CONCERT TRAGEDY Pearl Jam broke their silence in defense against the accusation by Denmark police that they are ”morally responsible” for the nine deaths that occurred during and after their performance at last month’s Roskilde Festival. In a statement, the band called for further investigation into the quality of security, emergency response, stage setup, and alcohol sales at the show. ”When something this disastrous occurs, when this many lives are lost, it is essential that every aspect be examined thoroughly and from all angles. To date, we don’t feel that this has happened,” the band said. ”We feel that we are ‘morally responsible’ to bring out the truth with regard to what happened that night.” Indeed, officials will question Pearl Jam members at a new round of hearings focusing on security and safety arrangements at the performance. The group said that it understood that some 15 minutes of chaos elapsed before security told them that there was a problem. They added that their view of the audience was obscured on stage.
AILING Beastie Boy Mike D apparently badly damaged his shoulder last weekend while riding his bike home from rehearsal in New York City. Details are not yet available, but the injury has forced the Beasties and Rage Against the Machine to postpone their Rhyme and Reason tour. A doctor reportedly told the rapper that he should ”refrain from all physical activity for a two to three month rehabilitation program” or risk permanently losing use of the shoulder. He is expected to undergo surgery and extensive treatment this week.
BOOKS Have no fear: Long after the final ”Survivor” episode airs this summer, viewers will able to get the skinny on their favorite castaways in ”Survivor!” the official companion guide. Creator Mark Burnett, along with Martin Degrade of the publishing house Harper-Collins, will release the title in September. Among the contents: revelations about contestants’ sexuality (Of course Richard is gay, but so is Sonja Christopher), their financial status (B.B. didn’t need the cash anyway), and bias (Rudy wasn’t too keen on spending days and nights with gays in his midst). Even in our darkest moments, we can count on cross-branding strategies to save the day.
AWARDS Boy bands and rap stars will go head to head in competition for gold spacemen at the MTV Video awards Sept. 7. Eminem and ‘N Sync lead the nominations, with nods in six categories each — including video of the year. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, Sisqo, and Christina Aguilera are close on their heels with five noms a piece, while Britney Spears, D’Angelo, and Macy Gray each earned four. ”Scary Movie”’s Shawn and Marlon Wayans will host the event. Afterward, awards will be handed out for Skimpiest Attire (Worn By an Artist or Dance Extra), Best Pushup Bra/ Thong (Digital or Otherwise).
CASTING ”X-Men”’s Rebecca Romijn-Stamos is prepping for another fantasy flick. Variety reports that she’s been cast as the lead Aurora in MGM’s remake of ”Roller Ball”. The actress will star opposite ”American Pie”’s Chris Klein and LL Cool J in the sci-fi feature about futuristic competitions that assume ”Gladiator”-like proportions. Apparently, the World Wrestling Federation doesn’t pay quite as much as MGM.
TV NEWS Speaking of thugs on mats, it’s makeover time for UPN. Effective Jan. 1 the network will change its name to the Paramount Network and roll out a new logo that combines Paramount’s circle of stars with the old UPN triangle. ”It seemed like a good time [for the switch],” said network prez Dean Valentine. ”UPN was an awkward name.” Maybe people kept calling to ask why their packages hadn’t arrived.
DISASTER A fire destroyed the Oregon home of veteran actress Kim Novak. The ”Vertigo” star, 67, watched as flames enveloped priceless mementos from her acting career as well as an autobiography that she had been working on for a decade. The disaster was apparently linked to a fallen electrical wire. No one was injured.