Billboard Bits: Suge Knight, ACM Awards, and more

News on Death Row, Suge Knight, Brooks & Dunn, Academy Of Country Music Awards, System Of A Down, Rick Rubin, A, Adam Sandler

Death Row Records co-founder Marion "Suge" Knight was released from Mule Creek State Prison near Sacramento, Calif., on Friday morning, after serving half of a nine-year term for violating probation on assault charges. As previously reported, Knight is scheduled to spend up to two months in a halfway house or federal work-release program and should be home by mid-summer.

Brooks & Dunn, Billy Gilman, and Brad Paisley will join previously announced performers Toby Keith and Lee Ann Womack May 9 at the 36th annual Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards. Also set to perform are Kenny Chesney, Lonestar, Jo Dee Messina, Shedaisy, Dwight Yoakam, and the Warren Brothers with Sara Evans. The show will be hosted be LeAnn Rimes and broadcast live from Los Angeles on CBS-TV.

Among those set to present awards are Dixie Chicks Emily Robison and Martie Seidel, the Kinleys, Tracy Lawrence, John Michael Montgomery, Aaron Tippin, Montgomery Gentry, Trace Adkins, Gary Allan, Jessica Andrews, Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt, Neal McCoy, Sawyer Brown's Mark Miller, Patti Page, Mark Wills, and Bryan White and his wife, actress Erika Page.

Meanwhile, the ACM has teamed with St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to host a benefit auction of items from this year's ACM nominees, performers, and presenters, who will donate something they will either wear or use during the show. The auction, at, will begin the morning after the awards show.

-- Phyllis Stark, Nashville

Hard rock act System Of A Down plans to debut new material tapped for its sophomore American album during a series of upcoming radio station festivals. More than 30 songs have been written for the as-yet-untitled set, which is being produced by American head honcho Rick Rubin. The album will be the follow-up to last year's self-titled release, which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

Here are System Of A Down's tour dates:

May 25: Somerset, Wisc. (93X Fest)
May 26: Foxboro, Mass. (WBCN River Rave)
May 27: Des Moines, Iowa (Big Ass BBQ)

Spunky British modern rock act A has bowed out of the 13-date European Deconstruction Tour (featuring Pennywise, Avail, Sick Of It All, and Bouncing Souls) in favor of spending time in a Belgian recording studio working on its third album, tentatively titled "Hifi-Serious." The band's official Web site reports that the group hopes to finish recording the album -- the follow-up to last year's "A Vs. Monkey Kong" (Mammoth) -- by mid-May. The site also reports that A's cover of Badfinger's "No Matter What" is being considered for inclusion on the soundtrack to Adam Sandler's new film "The Animal."

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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