Billboard Bits: MTV VMAs, Springsteen, 'Metal Health'

Chris Rock to host the MTV Video Music Awards, Bruce Springsteen honored by the Technical Excellence & Creativity Awards , 'Metal Health' show to benefit families of Rhode Island nightclub victims

Chris RockAfter a four-year break, comedian/actor Chris Rock will return to the role of host of the MTV Video Music Awards for the 20th anniversary of the event. Set for Aug. 28 at New York's Radio City Music Hall, the show will be executive-produced by Salli Frattini and Dave Sirulnick, and produced by Alex Coletti, the team behind the ceremony since 1999.

"The 2003 VMAs will not only be our fifth straight year in New York, MTV/MTV2 president Van Toffler says in a statement, "but we are returning to where it all started back in 1984, Radio City Music Hall, where we've thrown some of our biggest, stupidest and most twisted parties to date."

A group comprised of approximately 500 viewers and executives representing record labels, music journalists and video producers will determine nominees for the awards.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Bruce SpringsteenBruce Springsteen will be honored with the Les Paul Award at the 19th Annual Technical Excellence & Creativity (TEC) Awards in October. Presented by the Mix Foundation for Excellence in Audio, the Gibson Musical Instruments-sponsored award recognizes artists and others whose body of work has uniquely incorporated the creative application of audio technology. Past recipients include Stevie Wonder, Sting, Neil Young, Steely Dan, Robbie Robertson, Brian Wilson and Peter Gabriel.

The event will also see the induction of Eddie Kramer into the TEC Awards Hall of Fame. Kramer is best known for his engineering work with Jimi Hendrix, as well as producing recordings for the likes of Led Zeppelin, Kiss, Santana, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Buddy Guy.

Set for Oct. 11 at New York's Marriott Marquis, proceeds of the TEC Awards ceremony will benefit organizations working for the prevention of noise-induced hearing loss and scholarships for audio arts and sciences students. For more information, visit the Mix Foundation
Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Former Ratt singer Stephen Pearcy and former Cinderella drummer Fred Coury are among the artists lined-up for Sunday's (June 29) Metal Health benefit concert for the victims of February's Rhode Island nightclub fire. The show at the Webster Theatre in Hartford, Conn., will also feature Doubledrive, 6 Gig, Gargantua Soul and Brand New Sin.

Proceeds from the show will go directly to the families of the victims lost in the tragic fire, started by pyrotechnics used onstage by the band Great White.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.