Billboard Bits: Aiken, Osbournes, Simpson, Galactic
News on Clay Aiken, Osbournes, Simpson, GalacticAs tipped here in August, Clay Aiken will deliver a double whammy Nov. 16 with the release of a new album and his first book. The as-yet-untitled RCA set is a holiday collection, while the Random House inspirational memoir "Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life" explores Aiken's journey, from special education teacher to pop star.
Coinciding with both releases are a handful of TV appearances, including "Larry King Live" (Nov. 15), "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (Dec. 6) and "The Today Show" Aiken's (Dec. 8). An NBC holiday special will air on a date to be announced.
Additionally, the artist is scheduled to begin a five-week holiday tour with a full orchestra next month.
-- Michael Paoletta, N.Y.
Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne are launching a new MTV reality series/contest in which a band will win a slot on the Ozzfest 2005 tour. "Battle for Ozzfest," which premieres Oct. 25 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT, will feature eight bands competing for the Ozzfest prize in addition to touring money, equipment and a possible record deal.
The Osbournes will serve as judges and decide which bands are eliminated from the competition. Ozzfest, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, grossed more than $19 million from 24 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore.
-- Carla Hay, N.Y.
Jessica Simpson's first seasonal disc is being sold exclusively via North American 7-Eleven convenience stores throughout October and November. "A Special Limited Edition Christmas Collection" features seven tracks, including a duet on "Little Drummer Boy" with her sister Ashlee and an acoustic version of the pop music/reality television star's single "Angels."
In addition to selling the disc through December (while supplies last), 7-Eleven is sponsoring a contest to win an all-expenses-paid trip to an invitation-only private concert with Simpson early next year.
In other news, Simpson and husband Nick Lachey will host their second variety special Dec. 10 on ABC. Differing from couple's first special in April, the upcoming show will have a decidedly Christmas theme. Ashlee Simpson is planning to take part, according to her official Web site.
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
As expected, jam band Galactic will launch an instrumental tour Oct. 12 in Rochester, N.Y. The 25-date trip will feature support from bluegrass act the Hackensaw Boys and Roots member Scratch on various dates.
Additionally, Galactic will share the stage with Latin funk band Ozomatli Oct. 15 in Philadelphia and Mofro vocalist JJ Grey Oct. 24 in New York. An Oct. 29 hometown show in New Orleans will feature DJ Motion Potion. The tour is set to wrap Nov. 12 in Athens, Ga. At deadline, it was unknown what would become of a planned Oct. 16 co-headlining show with Ratdog in Allentown, Pa., now that the latter's tour has been postponed (see related story).
The tour follows Galactic's summer run, its final outing with vocalist Theryl "The Houseman" DeClouet, who fronted the band for nearly its entire decade-long career. The band's final studio release with DeClouet was last year's "Ruckus" (Sanctuary).
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.