Billboard Bits: Aretha, Love Parade, Hot Snakes

Stories on Aretha Franklin, Berlin's Love Parade, and the Hot Snakes.

ArethaAretha Franklin is gearing up to hit the road one more time. Described as her "last full-out tour," the Queen of Soul's I'll Be Seeing You With a Song In My Heart jaunt kicks off in summer 2002. Joining her at 20-30 select venues will be Ronald Isley and another special guest to be announced.

Franklin, who turned 60 in March, has a handful of dates on tap for the rest of the summer and fall, beginning Aug. 2 in Boston and wrapping Oct. 26 in Millersville, Pa. Her latest Arista album, "A Rose Is Still a Rose," debuted at No. 7 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums tally and at No. 30 on The Billboard 200. It has sold 390,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan.

Here are Aretha Franklin's tour dates:

Aug. 2: Boston (FleetBoston Pavilion)
Aug. 4: Hyannis, Mass. (Cape Cod Melody Tent)
Aug. 24: Madison, Wisc. (Olin Park)
Aug. 30, Sept. 1: Houston, Texas (H'Town's Arena Theatre)
Sept. 3: Grand Prairie, Texas (Next Stage)
Sept. 21: Portsmouth, Va. (NTELOS Pavilion)
Oct. 26: Millersville, Pa. (Millersville University)

-- Gail Mitchell, L.A.

PVDThis year's version of the Love Parade, the techno street festival that's expected to draw hundreds of thousands of ravers to downtown Berlin this weekend, promises to be cleaner and more orderly than in years past. In response to complaints from environmentalists that partygoers relieving themselves and throwing garbage into the city's main Tiergarten park was destroying trees and flowers, organizers have pledged to be more vigilant in monitoring the event.

Some 2,000 police officers and 1,000 medical workers will be there, and parade organizers have hired a company to clean up after tomorrow's (July 13) daylong event. "We're also deploying ushers this year who are meant to keep overly wild ravers in check," said Ralf Regitz, manager of Planetcom, one of two companies organizing the event.

This year's floats, loaded with speakers blasting techno music, will snake through the Tiergarten under the motto, "Access Peace." World renowned DJs such as Paul Van Dyk are scheduled to appear at the event and at parties in nightclubs Saturday evening.

The Love Parade has been waning in popularity since 1999, when it drew a record 1.5 million people. Last year, only 800,000 attended, down from 1.3 million the year before. This year, the parade has the cloud of a terrorist threat hanging over its head as well, although Berlin police have said a report they received of a plot to set off a bomb during the festival was unsubstantiated.

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SnakezSan Diego-based underground rock act Hot Snakes has lined up a 22-date North American tour in support its latest Swami album, "Suicide Invoice," kicking off Aug. 6 in its hometown. The band, which features Rocket From The Crypt frontman John Reis and former Drive Like Jehu guitarist Rick Froberg, has been drawing raves for the no-nonsense, hardcore-leaning sound of "Suicide Invoice," issued last month. The full list of dates can be found on the band's official Web site.

As for Rocket From The Crypt, the group is currently in the studio recording its next album for Vagrant, which should be out in early October, according to a label spokesperson. It's the follow-up to 2001's "Group Songs," which debuted at No. 40 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.

RFTC has also combined the vinyl-only albums "Hot Charity" and "Cut Carefully and Play" onto one CD for the first time; the disc is due Tuesday (July 16). Look for the group to participate in a planned package tour of Vagrant artists later this year.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Copyright 2002 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.


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