Asked if the smaller venues his band was playing was an indication of its slumping popularity, Spinal Tap manager Ian Faith famously said no, ''it just means their appeal is becoming more selective.'' For some reason, that line came to mind with the announcement that the Backstreet Boys, promoting their first new music in five years, would be heading out on a small club tour later this month. According to MTV News, the aging boy band will be playing 10 dates in nine eastern cities, starting in New York on March 21 and ending April 2 in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. The dates will follow the March 18 radio debut of the band's new single; the quintet is currently deciding which of three songs to release: ''Incomplete,'' ''I Still,'' or ''Weird World.''
In addition to promoting the single, the club dates will allow the band to scratch the touring itch right away. ''It's just like, 'God, I wanna get on the road again!''' Backstreeter A.J. McLean told MTV News last month. Besides, he said, the band is planning a major tour of larger venues starting on Independence Day weekend, to coincide with the July release of the band's yet-unnamed new album. So don't bill Backstreet below the puppet show just yet.