The members of Weezer are planning to have their fourth studio album ready by May 2002, and have laid down a total of 24 demos in the past week, according to a post over the weekend on the band's <a h

The members of Weezer are planning to have their fourth studio album ready by May 2002, and have laid down a total of 24 demos in the past week, according to a post over the weekend on the band's official Web site.

"Today the band had a special meeting with the record company [Geffen Records] to discuss new songs," the site said. "They are happy to report that the meeting went really well. While this won't be 'for sure' 'till a lot more details are worked out, everything looks like they've gotten the green light to release album #4 in May 2002."

Meanwhile, the status of bassist Mikey Welsh is in limbo, following his recent hospitalization for undisclosed reasons. "The guys have not heard from Mikey in some time, and having no other option, are preparing to do the upcoming tour without him," the site said. "Speculative talk of his return to L.A. turns out to be just that: speculation."

With replacement bassist Scott Shriner in tow, the remaining members of Weezer -- vocalist/guitarist Rivers Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell, and drummer Pat Wilson -- have been hard at work recording with engineer Joe Baresi. Ric Ocasek, who produced Weezer's first (1994) and third albums (2001), is a likely candidate to oversee the forthcoming set, but no firm details have been revealed.

Among the demos put to tape so far are "Beg and Cry" (originally called "In Your Eyes"), "Gone to Stay" (originally called "Possibilities"), "Farmer John," "Death and Destruction," "Get Me On the Line," and "So Low," the latter two of which were debuted at Los Angeles radio station KROQ's recent Island Invasion show.

The band's North American tour with Cold kicks off Sept. 11 in San Jose, Calif. Its latest self-titled Geffen/Interscope album is No. 48 on The Billboard 200 in its 15th week on the chart and has sold 909,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to SoundScan.

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