News on Roger Daltrey, Bryan Ferry, Weird Al
The Who's "Baba O'Riley" was originally going to be the theme song for the hit Fox sitcom "That '70s Show," so it seems only fitting that the band's frontman, Roger Daltrey, would guest-star on the show's 100th episode, set to air April 30. The milestone episode will feature a musical fantasy dreamed up by the character Fez, played by Wilmer Valderrama. Daltrey plays a music teacher in the episode.
"If any TV show has the right to do a rock musical, it's That '70s Show, because the '70s were the decade of rock musicals," series co-creator/co-executive producer Mark Brazill says. He adds the show's creators originally wanted to call the series "Teenage Wasteland" (an oft-repeated lyric from "Baba O'Riley") but were denied permission to use the phrase or the song. Instead, the production features Cheap Trick's beefed-up cover of Big Star's "In the Street" as its theme.
Of all the sitcoms he could be on, Daltrey tells Billboard that he chose "That '70s Show" because "it has a charm to it that I like. I had a great time in the '70s, but dealing with fame was the best and worst thing for me about [that time]. I wouldn't change a thing, though, because it's shaped who I am." As previously reported, the Who kicks off a North American tour June 28 in Las Vegas.
-- Carla Hay, N.Y.
Virgin has slated a May 21 North American release date for "Frantic," the forthcoming solo album from former Roxy Music singer Bryan Ferry. As previously reported, the set features guest appearances by Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood and former Roxy members Brian Eno and Paul Thompson, and is due out April 15 in the U.K.
"Frantic," Ferry's first album of new songs since 1994's "Mamouna," features 13 songs produced by Rhett Davies, who also oversaw Roxy's "Avalon" set in 1982 and Ferry's "As Time Goes By" covers collection in 1999. Along with songs co-written with Eno and the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart, Ferry also recorded versions of Bob Dylan's "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right" and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue," Don Nix's "Goin' Down," and Leadbelly's "Goodnight Irene."
-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y.
From the "no, we're not making this up" file: as many as 400 people are expected to attend the third "Weird Al" Yankovic convention, to be held April 26-27 in the Chicago suburb of Elk Grove, Ill. "Weird Al fans are fiercely dedicated, despite the social stigma associated with admiring the accordion-playing comic artist," event organizers say. "Geeks? Freaks? Maybe. Socially isolated? Frequently. Which is why the first Weird Al Yankovic fan convention in 1998 was such a success."
Yankovic himself will not be on hand, but drummer "Bermuda" Schwartz will be present to show "rare video footage" and chat with fans. Among the other events lined up for ALCON III: This Time It's Personal are live performances from a variety of acts, look-a-like and trivia contests, a lip-synch competition, something described only as "Sharko Bizarre's Gong Show," and "Al's Garage Sale," featuring a charity auction of rare Yankovic items. The convention culminates with "the Demented Ball."
For more information, visit the event's official Web site. To see Yankovic in the flesh, head to Costa Mesa, Calif., where the artist will play a July 22-26 stand at the Orange County Fair.
-- Jonathan Cohen, N.Y.