Billboard Bits: U2, Big Head Todd, Harry Shearer

News on U2, Big Head Todd, Harry Shearer

U2 has begun adding dates to the 2006 edition of its box-office busting Vertigo tour, including an April 8 show at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, the group's first appearance in Hawaii since 1985. Also new to the itinerary is a Feb. 28 show in Santiago, Chile.

As previously reported, the new leg of Vertigo will begin Feb. 12 in Monterrey, Mexico. In 2005, the outing was the top tour of the year, grossing $260 million from 90 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore, all of which were sell-outs.

Meanwhile, AOL Music will tomorrow (Jan. 11) premiere a new, alternate version of the video for "Original of the Species." The original clip can be viewed on U2's Web site.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Big Head Todd & the Monsters take the mantra "art should be free" very seriously. The Colorado trio will soon begin unveiling four-song podcasts of their newest material for free through their
Web site. The "BigHeadToddcasts" will be updated monthly.

"The old model of two-year album cycles can really be limiting to a band's creativity," says singer/guitarist Todd Park Mohr. "Rather than the long, stagnating cycle of going into the studio, working singles at radio, shooting videos and touring, with the Podcast we can continuously be releasing music."

The band, which has been together since the late '80s, begins a 33-date winter tour Thursday (Jan. 12) at the Boulder Theater in Boulder, Colo.

-- Katie Hasty, N.Y.

Actor/musician Harry Shearer has set a March 21 release for two new projects via his own Courgette label: the seven-track audio CD "Dropping Anchors" and the DVD "Now It Can Be Seen." The album is described as a "satirical farewell" to such longstanding television anchors as Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel and features one tune sung from the perspective of Barbara Walters.

The DVD rounds up the long-unseen cable specials "It's Just TB" and "The Magic of Live," plus favorite sketches from Shearer's two stints on "Saturday Night Live" (1979-80, 1984-85). Shearer will also appear in the next Christopher Guest film, "For Your Consideration," which is expected to hit U.S. theaters this fall.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.