Death Row Records entered a guilty plea Tuesday to federal charges that the rap label failed to file a corporate tax return on income of nearly $826,000 for its 1996 fiscal year, Billboard Bulletin reports. The plea agreement was signed by Death Row VP Marion Knight Sr., father of label president Marion "Suge" Knight Jr. The agreement calls for Death Row to pay all taxes and penalties due, plus a fine of $100,000; the label also agreed to a five-year term of organizational probation.
Rapper DMX (real name: Earl Simmons) will produce public service announcements telling children to stay away from guns and be kind to animals under terms of a plea bargain with Bergen County, N.J., authorities. DMX avoided prison time yesterday (Jan. 9) by pleading guilty to 13 counts of animal cruelty, two counts of maintaining a nuisance, and one count each of disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.
R.E.M., Jewel, and female a cappella group Sweet Honey In The Rock will perform short sets Jan. 31 at New York's Carnegie Hall as part of You Gotta Have Friends, a benefit for the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC). Whoopi Goldberg will host the event, proceeds from which will benefit the GMHC's AIDS awareness efforts. AOL Time Warner and its departing CEO Gerald Levin will be honored for their contributions to the fight against AIDS.
More than 30 artists, ranging from country (Dixie Chicks, George Strait, Brooks & Dunn) to classic rock (Bob Dylan, Styx, REO Speedwagon), R&B (Destiny's Child, Brian McKnight, Mary J. Blige), and Latin (Juanes, Kumbia Kings) will grace the stage during the 70th RodeoHouston. Set to begin Feb. 12 at Houston's Reliant Astrodome, the two-and-a-half week event will feature nightly concerts, as well as more than 60 of the top male and female rodeo riders engaged in competition.
Composer/band leader/pianist and lounge-music icon Juan Garcia Esquivel died Jan. 3 in Jiutepec, Mexico, following a stroke, Billboard Bulletin reports. He was 83. Esquivel, who used only his surname professionally, created an idiosyncratic, complexly arranged style of big-band instrumental music, later dubbed "space-age bachelor-pad music," which he recorded prolifically for RCA Victor in the '50s and '60s.
The Who will play three U.K. shows in small venues later this month as precursors to previously announced charity performances at London's Royal Albert Hall in February. A summer North American tour is also in the works. Guitarist Pete Townshend reveals on his official Web site that plans call for a three-leg tour, likely beginning in Los Angeles in June and wrapping in Canada in August. "It could all change though," Townshend warns.
Seattle rock outfit Brad has only released two albums since its 1992 inception, but the act's members haven't exactly been idle. Guitarist Stone Gossard has spent the decade topping the charts and touring the world with Pearl Jam, while vocalist/keyboardist Shawn Smith and drummer Regan Hagar have churned out two albums for Epic as part of the band Satchel. In tandem with producer Steve Fisk, Smith also issued a series of releases for Sub Pop as part of the duo Pigeonhed.
Creed's "Weathered" (Wind-Up) commands The Billboard 200 for a seventh straight week, despite a drop of 58% to 166,000 units in another week of sagging post-holiday sales. In just seven weeks, "Weathered" has moved 3.7 million units in the U.S., according to SoundScan. Creed is also managing to stretch its dominance, with the single "My Sacrifice" reaching a new peak position at No. 6 on The Billboard Hot 100 thanks to a slight increase in airplay. The cut is also No. 1 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock Tracks tally for a sixth consecutive week.
Elton John was honored last night (Jan. 9) in London by the U.K. Coalition of People Living with HIV and AIDS, which presented the artist with its Hero award. The honor acknowledged his contributions to the fight against HIV and AIDS through the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF).
Blur/Gorillaz principal Damon Albarn, Lambchop, Yo La Tengo, Queens Of The Stone Age, Jonathan Richman, Fountains Of Wayne, and Bebel Gilberto are among the acts that have recorded Kinks covers for "This Is Where I Belong: The Songs of Ray Davies & the Kinks," due April 2 from Rykodisc/Praxis Recordings. Davies wrote the liner notes for the set and appears on a duet with Albarn on the classic "Waterloo Sunset," taped during a 1996 U.K. TV appearance.
Liverpool, U.K.-based experimental rock quartet Clinic will embark on its maiden North American tour beginning March 13 in Atlanta. The 17-date trek comes in support of the group's sophomore Domino album, "Walking With Thee," due Feb. 25 internationally and a day later in North America.