Almost a decade after the unsolved murder of Notorious B.I.G. the Los Angeles City Council voted on Friday to reinstate a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whomever was responsible for his drive-by-shooting death. According to KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, the move came as a judge prepares to hear arguments scheduled for February 27 in a wrongful-death civil case brought by B.I.G.'s family against the city that claims rogue LAPD officers were involved in the killing. ...

Guns N' Roses have postponed five dates on their U.S. tour — shows originally booked for September 27 through October 5 — according to Ticketmaster. Four of those five have been rescheduled: The band will be playing Fresno, California, on December 13 instead of Wednesday; Bakersfield, California, on January 11 instead of Friday. Saturday's show set for Reno, Nevada, has been bumped to January 13, and the Sacramento, California, gig scheduled for October 2 will now take place January 10. The band's October 5 performance in San Diego has not been rescheduled yet. Guns N' Roses have booked two additional tour stops, with shows set for the Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk in Universal City, California, on December 17 and December 19. ... Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler told "Access Hollywood" on Monday that for three years he's secretly been battling Hepatitis C, a viral infection of the blood that can lead to chronic liver disease. After a year of interferon treatments, which "about killed me," Tyler said, the infection is now nonexistent in his bloodstream. ...

Nine Inch Nails will be releasing a high-definition live DVD early next year titled "Nine Inch Nails Live: Beside You in Time." A teaser for the effort has been posted to the band's Web site. The DVD will feature live footage captured during Nine Inch Nails' 2006 trek. ... Boost Mobile had something for everyone when they rewarded their volunteering fans with a concert Saturday in New York. The Rock Corps concert at Radio City Music Hall featured big names like T.I., Taking Back Sunday, Young Jeezy, Nelly and Panic! at the Disco. Nas was a special guest performer with his wife Kelis, and Paul Wall made a surprise visit onstage with Nelly. After the show, T.I. had a birthday party at the Maritime Hotel in Manhattan. Jeezy, Maino, B.G. and Zab Judah all showed up to wish Tip a happy 26th. ...

Backpackers rejoice! First underground-rap stalwarts Talib Kweli and Mos Def announced that they'll each release new material this fall, and now their frequent collaborator Hi-Tek is set to drop his sophomore album, Hi-Teknology 2, October 17 on Babygrande Records. The sequel to his 2001 debut will feature tracks with Nas, Busta Rhymes and the Game, as well as Hi-Tek's former Rawkus labelmates, Mos and Kweli. Hi-Tek, who has a production deal with Dr. Dre's Aftermath Entertainment, will produce the entire project himself. ... In addition to the band's previously announced tour dates, which were set to run through November 26 in San Francisco, the reunited surviving members of Alice in Chains announced over the weekend that they'll be playing the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles on November 27. The band's Web site will offer a presale for the concert on Thursday. ...

Mario made an appearance at Fergie's album-release party on Thursday and talked a bit about his own upcoming LP, Mario Barrett - Effortless, due November 28. "The album is very important to me," he told MTV News. "It's a very intense album, really passionate and much more upbeat than my last project. My personality gets shown a lot in this project, in terms of the song titles, and in terms of the subject matter that I am talking about." ... Lacuna Coil have been added to Glen Danzig's forthcoming Blackest of the Black tour, scheduled to kick off with a string of West Coast shows in November — no official dates have been released yet. Danzig will serve as the tour's headliner, and Marduk will also be on the bill, which is still being finalized. ...

The Pogues, who reissued several albums last week, are coming to the West Coast for the first time with the original lineup in 15 years. The trek begins October 9 through 12 in San Francisco and ends October 18 through 20 in Los Angeles. ... Our Lady Peace have set a November 21 release date for their greatest-hits collection, A Decade. The album will also feature two previously unreleased songs from the band's 2005 Healthy in Paranoid Times sessions. ...

Looks like Elijah Wood has interesting taste in music. The first act signed to "The Lord of the Rings" star's Simian Records is modern psychedelic popsters the Apples in Stereo. On February 7, the band will release its first album in five years together, New Magnetic Wonder, which features 14 new songs and 12 musical interludes, as well as contributions from reclusive Neutral Milk Hotel leader Jeff Mangum, who is credited with adding drums, backing vocals, handclaps and "cow object." Apparently Apples leader Robert Schneider has been busy during the layoff, inventing a new music scale he calls the "Non-Pythagorean Scale," which will be explored on an enhanced portion of the CD that includes a video explanation of the scale by Schneider and digital MIDI files that can be manipulated by users. ... That didn't last long. Just a week after he proposed to former Playboy Playmate Kari Ann Peniche onstage in Las Vegas, Aaron Carter has changed his mind about marrying older brother Nick's ex. Us Weekly reported Sunday that Carter, 18, told the magazine, "I got caught up in the moment and proposed. I then realized it was a hasty thing to do and I am not ready for marriage quite yet." The Carter family is the subject of a reality series on E! Entertainment Television that debuts next week. ...

