Crazy Axe Guitar, Lady Gaga Power Activision’s 2010 Hero Games

With less than a week to go before E3, Activision is keen to remind the world that it has sequels in the works for two of its big music franchises.

Activision said Tuesday that DJ Hero 2 for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii will scratch its way into stores this fall. On Monday, it said that the latest installment of its blockbuster Guitar Hero franchise, dubbed Warriors of Rock, would appear on the same consoles, around the same time.

DJ Hero 2 promises tunes from chart-toppers like Dr. Dre, The Chemical Brothers, Kanye West, Metallica, Lady Gaga and Rihanna. Techno producer Deadmau5 is slated to appear as a playable character.

Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock will introduce a quest mode starring Kiss lead singer Gene Simmons, a redesigned guitar controller and special music written by Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine.

The game’s quest mode will cast you as a band of adventurers who set off on a journey from the stage of the now defunct punk club CBGBs, transform into fantasy-inspired rock warriors with crazy, new powers and join the Gene Simmons-voiced “Demi-God” in a battle against “The Beast,” to save the soul of rock and roll.

Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine will contribute a new song called “Sudden Death,” inspired by the game’s fantasy plot.

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Six Ozzy Osbourne Tracks Coming to Rock Band

Rock legend Ozzy Osbourne makes his Rock Band debut with six songs – three classics and three from his upcoming album Scream! Ozzy has sold 50 million albums worldwide during his solo career (plus another 50 million albums as the vocalist for Black Sabbath!), won two Grammys, an MTV Movie Award, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is a living legend and the Godfather of Heavy Metal. Now rockers everywhere will now be able to enjoy his music through Rock Band.

Fans will be able to play the already hit single “Let Me Hear You Scream” and two yet-unreleased tracks from Scream – “Diggin’ Me Down” and “Soul Sucker” – before the album hits stores on June 22nd. Longtime Ozzy fans shouldn’t feel left out – three Ozzy classics will also be available: “Crazy Babies, “I Don’t Wanna Stop,” and “No More Tears.”

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Kazaa, Skype Founders Launch Twitter-Like Music Service Rdio

Janus Friis with Niklas Zennström, who disrupted music distribution with the Kazaa file sharing service and phone companies with Skype, unveiled their Twitter-like version of a digital music service at the crack of midnight Thursday morning.

Rdio offers instant access to more than 5 million tracks from all the major labels and several indies to listeners in the United States and Canada through a web browser, downloadable software or mobile app. It’s available for free for three days and then for fees of $5 (web only) or $10 (web plus mobile).

The service enters a crowded field; Napster, Rhapsody, MOG, mSpot and others already charge similar prices to deliver the same music in the same ways in the United States. And Apple, Google and Spotify are waiting in the wings.

Along with leveraging experience from Kazaa and Skype (as well as their failed video service Joost), founders Friis and Zennström hope Rdio will distinguish itself from the field with features borrowed from Twitter and Facebook. It’ll let you see what people you trust are listening to, what they like and who they know, through real-time feeds, activity streams and profile pages that display the most-played music by a given user graphically with different-sized bubbles.

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Aerosmith announces 18 city U.S. tour

Aerosmith on Tuesday announced an 18 city U.S. tour starting in July in California after putting their differences behind them and warming up with seven dates in South America.

The Grammy-winning rock band, which spent much of last year in disarray after a public spat between frontman Steven Tyler and guitarist Joe Perry, said they were bringing their “Cocked, Locked, Ready to Rock Tour” to the U.S. after touring Europe in June for the first time in three years.

The band plays the last of seven South American dates in Costa Rica on Tuesday, and a previously announced Aug 14 date at professional baseball’s Fenway Park in their home town of Boston sold out in 23 minutes.

“I thought it was time to get my mojo back, by rockin’ South America and Europe with a little home run at Boston’s Fenway Park thrown in and then off to the rest of America to do what we do best! We’re gonna rock you into the middle of next week!,” Tyler said in a statement on Tuesday.

