Billboard Bits: Tori Amos, Killers, Uncle Monk

News on Tori Amos, Killers, Uncle Monk

ToriTori Amos has confirmed eight Australian tour dates that will kick off with a May 7-8 stand at the Sydney Opera House. The trek comes as part of her Original Sinsuality tour, which is presently a U.S. solo piano outing that finds Amos playing Chicago tonight (April 15). Before that swing ends April 25 in Los Angeles, she'll appear April 21 on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and the next night on CBS' "The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson."

Amos is out in support of her latest Epic album, "The Beekeeper," which debuted at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 190,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Here are Amos' Australian dates:

May 7-8, 14: Sydney (Opera House)
May 10: Brisbane (QPAC Concert Hall)
May 12, 18: Melbourne (Hamer Hall)
May 15: Perth (Concert Hall)
May 16: Adelaide (Her Majesty's Theatre)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

KillersModern rock act the Killers will be on hand to perform several songs during the "MTV Presents the Next Generation XBOX Revealed" special, premiering May 12 in North America and the next day on MTV's European and Asian channels. The special will be hosted actor Elijah Wood ("The Lord of the Rings"), and will serve as the worldwide introduction of the latest version of Microsoft's gaming hardware platform.

The Las Vegas-based Killers will kick off a North American tour tonight (April 15) at the Joint in their hometown. The 33-date run will close with a June 11 performance as part of Atlanta's annual
Music Midtown Festival. A European swing, which will include several dates opening for U2, will commence June 24 at England's Glastonbury Festival.

The band is touring behind its Island debut "Hot Fuss," which has sold 1.5 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Last month, the album peaked at No. 8 on The Billboard 200.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Tommy Ramone -- the sole surviving original member of the Ramones -- has traded in his drumsticks for mandolin, banjo, guitar and dobro, which he plays in the alternative country/punk/bluegrass duo Uncle Monk. "There are a lot of similarities between punk and old-time music," Ramone tells Billboard. "Both are home-brewed music as opposed to schooled, and both have an earthy energy. And anybody can pick up an instrument and start playing."

The songs of Uncle Monk (completed by guitarist/bassist Claudia Tienan) include "Urban Renewal," "Home Sweet Reality" and "Need a Life." Varied themes, Ramone says, involve "the struggle to make it in a big city, urban gentrification, interpersonal relationships, spiritual longings and how one goes about satisfying emotional needs."

He says he "uses the vocabulary of country and bluegrass combined with the aesthetics of punk and alternative music." Ramone plans to find a label home for Uncle Monk's first album when it is finished in a few months.

-- Jim Bessman, N.Y.