Lawsuits and music go hand in hand.

In the past, the Doors - or more specifically, its late lead singer Jim Morrison - Boston, James Brown, Snoop Doggy Dogg and Tupac Shakur have all been involved in one lawsuit or another. And rumors have it even Huey Lewis & the News gave glaring glances to Ray Parker Jr. for the similarities found in the chord progression of "I Wanna A New Drug" and "Ghostbusters" back in the '80s.The list goes on. But here's an update of petty music lawsuits filed last week by egos ranging from Hootie & the Blowfish to Metallica to the Smashing Pumpkins to Mattel.

- IN THE HOOTIE CASE, the group is taking on North Coast Medical Inc. in San Jose, Calif., for unauthorized use of the band's name.

The company is currently running an ad in medical trade journals that likens their technological advances - especially a new plastic splint - to a CD that changes from Chubby Checker to Hootie & the Blowfish.

Maybe the band would have felt better if it was a Tiny Tim CD.

- METALLICA is defending itself against the release of a new album called "Bay Area Thrashers." Metallica hails from San Francisco.

The band is talking with the anti-bootlegging wings of the British Phonograph Institute and the Recording Industry Association of America to find a way to block the release of "Bay Area Thrashers."

The material for the Metallica cut, taken from a demo in 1982, features the band's late bassist Cliff Burton and former guitarist Dave Mustaine - who now fronts Megadeth.

Metallica owns the rights to the demo and is upset at the poor recording quality.

"Metallica considers the album to be an inferior product, illicitly acquired and sonically butchered," stated the band via press release. It also said the album "exploit the Metallica name . . . at the expense of its fans."

Didn't Metallica use crackly amateur video footage, with "sonically butchered" mixes, on its (exploitative?) "Cliff 'Em All" tribute to the late bassist who died in a bus accident in 1987? And weren't fans targeted to buy the video?

- SMASHING PUMPKINS is fuming at the London-based Sound and Media Ltd. The group claims the firm is releasing a CD and booklet of a radio interview that was only cleared for a one-time only broadcast.

Were the ratings really good enough to merit such demand?

- WHILE THE DANISH GROUP AQUA isn't directly named in a lawsuit by toy manufacturer Mattel, the band's recording company, MCA Records, is.

A federal judge ruled that Mattel will be allowed to follow up on a lawsuit against MCA for trademark infringements over Aqua's single "Barbie Girl."

The song, which stirred up controversy with its suggestive lyrics after release last fall, was originally ruled a parody. But the motion was overturned.

Did the judge's children start singing the obnoxious song at home?

- SPEAKING OF LEGAL PROBES: MTV reported that BMG Records is working on a compilation that pokes fun at President Clinton's so-called "sexual politics."

"The President's Greatest Hits" is suppose to feature tracks such as the Pointer Sisters' "Slow Hand," Tommy James & the Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now" and Harry Nilsson's "Makin' Whoopee," among others.

The White House had no comment, although you can bet the president's staff will scan the charts to see what the polls are saying.