Hilary Duff and John Cusack are currently shooting a movie in Bulgaria, but the title is still up in the air. Various reports call the film "Brand Hauser" and "Brand Hauser: Stuff Happens," though Hilary herself referred to it as "War Inc." in a recent blog post. Duff described the first week of work as "so cool" and had a lot to say about the local food. "They really love salads!" she wrote. "I like it a lot because, since Bulgaria doesn't use pesticides, their vegetables are super fresh. In America, an apple can last a week because of preservatives and pesticides, but in Bulgaria, after a day or two, it will be old." Duff ended her post by noting, "I have about four more weeks of filming. It's winter and soooo cold here." ...

Mary J. Blige and Aretha Franklin have teamed up for the track "Never Gonna Break My Faith," co-written by Bryan Adams and featured in the trailer for "Bobby." The movie is a dramatization of the events surrounding the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968, and it features Lindsay Lohan, Anthony Hopkins, Elijah Wood and Demi Moore. The "Bobby" soundtrack, which boasts the Blige/Franklin song along with classic tracks from Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Simon & Garfunkel and the Supremes, is due November 21. The film hits theaters in New York and Los Angeles on November 17 and goes nationwide the following week. ...

50 Cent is a laugh riot, the Game insists in the December issue of Stuff, on newsstands this week. "I think 50's talking does more damage than his actual rapping," Game said. "It's always f---ing funny; even when it's about me, I laugh at it. I was listening to a track he did about Puffy, and the actual rap sucks, but then he started talking at the end and it was f---ing hilarious. He should do stand-up comedy." The Game also told the magazine that if he ran into 50, he'd offer his rival a deal with Black Wall Street — "I'll put out his comedy DVD." ... Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado have joined forces with Timbaland for "Give It to Me," a track on the producer's upcoming album. In a post on her Web site, Furtado said the song "rivals 'Promiscuous' in its hotness!" ... Late Pantera guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott will be posthumously honored with his very own star on the Hard Rock Cafe Dallas' Walk of Fame. The ceremony will be held Thursday at 6 p.m. There to accept the honor on Dime's behalf will be his brother, Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, and lifelong partner Rita Haney. Both will present the manager of the Hard Rock Cafe Dallas with the Dean guitar Dime used during Pantera's 101 Proof Tour. The night will be capped with a performance by the Hillbilly Orchestra. ...

We're just 48 days away from Christmas — and 70 from the season premiere of "American Idol." The sixth installment of the talent competition will kick off with a two-night, four-hour special, airing January 16 and 17 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. The season premiere will highlight "Idol" auditions from across the country, with Jewel, Olivia Newton-John and songwriter Carole Bayer Sager joining Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Randy Jackson in deciding which hopefuls go to Hollywood. The regular twice-weekly hour-long audition episodes begin January 23 at 8 p.m. and continue January 24 at 9 p.m. ... Speaking of Jewel, she will host the fifth season of "Nashville Star," beginning in January. The singer also just appeared on "Las Vegas" and has a guest spot in "Men in Trees," airing Friday. ...

Drummer Frank Ferrer (Psychedelic Furs, Love Spit Love) has joined Axl Rose's current incarnation of Guns N' Roses. Ferrer will fill in for ex-Primus drummer Bryan Mantia, who is on personal leave from the band so that he can spend time with his wife and newborn child. Both Ferrer and Mantia are said to be "official" members of the band. Guns N' Roses' current tour runs through January 16 in San Diego. ... The rumors are true: Coheed and Cambria have lost their rhythm section. The band has confirmed that drummer Josh Eppard and bassist Mic Todd have left the fold. They've since been replaced by bassist Matt Williams — who used to play with Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez in the pre-Cambria outfit Jumblehead — and Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Chris Pennie. There's no word yet on whether Pennie's addition will be permanent, but both Pennie and Williams are expected to work with the rest of Coheed on material for the band's forthcoming album. ...

Members of the Wu-Tang Clan, including Raekwon and the GZA, performed over the weekend at New York's B.B. King's Blues Club for the Scion-sponsored King of the Beats producer competition. Busta Rhymes and George Clinton were also in attendance, as celebrity judges Dante Ross, Just Blaze and the Alchemist crowned L.A.'s Beathoven top beatsmith. ... Bad Boy and VP Records announced a joint partnership last week to release dancehall artist Elephant Man's next album in 2007. "[Elephant Man is] one of the greatest entertainers in his genre of music," Diddy said of the "Pon Di River" artist in a statement. "When I saw him at Madison Square Garden ripping down the stage, I knew that he was the one. He will be a great addition to our team." ...

Cameras were rolling during Alice in Chains' Halloween gig in Providence, Rhode Island, last week. There are no official plans for the footage at the moment, but frontman Jerry Cantrell said he'd like to see it compiled into the band's first-ever DVD. No word yet on when a DVD might see the light of day. ... Rancid have lost drummer Brett Reed but already replaced him with ex-Used member Brandon Steineckert. "Brett Reed has decided to leave Rancid and we wish him all the best in his journeys," reads a statement from the band. "We want to welcome Brandon into the Rancid family." Reed had been with Rancid for more than 15 years. ... Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun is recovering from a serious head injury, according to United Press International. Ertegun slipped and hit his head as the Rolling Stones were about to play at former President Bill Clinton's 60th birthday party in New York last week.

11.03.2006

Can't wait for Gwen Stefani to bust out her new single, "Wind It Up," at the American Music Awards on November 21? Hop over to Stefani's site (or YouTube) to check out a different clip of the tune, one that will appear on her December 5 DVD, "Harajuku Lovers Live." Yahoo! Music will unveil the full performance from the DVD on Tuesday. ...

