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Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International

R. KELLY

Declaring "the cash machine is closed," attorneys for R&B star R. Kelly say their client is innocent and will fight the latest allegations that he had sex with underage girls.

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Tuesday's declaration follows Monday's filing of a civil lawsuit accusing Kelly of impregnating a 17-year-old girl and then forcing her to have an abortion. Lawyers for the singer -- best known for the hit, "I Believe I Can Fly" -- said though he has settled previous lawsuits alleging he engaged in sex with underage girls, he never has admitted any wrongdoing and just settled to avoid a "degrading" court process.

"But enough is enough," attorney Gerald Margolis told a news conference. "Perhaps ... people have gotten the idea that R. Kelly is some sort of walking ATM machine they can hit up for cash. The cash machine is closed. R. Kelly is no angel but he is no monster either. This latest suit is a collection of half-truths, distortions and outright lies that we intend to fight and beat."

The suit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court by Susan Loggans, who is representing Patrice Jones, 20, and who filed the two previous lawsuits. It alleges Jones met Kelly at a McDonald's in December 1998 and engaged in a 9-month relationship during which she became pregnant at the age of 17. The suit alleges Kelly had one of his associates take the girl to an abortion clinic and forced her to undergo the procedure despite her pleas not to.

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Loggans said settlement talks broke off when the two sides could not agree on a dollar figure.

The suit comes amidst a Chicago police investigation of a tape purported to show Kelly engaging in sexual relations with a 14-year-old girl. No charges have been filed.


PAUL MCCARTNEY

A London judge has ruled in favor of Paul McCartney, blocking the auction of handwritten lyrics to "Hey Jude."

The former Beatle said the lyrics had disappeared from his home, NME.com reports.

The lyrics were to be sold at a pop memorabilia auction at Christie's in London Wednesday. The lyric sheet will now stay at Christie's headquarters until ownership is established by trial or agreement.

The lyrics belonged to F;prrent Tessier, who bought them when he was a student in 1971 or 1972. He said he didn't realise the lyrics were authentic until he had them appraised by Sotheby's six years ago.

Christie's had proposed that McCartney bid for the lyrics himself. The judge called that a "highly unattractive proposal." He added that he hopes the case could be resolved without coming to court.


LISA 'LEFT EYE' LOPES

TLC's Rozonda "Chilli" Thomas is vowing that the R&B trio, which was working on the follow-up to 1999's "Fan Mail" album at the time of Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes' death last week, will continue on. "It's not over," she told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I know that Lisa would not want us to stop."

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But Thomas says Lopes will not be replaced. "As for Lisa being replaced -- never," she said. "You can't replace a TLC girl. The chemistry we have is something God gave us. You can't put that together."

Lopes, 30, was killed in a car accident in Honduras last Thursday. Her funeral is scheduled for Thursday in the Atlanta suburb of Lithonia, Ga.


MTV ROCK AND COMEDY CONCERT

Sheryl Crow, Counting Crows and Wyclef Jean will headline MTV's Rock and Comedy Concert, a free show that'll be held May 10 in New York's Battery Park in conjuction with the first annual Tribeca Film Festival.

Comedians Robin Williams and Jimmy Fallon will also take the stage. In addition to the live music and comedy performances, the three-hour outdoor concert will feature clips from many of the feature-length and short films being screened at the festival -- including scenes from the MTV News and Documentary series, "True Life: I'm Coming Out" and highlights from the upcoming MTV Film's theatrical release "Jackass: The Movie."

MTV will also air a 30-minute behind-the-scenes look at the film fest and concert on May 24. "MTV Presents: Inside the Tribeca Film Festival" promises to take viewers downtown for a tour of the festival screenings, parties, schmoozing, and judging.

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(Web sites: .MTV.com or tribecafilmfestival.org)


MOBY'S AREA: TWO FESTIVAL

Carl Cox, John Digweed, the Avalanches, Tiesto, DJ Dan, and Tim Skinner have been added to the line-up for Moby's Area: Two Festival, which kicks off July 28 in Bristow, Va.

Moby will also take the stage, as will David Bowie and Busta Rhymes.

Although this year's tour will be shorter than last year's Area: One trek, Moby says fans need not worry. "I will be going just about everywhere that Area: Two doesn't go," he writes on his official Web site. "So those of you in Texas, Florida, etc, please be aware that I will be visiting you on my own. Personally I want to go everywhere. But there are a lot of everywheres in the world, so I can't go everywhere. But I can try."

