Billboard Bits: Tom Petty, Wu-Tang Clan, Mark Kozelek

News on Tom Petty, Wu-Tang Clan, Mark Kozelek

Tom PettyTom Petty and the Heartbreakers have canceled a planned European tour, which was set to begin July 3 in England. No specific reason was given for the decision, which follows war-related international tour cancellations by such acts as matchbox twenty, Blindside, and Tenacious D. "The decision was made after consultation with European promoters," Petty's official Web site says. "It was agreed that all dates would be rescheduled."

This trek was to be Petty and company's first visit to Europe in more than 10 years. A handful of previously announced dates next month in Chicago will go on as planned. The group will be on the road in support of last year's Warner Bros. set "The Last DJ," which debuted at No. 9 on The Billboard 200.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.

CappadonnaCappadonna and Remedy, associate members of rap collective Wu-Tang Clan, are planning a short tour of Israel in May. Although details are still being nailed down, the pair plans to play shows in Tel Aviv, Beersheva, Haifa, Eilat, and Jerusalem. "As Americans and hip-hop artists we want to show solidarity with the people of Israel," said Cappadonna in a statement.

Despite the current war raging in the Middle East, the rappers feel their journey is necessary to keep communication lines open. "No one thinks that a Hebrew-speaking country has anything to do with hip-hop," Cappadonna said, "but hip-hop is alive in Israel and we are going there to foster the new generations' way of communicating."

In related Wu-Tang news, leader RZA has inked a deal with Virgin Germany to release his album "The World According to RZA" across Europe. The 18-track set, due April 28, will feature RZA's Wu-Tang Clan cohorts Ghostface Killah and Method Man, plus several European hip-hop acts performing in their native languages, including Germany's Xavier Naidoo and France's Saian Supa Crew and IAM. North American release plans for the set are unknown.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.; Kwaku, London

KozelekRed House Painters frontman Mark Kozelek is recording a new solo album in San Francisco. The set is expected to be ready for a July release via a new deal with Jetset. And while Kozelek's 2001 mini-album "What's Next to the Moon" consisted entirely of AC/DC covers, the upcoming set is expected to be comprised of original material, according to a spokesperson.

Kozelek recently recorded both a studio and live instrumental version of the new song "Duk Koo Kim" for a 10-inch vinyl single on the Vinyl Films label. The release was limited 1,000 numbered copies and will not be made available on CD.

The status of future Red House Painters recordings remains unclear. According to a spokesperson at Sub Pop, which released the group's acclaimed 2001 album "Old Ramon," "there has been talk [of a new set] but as of now, nothing is planned." "Old Ramon," which was tied up for years in contractual limbo, reached No. 38 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart.

-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.