Billboard Bits: Maurice White, Queensryche, Little Steven

News on Maurice White, Queensryche, Little Steven

EarthEarth, Wind & Fire founding member Maurice White has inked with Concord Records for a new solo project which pairs singers and live bands for a reworking of some of his songs.

Herb Trawick, White's partner in Kalimba Entertainment, tells Billboard the pairings thus far include the Roots with R&B singer Bilal ("Can't Hide Love") and Chaka Khan with Soulive ("Shining Star"). The album, with the working title "Interpretations," is due early next year.

As previously reported, Earth, Wind & Fire's new album, "Illumination," is due Sept. 20 via Sanctuary.

-- Gail Mitchell, L.A.






TateVeteran rock act Queensryche has signed a new deal with Rhino. Due early next year, the first release under the pact will be "Operation: Mindcrime II," the sequel to Queensryche's 1988 concept album of a similar name. The new project was previewed on tour earlier this year.

Frontman Geoff Tate
told Billboard.com last fall he was trying to sidestep pressure to top the original album or simply appease fans. "I think you always fail miserably in that respect," he said with a laugh, "because you can't please everybody. You can only do what's in your heart, what's in your soul, what's in your head. We never set out when we made the first 'Operation: Mindcrime' album trying to create anything else other than making a cool record that we liked, something we felt confident with."

The group will return to the road for a five-week North American tour beginning Sept. 13 in Victoria, British Columbia. Beforehand, a one-off date is also on tap for Aug. 12 in Sturgis, S.D.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.






StevenThe E Street Band's Little Steven Van Zandt will play a private benefit concert Monday (Aug. 1) at embattled New York rock club CBGB. He will be joined by as-yet-unannounced guest performers at the show and beforehand will make a "very special announcement" concerning CBGB, presumably having to do with the club's efforts to
stay open as it attempts to negotiate a new lease.

Hopes of a Bruce Springsteen sighting would be ill-placed, as the Boss will be in Cincinnati that night for a performance as part of his ongoing solo acoustic tour.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.