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For The Record: Quick News On Johnnie Cochran, Usher, Radiohead, Coldplay, Mischa Barton, Good Charlotte & More

Famed O.J. lawyer dies, Usher keeping it in wax, Radiohead debut new material.

Attorney Johnnie Cochran, who rose to fame defending O.J. Simpson, died Tuesday (March 29) from a brain tumor, the Los Angeles Times reports. He was 67. Though he built his career fighting police misconduct, Cochran eventually became one of the most sought-after celebrity lawyers, helping P. Diddy fight charges stemming from a 1999 nightclub shooting, defending Snoop Dogg against murder charges in 1995 and representing Tupac Shakur in a 1993 sexual-assault case. ...

Usher is keeping it on, er, in wax. Visitors to New York's Madame Tussaud's have already been able to audition for a virtually snarky Simon Cowell and hear Beyoncé's wax figure encouraging them to shake their jelly as her backup dancer. Now Usher fans will be singing "Yeah!" at an interactive exhibit focused on the abs-master, whose likeness -- dressed in an immaculate white shirt, jacket, baseball cap and signature "U" chain -- invites guests into the exhibit, which looks like a music studio. As visitors pass through the multi-colored light beams, the sound system reacts by triggering different clips from the singer's songs. ...

When erudite, experimental rockers Radiohead want to debut new material, they make sure to do it in the most erudite, experimental way possible. Witness the events that transpired at this weekend's Ether festival at London's Royal Festival Hall, where Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke and guitarist Jonny Greenwood performed brand new compositions with the experimental London Sinfonietta orchestra. According to London's The Guardian, Yorke added vocals to the new tune "Arpeggi," and the full orchestra also performed two songs written by Greenwood: "Smear" and "Piano for Children." The Radiohead B-side "Where Bluebirds Fly" was also performed. ... Believe it or not, there actually will be an HFStival this year, despite there not actually being a WHFS anymore. In January, the long-running Washington, D.C., rock station changed formats, leaving the future of the HFStival -- a summertime tradition for more than a decade -- up in the air. But less than a month later, WHFS' sister station Live 105.7 began broadcasting WHFS on nights and weekends, and now it looks like it'll also be presenting the festival this year, scheduled for May 14 at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium. Confirmed acts include Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Good Charlotte, Sum 41 and Interpol. Tickets go on sale Saturday through Ticketmaster. ...

Courtney Love wrapped work in 2000 on the drama "Julie Johnson," which was a hit at Sundance in 2001, but it took this long for the film to find a home -- it's now slated to premiere on June 1 on the gay network Here! (available via DIRECTV and DISH Network, and on cable in major markets). In the flick, Love plays Claire, who becomes more than friends with Lili Taylor. Taylor portrays the titular character, a desperate New Jersey housewife on a quest to revamp her life ("The OC" 's Mischa Barton plays Taylor's daughter Lisa). ([article id="1499223"]Click for "Julie Johnson" photos.[/article]) Liz Phair contributed four songs to the soundtrack. ... Bronson Pinchot, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth from "The Apprentice" and Pepa from rap duo Salt-N-Pepa are about to become roomies -- they're among the new castmembers for the next installment of VH1's "The Surreal Life." These housemates for the fifth season will share quarters in a Hollywood mansion with former supermodel and "America's Next Top Model" judge Janice Dickinson, baseball slugger Jose Canseco, U.K. model Caprice and motocross madman (and sometime Pink boy toy) Carey Hart. The new season starts September 4. ...

Former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus will be hitting six cities over 30 days starting June 5 in Philadelphia as part of what could barely be called a tour in support of his latest record, Face the Truth. Malkmus will hit New York on June 7, Cleveland on June 9, Detroit on June 10, Minneapolis on June 12, Los Angeles on June 14, and then take the next 20 days off before performing at New York's Battery Park with Yo La Tengo on July 4. ... Iconic British mope rockers the Smiths will serve as the subject of an academic symposium to be held at Manchester Metropolitan University in the U.K. on April 8 and 9, according to the BBC. The seminar, called "Why Pamper Life's Complexities," will consider the band's cultural, social, political and musical impact, as well as the influence of frontman Morrissey's lyrics on gender, sexuality, race, nationality and the imagination of class. ...

