Billboard Bits: Warped Tour, MTV Latin Awards, Witch

News on Warped Tour, MTV Latin Awards, Witch

Rise Against, Thursday, Motion City Soundtrack, From First To Last and NOFX are the first acts confirmed for the 2006 Vans Warped Tour. The 2005 edition of the trek featured the Offspring, My Chemical Romance, Thrice and Hawthorne Heights, among others.

Rise Against has enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2005 with its latest Geffen album, "Siren Song of the Counter-Culture," which has sold 292,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The group will hit the studio in February with producer Bill Stevenson to record its next album, which is expected for release next summer

As previously reported, Thursday is recording its next album with producer Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips, Mercury Rev) at his Tarbox Studios in Freedonia, N.Y.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

The MTV Video Music Awards Latin America will not take place this year. The awards show, derailed by Hurricane Wilma, was originally scheduled to take place Oct. 20, then moved up a day to Oct. 19 and ultimately

Organizers have now decided they would definitely not be able to stage the awards as planned before year's end. Instead, winners of the 2005 VMALA awards will be announced during programming that will air in December.

This year's VMALA show was set to take place in Playa del Carmen in the Mexican Caribbean Peninsula and would have marked the first time it moved from its home in Miami. The Mexican Caribbean remains a possible staging ground for the show in 2006.

-- Leila Cobo, Miami

Dinosaur Jr. vocalist/guitarist J Mascis opts for drums in the new band Witch, which also features Dave Sweetaple and two members of neo-folk outfit Feathers (Asa Irons and Kyle Thomas). The group's first single is due next month via Damaged Goods/Tee Pee; its debut album is being recorded with engineer John Agnello, a longtime Mascis collaborator.

Witch will preview the material during shows Dec. 7 in Philadelphia and Dec. 8 in New York, with support from Dead Meadow.

As previously reported, the reunited Dinosaur Jr. will film a live DVD during its Dec. 2-3 shows at New York's Irving Plaza.

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.