Tour dates:

July 28: Bristow, Va. (Nissan Pavilion)

July 30: Camden, N.J. (Tweeter Center)

July 31: Holmdel, N.J. (PNC Bank Arts Center)

Aug. 2: Wantagh, N.Y. (Jones Beach)

Aug. 3: Mansfield, Mass. (Tweeter Center)

Aug. 5: Toronto (Molson Amphitheatre)

Aug. 6: Clarkston, Mich. (DTE Energy Music Theatre)

Aug. 8: Tinley Park, Ill. (Tweeter Center)

Aug. 10: Denver (Pepsi Center)

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Aug. 13: Irvine, Calif. (Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre)

Aug. 14: Mountain View, Calif. (Shoreline Amphitheatre)

Aug. 16: George, Wash. (the Gorge)

(Web site: moby.com)


THE CRANBERRIES

On May 14, to mark the 10th anniversary of their debut album, The Cranberries will release "Treasure Box: The Complete Sessions 1991-1999" (Universal Music).

The boxed set includes full digitally re-mastered versions of the Irish rock band's original first four albums, "Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?," "No Need to Argue," "To the Faithful Departed" and "Bury the Hatchet" as well as 21 bonus tracks containing studio B-side recordings, a remix of "Zombie" by the Orb and two compilation recordings.

The release of "Treasure Box" will precede an upcoming North American tour in support of the band's fifth album, "Wake Up and Smell the Coffee" (MCA Records). This is the first time the Cranberries have toured with their full production since their "Bury The Hatchet" tour ended in September 1999.

Tour dates:

May 10: Montreal, Quebec Molson Centre

May 11: Toronto, Ontario Massey Hall

May 13: Upper Darby, PA Tower Theatre

May 14: Boston, MA Fleet Boston Pavilion

May 16: Wallingford, CT Oakdale Theater

May 18: New York, NY Hammerstein Ballroom

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May 25: Rochester, MI Meadowbrook Amphitheater

May 26: Chicago, IL Rosemont Theater

May 28: Vienna, VA The Filene Center

May 30: Atlanta, GA Chastain Park Amphitheater

June 1: Pompano Beach, FL Pompano Beach Amphitheater

June 9: San Juan, PR Coliseum Roberto

June 25-26: Mexico City, Mexico National Auditorium

June 28: Guadalajara, Mexico Auditorio Benito Juarez

July 2: Las Vegas, NV Rain In The Desert

July 3: San Francisco, CA Warfield Theater

July 5: Los Angeles, CA Greek Theater

After a short break, the band will travel to South America and Southeast Asia before the end of August.

(Web site: cranberries.com)


ASHANTI

R&B singer Ashanti is coming home to Long Island this Friday. She'll appear at FYE in Garden City, N.Y., where fans will get the chance to meet Ashanti and celebrate with her as Glen Cove Mayor Mary Ann Holzkamp presents the hometown native with the keys to the city.

Ashanti's self-titled album features the hit single "Foolish," which has been dominating the charts for the past three weeks.


SISTER HAZEL

Sister Hazel will help the USTA launch "USA Tennis Month," an annual nationwide celebration of the outdoor tennis season, with a special "USA Tennis Rock & Rally" tennis and music festival at Rockefeller Center in New York City Wednesday.

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A regulation size tennis court will be constructed on Rockefeller Center Rink for a USA Tennis Skills Challenge. Also on hand will be model, actress and TV personality Daisy Fuentes and tennis legend Billie Jean King.


MATT JOHNSON

Although he never scored a Top 40 hit in America, Matt Johnson of the ambiguously named The The wrote and performed numerous chart singles in his native England since his debut in 1979.

All of those hits, plus a wealth of other fan favorites, are collected on the limited edition double-CD set "45 RPM: The Singles Of The The," which hits stores May 21. The package will also include three brand-new tracks which have never appeared anywhere before. All three songs will be released in England as singles in the coming months: "Pillar Box Red," "Deep Down Truth," and "December Sunlight (Cried Out)."

While the latter song did previously appear on The The's last studio album, 2000's "Naked Self," the version on "45 RPM" has been completely revamped.

On July 2, Epic/Legacy will follow the release of "45 RPM" with deluxe editions of the first four The The albums: "Soul Mining" (1983), "Infected" (1986), "Mind Bomb" (1989), and "Dusk" (1993). These titles will feature greatly enhanced packaging with slipcase covers, new and old cover artwork, full lyrics, and rare archival photography.

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Johnson currently lives in Sweden and is writing and recording songs for a new album.

(Web site: legacyrecordings.com)

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