Daltrey tours Tommy without Townshend; Grohl plays Teen Spirit with Novoselic; plus latest from Queen, Anthrax, Ringo and TNT tragedy

Roger Daltrey

Going it alone: Daltrey

Roger Daltrey will tour a new arrangement of the Who rock opera Tommy across the UK – but Pete Townshend won’t be joining him.

The band’s future has been in doubt for a number of years because of the guitarist’s battle with tinnitus. Speculation had been rife that their recent round of shows were their last. But Townshend hasn’t made a firm comment.

Instead he says: “It’s great to see Roger performing Tommy with his band. It’s a unique version using his presentation of the original work as the backbone for a set of wider material.

“I’ll be there in spirit, and Roger has my complete and most loving support.”

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Dave Grohl has revealed he and Krist Novoselic played a couple of Nirvana tracks during rehearsals for a Foo Fighters club show. And he says playing breakthrough track Smells Like Teen Spirit for the first time since the band split was a weird experience.

“I invited Krist to come down and play a song,” says the multi-instrumentalist. “We wanted to play Marigold, the B-side to the Heart Shaped Box single, and it was the only Nirvana song I sang.

“We ran through them then Krist says, “Want to do some mouldy oldies?’ Me and Pat Smear go, ‘Okay, what?’ He says, ‘Let’s do Smells Like Teen Spirit.’

“I hadn’t played the song in 18 years, and it was strange. We walked out and the studio manager told us, ‘That sounded pretty good – you guys should keep that.’”

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Queen are still very cautious about the Freddie Mercury biopic under production. The band only got behind the project once Sasha Baron Cohen was confirmed for the lead role, which Brian May says is perfect casting.

The guitarist reports: “It’s taking up a lot of time, even though it’s just in the preparatory stages. It’s too early to say how we’ll feel about it – there’s enthusiasm but caution. Freddie’s legacy is very precious and we have a great responsibility not to mess it up.

“It’s more about Freddie than it is about us, and that is deliberate.”

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Charlie Benante has likened Anthrax’s recent history to a bumpy car trip, but says the result will be a very honest album.

The band dropped singer John Bush in 2005 for an anniversary tour with classic-era frontman Joey Belladonna. That lineup collapsed a year later and they recruited Dan Nelson, who was sacked in unexplained circumstances in 2009. Bush returned for a short time before Belladonna came back full-time, and he’s now recording new vocals for the band’s shelved album Worship Music.

Benante says: “The Anthrax car was driving through peaks and valleys, and sometimes we couldn’t get out of the valleys. We went in for a tune-up and now it’s running really well.

“So many things have gone into this record that made it special. Other things made it not special – certain personalities interfered. Now we’re trying to stay up in the peaks, and this record is probably the most emotional one we’ve ever had to make.”

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Ringo Starr says Liverpool’s Cavern Club became legendary at the expense of a better venue in the same city.

The Beatles drummer reports: “Everybody talks about the Cavern, but the Iron Door was much better – it was more of a real rock club.”

He’s mentioned the venue in a song on his upcoming album, which he says stands in place of any book: “I’ve been offered deals for autobiographies but all they really want to know about is those eight years in the Beatles. There’d be three volumes before I got to that. So I’d rather put mini-autobiographies into songs.”

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TNT keyboardist Dan Stokke has died at the age of 44 after a cancer battle.

He joined the Norwegian outfit in 1987 and last played with them in Sweden in March. Drummer Diesel Dahl says: “We’d all hoped and believed he’d be able to beat the terrible disease, but everything happened so incredibly fast. It’s brutal, and we’re devastated.”

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