Townshend Stages Rock Opera

Who guitarist readying "Quadrophenia" for the stage

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Pete Townshend has made seven tracks from his upcoming rock opera based on Quadrophenia available for download on his Web site, www.petetownshend.com. Townshend has been at work with award-winning British playwright Joe Penhall, who is writing the script along with the Who guitarist.

"Several of the songs had only been rehearsed once or twice, and two of the team had never worked on the music before," Townshend writes. "In theatre workshops the rule is to rehearse with piano only until the show goes up. I think the sound here is good enough to use in real performances -- perhaps with some bass here and there and some synthesizer sound effects and pads."

Townshend and Penhall decided to strip down the complicated original 1973 recording to an acoustic guitar (Townshend's brother Simon), acoustic piano (John Bundrick) and percussion (John O'Hara). He is aiming to get Quadrophenia staged at London's National Theater, though plans are not finalized.

The songs available for download are: "The Real Me," "Cut My Hair," "Dirty Jobs," "5:15," "Is it in My Head," "Helpless Dancer," and "Quadrophenia."