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ARTIST NEWS: The Dead Helps Feed The Hungry

BOULDER, CO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) – The Conscious Alliance and The Dead will be staging a large-scale food drive project in conjunction with this summer's Wave That Flag Tour. The food donations will benefit local America's Second Harvest Food Share Affiliates and impoverished Indian Reservations across the greater western United States.

At every show this summer, the first 1,000 people to donate 10 non-perishable items will receive a free limited edition commemorative poster designed by famed Grateful Dead artist, Stanley Mouse!

Donation bins will be located outside of all main entrances to each venue. Here a volunteer will exchange a poster redemption coupon for your donation of 10 non-perishable items. Posters can be redeemed at the Conscious Alliance booth inside the show. The food drive will take place 2 hours before doors open until the beginning of the first set. Donations of low-sodium and health food oriented products are especially encouraged!

The Conscious Alliance is a grass roots 501 (c)(3) non -profit out of Boulder, Colorado that is working to help feed the hungry and impoverished across the United States. The approach involves staging food drives to redirect the abundance and generosity that exists in music, art and athletic communities. This approach has led to the collection, and delivery/distribution, of over 100,000 lbs. of donations since March of 2002. The goal is to continue running food drives until a million pounds of food have been collected and, from there, a million pounds of donations per year.

Please visit the official Dead website for venue information: The Dead and for donation information. For more information on America's Second Harvest Food Share Affiliates please see

Also look for Conscious Alliance on tour this summer with The String Cheese Incident, Lollapalooza, and Sound Tribe Sector 9. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

Kittie Narrowly Escapes Electrocution While Filming Video

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) – The members of Kittie narrowly escaped a life-threatening accident while on location for the shooting of its video, “Into the Darkness.”

A huge acrylic pool that was to be suspended in the air exploded, sending 600 gallons of water gushing on to the soundstage where the band was just completing a live segment. The soundstage was full of lights, electrical equipment, the band’s gear, and a couple dozen people.

Guitarist/vocalist Morgan Lander grabbed her guitar and ran when she heard the sound of ripping cardboard and an explosion. “I knew right away what had happened and all I could think of was to get the hell out of there,” she said. “There were hundreds of thousands of volts in there, with the lights and the cameras, and I was most concerned with electrocution.”

Bassist Jennifer Arroyo was in makeup when the accident happened. “I was just talking to one of the crew saying, ‘Today is gonna be a crazy day…I just know it,’ and a few minutes later Mercedes and Morgan come running in telling me what happened,” Arroyo said. “I was completely amazed when I walked out and looked at the split and shattered tank, not to mention all the water.”

Once it was deemed safe, drummer Mercedes Lander went back to survey the damage. “After the power was shut off, I went back to the studio and found the whole sound stage and my drums in two inches of water,” said Lander. “I’m just really happy no one got hurt.”

Once the danger subsided, the two-hour-long hour clean-up process commenced and the remainder of the shoot went flawlessly.

“Kittie’s an extreme band, we are an extreme crew, and extreme things happen to extreme people,” said Greg Kaplan, who directed the video along with his wife, Rafaela Monfradini. “Believe me, the end result of this video will be a testament to all the hard work and resiliency that went down this past weekend on set. It was incredible how everyone from the band to the crew to the label worked together to salvage our shoot – and, in the end, we did much more than that. I think the traumatic event led to us all putting a whole lot more passion and effort into the video.”

Added guitarist Lisa Marx: “The crew was very professional about it all. They were calm and confident the ‘Grand Rapids incident’ was only a small setback, and were quick to clean up the mess. I was amazed.”

The video for “Into the Darkness”, will have its world premiere on MTV2’s “Headbanger’s Ball” on June 19. This episode will also be hosted by Kittie.

Following the “Headbanger’s Ball” premiere, the video will then be serviced to other major market and regional video shows. The single is set for impact on radio on June 29. “Until the End,” Kittie’s third full-length, will be released July 27 on Artemis Records. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers

Spears Injures Knee During Video Shoot

NEW YORK (AP) — Pop princess Britney Spears injured her knee during a video shoot and was hospitalized for arthroscopic surgery, her record label said Wednesday.

Spears, 22, was taken to a hospital after hurting herself late Tuesday, Jive Records said in a statement. An MRI showed floating cartilage in her knee.

The injury occurred after Spears completed outdoor scenes for the video of her new single, "Outrageous," with rapper Snoop Dogg in the New York City borough of Queens. Spears was doing choreography when her knee gave out, Jive said.

"Outrageous" will be featured in the movie "Catwoman," due out next month.

Spears is scheduled to begin a North American tour June 22 in Hartford, Conn., according to her Web site. Her latest album, "In the Zone," was released in November.

