OFFICIALS LOOKING FOR INFORMATION ON PHISH CONCERT ROCK-THROWERS
GEORGE, Wash. (AP) — Authorities in George, Washington, say they have no reason to believe that two men hit with rocks at a Phish concert on Saturday were victims of hate crimes. Grant County Sheriff’s spokesman Kyle Foreman says officers are aware of speculation on social media that allege neo-Nazis are responsible, but no connection has been made. Two men both were hit in the head with rocks at about the same time, but at a good distance apart. One man is hospitalized and the other has been released. There are no suspects.
BOBBY BROWN DENIES HITTING WHITNEY HOUSTON
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Bobby Brown is changing his story about hitting Whitney Houston. While speaking to reporters Friday outside Los Angeles, Brown said allegations that he was violent toward Houston are “completely wrong.” In 2016, Brown told ABC’s Robin Roberts he once hit Houston but denied he was a “woman beater.” When Brown was asked Friday about Houston’s 911 domestic violence call in 2003, Brown said, “The public record is wrong.” He says his bad boy image came from his stage act, not who he really is. He says the biggest misconception about him is that he’s a “bad guy.” BET will run a miniseries called “The Bobby Brown Story” on Sept. 4 and 5.
BILLY CORGAN: THERE IS NO BILLY CORGAN
UNDATED (AP) — Billy Corgan’s denial of an internet joke that he’s Taylor Swift’s father has spiraled into an existential discussion on the very nature of who he is. He writes on Instagram, “There is NO such person as ‘Billy Corgan.’” He says he grew up as Bill but decided when he was 18 to reinvent himself as Billy. He says he changed his haircut, his walk, even the way he squinted, and it’s Billy who made the records with Smashing Pumpkins. He says he would confuse the band because they never knew whether they were dealing with the real him or the character. In Corgan’s words, “You can keep Billy Corgan, he is dead, and he’s there for you to mock and use as you wish.” As for Swift, he says she’s “lovely and talented” and while he’s not her father, he’ll take it as a compliment.
FOUNDER OF THE “MUTE R. KELLY” MOVEMENT SAYS “I ADMIT” SHOWS IT’S WORKING
NEW YORK (AP) — The co-founder of the #MuteRKelly movement says his new song is proof that the social media campaign is working. Oronike Odeleye (or-eh-NEE’-kay oh-deh-LAY’-ay) says Kelly sings in the song “I Admit” that he’s broke and his concerts are getting canceled, and that means the campaign is affecting his cash flow. Odeleye is not impressed with the rest of the song, though. She calls it “a 19-minute sex trafficking anthem” in which Kelly blames everyone but himself. Despite several recent allegations of sexual misconduct against Kelly, he has not been charged or criminally investigated since he was acquitted of child porn charges in 2008.
GOOD CHARLOTTE PLAY CONCERT IN HONOR OF SLAIN JOURNALISTS
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Billy Martin of Good Charlotte says, “Thanks Annapolis! That was a special one.” Good Charlotte headlined a concert Saturday in honor of the five Capital Gazette employees killed in an attack in their newsroom last month. Benji Madden tweets, “Thank you for letting us share in the positivity and the hometown love.” The concert was a benefit for the victims’ families and colleagues. Executive editor Martin Baron says the five victims were “friends of the people” who do not deserve “to be seen as an enemy because of the profession they chose or the place they worked.”
SECURITY INCREASED FOR LOLLAPALOOZA
CHICAGO (AP) — Security in Chicago has been amped up for Lollapalooza this week, ten months after it was discovered the Las Vegas shooter had booked two hotel rooms overlooking last year’s festival. The Chicago Tribune reports police officers and fire personnel have had extra training and there will be more of them patrolling the grounds in and around the festival. The hotels and high-rises that overlook Grant Park have instituted extra security measures. Festival attendees will not be allowed to bring in backpacks or bags with multiple pockets or sealed water bottles, and they will go through security procedures similar to those used at airports. This year’s Lollapalooza features Arctic Monkeys, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd and Jack White. It runs Thursday through Sunday.