Twenty years after they first hit the U.S. charts with "West End Girls," Pet Shop Boys are launching a 22-date tour in support of their latest album, Fundamental and the best-of collection, PopArt, due October 3. The run kicks off October 10 in Montreal and hits cities including Boston, New York, Atlanta, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles before wrapping up with a November 16 show in Monterrey, Mexico. Pet Shop Boys' book retrospective "Catalogue," featuring photos spanning the duo's 20-year career, is due next month. ... Straylight Run will preview new material from their just-finished second album (due in the spring) on a fall tour kicking off November 1 in New Haven, Connecticut. The trek, which will also feature Kevin Devine, Matt Pond PA and Street to Nowhere, wraps up December 5 in Philadelphia. ...

Cat Stevens, the 1970s folk singer who converted to Islam and changed his name to Yusuf Islam in 1977, weighed in Sunday on the controversy surrounding recent comments by Pope Benedict XVI about Islam. According to a report, in an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation, former Catholic-schoolboy Islam said that, "At one point, I used to believe that the pope was infallible." But now, said Islam, the pope, "should have looked elsewhere if he wanted to quote but we respect the pope and his position." The singer was reacting to a recent speech in Germany, in which the pope quoted the words of a Byzantine emperor that characterized some of the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman." Islam is slated to release his first pop album in 28 years this November. ...

Musician Danny Flores, who played saxophone and shouted "tequila" in the 1958 Champs hit "Tequila!" died Tuesday in Huntington Beach, California, from complications of pneumonia, The Associated Press reports. He was 77. Flores' wife Sharee said her husband was pleased when a new generation of fans latched on to the song after it was featured in 1985's "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure." "I can honestly tell you he never got tired of playing that song," she told the AP. ... Influential blues guitarist Etta Baker died Saturday in Fairfax, Virginia, the AP reports. She was 93. Baker, a North Carolina native who influenced the folk revival with her 1956 recordings of "Railroad Bill" and "One-Dime Blues," balanced music with a day job for 26 years and finally quit the textile mill at age 60 to pursue music full time. She toured into her 80s, and recently focused on banjo playing when the guitar proved to taxing to her strength. A banjo collection from Baker is due next year, and she is also featured on guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd's upcoming album, due in November. "Like B.B. King and single-string blues, anybody who has picked up acoustic finger-style guitar has been influenced by Etta whether they know it or not," friend and colleague Tim Duffy said.

09.22.2006

Christina Aguilera has some advice for fans: "Never believe everything you read or see or hear." The singer shared that pearl of wisdom in Jane magazine's October issue, on newsstands Tuesday — and added, "Which I'm sure you are not going to want to print." They did print it, along with Aguilera's thoughts on documenting her life with Jordan Bratman for television: "My marriage is sacred to me, and I feel that they would exploit it." But while reality TV doesn't appeal to the singer, acting does. "I'm going to read scripts while I'm on the road working this record," she said. "I think so many people who start off as musicians and cross over just end up playing themselves. To me, that's not a challenge whatsoever. I want to quote-unquote act." ...

Last month, Hilary Duff predicted that she'd be done with her forthcoming album by mid-September. But when she was in New York last week to launch her new perfume With Love at Macy's, the singer admitted that she hadn't met her deadline. "Is it mid-September already?" she said. "It's probably going to be a bit longer. We've done a lot — I would say we're a little more than halfway finished, but I'm not done." Though Duff's record label had said the yet-untitled album would still come out November 21 as originally planned, the singer is in fact getting a little more breathing room — the label confirmed Friday (September 22) that it's pushing back Duff's next LP until December 5. ...

As NBC weighs whether to air the mock crucifixion in an upcoming Madonna concert special scheduled for November, the singer spoke out Thursday to defend the controversial element of her Confessions world tour. In a statement, Madonna said that the bit — which has been criticized by the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church — is not "anti-Christian, sacrilegious or blasphemous," but a plea for "mankind to help one another and to see the world as a unified whole. I believe in my heart that if Jesus were alive today he would be doing the same thing." She added that the intent of the staged crucifixion — which ends with a quote from the Bible's Book of Matthew about taking care of the hungry and sick — is to bring attention to the plight of impoverished children in Africa. ...

It doesn't seem to be too hard out here these days for Three 6 Mafia. MTV announced this week that it's partnering with the Oscar-winning rappers for "Adventures in Hollywood," a comedic reality series that will follow them as they try to make headway in Tinsel Town. The show will trail remaining members DJ Paul and Juicy J as they relocate from their Memphis hometown to Los Angeles along with their entourage, including artist and protégé Project Pat. ...

