Billboard Bits: Skynyrd/Hagar, McCulloch, 'Finding Nemo'

Lynyrd Skynyrd and Sammy Hagar plan summer tour, Ian McCulloch to tour behind third solo album, and Thomas Newman marks his first animation score with 'Finding Nemo.'

Sammy HagarSouthern rock act Lynyrd Skynyrd and veteran rocker Sammy Hagar will team up for a summer tour kicking off July 19 at Wisconsin's Rock Fest. The full list of dates for the Jim Beam-sponsored Party of a Lifetime tour is not yet finalized, although the acts are expected to be out together well into August.

The co-headlining bill will see the acts handling show-closing duties on alternate nights. Details of a contest for local bands to earn the opening slot in their city will be announced at a later date.

Hagar will be out with his band the Waboritas in support of the live album "Hallelujah," due May 20 via Sanctuary. Skynyrd's first new studio album in four years, "Vicious Cycle," will be released the same day, also through Sanctuary. As previously reported, Skynyrd will return to the stage June 13 in Karlsruhe, Germany, for its first show since founding guitarist Gary Rossington underwent emergency open-heart surgery in February.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Ian McCullochEcho & the Bunnymen frontman Ian McCulloch will kick off a brief U.S. tour May 19 in Washington, D.C. He'll be out in support of his third solo album "Slideling," due May 6 via spinART Records.

McCulloch recorded the set during a hiatus from an Echo & the Bunnymen reunion launched in 1997. Produced by Cenzo Townshend, the set also features Coldplay's Chris Martin and Johnny Buckland contributing guitar, piano, and vocals.

Here are McCulloch's upcoming U.S. tour dates:

May 19: Washington D.C. (9:30 Club)
May 20: Philadelphia (Theatre Of Living Arts)
May 21: New York (Bowery Ballroom)
May 22: Boston (Axis)
May 25: Chicago (Park West)
May 27: San Francisco (Slim's)
May 28: Los Angeles (Roxy Theatre)

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.

Thomas NewmanComposer Thomas Newman's score will make up the bulk of the "Finding Nemo" soundtrack, due May 20 from Walt Disney Records. The work is his first foray into animated features. "I was very scared to do it; I'd never done animation before," Newman said in a statement. "My cousin Randy [Newman] has done the four previous ones. That was a daunting thing to come up against, because I so enjoyed his music."

In February, Newman won a pair of Grammys for his title theme to the HBO series "Six Feet Under." The piece, which picked up the best instrumental composition and best instrumental arrangement honors, appeared on the show's Universal soundtrack compilation, released last year. Newman has also composed scores for the films "Road to Perdition," "American Beauty," "The Shawshank Redemption," and "The Player."

Along with Newman's score, the 'Finding Nemo' set will also feature Robbie Williams' version of Bobby Darin's "Beyond the Sea." The track originally appeared on his 2001 EMI album "Swing When You're Winning."

The Disney/Pixar underwater epic about a father fish separated from his son features the voices of Albert Brooks, Alexander Gould, Ellen DeGeneres, Willem DaFoe, Brad Garrett, Allison Janney, Geoffrey Rush, and John Ratzenberger. The film opens May 30 in U.S. theaters.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.