Backstreet's back ... almost. Backstreet Boys fans will have to wait just a little longer before they can get their hands on the band's new CD, according to A.J. McLean. "The boys and I are finishing up the new record, coming out at the top of the year," McLean revealed to MTV News at the Moto 8 party Thursday night in Hollywood. "We're about three-quarters of the way through. We just got new mixes, we're just kind of going through the top eight [songs] we have right now, and getting the mix [done] properly. But everyone's really stoked about it. The songs are great, man." Additionally, McLean has spent the last six months working on another solo record. "It's a lot of personal stuff," McLean explained. "Like, my relationship with my father that I don't really have. There's a song about him called 'Sincerely Yours.' There's a lot of songs on the record that are just me expressing who I am and letting everyone know I am my own person outside of Backstreet Boys." Whether McLean resurrects his Johnny No Name alter ego remains to be seen. ... Busta Rhymes' run-ins with the authorities continue. On Thursday, the rapper was cited for, of all things, talking on his cell phone while driving in New York. He was caught at 7 p.m. as he passed a police station, according to The Associated Press. He has been issued a summons for a moving violation. ... ...

Rapper Beanie Sigel was hospitalized on Wednesday for a stomach ailment that doctors later diagnosed as a double hernia, his manager confirmed. According to Marc Bayer, Sigel felt discomforting pains when he awoke that morning and then decided to visit an undisclosed Philadelphia-area hospital. Medical officials examined Sigel and recognized a bulge against his abdominal wall as a hernia. The rapper is slated to be released from hospital custody on Monday following an ordered weekend of rest. ... Maroon 5, who will be honored Wednesday at the Environmental Media Awards, have recorded a public-service announcement endorsing California's Proposition 87, a $4 billion program aimed at reducing petroleum consumption and giving incentives for research and production of alternative energy. The band also encourages everyone to vote in the midterm elections. ... Russell Simmons has contributed to "Take Your Parents to Vote Day," an animated short film being shown in 25 percent of the nation's schools. New York City Department of Education Chancellor Joel Klein is also in the video. ...

It was Shakira's night at the Latin Grammys on Thursday, where the hip-shaking singer won four awards, including Album of the Year for Fijación Oral Vol. 1; Song of the Year and Record of the Year for "La Tortura"; and Best Female Pop Vocal Album. The Colombian singer, who gave one of her patented sultry performances during the telecast with "La Tortura," also took the opportunity to speak out in support of illegal immigrants working in the U.S., saying, "I hope soon they will receive the recognition they deserve from the government." Several other artists also commented on the immigration issue during the broadcast. Shakira almost went five-for-five but lost out in the best-video category to Puerto Rican reggaetón group Calle 13, who also won Best New Artist and Best Urban Album. The Latin Recording Academy also honored Ricky Martin with its Person of the Year award. ... Miami production team Cool & Dre have partnered with upstart indie label Skeleton Key Entertainment to release their new artist Joe Hound through the duo's Epidemic Music imprint. ...

Jay-Z will be the in-studio guest Friday (November 3) on "The All Out Show" with Rude Jude and Lord Sear, broadcast on Sirius Satellite Radio's Shade 45 — the station managed by Eminem. Jay will address the recent beef with Dip Set's Jim Jones and Cam'ron, criticisms from DMX and the failure of LL Cool J's latest album on Def Jam. He'll also discuss the challenge of being president of Def Jam, coming out of retirement, boycotting Cristal champagne and — of course — his upcoming album, Kingdom Come. ... 30 Seconds to Mars, the Used, Senses Fail, Aiden, Saosin and Chiodos have been tapped to appear on the third annual Taste of Chaos Tour. According to Chaos (and Warped Tour) founder Kevin Lyman, the trek is scheduled to kick off on February 15 in Seattle. ... Sorry, ladies: It turns out Doogie Howser is gay. Amid recent rumors, Neil Patrick Harris confirmed his sexual orientation to People magazine. "Rather than ignore those who choose to publish their opinions without actually talking to me, I am happy to dispel any rumors or misconceptions and am quite proud to say that I am a very content gay man living my life to the fullest and feel most fortunate to be working with wonderful people in the business I love," the actor said in a statement. ...

Victory Records filed suit against Virgin Records and parent company EMI Music in Chicago federal court on Thursday, claiming that the company tried to lure away one of its bands, Hawthorne Heights. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the suit charges Virgin and EMI with tortious interference with contractual relations and seeks a minimum of $10 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages over allegations that Virgin signed HH while the group was still under obligation to Victory. HH sued Victory in August in an attempt to get out of its contract with the Chicago indie label — which the bandmembers claimed had mistreated them — but a judge ruled last month that the group was still under obligation to Victory. ... In more upbeat Victory news, the label is teaming with a company called Textango to make its catalog available for purchase through text messaging. The service allows for those without credit cards to purchase music digitally, since the charges appear on their cell phone bills. ...

Maybe seven is Flavor Flav's lucky number. The reality-TV star and Public Enemy hype man is expecting his seventh child, though not by "Flavor of Love" winner Deelishis, who the 47-year-old rapper is currently dating. AP reports that Flav's manager confirmed the impending January birth and said the child was conceived with a former girlfriend of Flav's, who he began seeing again after things didn't work out with the winner of the first season of "Flavor of Love," Nicole "Hoopz" Alexander. Deelishis (born London Charles) is reportedly standing by her man. ... As he promised on "Rock Star: Supernova," host Dave Navarro has recorded guitar parts for "Ladylike," the first single from finalist Storm Large's debut album, due in the spring. The single is currently available via iTunes. ... Electronic-music wizards BT and Thomas Dolby are teaming for a tour beginning Monday in Anaheim, California. Both artists will perform their shows accompanied by high-definition film presentations, with digital sound mixed in 5.1.