Billboard Bits: INXS, Clay Walker, Evans/Alter Bridge
News on INXS, Clay Walker, Evans/Alter BridgeWith its new CBS reality series set to debut next week, veteran Australian rock act INXS has signed a worldwide recording agreement with Epic Records. A new album is slated for late 2005 and will feature the winning contestant from "Rock Star: INXS," in which band members scour the world for 15 contenders to fill the band's vacant lead vocal slot.
The album will be INXS' first since the death of late frontman Michael Hutchence, who committed suicide in 1997.
As previously reported, "Rock Star: INXS" is being produced by "Survivor" creator Mark Burnett, and has been described as a combination of "American Idol" and "Survivor." After the show completes its scheduled 13-week run, the band plans to launch a global arena tour accompanied by its new member.
-- Jordan Heller Weissmann, N.Y.
Country artist Clay Walker has joined the Curb Records artist roster, where he has been assigned to the Curb/Asylum imprint. Walker spent most of his career on Giant Records, switching briefly to sister label Warner Bros. after Giant shut down. He later moved to RCA Records for a one-album stint in 2003.
Walker has landed six No. 1 singles on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart since his career began in 1993. He has four platinum and two gold albums to his credit, according to the RIAA. Seven of his nine albums have gone top 10 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart.
He is working on his first album for Curb/Asylum with producer Keith Stegall.
-- Phyllis Stark, Nashville
Music and sports will mesh once again in the coming days at all-star baseball and basketball events. On the hardwood, R&B singer Faith Evans will sing the National Anthem prior to the WNBA All-Star Game Saturday (July 9) at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Her performance will be part of the pre-game festivities broadcast on ESPN2 beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET (the game will be broadcast on sister network ABC beginning at 4 p.m.)
Meanwhile, rock act Alter Bridge has been tapped to perform at the Century 21 Home Run Derby, one of the events surrounding Major League Baseball's 78th All-Star Game. The group will perform its single "Open Your Eyes" during Monday's (July 11) ESPN broadcast of the competition. The All-Star Game will take place on Tuesday and will be broadcast by Fox.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.