Billboard Bits: Bubba Sparxxx, Richard Pryor, A

News on Bubba Sparxxx, Richard Pryor, A

BubbaA birthday party for Southern rapper Bubba Sparxxx (real name: Warren Mathis) turned ugly Tuesday night in Athens, Ga., after three men were stabbed, one of them critically injured. Eric McAnally, who manages Nashville rapper Haystack, was in critical condition yesterday at an Athens hospital after being stabbed repeatedly with a broken beer bottle, according to the Athens Banner-Herald. Two other men were treated and released.

According to the paper, an estimated crowd of 800 was inside the Athens Music Factory for "Bubba Sparxxx Birthday Bash." Police were called for three separate stabbing incidents outside the club but have not yet made any arrests. The paper quotes an anonymous source who said the attacks may have been orchestrated by a "loose-knit gang" that was making trouble with out-of-towners in attendance.

Sparxxx's assistant manager Chad Wilkes told the paper that the injured men were personal friends of the artist, and that recent public appearances by Sparxxx had attracted an unruly element. The rapper's Beat Club/Interscope debut, "Dark Days, Bright Nights," debuted last October at No. 3 on The Billboard 200 and Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Richard Pryor has won the return of master recordings made early in his career by settling his lawsuit against a Middlesex County, N.J., enterprise. The 60-year-old comedian sought the materials because he's ill with multiple sclerosis, said his lawyer, William J. Heller. "He has engaged in efforts to recapture his rights so he can take care of his family," Heller said yesterday (March 6). Last spring, Pryor sued Michael Chernow and his Sayreville-based companies, M.B. Music Inc. and San Juan Music Group Ltd., claiming the defendants infringed on his property rights. Chernow agreed to return the recordings and refrain from any infringement. He admitted no wrongdoing. In return, Pryor paid $10,000, Chernow said. That was the sum M.B. Music paid in 1988 for the assets of the bankrupt LaffRecords, to which Pryor had licensed some of his recordings, according to a judge's findings. The year before, however, Pryor had reacquired all rights to the material from the bankruptcy trustee. Since the settlement was approved Feb. 27, compact discs and tapes with three to four hours of Pryor shows from the late 1960s to early 1970s have been returned, Chernow said. He said he transferred the recordings from reel-to-reel tape to the digital format. Pryor's recent Rhino compilation "... And It's Deep Too! The Complete Warner Bros. Recordings (1968-1992)" won a Grammy last week for album notes.

U.K. rock outfit A will be on tour in Europe through late May in support of its third London set, "Hi-Fi Serious," released this week in the U.K., April 1 in Europe, and July 2 in North America via Mammoth. Lead single "Nothing" recently debuted at No. 9 on the U.K. singles chart. The group wraps a sold-out U.K. trek Friday (March 8) in Northampton; European dates begin March 31 in Dusseldorf, Germany, and include appearances at the German Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park festivals in mid-May. The 12-track "Hi-Fi Serious" was recorded in Brussels and produced by Al Clay (Pixies, Blur), who was also behind the boards for A's 2000 set "A Vs. Monkey Kong." Look for "Nothing" to hit U.S. radio outlets on May 2, with a North American tour to follow in June.

March 7: London (Astoria) March 8: Northampton, England (Roadmenders) March 27: Paris (La Scene) March 29: Berlin (Columbia Fritz) March 31: Dusseldorf, Germany (Rockpalast) April 1: Hamburg, Gemrnay (Schlachthof) April 2: Berlin (Knaack Club) April 3: Munich, Germany (Backstage) April 18: Saarbrucken, Germany (Saarlandhalle) April 19: Zurich (Hallenstadion) April 20: Stuttgart, Germany (Roehre) April 21: Karlsruhe, Germany (Europahalle) April 23: Munster, Germany (Munsterlandhalle) April 24: Kassel, Germany (the Spot) April 25: Dortmund, Germany (Westfalenhalle) April 27: Milan (Rainbow) April 28: Bologna, Italy (Esparagon) April 30: Vienna (Flex) May 1: Salzburg, Austria (Rockhouse) May 3: Basel, Switzerland (Sommer) May 4: Freiburg, Switzerland (Jazzhaus) May 5: Zurich (Abart) May 8: Madrid (Sala Arena) May 9: Barcelona (Razzmatazz 2) May 13: Amsterdam (Paradiso) May 14: Copenhagen (Loppen) May 15: Oslo (John Dee) May 16: Stockholm (Klubben) May 18-19: Nuremberg, Germany (Rock Am Ring/Rock Im Park) May 22: Norwich, England (U.E.A.) May 23: Oxford, England (Brooks University) May 24: Warrington, England (Parr Hall) May 26: Endinburgh (Liquid Room) May 27: Coventry, England (Coliseum) May 28: Cardiff, Wales (University) May 29-30: London (Kentish Town Forum)

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