Bosstones, Deftones Tapped For Benefit

Perry Farrell and Natalie Merchant also among top artists tentatively set for multi-city, radio-broadcast, human-rights event.

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Rage Against the Machine, Natalie Merchant, Perry Farrell and the Deftones are among the artists on tap to perform as part of a cross-country, radio-broadcast benefit next month to raise funds for the grass-roots Human Rights Action Center, according to the project's mastermind, Jason Rothberg.

"We are organizing a nationwide radio-simulcast from no less than nine cities across the United States," 28-year-old Rothberg of Lion's Pride Productions said Thursday (Nov. 12). "Every show will be spectacular in itself."

Rothberg said that the multi-city affair will feature those tentatively scheduled artists and more playing at clubs across the country on the nights of Dec. 9 and 10. The event will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as established in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

Jack Healey -- former leader of the human-rights organization Amnesty International -- is now executive director of the Human Rights Action Center and will co-host the benefit with Joe Strummer, former frontman of the pioneering punk-band the Clash, Rothberg said.

Healey previously has led a campaign suggesting that the U.S. government print the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on all U.S. passports.

An event geared to that ongoing campaign will be held in Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of Dec. 10, in conjunction with the concerts.

Beyond raising money, the multi-city radio event will honor Eleanor Roosevelt, the activist and wife of former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who represented the U.S. in the U.N. General Assembly from 1949-52.

Additionally, it will support the controversial cause of Mumia Abu Jamal, a black radio-journalist who has been on death row for 15 years for a conviction related to the murder of a police officer; his supporters say he wrongly was convicted.

Los Angeles-based rockers Rage Against the Machine -- known for such politically charged songs as "Freedom" (RealAudio excerpt) -- are not yet officially confirmed to perform. However, Rothberg said the tentative plan is for the band to perform with folksters the Indigo Girls at New York's MeadowLands.

Artists will perform in cities across the U.S., with neo-ska-rockers the Bosstones confirmed for their hometown, Boston. As the schedule currently stands, former 10,000 Maniacs singer and current solo-artist Merchant is set to perform in Hartford, Conn.

Meanwhile, Jane's Addiction and Porno for Pyros frontman Farrell is slated to perform with several DJs and musicians in Venice, Calif.

Tim Armstrong from the San Francisco Bay Area punk-band Rancid is scheduled to call in from San Jose, Calif., to converse with Strummer on the air, while jazz-composer/trumpeter Wynton Marsalis is expected to perform from the steps of the United Nations Building in New York.

On Dec. 9, the night before the cross-country celebration, the label and production company of mega-producer and rapper Sean "Puffy" Combs will sponsor a pre-show event in Manhattan, N.Y., with guests to be announced.

Combs will be in the Caribbean at the time but is expected to do a live call-in, Rothberg said.

While nothing is set completely at this point, Steve Strauss, the event's executive producer, said he anticipates the concert "growing exponentially" after several of the multi-platinum acts have officially signed on.

The two-night extravaganza is unrelated to a similar event to be held in Paris on Dec. 10.

That show, also honoring the 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration, will feature Brit-rock band Radiohead, singer/songwriter Alanis Morissette, world-music maven Peter Gabriel and modern-folkie Tracy Chapman.