Billboard Bits: LL Cool J, Megadeth, Money Mark

News on LL Cool J, Megadeth, Money Mark

LL Cool JLL Cool J will deliver the keynote address at the Grammy Urban Music Symposium & Showcase, being held as part of the fourth annual Atlantis Music Conference. Taking place Aug. 2 in Atlanta, the symposium includes six educational panels for urban music professionals and artists, as well as performances by Robyn S, Baby D, the Dungeon Family, Gaelle, and Tiga.

The four-day Atlantis conference will kick off Aug. 1, with panels and discussions held at the Atlanta Hilton, and more than 200 showcasing artists at the city's nightclubs. For more information on the event, which is open to the public, visit its official Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Malaysian authorities yesterday (July 23) banned veteran metal act Megadeth from performing in the country. The band planned to perform Aug. 2 at the Warp Club in the country's capital city, Kuala Lumpur, in support of its latest album, "The World Needs a Hero" (Sanctuary). Government officials effectively forced cancellation of the appearance by not granting work permits for the band and its crew and insisting the imagery the band uses -- specifically its skeleton mascot "Vic Rattlehead" -- is unsuitable for the nation's youth. "Megadeth is very disappointed that they won't be able to perform for their fans in Malaysia," the band's manager, Larry Mazer, said in a statement. "I'm sure Megadeth fans in Malaysia are equally disappointed. Hopefully, the political climate will change so that one day Megadeth may return to Malaysia to play for their fans who have waited a long time to see them in person." In addition to the show cancellation, "The World Needs a Hero" has been confiscated from stores and Sanctuary has been prohibited from shipping copies to fill inventory, according to the statement.

Beastie Boys collaborator and eclectic pop talent "Money" Mark Nishita has signed a new label deal with Los Angeles-based Emperor Norton Records, which will on Sept. 18 release his third solo album, "Change is Coming." Longtime Nishita cohort Mario Caldato Jr. (Beastie Boys, Beck) was assisted by Craig Silvery at the production helm for "Change Is Coming," which is said to be more of a showcase of Nishita's skills as an instrumentalist than his first two solo albums. "Change" also features guest appearances by members of Los Lobos and Ozomatli. The artist plans to follow the album's release with a fall North American tour. Nishita first rose to fame after he met the Beastie Boys while working as a carpenter on their California home and became a key instrumental component on 1992's "Check Your Head" album. He worked on the Beasties' two subsequent albums and participated in sessions with the likes of Moby, Buffalo Daughter, and the Wallflowers.