The process of introducing a hot British band to the U.S. requires more these days than waving a couple of New Musical Express covers under the noses of American tastemakers. But with a program of live and promotional work done not just weeks but months ahead of its stateside debut, Starsailor and Capitol Records have started a buzz that has led to three national TV bookings and a recent six-city headlining tour at this early point in its career curve.
Van Halen has left Warner Bros. after spending more than 23 years on the label, according to a label spokesperson, who describes the split as amicable. The news was also confirmed by Brad Starks, webmaster for the band's official Web site. Through Starks, the members of Van Halen have revealed that their business relationship with Warner Bros. was severed a month ago, but have made it clear that the group was not dropped by the label.
Travis Tritt scored a leading nine nominations on the first ballot for the 37th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards, to be handed out May 21 in Los Angeles and broadcast live on CBS. Brooks & Dunn, Toby Keith, and Tim McGraw were close behind with eight nominations, while Alan Jackson and Diamond Rio garnered six a piece.
Musician Freddy Fender had successful kidney transplant surgery, with his daughter providing the necessary organ for the award-winning singer and songwriter. The two-hour procedure was performed yesterday (Jan. 24) at University Hospital in San Antonio, Texas. Fender, who is nominated for a Grammy for best Latin pop album this year, was reported in stable condition.
Glastonbury Festival organizer Michael Eavis has urged non-paying spectators to stay away from this year's event, as a repeat of previous ground-invasions will cause the long-running U.K. festival to draw to a close. "I've put 31 years into this [event] -- we've always seen running the show as a real challenge and you don't give it up so readily," Eavis tells Billboard.com. Last year's event was canceled amid security concerns at the grounds in Southwest England.
Placing such international superstar acts as U2, Paul McCartney, Marc Anthony, Mary J. Blige and others on stage during pre-game and halftime events is a big draw to many football fans planning to watch Super Bowl XXXVI, according to a recently completed Billboard.com poll. A combined 52% of 2,697 voters said that the music performances go a long way in fueling their interest in the annual gridiron event.
Santa Barbara, Calif.-based pop/punk act Sugarcult is in the midst of a two-month tour in support of its debut album, "Start Static" (Ultimatum Music). The group will also gain some added exposure with its song "Bouncing Off the Walls," which is the lead single from the soundtrack to the forthcoming Tapestry Films/Artisan Entertainment film "National Lampoon's Van Wilder."