Billboard Bits: AMAs, Yellowcard, Ratdog

News on AMAs, Yellowcard, Ratdog

UsherUsher, Kanye West, Toby Keith, Josh Groban, Jessica Simpson, Kenny Chesney and Gretchen Wilson are the first artists confirmed to perform at the 32nd American Music Awards. As previously reported, Usher's four nominations lead the field for the event, to be held Nov. 14 in Los Angeles and broadcast live on ABC.

Nineteen AMAs will be handed out in eight genre-based categories -- pop/rock, country, soul/R&B, rap/hip-hop, adult contemporary, latin, contemporary inspirational and alternative music. Winners are determined by a national survey of 20,000 music listeners.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

YellowcardA May performance at Philadelphia's Electric Factory forms the basis for rock act Yellowcard's first DVD, "Beyond Ocean Avenue." Due Nov. 2 via Capitol, the film boasts 16 tracks from the show, including the hit modern rock singles "Ocean Avenue," "Only One" and "Way Away." The package is rounded out by a behind-the-scenes documentary.

Yellowcard will perform "Only One" Oct. 12 on NBC's "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno." A six-week North American tour kicks off Oct. 13 in Fresno, Calif., and wraps Nov. 27 in Irvine, Calif.

The group will be out behind its debut Capitol set, "Ocean Avenue," which has sold 1.09 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

WeirRatdog, a side project of Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir, will preview its fall tour with a live radio broadcast/Web cast Sept. 29 from KPFA Berkeley, Calif. The two-hour show will get underway at 8 p.m. PT (11 p.m. ET) and will be heard on KPFA and KFCF Fresno and and

The Ratdog tour will kick off Oct. 7 in Ridgefield, Conn., and play 19 shows through a Nov. 26-27 stand in Camden, N.J.

"We're happy to be back out on the road," Weir says. "We have a lot of work to do -- a lot of songs to sing, a lot of music to play -- and we're really glad to be out here doing it."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.