|By JANET MORRISSEY
For The Associated Press
NEW YORK -- Rock supergroup Velvet Revolver abruptly cut short its overseas tour Tuesday, leaving many wondering if the band's future was in jeopardy.
A newspaper and television station in Finland reported that the band had split, but Velvet Revolver spokeswoman Kristine Ashton-Magnuson disputed those reports.
"The band has not broken up," she said. "In fact, theyre coming back to the U.S. early to start the next record."
She cited "family obligations" and album "pre-production work" as reasons for the plug being pulled early. She didn't elaborate on the nature of the "family" matters or why the band had booked a tour if it knew it needed to be in the studio to work on its second album.
The band, which features former members of Guns N' Roses and the Stone Temple Pilots, launched its European tour on June 3 in Germany, and will perform shows through July 2, including an appearance at rock guru Bob Geldof's "Live 8" charity event in London. However, Velvet Revolver has scrapped the final five gigs it had scheduled from July 3 through July 10.
The band has been dogged throughout the tour by talk of ego disputes between singer Scott Weiland and lead guitarist Slash, and rock critics have been running pools on how long Weiland could stay drug-free. In the past, the talented but troubled musician has spent almost as much time in rehab and jail as he has in the studio.
Ashton-Magnuson denied that Weiland was heading back to rehab. "Scott is not back on drugs," she said Tuesday.
Velvet Revolvers "Contraband" album debuted at No. 1 when it was released in June 2004. Since then, it has sold 1.7 million copies in the U.S. alone, and picked up a Grammy for best hard rock performance.