News on Common, Sister Hazel & More

CommonCommon will soon be seen in a print ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Shot by photographer Ken Nahoum, the ad features the rapper about to eat a veggie burger and the tagline, "Think Before You Eat. Go Veg for Life." The artist joins the Roots, Paul McCartney, Prince, Moby, and the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde as musicians who have worked with PETA in the past on similar campaigns.

"I don't want to contribute to the detriment of animals, taking their lives away and abusing them. It's not where my heart is," Common said in a statement. "To the hip-hop community I say, 'If you eat better, you live better and feel better.'"

Common's latest album, "Electric Circus," features guest appearances by Mary J. Blige, Prince, and Erykah Badu. Released in December, the MCA album debuted at No. 9 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop albums chart and No. 47 on The Billboard 200. First single "Come Close to Me" featuring Blige is No. 21 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart. He was recently No. 1 on that chart as a featured artist on Badu's "Love of My Life (An Ode to Hip-Hop)."


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







HazelFlorida-based rock act Sister Hazel will tomorrow (Feb. 4) release its latest album, "Chasing Daylight" (Sixthman/Croakin' Poets Records). Longtime fans of the band were able to purchase the album a week early via the Web, leading to the set's debut at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Internet Albums chart, No. 7 on the Top Independent Albums tally, and No. 177 on The Billboard 200.

Co-produced by the band and Don McCollister, the album features the single "Your Mistake," and songs co-written with such collaborators as Richard Marx, Henry Paul, Stan Lynch, and Tia Sillers. The disc also unlocks access to an area of Sister Hazel's official Web site that features unreleased music, videos, and interaction with the band.

Sister Hazel has been playing sold-out club shows for the past few weeks and has dates lined-up through mid-April. Along with Cowboy Mouth, Edwin McCain, and others, the band will also be performing on the third annual Rock Boat five-day cruise over the U.S. Labor Day holiday weekend.


-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.







KathleenFormer Sony Music Entertainment chairman/CEO Thomas D. Mottola is reportedly in talks to produce the planned VH1 reality series "Destination Diva: The Search for a Superstar," Billboard Bulletin reports. Although VH1 would not comment, word is that Mottola would also have an on-camera role in the talent-show series, which premieres April 14. The executive left Sony last month to pursue new ventures.

In other TV news, Bob Guccione Jr. -- the current editor in chief of Gear magazine and founder of Spin -- is developing a half-hour music series, Bulletin reports. Guccione will host and co-produce "Conversations," in which musicians will interview each other. The show will go into production this spring.


-- Carla Hay, N.Y.