Billboard Bits: Pearl Jam, Common, Ween
News on Pearl Jam, Bridge School, Common, WeenAlthough a date has yet to be announced, Pearl Jam has confirmed it is planning to appear at the 15th annual Bridge School Benefit concert in Mountain View, Calif., later this year. It will be the band's fifth appearance at the Neil Young-organized event, which raises funds for the San Francisco-based Bridge School, a learning facility for physically challenged and severely speech-impaired children.
Pearl Jam has often used the stripped-down concerts to feature new or rare material, as the band did in 1999 when it debuted the tracks "Nothing as it Seems" and "Thin Air," which later appeared on last year's "Binaural" album.
The band also confirmed that it will not make rumored live appearances in Canada, New York's Central Park, or festivals in Argentina and Israel this year. As previously reported, a Pearl Jam rarities album is expected to be released by the end of the year.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.
Rapper Common is back in the studio recording the follow-up to last year's MCA set "Like Water for Chocolate." The as-yet-untitled album is tentatively scheduled for a November release, according to an MCA spokesperson. There's no word yet on who Common will be collaborating with, but his official Web site reports that the rapper will be recording some tracks with Shaquille O'Neal for the basketball star's forthcoming release.
"Like Water for Chocolate" peaked at No. 16 on The Billboard 200, and has sold 670,000 copies in the U.S., according to SoundScan. It featured the R&B/hip-hop airplay hits "The Light" and "The 6th Sense."
-- Todd Martens, L.A.
Restless Records will release a remastered, expanded edition of "God Ween Satan - The Oneness," the 1990 debut album from cult rock favorites Ween, by the end of the year. Writing on Ween's official Web site, group member Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo says the new edition will include three previously unreleased bonus tracks as well as new liner notes.
"You will definitely notice the difference in sound quality as the previously available pressing always sounded like sh*t compared to the original stereo mix," Melchiondo adds. The group is also "investigating the possibility" of re-releasing its entire back catalog on vinyl.
Ween is currently working on its next studio album but plans to play some surprise East Coast shows between June and August. A short West Coast tour, including some shows in Alaska, is set for mid-August.
-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.