Billboard Bits: Jay Kay, Spacey/Dench, Billy Corgan
News on Jay Kay, Spacey/Dench, Billy CorganLondon prosecutors said today (Nov. 19) they are dropping criminal charges against Jay Kay, lead singer of Jamiroquai, who was accused of attacking a photographer outside a nightclub. Kay, 31, had pleaded innocent to charges that he smashed camera equipment worth $360 belonging to Dennis Gill, and common assault on Gill outside the Attica nightclub in April.
The Crown Prosecution Service said today there was insufficient evidence to proceed with a trial, and the case was closed.
Jamiroquai begins a seven-date U.K. tour Feb. 22 in Glasgow. The group's latest Epic set, "A Funk Odyssey," is No. 8 on Billboard's Top Electronic Albums chart this week.
Film stars Kevin Spacey and Judi Dench hosted a benefit gala at London's Old Vic theater last night (Nov. 18) to raise money for victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on America. Spacey -- who showed off his musical skills at an October tribute to John Lennon in New York -- serenaded the crowd Sunday with the Beatles' "Hey Jude."
Singer Art Garfunkel, actor Jude Law, and the London Gospel Choir also performed at the concert billed as "Unite for the Future." Famous faces in the crowd included Chelsea Clinton, Vanessa Redgrave, and Bianca Jagger.
Tickets cost up to $760 and organizers said they had raised more than $580,000. They planned to donate the money to Doctors Without Borders, the World Trade Center Disaster Fund, and a British Council program called Open Minds, formed after the attacks to increase cultural understanding.
"We recognize that we're not in New York, the emotions are not quite as immediate and raw, but we all wanted to do something," organizer Susan Hayden said. "Music is the underlying theme of the evening. We are celebrating music and freedom."
Screenblast.com, the broadband Web site from Sony Pictures Digital Entertainment, is previewing four tracks from the Smashing Pumpkins' rarities album "Judas O." Virgin is releasing the set as a limited-edition two-CD package with the new Pumpkins "Greatest Hits" album, which comes out tomorrow (Nov. 20).
The tracks on the site are "Waiting," "Saturnine," "Set the Ray," and "Winterlong." Screenblast is also featuring unreleased video footage of the band and will host an animated series from former frontman Billy Corgan called "Glass and the Machines of God" later this year.
As previously reported, Corgan has formed a new band, Zwan, with former Pumpkins drummer Jimmy Chamberlin, Chavez guitarist/vocalist Matt Sweeney, and bassist Skullfisher. According to fan reports, the group unveiled 13 new songs last Friday night in Pomona, Calif., before a crowd of about 700. Zwan hits San Diego tomorrow and Hollywood, Calif., on Wednesday.
-- Brian Garrity, N.Y.
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