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U2 no longer headlining Glastonbury, Postponing American tour

U2 has been forced to postpone its American tour dates and cancel on the Glastonbury ticket-holders anxious to see the band headline the festival in June. After injuring his back and being admitted to the Ludwig Maximilians-University Hospital in Munich on Friday, Bono is now beginning an eight-week long rehabilitation process that will keep him off stage for most of the summer.

As stated by U2’s manager, Paul McGuinness, on the band’s website: “Our biggest and I believe best tour has been interrupted and we’re all devastated. For a performer who lives to be on stage, this is more than a blow. He feels robbed of the chance to do what he does best and feels like he has badly let down the band and their audience.” U2’s 360° tour, which kicked off in Europe last August, was set to hit Salt Lake City June 3 and stop at many West and East coast stadiums from that date through July 19.

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DOJ inquires about Apple’s hold on digital music

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun asking questions about Apple’s role in the recent scaling back of special music discounts and promotions at Amazon, according to two high level music industry sources.

The sources said investigators have begun speaking to a number of digital music retailers and top record labels about Apple’s response to the “MP3 Daily Deal,” an Amazon promotion that involved slashing prices on specific titles and pushing them heavily the day they were released. Amazon sometimes negotiated with the labels to get exclusive access to the music for a day, and the labels and their artists would often support the Daily Deal by promoting it on their Web sites.

Apple managers had informed the labels that any music included in Amazon’s promotion would receive no promotion at iTunes, music industry sources told CNET in April. In one case, an industry source said then, Apple complained to Sony Music Entertainment after seeing material from Alicia Keys touted as part of the Daily Deal.

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Singer Mindy McCready hospitalized

Country singer Mindy McCready was rushed to a Fort Myers, Florida, hospital Tuesday morning, where she is in good condition, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Lee County sheriff’s deputies responded to a overdose emergency at a Fort Myers residence, spokesman Tony Schall said.

The diagnosis for McCready, 34, “has not yet been confirmed,” her publicist said.

McCready has waged a public battle with drug addiction over the past several years and was a participant in the last season of the reality TV show “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.”

“Mindy McCready is in the emergency department,” Cape Coral Hospital spokeswoman Karen Krieger said. “She’s in good condition.”

A spokeswoman for the Lee County Sheriff would not immediately confirm details of her department’s response to a call to the Fort Myers home of McCready’s mother.

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Slipknot bassist found dead in Iowa hotel room

Paul Gray, the bassist for the Grammy-winning metal band Slipknot, was found dead Monday morning in his Des Moines, Iowa, hotel room, according to police. He was 38.

Gray’s body was found by staff members at the TownePlace Suites, said Sgt. Dave Disney of the Urbandale Police Department.

An autopsy, including toxicology tests, will be performed Tuesday, Disney said.

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Bono undergoes emergency surgery; U2 tour kick-off postponed

U2 fans who were looking forward to the band’s summer tour may miss out on Bono and crew. While in Germany Friday, lead singer Bono underwent emergency back surgery for an injury he received while preparing for the 360 Tour. The band released a statement on their official website u2.com:

“[Bono] was admitted to a specialist neuro surgery unit in a Munich hospital, and is under the care of neuro surgeon Prof. Dr. Jorg Tonn and Dr Muller Wohlfahrt. Bono will spend the next few days there, before returning home to recuperate. Once his condition has been assessed further, a statement will be made regarding the impact on forthcoming tour dates. ”

Shortly after this statement, Live Nation confirmed that the tour’s launch in Salt Lake City on June 3 would be postponed until further notice.

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Rap Mogul Suge Knight Arrested in Los Angeles

Rap music mogul Marion “Suge” Knight was arrested in Los Angeles on Thursday for assault with a deadly weapon, police said.

Knight, 45, who co-founded Death Row Records in the 1990s and helped launch rap acts like Snoop Dogg and Tupac Shakur, was pulled over by police early on Thursday. Local TV station KABC broadcast video of Knight being handcuffed next to his white Cadillac SUV.

Los Angeles police said he was also booked for driving on a suspended license. They did not give details of the allegations.

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