The band heads to the studio in December with Cars founder Ric Ocasek, who produced Weezer’s smash self-titled debut album in 1994, an Interscope Records rep told Pollstar.

Then, they hit the road February 21. Supporting artists for the package tour haven’t been announced, but 20 cities are confirmed.

The band spent some time on the road this year even though they haven’t released an album since 1996.Weezer was one of the principal acts on the Vans Warped Tour 2000, and also performed a sold-out string of club dates.

Weezer’s career has had its share of ups and downs – frontman and principle songwriter Rivers Cuomo has put the band on hiatus twice over the years while he attended Harvard University.

The group’s last release, Pinkerton, got tangled up in lawsuit threats from the Pinkerton security firm. The title was actually inspired by a character from the opera “Madam Butterfly,” but by the time the public relations nightmare was cleared up, the album was dead in the water.

With the various diversions behind them, and recording and tour projects on the horizon, 2001 could be a big year for the band.

Yahoo!’s Web site will be the exclusive ticket seller through December 31. Early ticket-buyers will receive commemorative tickets, a $5 discount and a limited edition gift from the band. Off-line ticket sales begin January 1 at traditional outlets.

The Outloud tour will also showcase Weezer online, with an extensive promotional Web site. The Yahoo! Internet portal plans to feature content such as a tour diary, exclusive Weezer footage, clips and interviews, online chats, live on-demand webcasts, and downloadable music.