Billboard Bits: Brian McKnight, Ween, Warp Records

News on Brian McKnight, Ween, Warp Records

Brian McKnightR&B singer/songwriter Brian McKnight will premiere a one-hour concert special Oct. 21 on the Oxygen cable television network. Beginning at 8 p.m. ET, the previously taped "Up Close and Personal With Brian McKnight" will be hosted by Simran Sethi of the network's music show "Daily Remix." The special will be simultaneously streamed on

McKnight will follow the broadcast with a U.S. tour in support of his latest Motown album "superhero," which debuted in September at No. 4 on Billboard's Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and No. 7 on The Billboard 200. The trek will kick off Oct. 24 in Seattle, and is set to run through a Dec. 9 performance in Sunrise, Fla. After a month's rest, dates resume Jan. 9 in Newark, N.J., and continue on through a Feb. 2 finale in Honolulu.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Cult rock duo Ween will be celebrated sometime next year with a Rhino best-of collection culled from the group's six Elektra albums, according to a post by Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo on the group's official Web site . Ween is currently recording its eighth album for an as yet-undetermined-label As previously reported , Ween's 1990 debut, "GodWeenSatan: The Oneness," was remastered and re-released by Restless last month. Melchiondo says the initial pressing of 10,000 copies has sold out and the album is being repressed. The group also recently played a show at a club in its hometown of New Hope, Pa. at which it performed the "GodWeenSatan" album in its entirety. Ween has also contributed the song "Loop de Loop" to the Nick/Jive album of music from the Nickelodeon cartoon "Spongebob Squarepants," which is currently No. 1 on Billboard's Top Kid Audio chart.

Rob Mitchell, co-founder of esteemed U.K. electronic music label Warp Records, died yesterday (Oct. 8) after a "hard fought battle with cancer," according to a brief statement posted on the label's official Web site . Mitchell guided the careers of such prominent acts as Aphex Twin, Autechre, Squarepusher, and Boards Of Canada, helping them gain an international audience. "This is obviously a very sad time for us and all who knew Rob," the statement continued. "Everyone here at Warp will continue to build on what Rob has given us." A full statement is expected tomorrow. Speaking to Billboard about the expansion of the label, which opened a New York office last year, Mitchell said, "It's important that we don't assume that what works here in the U.K. will automatically work in the U.S. In the U.S., you're dealing with much more space and a much bigger population. In the end, we're very optimistic."