Rock News: Music's high and low notes

By JOHN SWENSON, United Press International  |  Oct. 17, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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The Who's Pete Townshend has said he plans to record with Roger Daltrey again, but probably not as The Who. The Who have been on tour this year despite the death of bassist John Entwistle, who died on the eve of its opening night.

"Because of the power of the shows, and their financial success in a slightly depressed marketplace, there are those who conclude that I will naturally continue to perform with Roger under the Who banner," Townshend wrote on the band's official Web site. "There are those who perhaps think they know me better, (as a grouch, a spoiler, a self-obsessed creative, an insecure and pretentious self-styled artist etc), who conclude that now it is all over."

Townshend went on to say his already damaged hearing was seriously impaired by the just-completed tour. "I still don't think I can write new songs for this thing we all call The Who," Townshend continued. "The Who is a brand name, and two old guys called Roger and Pete. I think I'm going to stick with the two old guys and let the brand name look after itself. It (has) done pretty well without my help -- and despite a huge amount of my active interference -- for the 20 years since 1982 when I did my last studio session with the band.

"I do not want to write with Roger so we can pass ourselves off as a 'new' Who," Townshend concluded. "I want to see whether we can write together, and if he and I have anything we can say together, that we could not say separately. I am not shying away from the usual division of labor -- Roger is more of a singer than a writer, and I am claiming to be a more of a writer than a performer. What I am shying away from is trying to pick up The Who recording legacy where it was dropped in 1976. Whether we call an album a Who album is not the point. We can call it what we like. It is how we approach it that matters."


New Orleans' Basin Street Records will celebrate its fifth anniversary with an all-star concert of local musicians Nov. 29 at the famed Big Easy nightclub Tipitina's. The show will feature the great local trumpet star Kermit Ruffins and his band The Barbecue Swingers, pianist Jon Cleary and The Absolute Monster Gentleman and special guests Irvin Mayfield and Bill Summers of Los Hombres Calientes, Dr. Michael White, Victor Atkins, Edwin Livingston and Ricky Sebastian among others. Basin Street founder and president Mark Samuels has developed a handful of New Orleans artists, earned a Grammy nomination and won a Latin Grammy with an independent label with a roster that includes some of the most popular local New Orleans bands. Ruffins, whose "...Live" was the label's first release, has a new album, "Big Easy," which features guest appearances from Los Hombres Calientes' Bill Summers, Hammond B-3 master Davell Crawford, drummers Herlin Riley and Shannon Powell, and vocalist Juanita Brooks.


Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Jack Bruce, Mick Taylor, Gary Moore and Gary Brooker are among the all-star British cast collected for the excellent tribute album "From Clarksdale to Heaven: Remembering John Lee Hooker." This is the first of a two-volume tribute put together by Eagle records with help of Hooker's family. This first volume celebrates the influence Hooker had on the British musicians of the 1960s. These same British musicians reintroduced the blues to American audiences through their versions of songs by Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson and, of course, Hooker. In 1964 Eric Burdon and the Animals boys covered the Hooker classic "Boom Boom," outselling Hooker's original on the American pop charts. From his birth in the delta town of Clarksdale, Miss., until his death on June 21, 2001, Hooker was both an inspiration and a musical god to musicians all over the planet. As a blues player, music, in the words of Robert Cray, "just came out of his soul. It was true soul music." Also included on the project is "I Wanna Hug You" from Hooker's daughter, Zakiya, backed by the legendary blues pianist Johnnie Johnson. The booklet for the album includes liner notes with unpublished family photos contributed by Zakiya. Hooker himself appears on the release with the never-before-released track of Jimi Hendrix's "Red House," which Hooker recorded in 1989 as part of a Hendrix tribute.


Led Zeppelin have denied reports they are to reunite for a tour in 2003. It had been rumored the group was to reform and tour the United States with Jason Bonham standing in for his late father John on drums. According to the London Sunday Times, band members Robert Plant, Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones had resolved their differences during a series of meetings at Page and Plant's management company, Trinifold. However, Trinifold partner Robert Rosenburg subsequently told the British Broadcasting Corp. that newspaper reports were "completely speculative."

"We don't know where these stories are coming from," he said. "Certainly not from our office. At this point there is no tour, nor any plans for one, and no discussions have taken place about a tour."

Though guitarist Page and singer Plant have toured together in recent years, Led Zeppelin have not worked together as a group since the death of Bonham in 1980. Promoters are said to have offered the group "substantial sums" to reform.


ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard had an emergency appendectomy in Paris over the weekend, but the show went on without him. The band played its scheduled Oct. 14 Paris date with drum tech John Douglas (Kik Tracee) on drums. It was the first show ZZ Top, which also includes guitarist Billy Gibbons and bassist Dusty Hill, has played in its 33-year career without its original lineup. "I really hate to miss a show, but we're lucky that John's available," Beard said in a statement. "I'll be back in there as soon as the doctors give me the OK."

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