New Order will be playing four U.S. gigs in late April and early May, just prior to returning to Europe for a string of festival appearances, according to the band's Web site. On April 29, they'll perform in Oakland, California, with the Chemical Brothers before taking the Coachella stage on May 1 in Indio, California. On May 3, the band stops in Chicago for a performance, then heads to New York for a show May 5. ... Paul Westerberg is releasing his first solo-career retrospective, Besterberg: The Best of Paul Westerberg, out May 17. The former Replacements frontman is including 20 songs from his solo albums, tracks from movies, unreleased tunes, outtakes and B-sides. The liner notes will include a track-by-track commentary. ...

03.28.2005

Madonna and husband Guy Ritchie were spotted on the streets of London Thursday night dressed as a nun and the pope for a kabbalah party to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Purim, which commemorates the day Queen Esther saved the Jewish people living in ancient Persia from extermination. "Yes, she was dressed as a nun and Guy was dressed as the pope," Madonna's publicist, Liz Rosenberg, said. "Some Catholic groups are saying stuff, but Purim is a joyous holiday occasion. Madonna and Guy had a great time drinking and dancing. It's funny, because she said that she was happy that the pictures of her are out there because her father would be so proud. She said that when she was a girl she wanted to be a nun and she guesses that she's still a nun at heart." ...

Forget Xzibit, P. Diddy now wants to pimp your ride. The hip-hop mogul is extending his Sean John brand into the automobile industry with a new line of custom-designed aluminum rims dubbed "Sean John Wheels," according to The Associated Press. The rims, which are expected to retail for $700-$3,000 each, will hit stores next month. ... The bulk of her legal struggles behind her, Courtney Love may be back to making whoopee again, at least on film. The singer is in the running to play "Deep Throat" star Linda Lovelace in an upcoming biopic named after the infamous adult-film actress, according to Daily Variety. ...

The White Stripes' still-untitled follow-up to 2003's Elephant is due June 14, V2 Records has announced. ... If you can't wait to hear Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee's upcoming star-studded solo album, Tommyland: The Ride (August), just wait until you hear what the tattooed rocker has in mind for an encore. "My next album is going to be an all-dance record," he said. "I've been DJing a lot lately and I want to make one just for the club kids. I've been recording beats and I'm going to work on it after the Mötley tour." ...

Despite being one of the most celebrated acts of the college-rock era (or perhaps because of that), Dinosaur Jr. never performed on national television. But now that the band has re-formed with its original lineup -- frontman J Mascis, bassist Lou Barlow and drummer Murph -- to play a couple of overseas summer festivals, it's also going to make the leap to living rooms across the country when it performs on "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson" on April 15. The following night, J Mascis + the Fog, plus, as a press release puts it, "VERY special guests," will take the stage at Los Angeles rock club Spaceland. ... Between the time he spends with girlfriend Parker Posey, not combing his hair or recording his new album, Cold Roses, you'd think Ryan Adams would like to savor what little free time he has. But that's not the case. Because according to a post on Ryan-Adams.com, the messy-mopped troubadour will be hitting the road with his new band, the Cardinals, for a string of dates starting April 27 in Northampton, Massachusetts, and running until May 9 in Asheville, North Carolina. Cold Roses is due in stores on May 3. ...

Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky has a new side project called the Octave Museum. The band features Brodsky on vocals and guitar, Johnny Northrup of Thee Electric Bastards on bass and Kevin Strongbow of Scissorfight on drums. The band's set to make its live debut in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on April 20. Meanwhile, a collection of mostly unreleased Cave In demos should hit stores this summer through the band's former label home, Hydra Head. ... Billy Idol is kicking off a tour to support his first album of new material in more than 10 years, Devil's Playground, starting April 9 in Philadelphia. In addition to new tunes such as "Scream," "Bodysnatcher" and "Super Overdrive," expect to hear fresh takes on classics "White Wedding" and "Rebel Yell." The 31-date tour wraps in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on May 27. ...