News on Metallica, Keith Urban, JC Chasez

MetallicaSources say Metallica is in the process of putting together another stadium metalfest package similar to 2000's Summer Sanitarium tour. Metallica last toured in 2000, taking in $40.5 million from only 20 shows, about a dozen of which were Summer Sanitarium dates featuring Kid Rock, Korn, and others.

As reported yesterday, the group is gearing up to hit the European festival circuit this summer, beginning June 6 at the Rock Im Park festival in Nuremberg, Germany. A new Elektra studio album is also expected around that time.

-- Ray Waddell, Nashville

UrbanCountry star Keith Urban, who recently canceled a number of appearances due to a vocal-cord ailment, has now put aside all of his obligations for the next six weeks, on the advice of doctors.

Urban was scheduled to co-headline a tour of Canada with Carolyn Dawn Johnson and make appearances at Nashville's Country Radio Seminar and a the annual RodeoHouston event March 1, but he is canceling all performances and engagements in an attempt to prevent permanent damage. The artist has been promoting his latest release, "Golden Road." Released in October, Urban's sophomore Capitol album debuted at No. 3 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart and No. 11 on The Billboard 200.

"I'm devastated by these developments and the number of people who will be effected [sic] by this situation and for that I am sorry," Urban said in a statement, adding, "There are no words to express my disappointment, but I know that I need to abide by my doctors' instructions so that I am completely healthy in time to kick-off the tour with Kenny Chesney in April."

Chasez'N Sync member JC Chasez is in the process of finishing his debut solo album. The as-yet-untitled set is due in July via Jive. Chasez has been working in Los Angeles with a number of successful producer/songwriters, notably Dallas Austin, BT, Riprock 'n' Alex G, and Rodney Jerkins.

Chasez has already been testing the solo waters with the single "Blowin' Me Up (With Her Love)." Featured on Jive's "Drumline" soundtrack, the song has appeared on five different Billboard charts, peaking at No. 17 on the Top 40 Mainstream airplay chart and No. 51 on the Hot 100. As previously reported, the song was available online in November as one of AOL Music's First Listen selections.

Chasez is the second member of 'N Sync to go the solo route. In November, bandmate Justin Timberlake released his debut set, "Justified," also through Jive. The album debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 1.97 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.