Billboard Bits: Chris Rock, Ben Folds, Badly Drawn Boy

News on Chris Rock, Ben Folds, Badly Drawn Boy

RockComedian Chris Rock will release a new album, "Never Scared," Aug. 31 via Geffen. The set culls material from his HBO special of the same name in addition to a handful of music parodies and new comedy sketches. The first single, "Crackers," is a parody of OutKast's No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 hit "Hey Ya." The album will also include a bonus DVD with behind-the-scenes footage from the HBO special.

"Never Scared" is Rock's first CD release since 1999's "Bigger and Blacker," which peaked at No. 44 on The Billboard 200 and has sold more than 404,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

After a two-year hiatus from films, Rock will be heard in the 2005 animated feature "Madagascar" and seen in the remake of the football-themed "The Longest Yard," also starring Adam Sandler and rapper Nelly.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

FoldsThe final disc in a trio of Ben Folds EPs, "super d," will be released Aug. 24 (updated Aug. 9) via Epic. The set boasts original tracks "kalamazoo," "adelaide," and "rent a cop," as well as covers of the Darkness' "Get Your Hands Off My Woman" and Ray Charles' "Them That Got." The physical disc will be available exclusively through, while downloads will be sold through various online sites.

Folds' first two EPs in the series, "Speed Graphic" and "Sunny 16," debuted at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, on Billboard's Top Internet Albums sales chart.

As previously reported, Folds recently collaborated with actor William Shatner on his forthcoming album, "Has Been" (Shout! Factory). Folds co-wrote, produced and appears on the set, which also features the talents of Henry Rollins, Brad Paisley, Aimee Mann and Joe Jackson.

Folds expects to tour colleges in the fall, as well as join Shatner for a handful of dates in support of "Has Been," which is due Oct. 5. He also has a slate of European dates on tap for November.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

BoysBadly Drawn Boy will launch a North American tour Oct. 5 in Vancouver. Heading out in support of his just released fourth album, "One Plus One Is One" (Astralwerks), the U.K.-based singer/songwriter has dates scheduled through an Oct. 26 show in Houston.

"One Plus One Is One" is the follow-up to 2002's "Have You Fed the Fish?" That set bowed at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart and No. 135 on The Billboard 200.

Here are Badly Drawn Boy's tour dates:

Oct. 5: Vancouver (Commodore)
Oct. 6: Walla Walla, Wash. (Whitman College)
Oct. 7: Portland, Ore. (Aladdin Theatre)
Oct. 8: Seattle (Showbox)
Oct. 10: San Francisco (Fillmore)
Oct. 12: Los Angeles (Avalon)
Oct. 13: San Diego (Cane's)
Oct. 14: Phoenix (Marquee Theatre)
Oct. 16: Salt Lake City (In the Venue)
Oct. 17: Boulder (Fox Theatre)
Oct. 18: Lawrence, Kan. (Liberty Hall)
Oct. 20: Minneapolis (Pantages Theatre)
Oct. 21: Chicago (Vic Theatre)
Oct. 22: St. Louis (Pageant)
Oct. 24: Dallas (Gypsy Tea Room)
Oct. 25: Austin, Texas (La Zona Rosa)
Oct. 26: Houston (Meridien)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.