Billboard Bits: Velvet Revolver, Setzer, Rollins

Stories on Velvet Revolver, the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Henry Rollins.

Velvet RevolverVelvet Revolver will perform at the official grand opening celebration for New York's Hard Rock Cafe, which is relocating from its 57th location to Times Square. The Sept. 17 event will also feature DJ Mark Ronson and an appearance by Run DMC's Reverend Run, who will dedicate the club's New York Room and donate his trademark hat, cape and collar.

The Hard Rock is giving away a trip to the party via a contest on its Web site. Proceeds from the affair will benefit Peace Games, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending the trend of violence in the United States.

The Times Square Hard Rock will officially open its doors today (Aug. 12) with an enormous "guitar smash." Upping the ante from the company's tradition of smashing a guitar to christen a new location, the opening will boast the cremation of 100 guitars, with E Street Band guitarist Steven Van Zandt and Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson among those on hand as witnesses.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Brian SetzerThe Brian Setzer Orchestra will revisit holiday material with "Dig That Crazy Christmas," the group's second collection of seasonal fare. Due Oct. 18 via Surfdog Records, the set boasts classics ("Jingle Bell Rock," "White Christmas" and "You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch") and new songs ("Hey Santa" and "Santa Drives a Hot Rod").

Due the same day is the DVD "Christmas Extravaganza," a live video of a Dec. 18 BSO show at Los Angeles' Universal Ampitheater. The 23-song disc includes performances of holiday music and tracks from across Setzer's career with the Stray Cats and as leader of the BSO.

The BSO's 2002 Surfdog release "Boogie Woogie Christmas" has become a perennial holiday favorite, as have the act's seasonal tours. This year's run will open Nov. 16 in Minneapolis and play 24 dates, including another visit to the annual tree lighting ceremony in New York's Rockefeller Center, which will be broadcast live Nov. 30 on NBC.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Henry RollinsPunk rock/DIY icon Henry Rollins will open his 43-show 25 Years of Bulls*** spoken word tour Sept. 9 in Ames, Iowa. The North American trek is sponsored by IFC, which airs the Rollins series "Henry's Film Corner," through which the outspoken artist's views on film, celebrity and other issues.

Prior to the tour, Rollins will head to Egypt later this month to entertain troops, his sixth USO trip in less than two years. In the past, the sometime actor who will be seen in the upcoming films "The Alibi" and "Feast," has visited with troops in Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, Kuwait, Kyrgystan and Qatar.

"Since the last tour I have done a lot of extensive travel to Iraq, Kuwait, Siberia, South Korea and other places and picked up some hopefully interesting stories," Rollins says. "We are living in interesting times and as bad as things are, I draw considerable inspiration from some of the things I'm seeing and people I'm meeting. I'm looking forward to getting out on the road and talking about it all."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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