Billboard Bits: U2, Trey Anastasio, Jill Scott, Megadeth

News on U2, Trey Anastasio, Jill Scott, Megadeth

U2U2 has teamed with retailer Target to offer "U2 7," an exclusive seven-track mini album featuring B-sides and rarities. The album, which carries a retail price of $6.99, will be available at all Target locations beginning Tuesday (Jan. 22). Tracks featured are remixes of the hit singles "Beautiful Day" and "Elevation," an edit of "Walk On," an acoustic version of "Stuck in a Moment You Can't Get Out Of," and the B-sides "Big Girls Are Best," "Summer Rain," and "Always."

It's not the first time in recent months that U2 has joined with a retailer for an exclusive promotion. Last November, Best Buy stores had a two-week exclusive on sales of the band's "Elevation 2001: U2 Live From Boston" DVD before it was available elsewhere.

U2 is up for a leading eight awards at the 44th annual Grammys, to be handed out Feb. 27 in New York. The group will also perform during the halftime show of Super Bowl XXXVI, set for Feb. 3 at the New Orleans Superdome.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Trey AnastasioPhish guitarist Trey Anastasio has set an April 30 release date for his as-yet-untitled solo debut on Elektra. As previously reported, the album features his eight-piece 2001 touring band, a 35-piece orchestra on some tracks, and unnamed "numerous other guests." The set was co-produced by Anastasio and Bryce Goggin, who was behind the boards for Phish's 2000 album "Farmhouse." A five-week tour in support of the set will begin in late May.

On April 16, Elektra will also issue the next six albums in the ongoing "Live Phish" series of archival concert releases. No specific shows yet have been announced.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Jill ScottR&B vocalist Jill Scott will guest on the premiere episode of the 33rd season of PBS' "Sesame Street," airing Feb. 4. Scott will sing the "Sesame Street" favorite "We Are All Earthlings" with a chorus of Muppets on the show. "When my mother first brought me to New York, I wanted to find Sesame Street," Scott said in a statement. "I grew up in front of the television set, learning from Sesame Street. I never thought I would be on the show, playing with all the Muppets! I am so impressed by this whole fantasy come true -- I can't wait to see the show!"

Scott's "Long Walk" is up for a Grammy in the category of best female vocal performance. The artist's latest Hidden Beach/Epic album, "Experience 826+," is No. 29 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart in its eighth week on the survey.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

MegadethVeteran metal act Megadeth will release its first live album, "Rude Awakening," March 19 via Sanctuary. The two-disc, 24-track set will be the precursor to a live home video release on VHS and DVD, due April 9 from the label. The album -- which will sport artwork by Storm Thorgerson (Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin) -- was captured during the band's 2001 tour in support of its Sanctuary debut, "The World Needs a Hero." That set debuted last June at No. 16 on The Billboard 200.

Among the songs featured on the set are "Kill the King," "Wake Up Dead," "She Wolf," "Hangar 18," "Return to Hangar," "Sweating Bullets," "Trust," "Peace Sells" and "Holy Wars ... The Punishment Due." The DVD edition of "Rude Awakening" will feature interviews, studio footage of the recording of "The World Needs a Hero," and bonus concert clips.

In related news, former Megadeth drummer Nick Menza, who beat the skins for the band from 1989 through 1998, will on Feb. 15 release his debut solo album, "Life After Deth." Due from his own Menzanations Records label and available only through his official Web site, Menza says the material on the album finds him shedding the emotional and psychological baggage of his decade in Megadeth. "The song 'Life Back' explains my newfound freedom I regained after my Megadeth career came to an end," he explains. "I didn't have to worry about what I said. I was in charge of myself and only have to answer to myself."

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.


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