WHAT CARLY PEARCE LEARNED FROM PLAYING BLUEGRASS
NASHVILLE (AP) — Carly Pearce was singing karaoke when a bluegrass band approached her about fronting their band. That was her big break. She was 11. Pearce says she learned a lot about performing because bluegrass players are all about musicianship. She says she learned that she’d better deliver if she wanted to keep up. She also prides herself on sounding good live. Pearce says she never wants a fan to come to her show and say, “She does not sound like her album.”
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“POWER” PRODUCER CALLS KENDRICK LAMAR “SO CHILL” IN GUEST ROLE
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — The creator of the show “Power” on Starz says Kendrick Lamar was a pro for his guest role on last night’s show. Courtney Kemp says Lamar was “so chill” and had prepared so much for the role. Kemp says 50 Cent, who is a producer on the show, was instrumental in getting Lamar. Cast member Larenz Tate says he’s a huge Lamar fan but deliberately left him alone when Lamar was shooting. Tate says he didn’t want to “fan out” when he knew that it was a big moment for Lamar.
NEIL DIAMOND SINGS FOR FIREFIGHTERS
BASALT, Colo. (AP) — Neil Diamond came out of retirement to give an unexpected performance for firefighters working on a fire near his home in Basalt, Colorado. He sang “Sweet Caroline” for dozens of firefighters gathered at the command post on Friday night. Video of the event shows Diamond thanking the firefighters for their efforts to save his community. The 20-square mile fire has destroyed three homes. Two people are accused of starting it on July 3 by firing incendiary tracer rounds at a shooting range. Diamond abruptly retired from touring in January after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
DRAKE’S “SCORPION” IS STILL NUMBER ONE
LOS ANGELES (AP) — “Scorpion” by Drake maintains its lead on the Billboard 200 album chart. It’s number one for a fourth week, moving 184,000 units in the past week. Post Malone is second with “Beerbongs and Bentleys.” The soundtrack “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” is third. XXXTentacion (ex-ex-ex-ten-TAH’-see-YOHN’) is fourth with ”?″ (question mark), and Cardi B is fifth with “Invasion of Privacy.”
HALLMARK CHANNEL ANNOUNCES SHOWS FEATURING DEBBIE GIBSON, LEANN RIMES, AMY GRANT
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) — Debbie Gibson, Leann Rimes and Amy Grant each will star in Hallmark Channel specials that will run in the coming months. Gibson will star in a sequel to the “Summer of Dreams” Hallmark Channel movie. This one is called “Wedding of Dreams.” Rimes will star in a film called “It’s Christmas, Eve,” about a woman trying to save the music program at a school in her hometown. Grant will highlight holiday music in “Amy Grant’s Tennessee Christmas.” Hallmark previously announced that Kellie Pickler will star in an Elvis-themed original movie called “Christmas at Graceland.”
BROTHER OF LORETTA LYNN AND CRYSTAL GAYLE DIES
NASHVILLE (AP) — Herman Webb, the brother of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle, has died. A representative for Phelps-Son Funeral Home says Webb died Saturday at a hospital in Ashland, Kentucky, at the age of 83. Gayle tweets that fans may know him from the “countless tours he gave of the old home place.” Webb would escort fans to the home in Van Lear, Kentucky, where the family had lived. Webb once said that 200 to 300 cars would drive up on some days.
CO-FOUNDER OF CREATION FESTIVAL SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON
MOUNT HOLLY, N.J. (AP) — The former pastor who co-founded what was billed as the country’s largest Christian music festival has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for admitting to sexual contact with children. Harry Thomas of Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford, New Jersey, had entered a plea agreement acknowledging sexual crimes involving children under the age of 10. Thomas was the co-founder of the Creation Festival. This year’s festival was held in June and featured TobyMac, For King And Country and Jeremy Camp. Superior Court Judge Jeanne Covert said she recognized that Thomas, who is 75, might die in prison, but the 18-year sentence was appropriate given the crimes and the risk of Thomas reoffending.
by Margie Szaroleta