Spears was forced to cancel two shows in March because of a knee injury.

Country Music Lovers Remain Pro-War

NASHVILLE, TN (AP) — Country music artists are hardly united in their support of the war in Iraq — but you'd never know it from listening to the radio.

While Toby Keith, Darryl Worley and Charlie Daniels scored hits with patriotic, war-themed songs, others such as Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Nanci Griffith released anti-war, or at least questioning, songs that went nowhere.

"I think country radio does enough research that they understand listeners are supportive of the military in Iraq and just don't want to get involved with those songs," said John Hart, president of Nashville-based Bullseye Marketing Research.

"I work with 32 stations, and I have not seen one test any of these anti-war songs."

But the patriotic tunes that were everywhere at the beginning of the military campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have slowed. John Michael Montgomery's touching "Letters from Home" is the only current chart hit with a war theme, and it is neither an angry call to arms nor a love letter to America.

Hart believes the flag-waving songs reached a saturation point. He also says the continuing hostilities in Iraq and recent prison abuse scandal may have tempered the enthusiasm expressed early in the conflict.

"I think right now the labels and radio feel they have come to a line in the sand where they need to slow down," Hart said. "And the artists are hesitant to release anything right now that they think might be overkill."

Country fans remain firmly behind the war, according to a survey completed last week by Hart's company. The survey of 845 country music listeners found that about 54 percent support U.S. involvement in Iraq and 55 percent would vote for President Bush if the election were today.

Patriotism is a strong undercurrent to this week's Country Music Association Music Festival, which runs Thursday through Sunday in Nashville.

In addition to donating tickets to soldiers in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, CMA will also hold a reunion of entertainers who performed for troops in Iraq last December. Guests at the Friday event include Worley, whose "Have You Forgotten" remains a conservative rallying cry, as well as liberal comedian and author Al Franken and "JAG" actress Karri Turner.

Franken said the backlash against the Dixie Chicks after lead singer Natalie Maines criticized President Bush on a London stage last year had "a chilling effect on what people felt they could or couldn't say" in country music.

"And that's too bad," Franken said. "I think people should be free to express their politics."

Worley also cited the Dixie Chicks' incident.

"They made a pretty strong statement about the president, and we haven't heard much of them on country radio either. There is a silent majority in this country, and it is a whole lot stronger than people might think."

Country artists are regarded as more conservative than those in other genres, but there are exceptions. Alt-country icons Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Rosanne Cash and Lucinda Williams lent their names to a petition by the protest group Musicians United to Win Without War. Respected songwriters Rodney Crowell and The Mavericks' Raul Malo have been frank about their opposition to the president. A new group called the Music Row Democrats formed this year to give a political voice to country songwriters, musicians, producers and record executives.

Still, the few country songs that have express reservations about Iraq have failed to click.

Worley believes some of that has to do with the artists releasing them, noting that veteran singers such as Nelson and Haggard have had trouble cracking the charts with any kind of song in recent years.

But market researcher Hart thinks it is more than that. He says an anti-war song by a hot contemporary artist would fizzle as well because of the conservative tilt of country audiences.

"I've been in country music since 1972, and I think every conflict is that way," said Hart, a Vietnam veteran. "Everytime we bomb somebody it's 'Hell yea!' Let's kick their ass.' That's where country music is coming from."

Singer Kenny Rogers, whose group The First Edition had one of the most poignant hits of the Vietnam era with "Ruby," a dark tale about a crippled Vietnam veteran whose woman is cheating on him, says the political climate today is much different than in the 1960s and '70s.

"I think people are afraid to write about it, and people are afraid to play it," Rogers said. "Everybody is so afraid now to be politically correct.

"I don't know of a successful song that has said 'We need to stop this,'" he said. "But I do think if one were written well and had an honest thought process behind it and was not strictly politically driven, radio would play it."

Rap Stars Hold Concert To Encourage Voting

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, Kanye West and other rap stars held a free concert at Ohio State University to encourage students to vote in November.

The Rev. Run of Run-DMC, Loon, Petey Pablo and Layzie Bone of the Cleveland group Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were at the Schottenstein Center on Thursday, along with Roc-A-Fella Records co-founder Damon Dash.

Dash said the hip-hop community needs to stress voting and civic responsibility to gain respect and bring about change.

"We are at the forefront of our culture and considered the coolest," he said. "It is cool to be socially conscious to do what's right and find a candidate to vote for."

Some 2,000 people registered to vote at the event, organized by Simmons' group, the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network. The network and community partners registered another 10,000 in the past two weeks.

A national hip-hop political convention will be June 16-19 in Newark, N.J. Simmons' group hopes to register 2 million young voters before the presidential election Nov. 2.