SHAKEUP On the eve of their U.S. tour, Creed announced that founding member Brian Marshall is leaving the band. Marshall and Creed said via a statement that the split is ”friendly,” citing ”personal and professional differences” as the reason. The platinum rock band says it has chosen Virgos singer/ guitarist Brett Hestla to replace Marshall on their tour, which starts today in Chicago. However, they add that they are not as yet seeking a permanent replacement for the bass player. Not long ago, Marshall stirred up controversy when, on a Seattle radio station, he slammed Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder‘s musical direction. A few days later, Creed issued an apology saying, ”There is no excuse for the arrogance and stupidity.” Amicable, indeed.
NAPSTER Never one to shy from controversy, Prince is taking a strong stand in favor of Napster, and slamming his ex label Warner Bros. (Owned by EW.com’s parent Time Warner) yet again. In a statement posted this week on his website the artist formerly known as the Artist sings the praises of the beleaguered song swapping service. ”From the point of view of the music lover, what’s going on can only be viewed as an exciting development in the history of music,” he says. He goes on to blast TW prez Richard Parsons, who was quoted in the L.A. Times recently saying, ”An increasing number of young people don’t buy albums, so we are not only losing that immediate revenue. They are growing up with a notion that music is free and ought to be free.” Prince responds, ”This statement deals with the relationship between music and the public from a purely commercial point of view.” Stop the presses: Time Warner prez reveals shocking secret that he works for a big corporation that wants to make money!
POTTER WATCH Things are looking up for those who want to see an all English cast in the ”Harry Potter” movie. Brits Richard Harris and Alan Rickman are in talks to star as Hogwarts wizardry teachers, according to the Hollywood Reporter. ”Galaxy Quest”’s Rickman might take the role of nasty Professor Snape, while ”The Fields”’ Harris would play headmaster Dumbledore. Of course, there is no word as yet on who will play the Potter boy. Perhaps Prime Minister Tony Blair will issue a statement later this week
REEL DEAL Steven Spielberg may be adding yet another film to his already busy slate. Variety reports that he is in talks with the producers of ”American Beauty” to direct the Columbia pictures drama ”Big Fish.” Now there’s something Spielberg presumably would know a lot about.
LEGALESE It looks like the ”Dieter” dispute is coming to a close. Variety reports that Mike Myers has signed a settlement with Imagine Pictures — and that a similar agreement with Universal is imminent. Details were not disclosed, but they are no doubt far more entertaining than the movie could ever hope to be.
RETREAT The Recording Industry Association of America has agreed to ask Congress to give artists the right to reclaim copyright of their work after 35 years. The Artists Coalition — which includes Sheryl Crow and Don Henley — has been battling over negotiations to have recordings removed from the list of ”works for hire” in a law that gives labels and other companies the right to own certain intellectual properties. ”The RIAA realized they need artists on their side in the Napster battle,” said lawyer Jay Cooper. Now, if only they’d agree to lower the cost of CDs.