Billboard Bits: Coachella, Carson, Janet, Albarn

News on Coachella, Jeff Carson, Janet Jackson, Damon Albarn

BjorkBjork and Oasis are the first acts confirmed for the 2002 edition of the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, set for April 27-28 at the Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif. Among the other major acts rumored to be appearing are David Bowie, Chemical Brothers, Prodigy, and Basement Jaxx. The full list of performers is expected to be announced Monday (Feb. 11) by Goldenvoice, the event's California-based promoter.

This year, Coachella returns to the two-day format utilized for its inaugural edition in October 1999, which featured such acts as Rage Against The Machine, Tool, and Beck, as well as dozens of dance and electronic acts. Last year's festival included Jane's Addiction, Weezer, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers, and Paul Oakenfold.

Oasis' appearance will likely be its first in North America since the conclusion of its Tour of Brotherly Love with Black Crowes last summer. A source says the show is Bjork's only planned appearance for the coming months.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Jeff CarsonCountry artist Jeff Carson was seriously injured yesterday (Feb. 7) while sledding with his wife on their property in Franklin, Tenn. While taking a solo run, he hit a tree head at a high speed and broke a vertebra in the upper quadrant of his back. Surgery will not be required but Carson will have to spend 12 weeks in a full body brace.

"Jeff was in a tremendous amount of pain upon arrival at [Nashville's] Vanderbilt [hospital]," his publicist said in a statement. "The good news is that all of his feeling is intact in his limbs and extremities -- he could flex his hands and had feeling in his toes. The doctor's initial prognosis is that he will suffer no long term permanent effect because of the injury."

Carson's performance tomorrow at the Parada Del Sol Rodeo in Scottsdale, Ariz., and a number of upcoming shows have been canceled. He hopes to resume performing as early as April. Fans who want to wish Carson well can do so through Shipley Biddy Management (1400 South St., Nashville, TN 37212).

The artist's latest Curb release, "Real Life," peaked at No. 38 last October on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. The set spawned the single "Real Life (I Never Was the Same Again)," which peaked at No. 14 on the Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart. A second single, "Until We Fall Back In Love Again," was recently shipped to U.S. radio stations for airplay consideration, and can be sampled on Carson's official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

JanetSomeone got past Janet Jackson's velvet rope. While the pop diva was entertaining fans Wednesday night at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., a 19-year-old man was allegedly breaking into her dressing room, police said. Mario Backman of Manhattan was charged with third-degree burglary after the singer's managers found him inside Jackson's dressing room, according to a Nassau County police spokesperson.

Backman had allegedly taken some stuffed animals, an FDNY cap, and correspondence, police said. He was released without bail and ordered to return to court on Monday (Feb. 11).

The 35-year-old singer is nearing the end of a long tour in support of her latest Virgin album, "All for You." As previously reported, her Feb. 17 show in Honolulu will be broadcast live on HBO.

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Damon AlbarnBlur frontman Damon Albarn is preparing to launch a new label called Honest Jon's with an album featuring his collaborations with African musicians. Albarn, who spent last year away from Blur on his Gorillaz project, will release "Mali Music" April 1 on the label. The album was recorded with musicians from Mali when Albarn visited the West African country in 2000. Other musicians on the record include kora player Toumani Diabate, who previously collaborated with American blues man Taj Mahal on "Kulanjan" (Hannibal).

Honest Jon's takes its name from a landmark London record shop that has been selling rare and obscure music to discerning buyers for 30 years. "If it's good and it's interesting, we'll put it on the release schedule," says Alan Scholefield, co-owner of the shop and the label. "Damon's album is a collaborative exchange between two cultures, which exemplifies what we'll be about." Albarn is also a partner in the label. "The idea is that it's any kind of music we want," Albarn says. "However disparate it might seem, because it's all coming from the same attitude, it'll fit together on the label."

As previously reported, Gorillaz kicks off its maiden North American tour Feb. 25 in Boston.

-- Nigel Williamson, London

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

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