” airing at 7 p.m. on ABC. …

Lil Wayne has been indicted by a grand jury on felony drug and weapons charges in connection with his arrest on January 22 near Yuma, Arizona. According to his lawyer, James Tilson, Wayne (born Dwayne Michael Carter Jr.) was in court Friday and pleaded not guilty to possession of a narcotic drug for sale, possession of dangerous drugs, possession of drug paraphernalia and misconduct involving weapons. Tilson said the rapper will remain free on bond as the case proceeds, and that he is “still free to travel and perform, and there are no changes in the conditions of his release.” Wayne, 25, is due back in court on March 7 for a status hearing. …

Snoop Dogg, Ciara, Doug E. Fresh, Jim Jones and others will be recognized at this year’s Action Awards for their community-service efforts. The fifth annual fundraising dinner ceremony, put on by Russell Simmons‘ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network, will take place February 25 at Capitale in New York. … Add the Rothbury Festival to the list of new American fests launching this summer. The three-day affair at the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan, will take place over Independence Day weekend (July 3-6) and feature sets from Snoop, John Mayer, the Dave Matthews Band, Modest Mouse, the Mars Volta, Colbie Caillat, the Black Keys, Of Montreal, Widespread Panic, Beth Orton, Gogol Bordello, Phil Lesh & Friends and 311. The festival will have an environmental bent, including a panel discussion on climate issues and an energy fair. … The Eagles have hopped onboard the Stagecoach Country Music Festival, set for May 2-4 in Indio, California. …

Does Britney Spears want her kids back ? Her first ex-husband, Jason Alexander, claims the singer told him no. “She wants to see them, but she doesn’t want to be a full-time mom,” Alexander told In Touch Weekly, claiming that he and Britney got back in touch in the last few weeks. “I got a … a voice mail … that says, ‘Hey! It’s me. I know we haven’t spoken in a while.’ It was Britney. She said she’d call me back, and we’ve been speaking ever since.” … Meanwhile, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is hoping to get Jamie and Lynne Spears to get Brit to cut back on dairy and meat, which the animal-rights organization claims could have a connection to her mental disorder. In a letter to the pop star’s parents, PETA claimed bipolar patients worsen their condition if they ingest ice cream and other milk products. A PETA rep told MTV News that the group has yet to hear back from Spears’ parents. …

Here’s an APB for all the Police fans out there: The recently reunited band will retire for good after one more North American tour, according to Billboard.com. Sting and the gang will play roughly 30 shows across the continent in May and July, as well as gigs in Europe in June, but that’ll be it. Elvis Costello & the Imposters will open the North American shows, which start May 1 in Ottawa and end the first week in August. Billboard.com reports that the tour will gross in the $340 million range, making it one of the five top-grossing tours ever. … With Stone Temple Pilots, Led Zeppelin and Rage Against the Machine also doing the whole reunion thing … and could a Pavement reunion be on the way too? Well, frontman Stephen Malkmus told NME that, while the idea was an “interesting” one, he doesn’t see it happening anytime soon — he’s busy with his new band, the Jicks. But he isn’t ruling it out entirely. “We’re on fine terms, we don’t have any plans to [re-form] yet,” he told the magazine. “We haven’t talked about sincerely doing that. I’m 1,000 percent committed to the people I’m working with now. I would never cheat on them and go and do Pavement, it’s not [in] the cards. But who knows? Maybe it would be a good thing to do, maybe it’ll feel right one day. I don’t really ever think about it, except when I do interviews.” …

DJ Khaled is launching an exclusive partnership between his We the Best Music label, and Def Jam. Ace will put out the first release under the new deal, although the title and release date have yet to be determined. “We the Best Music/ Def Jam … get ready for history!!!” Khaled said in a statement. … The Bravery have put together quite the scheme to hype their March 18 release, The Sun and the Moon Complete. Starting Tuesday, the synth-rockers will dish up a song from the disc each week for the next month on iTunes, and the first offering will be a reworked version of “Believe.” The March release is a two-disc set — the first one, titled The Sun, is the 12-song album the band issued in May; the second disc, The Moon, is the reimagined version of the release. …

As if Barack Obama didn’t have enough support from musicians already, the senator is earning some ancillary support from TV on the Radio amigos Dragons of Zynth. The electro-psychedelic band will try to rouse more love for the Democratic presidential candidate with an “Obamathon” in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, which is Valentine’s Day. … After initially being hit with a cease and desist from Radiohead for his unauthorized eight-track remix of songs from the band’s In Rainbows, Oakland, California, DJ/producer Amplive has been given the go-ahead to release the free album. Rainydayz Remixes features verses from Too Short, Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and Del Tha Funkee Homosapien. …

Mel Gibson can finally put his infamous DUI arrest behind him. According to TMZ, a judge on Wednesday (February 13) said there is no need for future progress reports on the actor, who was busted in July 2006. He still has 18 months of probation but has completed the requirements of his plea deal.