Look Who's back: Daltrey and Townshend plan new album

With a world tour and their first new studio album in nearly 25 years, 2006 has already been branded the year of "The Who return" by Mojo magazine.

The group, whose line-up now includes Ringo Starr's son Zac Starkey on the drums in place of Keith Moon, who died of a drugs overdose in 1978, will also break a self-imposed moratorium on playing at festivals, introduced after 11 fans were killed at a show in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1979.

Pete Townshend, one of the two surviving original members along with Roger Daltrey, said on his website: "There will be a tour. We already have European festival dates slotted in June and July." The original bassist, John Entwistle, died of a heart attack in 2002.

A British and European tour will be followed by an American leg in the autumn and the rest of the world in 2007. The band is believed to be negotiating to play at Scotland's T in the Park. Townshend also said he would deliver the new studio album - The Who's first since It's Hard in 1982. The singer-songwriter and guitarist said: "There will be a new CD sometime in the early summer. I know I've cried wolf a few times, but this time I have committed."

Townshend's girlfriend, the singer-songwriter Rachel Fuller, will perform her show, In The Attic, before every gig.

Townshend and Daltrey, who appear to have overcome their legendary rivalry, are now working together on the album, which will feature songs inspired by the Beslan school massacre.

In an interview with Mojo, Townshend said: "I find it very hard to please Roger. It's as narrow a brief as it was when we were 17 ... when I used to look at Roger and think ... Roger is a tough guy from the 'hood, I've gotta write songs about fighting."

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