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Pop / Rock 01/08/2001

Backstreeters Delay Tour Relaunch

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LA (AP) - The Backstreet Boys are going to be taking a bitlonger to get back on the streets.

The band, which postponed several concert dates while A.J. McLean cleaned himself up, was supposed to resume touring next week. But members said Tuesday that they wouldn't hit the road again until late this month because McLean needed more time in rehab.

"A.J.'s initial treatment is going very well," Backstreeter Kevin Richardson said in a statement. "His doctors have suggested it would be in A.J.'s best interest to take an additional two weeks in transitional care."
"We've spent some time with A.J. recently and he, along with the rest of us, is excited to return to our tour,"
said Brian Littrell.

McLean, 23, entered an undisclosed rehab clinic earlier this month for 30 days' treatment for clinical depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse. The singer, who has cultivated an image as the band's doo-rag-wearing, tattooed bad boy, reportedly went on a booze binge following the recent death of his grandmother.

The Backstreeters announced McLean was in rehab during a surprise appearance on MTV's Total Request Live. When asked by TRL host Carson Daly if 30 days was enough to get straight, Howie Dorough said the band would wait as long as necessary. "A.J.'s health is most important to us. We're all only human beings, and we love him as a brother. To us, if after 30 days he needs more time than that, then we're going to give him the time."

In the intervening days, the band has tried to quell breakup talk. Rumors buzzed the record industry that the band would continue as a quartet or even split altogether, with Nick Carter going off to join younger brother Aaron for a tour of their own. But the Boys, their label and their representatives have repeatedly said the group was sticking together.
It was a sentiment reiterated Tuesday. "We truly want to thank our fans for standing with us through this," Carter said in the band's statement. "And we know that it will be worth the wait for them to see the five of us back on stage."

The Boys will relaunch their Black & Blue World Tour August 24 in Milwaukee. The trek will now end October 20 in San Diego.






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