Fergie talks health in Shape magazine's October issue, and sings the praises of one food that's dear to her heart: pizza. The Black Eyed Peas singer, who said she hikes with boyfriend Josh Duhamel to stay in shape, has two takes on the cheese-topped treat, naming "pizza dipped in ranch or blue-cheese dressing" as her favorite food splurge and "a bagel with cottage cheese and tomatoes" as her #1 breakfast. "I heat it up, so the cheese melts a bit like a pizza." ... Reports that Michael Jackson plans to open a leprechaun theme park in Ireland are not true, according to the singer's spokesperson. Jackson's camp dismissed the Irish Daily Mirror story, which quoted a source that claimed the singer planned to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in the plan because he "loves the whole idea of leprechauns and the magic and the myths of Ireland," as "erroneous and ridiculous." ...

Perhaps smarting from the commercial beat-down they suffered with this year's Lights and Sounds, Yellowcard have been writing new songs and are preparing to enter the studio this winter to begin work on a new album. According to their label, Capitol Records, there is no word on just who will produce the new album, but Yellowcard hope to have it in stores by mid-2007. ... Tommy Lee makes a cameo in Jack's Mannequin's video for "Dark Blue," directed by Brett Simon (the Killers, New Found Glory). The 1950s-set clip is inspired by the dance-contest movie "They Shoot Horses, Don't They?" Lee played drums on the album, the side project from Something Corporate singer Andrew McMahon. ... Dancehall reggae singer Buju Banton is facing his latest ban in the U.S. over violent lyrics about gays and lesbians. The Los Angeles Times reports that e-mail complaints and concerned callers prompted the manager of the Highland nightclub in Hollywood to research Banton's past and cancel the singer's show scheduled for October 2. ...

A seventh-grade teacher in Kentucky's Jefferson County school district will not be arrested for burning two American flags in class, Louisville newspaper The Courier-Journal reports. Still, Dan Holden — who was removed from the classroom after giving his lesson on free speech — will not go back to teaching until the district decides whether or not he violated school rules. He has since been assigned to perform noninstructional duties. The Louisville Fire & Rescue arson squad said in a report that Holden had left the students with the flags ablaze as he went to get water to put out the flames, but authorities said criminal charges are not warranted. ...

Alice Cooper will be joining the Rolling Stones for three guest appearances as part of his annual Halloween Tour, which kicks off Saturday in Halifax, Nova Scotia — where the legendary rockers will be joined by Kanye West and local favorites Sloan. Cooper and the Rolling Stones will also join forces at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, September 29. He will then hit cities including Nashville, Cleveland and New York without the Stones, before joining the band one last time to inaugurate the new Cardinals Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and close out his tour. ... The Rolling Stones, who launched their tour Wednesday, have added a November 22 show in Honolulu, Hawaii, to their schedule. ... Original Bad Company bassist and King Crimson member Raymond "Boz" Burrell died Thursday at his home in Spain, according to a statement released by Led Zeppelin's Swan Song Records, which put out Bad Company's first six studio LPs. The cause of Burrell's death was not given. He was 60 years old. ...

Plenty of artists have used the Old Testament as inspiration for their music, but an upcoming album called 10 Plagues (due November 7) takes a new approach. The 10-track compilation collects songs by a diverse group of artists — including Rufus Wainwright, Brian Eno, Stephin Merritt (Magnetic Fields), Laurie Anderson, Imogen Heap and Cody Chesnutt — who each take on one of the plagues associated with the Passover story of the Jews' exodus from Egypt. Song titles include "Blood," "The Meaning of Lice," "Flies," "Boils," "Hailstones," "Darkness" and "Katonah (Death of the Firstborn)." ... Joseph Arthur, a singer/songwriter known for using looping techniques in his live solo show, is touring with a band for the first time in his career. Arthur's trek begins Monday in Philadelphia and ends November 3 in Brooklyn, New York. ...

Fresh off a stint opening for Madonna in Europe, electronic-music hero Oakenfold is heading back to the U.S. for a string of club dates in support of his new single, "Sex 'N' Money," which features Pharrell. Oakenfold's run starts Friday in San Diego and winds down October 14 in Miami Beach, Florida. ... Stephanie McKay — a Bronx, New York, singer who has worked with Tricky, Mos Def and Kelis — will release her Stateside debut, a self-titled EP, on Tuesday. Geoff Barrow of Portishead produced her U.K. debut, which was released in 2003. ... British singer Lily Allen will release her debut album, Alright, Still, in the U.S. on January 30. In the meantime, a four-song digital EP that includes the single "Smile" is out Tuesday.