Billboard Bits: Springsteen, Van Morrison, Keenan

News on Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Keenan

BruceAs had been rumored, Bruce Springsteen will preview songs from his new album, "The Rising," July 30 on NBC's "Today" show, the day of the Columbia album's release. The Boss is expected to perform several songs with the E Street Band from the album from the Convention Hall stage in Asbury Park, N.J, according to an NBC statement.

"Today" will broadcast its entire show live that day from the boardwalk in Asbury Park, on which Convention Hall sits. Co-anchors Katie Couric and Matt Lauer will also take a tour of the seaside town, which is in the midst of an ongoing revitalization effort. Couric and Lauer confirmed the plans during this morning's (June 26) "Today" broadcast.

The title track of Springsteen's album debuted on Monday via AOL Music's "First Listen" program and Netscape Music. In just two days time, the song was streamed more than 755,000 times, according to AOL, ranking Springsteen as the program's top rock act to date. Of those who took the opportunity to rate the song, more than 85% described it as "awesome" or "good." The song has also gotten quite a few airings since its official release to U.S. radio outlets the same day, with more than 250 spins on 80 different stations, according to Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems, which monitors airplay.

Announcement of a full-scale tour in support of "The Rising" could come as early as this week. The trek is expected to launch in early August, although there has been no official confirmation of those plans.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

VanVan Morrison will perform Aug. 3 in an unlikely place: the Crown pub, a 17th-century inn on Salisbury Plain, 70 miles southwest of London. Proprietor Gary Marlow -- a music fan who last year lured former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Peter Green to the Crown -- said it took more than two years of negotiation to get the notoriously prickly Morrison to agree.

"He is very pedantic and very choosy, but it will be worth it," said Marlow. "It is a bit bizarre, having him at this pub in Wiltshire, but it's very, very cool and will be a very personal night."

Marlow estimates the gig will cost $56,000 and that he must sell 1,000 tickets to break even. The pub itself will serve as a dressing room for the Belfast-born singer, while a stage is being built behind the building for the outdoor show, and the grounds have room for 1,500 people. "He's pretty much got the pub and the whole of the restaurant," said Marlow. "But there's going to be a lot of people coming and going and he can't really be interrupted when he's eating his steak before can he?"

"We're just a country pub, people have to drive here just to get a pint. We can't just sit around, we have to do something a bit special to get people to notice us," he said. "But if it works, who knows? The sky's the limit."

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MaynardContrary to rumors, Maynard James Keenan is alive and well. According to a spokesperson for the Tool/A Perfect Circle singer, he was notkilled in the fictitious collapse of a Southern California recording studio, as reported by the Web site The false story quickly circulated on the Web, but has since been removed from the site.

Following the premature end to the European Ozzfest tour, a very alive Keenan and his mates in Tool are gearing up for the July 11 launch of a North American headlining tour, which will kick off in Bakersfield, Calif., and run through a Sept. 7 finale in Moline, Ill.

The group will be out on the road in support of last year's Tool Dissectional/Volcano album, "Lateralus." Released in May 2001, the set debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200, and has sold 1.8 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, 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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