Billboard Bits: Tommy Lee, Ben Folds, Journey

News on Tommy Lee, Ben Folds, Journey

TommyMotley Crue drummer Tommy Lee is bypassing record companies for the release of his upcoming solo album, "Tommyland: The Ride." Instead, the album, due in August, will be distributed direct to retail by Troy, Mich.-based Handleman Company.

"From the very beginning, I wanted to do something different with this record, something groundbreaking," Lee said in a statement. "I wanted to get great new music to my fans without charging them 15 or 16 bucks for a CD."

"Tommyland," which shares its name with Lee's recent autobiography, features guest appearances from Nickelback lead singer Chad Kroeger, Sum 41 vocalist Deryck Whibley, Good Charlotte's Joel Madden, Fuel's Carl Bell and the Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, among others. Its release will coincide with Lee's NBC reality show, "Tommy Lee Goes To College."

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

FoldsBen Folds has lined up a tour in support of the April 26 Epic release "Songs for Silverman," his first album with a band since the dissolution of Ben Folds Five. The tour begins May 3 at the Pucillo Gymnasium at Millersville (Pa.) University and wraps May 14 at the Avalon in Boston.

The vinyl version of "Songs for Silverman" will include Folds' cover of Dr. Dre's "Bitches Ain't Sh*t," currently available for download from iTunes. The song is also the B-side of the 7-inch single "Landed."

On March 22, Epic will reissue the platinum Ben Folds Five album "Whatever and Ever Amen" bolstered with seven bonus tracks, including covers of the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" and Flaming Lips' "She Don't Use Jelly."

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville

JourneyVeteran rock act Journey will begin recording its 13th album this week at the Record Plant in Sausalito, Calif. Longtime collaborator Kevin Elson will produce. The as-yet-untitled set will be Journey's first since the 2001 album "Arrival," which debuted at No. 56 on The Billboard 200. It will be released this summer in conjunction with an extensive North American tour, dates for which have to be confirmed.

Guitarist Neal Schon recently released a solo album, "i on u," via Favored Nations, and will appear at an April 9 meet-and-greet session with his side band Soul Sirkus at the Boston outpost of Daddy's music store.