Billboard Bits: West Memphis Three, Frampton, Sweet

Stories on a Henry Rollins-organized West Memphis Three benefit, Peter Frampton's new record deal, and former Sweet drummer Mick Tucker's death.

Henry RollinsAlt rock stalwart Henry Rollins has organized a March 8 benefit concert to raise awareness of the case of the West Memphis Three, who many believe were wrongly convicted of murdering three boys in Arkansas in 1993. Proceeds from the show at Los Angeles' Troubadour -- which will feature the Rollins band, Wayne Kramer's Ship of Fools, and Exene Cervenka's Original Sinners -- will be donated to the legal bills the trio is facing in their attempts to obtain a new trial.

Along with the concert, a silent auction featuring autographed items from Rollins Band, the Supersuckers, Cervenka, and others will also be held, and copies of last October's "Free the West Memphis Three" benefit disc (featuring Tom Waits, Long Beach Dub-All Stars, Rocket From The Crypt, and Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, among others) will be available.

Tickets for the benefit are available via the Troubadour box office and Ticketmaster.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Rock veteran Peter Frampton is planning to head into a studio in the next few weeks to begin recording a new album that will be his first under a new deal with Pioneer Entertainment. The as-yet-unnamed project is tentatively scheduled for a late summer release. "The people there seem genuinely excited about promoting my new music," Frampton said of Pioneer in a statement. "I know I'm excited about working with them." The former Humble Pie artist has been very active in recent memory. After celebrating the 25th anniversary of his breakthrough 1976 album "Frampton Comes Alive" in 2000, he was on the road last year with Journey and John Waite . Along with the surviving members of Humble Pie and many guests, last April he participated in a Steve Marriott tribute concert at London's Astoria Theatre. Last fall, Frampton organized a Cincinnati benefit concert that raised $10,000 to aid emergency personnel working in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Mick Tucker, drummer from 1970s glam rock band Sweet, died yesterday (Feb. 14) after a lengthy battle against leukemia. He was 54. Tucker, who lived in Hertfordshire, England, is understood to have died from complications associated with the disease. His wife, Janet, and daughter, Aysten, were at his bedside. Sweet topped the U.K. singles chart for five weeks in 1975 with "Blockbuster." In the U.S., the band scored four top-10 hits from 1973-78, including "Little Willy," "Fox On The Run," and "Ballroom Blitz." The group's lead singer, Brian Connolly, died of kidney failure in 1997.