Home-town proud

Oscar winner and part-time musician Russell Crowe isn't too big to support his hometown bar in Australia.

The "Gladiator" star's rock 'n' roll band, Thirty Odd Foot Of Grunts, begins a sold-out North American tour next week in Austin, Tex.

But Crowe decided to launch the tour with an Australian performance at his local bar in Coffs Harbour, 360 miles north of Sydney.

Crowe called the owners of the Coffs Harbour Hotel last week with an offer too good to refuse.

"He said: 'I want to do you a favor. ... I want to play the band there instead of in Sydney,"' hotel partner, Ray Alaban, said Thursday.

"It's a favor to the whole town. He's trying to put money back into the town which is great. You can't knock that can you?" Alaban said.

Crowe owns a ranch in the hills outside Coffs Harbour.

Been there, done that

Leif Garrett has a little advice for today's teen idols.

A teen idol himself in the late '70s � and the subject of a VH1 "Behind the Music" two decades later for his battle with drugs � Garrett knows a little something about skyrocketing to success at a young age and them flaming out.

"Being a pinup is great," the 39-year-old said in the September issue of Spin magazine. "Believe me, I know. But you only have a certain life span unless you mature and get to an artistic level of your own."

Garrett's advice for Pepsi spokeswoman Britney Spears: "Avoiding gross commercialism might help. Get the word out that you're writing. You're reinventing yourself."

For Mandy Moore: "Keep up the natural, less contrived angle. And stay at MTV."

And for boy band 98 Degrees: "Don't wait; just record the death metal record now."

Jagger keeps rolling

Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger has signed a deal to produce his first solo album in eight years.

The album is due out in November, Virgin Music Group Worldwide announced Wednesday. It will be Jagger's fourth solo collection, and the first since "Wandering Spirit" was produced by Atlantic Records in 1993.

Stage: The final frontier

Patrick Stewart, known to millions of "Star Trek" fans as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, is returning to the British stage in the revival of a work by playwright J.B. Priestley.

The 61-year-old actor will star in "Johnson over Jordan," one of three of Priestley's plays being staged by the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

"I realized theater was where I simply had to be," Stewart said. It's a sense of age � I don't want to waste my time. I just want everything to be important and not to be trivial."

He will return to the United States in October to make another "Star Trek" movie, but said there were many theatrical roles he would like to perform, including Macbeth and King Lear.


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