Billboard Bits: Toby Keith, Moogfest, 30 Seconds To Mars, Stryper

Stories about Toby Keith, Moogfest, 30 Seconds To Mars and Stryper.

Toby KeithToby Keith is preparing to launch his third United Service Organizations (USO) tour during which he will perform for U.S. troops stationed in Cuba, Germany, Belgium and the Persian Gulf. Along with performing, the country star will tour military bases and meet service men and women.

Keith, who has visited troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Italy, Germany and Iraq during past USO tours, will be back in the U.S. to kick off a tour June 10 in Charlotte, N.C. The roadwork will be in support of his forthcoming album, "Honkytonk University," due May 17 via DreamWorks.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Brazilian GirlsMoogfest, the annual celebration of inventor Robert Moog's synthesizer, has been scheduled for May 31 at B.B. Kings in New York. On board for this year's event are such Moog fans as Edgar Winter, Brazilian Girls, Patrick Moraz (Yes, Moody Blues), Money Mark (Beastie Boys), Adam Holzman (Miles Davis), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theatre), Steve Molitz (Particle), Will Calhoun (Living Colour) and DJ Logic.

Tickets for the event are $35 and are available via Ticketmaster and the venue's box office. More details can be found at the Moogfest
Web site.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

30 Seconds To Mars30 Seconds To Mars has confirmed dates for a brief U.S. club tour that will open May 18 in Atlanta. The rock act will be out in support of its
sophomore album, ""A Beautiful Lie.," which is due Aug. 16 via Virgin.

"We are all incredibly excited to get back on the road and share what we have been creating over the past few years," singer/guitarist Jared Leto says.

Here are the band's tour dates:

May 18: Atlanta (Masquerade)
May 24: New York (Mercury Lounge)
May 26: Pittsburgh (Mr. Smalls)
May 28: Buffalo, N.Y. (Showplace Theater)
May 30: Detroit (State Theater)
June 1: Toronto (Mod Club)
June 3: Chicago (New City YMCA; Q101 Street Fair)
June 7: Milwaukee (Rave Bar)
June 9: Cincinnati (20th Century Theatre)
June 14: Minneapolis (The Ascot Room)
June 20: Denver (Bluebird Theater)\

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

StryperChristian hard rock act Stryper is planning to release its first new studio album in more than a decade later this summer. "Reborn," due Aug. 16 from Big3 Records, will include 10 new songs and a new version of the band's "In God We Truest." The title track will be released June 7 to U.S. radio outlets as a single for airplay consideration.

"I wrote the song 'Reborn' before we decided to reunite as a band, and once we came together it was natural to make this notion the essence of the album as we feel we are being reborn," guitarist/frontman Michael Sweet says. "We truly feel like a new band." In addition to original guitarist Oz Fox and drummer Robert Sweet, new bassist Tracy Ferrie rounds out the band's current lineup.

Beyond a handful of summer shows, Stryper is planning a fall North American tour in support of "Reborn." Big3 Records is also planning DVD release featuring footage of the band performing in late 2004 in Puerto Rico.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.