News Roundup: July 17


Poetic, of the rap group Gravediggaz, died Sunday in Los Angeles after a two-year battle against metastatic colon cancer, reports. Poetic, whose real name was Anthony Berkeley, was 35. The cancer was diagnosed in 1999, after Berkeley collapsed in a recording studio. He was given only four months to live. He continued to record with Gravediggaz, and will be featured on the group’s Aug. 23 release, Nightmare In A-Minor. He is survived by his wife, Dee Dee Hill.

Composer James Bernard, best known for his work with Britain’s Hammer film studios, died Thursday in a London hospital, People magazine reports. The cause of death was not disclosed. He was 75. Mr. Bernard composed musical scores for such Hammer horror yarns as 1957’s The Curse of Frankenstein and 1968’s The Devil Rides Out. He also won an Academy Award in 1951 for Best Motion Picture Story for Seven Days to Noon, which he co-wrote with Paul Dehn. Mr. Bernard is survived by a sister.


The flu has forced Melissa Etheridge to cancel all scheduled album and book signing appearances through July 27, reports. She is expected to be back on her feet in time to kick off a tour on Aug. 6 to promote her new album Skin. Etheridge also just published a new memoir, The Truth is…: My Life in Love and Music.

In Courts

Rapper Eminem’s estranged wife, Kimberly Mathers, was arraigned Monday on a charge of drug possession in Mount Clemens, Mich., The Associated Press said. Police reportedly found a “white powdery substance” in the back of a patrol car in which Mathers had been questioned, AP said. Mathers’ attorney denied that the drugs belonged to her. Mathers, who filed for divorce from Eminem in March, is on probation for a charge of driving under the influence.

In General

The truth must still be out there. Chris Carter, creator and executive producer of The X-Files, will remain with the series through the end of the next season, according to the Hollywood Reporter. David Duchovny departed the show last season after appearing in a limited number of episodes, and Gillian Anderson reportedly intends to leave when her contract expires at the end of the next season.

MTV is throwing itself a 20th birthday bash, and Mariah Carey, Billy Idol and TLC are invited to help blow the candles. The music network will hold its MTV20: Live and Almost Legal on Aug. 1 at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York. The concert, headlined by Carey, will air live on MTV and MTV2 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. The concert also will cut to performances by Aerosmith, Busta Rhymes and Depeche Mode to be televised live from their respective tours. MTV VJs old and current, including Martha Quinn and Carson Daly, will host.

Who knew the Insane Clown Posse had such rabid fans? Safety concerns forced police to stop the rap group’s Sunday concert in Toledo, Ohio, after 100 fans rushed the stage, The Associated Press reports. Some of the group’s equipment was destroyed during the incident.

A letter that one record executive will always regret sending to Madonna will go on auction Wednesday in London. Record executive Jimmy Lenner sent the undated rejection letter to tell the future Material Girl that she was “not ready yet,” Reuters reports. The online auction of Madonna memorabilia also will include stage bras.

U2’s Bono thanked French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on Monday for efforts made by France to write off the debt to 34 of the world’s 41 poorest nations, BBC News reports. The singer supports Drop the Debt, which campaigns for the cancellation of debt owed by developing countries.

Napster will use new digital encoding technology for its planned subscription-based service, the controversial online song-swapping service announced Monday. The technology would allow Napster to recognize and play copyright-protected music files.

Doubts linger about the potential success of Elton John‘s worldwide pay-per-view online concert special, to be held Tuesday from Turkey. Internet users apparantly are wary of coughing up the $10 fee because the concert will only be available to those with Internet connections of 100K or faster, BBC News reports. John‘s 1½ hour solo concert, which will include songs from his new album, also will be available online for one week after it airs live.