BILLY BATTLED THE BULGE
Billy Joel told the Chicago Sun-Times he lost 40 pounds before and during his rehab stint at Silver Hills clinic in Connecticut last month. "It was easy to lose the weight," Joel told the Sun-Times, because he hated the food. "I kept reading about my being in the 'posh' Silver Hills. Boy, was that a crock!" Joel claimed to be on a "red wine diet" in which he drinks nothing but red wine. Joel was in Chicago for the opening of "Movin' Out," a Broadway-bound production with 12 of his songs and choreography by Twyla Tharpe.
VANILLA FUDGE DEFROSTED
Fans of the heavy sounds of 1960s psychedelia flocked to B.B. King's in New York Tuesday to hear the Vanilla Fudge reunion, then headed downtown to Don Hill's for a wild after-concert party.
The band played its signature song, a taffy-pull rendition of the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic "You Keep Me Hangin' On," along with covers of the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync.
BACKSTREET BOYS BICKERING
The New York Daily News reports the Backstreet Boys are snarling at each other these days. According to the News, singer Nick Carter has ticked off his partners because he's paying more attention to his own solo project than the next BB album.
"He wants to release his CD (compact disc) before the band has even finished theirs," the News quotes a band insider as saying.
"There could be tension," admitted BB manager Kenneth Crear, "but I haven't witnessed it. This is a chance for Nick to step out. It can only help the Backstreet Boys."
MELTS IN YOUR HAND, TOO
Rapper Eminem brought his beyond-tasteless live act "The Eminem Show" to the New York area this week as headliner of the Anger Management Tour with Papa Roach, rappers Ludacris and Xzibit, turntablists The X-ecutioners and rockers Bionic Drive.
Before the show began, a giant video screen behind the stage showed clips of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., Lynne Cheney and others lambasting Eminem to the delight of the mostly teenage crowd at New Jersey's Continental Airlines Arena.
Eminem emerged and gave his fans all of the X-rated prurience and violence they could handle as he threatened to smash the Senate, take over the country and rape his mother, not necessarily in that order. He topped it off with a piece of staged abuse of one of his backup singers and a mock execution of Moby, who has gone on record criticizing Eminem.
'N SYNC STAR TO BE SPACE ODDITY
Russian officials are impressed with the condition of boy band star Lance Bass of 'N Sync, who is negotiating with that country's space energy to hitch a rocket ride to the International Space Station this fall. Bass was cleared for liftoff by Russian doctors and currently is in training for the flight at cosmonaut training camp in Star City, just outside of Moscow.