Rock Beat: Dead Kennedys, Beck, Aerosmith ...

Singer's former Dead Kennedys bandmates prevail in civil case.

A San Francisco jury slammed ex–Dead Kennedys leader Jello Biafra on Friday (May 19), siding with his former bandmates in a Superior Court civil suit. The jury found the singer and owner of Alternative Tentacles Records found liable for fraud, failure to promote the band's albums and breach of fiduciary duty. Damages exceed $100,000, with punitive damages yet to be decided. In a countersuit filed by Biafra, guitarist East Bay Ray was found liable for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty and was ordered to pay Biafra $5,000. ...

Beck will headline this year's This Ain't No Picnic festival July 2 in Irvine, Calif., with an acoustic set. Also on the bill are Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, Yo la Tengo, At the Drive-In, Grandaddy, the Bicycle Thief and others. Tickets go on sale Saturday (May 20). ... Songwriter/producer brothers Fred and Rodney Jerkins (Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez) will produce songs for veteran rockers Aerosmith's follow-up to 1997's Nine Lives. "It's something that we've longed for — we've been calling it out for almost a year now," Fred Jerkins said Tuesday (May 16). "We got a call a few weeks ago. ... It's something that you say, 'How can we take them somewhere they've never been before, and make people appreciate it?' We can't wait." Matchbox Twenty producer Matt Serletic also has signed on to produce songs for the LP. ...

Jury deliberation in the civil trial pitting former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra against his ex-bandmates was set back when a juror dropped out due to a family illness. An alternate juror was selected Thursday (May 18), and a verdict is expected by the end of the week. Biafra is accused of mismanaging the band's back catalog and royalties. ... Former Beck collaborator Joey Waronker, who has drummed regularly with R.E.M. since his contribution to Up (1998), is currently working with the rock band on its new album. "Now the songs are coming to life," he said. "Everyone is geared up and very focused." Waronker, who played on Elliott Smith's Figure 8, also will remix the Eels song "Mr. E's Beautiful Blues." ...

Pearl Jam are considering releasing two-CD live recordings of every show on their upcoming world tour, according to ICE magazine. A band spokesperson would neither confirm nor deny the report. The group has already played a few warm-up shows for its trek, which begins May 23 in Lisbon, Portugal. ... Veteran country-rockers the Eagles are suing the owner of a Dallas eatery named the Hotel California Grill for trademark violations, the Associated Press reports. The band's classic 1976 album, Hotel California, has sold 15 million copies. ... "Phish: Bittersweet Motel," a feature-length film that chronicles the band over a two-year period, will be distributed to theaters this summer. The movie won a Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival. ...

Former Jesus and Mary Chain singer Jim Reid will unveil his new band, Free Heat, at the Digital Club Festival on July 24–25 in New York. The shows will be webcast live. Free Heat, which also features bassist Romi Mori, drummer Nick Sanderson and Mary Chain guitarist Ben Lurie, will play dates in London prior to their Stateside debut. ... Smash Mouth are envisioning "a lot more fun California music, but a little harder" for their follow-up to last year's Astro Lounge, according to guitarist Greg Camp. The band will begin recording the album in Big Sur, Calif., this summer, with an eye toward a November release. ... Rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers, Filter and Fuel and electronica guru Moby will play the daylong Rolling Rock Town Fair music festival Aug. 5 in Latrobe, Pa. The event at Westmoreland Fairgrounds will also will feature rockers Our Lady Peace and Marcy Playground. ...

Busta Rhymes recorded a version of "Iron Man," and Godsmack will cover "Sweet Leaf" on the upcoming Black Sabbath tribute, Nativity in Black II, due June 6. Also contributing songs will be Static-X, Soulfly, Pantera and Primus with Ozzy Osbourne. ... German scientists recently announced results of a study in which users of the drug ecstasy performed worse than both nonusers and marijuana-smokers in tests of memory and general intelligence, Reuters reported. The test group reportedly used the drug, which is popular among ravers and concert-goers, an average of three and a half times a month for about two years. ... Concert giant SFX Entertainment announced that it settled a shareholder lawsuit concerning the company's planned merger with Clear Channel Communications. The deal, expected to go through this fall, would team the largest U.S. concert promoter with its largest radio station conglomerate. ...

Latin metal band Soulfly, recently added to the Tattoo the Earth tour, will be pulling out to do another gig — headlining the second stage at this summer's Ozzfest. They will replace industrial-rockers Ministry, who pulled out of the festival, which begins July 2. ... The 20th annual International Beatle Week festival will be held Aug. 24–29 in Liverpool, England, the legendary band's hometown. More than 30 international bands will perform, including the Quarrymen, who once played with John Lennon, and the Run Devils, a group made up of leaders of various Beatles cover bands.

— sonicnet.com staff report