Billboard Bits: Almost Famous, Mad Ave., Hootie & More

News on Almost Famous, Mad Ave., Hootie & More

StillwaterThe Dec. 4 DreamWorks DVD release of "Almost Famous," written and directed by Cameron Crowe, will be jammed with a host of special features. Most notable is an extended version of the film, dubbed "the Bootleg Cut," which includes 30 minutes of additional footage plus Crowe's commentary. The DVD also sports deleted scenes, a new featurette with behind-the-scenes footage, and a special package designed to emulate a '70s classic rock album cover.

"Almost Famous," for which Crowe won the best screenplay Academy Award, is a semi-autobiographical tale of a teenage rock journalist reporting on a tour by the fictional band Stillwater. The DVD includes a 24-minute CD of unreleased music from Stillwater, as well as rehearsal clips and six live songs.

Other features on the DVD include original articles from Rolling Stone magazine written by Crowe, the full script, a theatrical trailer, cast and crew biographies, and music from Crowe's wife, Heart's Nancy Wilson, made especially for the DVD menus.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

Madison AvenueAustralian dance duo Madison Avenue -- producer/writer/singer Cheyne Coates and DJ/producer Andy Van -- will return to the U.S for a brief slate of tour dates kicking off Saturday (Sept. 22) in Brookshire, Texas. The 10-date trek will wrap with a string of five California shows, ending Oct. 14 in West Hollywood.

The pair's C2/Columbia album "The Polyesther Embassy" spawned three hit dance singles, two of which -- "Who the Hell Are You" and "Don't Call Me Baby" -- topped Billboard's Hot Dance Music: Club Play chart last year. In August of this year, the single "Everything You Need" managed a No. 24 showing on that chart.

Here are Madison Ave.'s U.S. tour dates:

Sept. 22: Brookshire, Texas (River Bridge Fun Park)
Sept. 28: Orlando, Fla. (Parliament House)
Sept. 29: Milwaukee (the Cage)
Sept. 30: Detroit (Backstreet)
Oct. 5: New Hope, Pa. (Cartwheel)
Oct. 10: San Jose, Calif. (the Usual)
Oct. 11: San Francisco, Calif. (City Nights)
Oct. 12: Hollywood, Calif. (Club Heaven)
Oct. 13: Hollywood, Calif. (Circus Disco)
Oct. 14: West Hollywood, Calif. (Rage)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

HootieHootie and the Blowfish will return to the University of South Carolina (USC) to celebrate their alma mater's 200th birthday and homecoming weekend. The group, which formed in 1986 while its members attended USC, will play Oct. 20 at the State Fairgrounds across the street from the university's Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

Proceeds from the event will benefit USC's Student Life Scholarship Fund. USC students with valid ID will be able to purchase tickets beginning Sept. 24 for $7 at the campus' Russell House Information Center; general public tickets will go on sale Oct. 1 via, and the Russell House Information Center.

Outside of the USC show, Hootie & the Blowfish have only three other live performances scheduled through the balance of the year. The group will play Sept. 30 at the Hampton Beach (N.H.) Casino, Oct. 24 at the Maui (Hawaii) Culture Arts Center, and New Year's Eve at the House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Chubby CheckerThe man who introduced the nation to The Twist now has meatier goals. Chubby Checker yesterday (Sept. 19) brought his new brand of beef jerky to several grocery stores in Omaha, Neb. Fans had other things on the their minds, however. Checker spent most of his visit signing autographs, posing for pictures and chatting with fans. He performs tomorrow in Elizabeth, Ind.

Checker debuted "The Twist" -- his cover of the song by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters -- in August 1960. The following month, the song had topped the charts, eventually selling more than a million copies. His 1962 re-release of "The Twist" became the first single to hit No. 1 on U.S. charts on two separate occasions. He hit the Top 40 again with a rap version of "The Twist" in 1988.

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Copyright 2001 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.