Music News: Star director fired from Queen biopic

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Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in 'Bohemian Rhapsody.'
Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury in 'Bohemian Rhapsody.' (Fox)

A forthcoming Queen biopic called Bohemian Rhapsody already has a rocky history: initial star Sacha Baron Cohen left the project amid tension with the surviving band members, and was replaced by Rami Malek in the leading role of Freddie Mercury. Now, the movie's production has been halted and its director fired.

Bryan Singer, famed for movies including The Usual Suspects and four X-Men features, has been fired from Bohemian Rhapsody after what the Hollywood Reporter calls "on-set chaos."

Trouble began when Singer went absent during production on several occasions. His no-shows resulted in cinematographer Thomas Newton Sigel having to step in to helm some of the days while Singer was missing. Tom Hollander, who plays Queen manager Jim Beach, also is said to have briefly quit the film because of Singer's behavior, but was persuaded to return, according to one source. Malek complained to the studio, charging Singer with not being present on set, unreliability and unprofessionalism.

In a statement issued after the news of his firing became public, Singer said, "This was not my decision and it was beyond my control." In Singer's account, he was fired because he asked for time off "to deal with pressing health matters concerning one of my parents. This was a very taxing experience, which ultimately took a serious toll on my own health. Unfortunately, the studio was unwilling to accommodate me and terminated my services."

There are about two weeks of principal photography left for the film, which is scheduled to be released about a year from now.

STP announce album, tour with new frontman

How's Jeff Gutt, the new frontman of Stone Temple Pilots? You may soon have a chance to judge for yourself. The band plan to release a new album featuring Gutt early next year, and they've announced a U.S. tour for the spring. (Sorry, it doesn't come anywhere near Minnesota.)

"Mr. Weiland paved quite a way," the band's Dean DeLeo told Rolling Stone. "Because not just anybody can sing this catalog. You need someone who really knows how to sing. And Jeff kind of has it all, man. He has that baritone, and he's also able to get into that tenor world. He's a real singer."

John Prine books tour, says album is coming

Legendary singer-songwriter John Prine says that next year, he'll release his first album of new music since 2005's Grammy-winning Fair & Square. A title and release date hasn't been announced, but a copy of the album will be given to each ticket-buyer at most of the shows on his 2018 tour. The tour, which runs from April 13 to June 2, will feature high-profile co-headliners; at various stops, the shows will include Sturgill Simpson, Kurt Vile, and Margo Price. (Rolling Stone)

Moby opens his checkbook for animal rights

When it comes to animal rights, Moby puts his money where his mouth is. The star and his vegan bistro in Los Angeles are donating $250,000 to "a wide range" of animal rights organizations, he shared on Instagram. He made the announcement as part of the post-Thanksgiving "Giving Tuesday." (Billboard)

(The Current's music assistant Jesse Wiza, a former L.A. resident, has been to the bistro, and actually saw Moby there. She says the food is delicious although the portion sizes could be more generous, and she recommends sitting on the back patio — where they give you a blanket to make it extra-cozy.)

Johnny Mathis shares Chic collaborations

Even music fans who don't need a full 68 discs of Johnny Mathis have been intrigued by the forthcoming box set The Voice of Romance: The Columbia Original Album Collection. The set, which comes out this Friday, includes two previously unreleased albums including I Love My Lady, a 1981-82 collaboration with Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards of Chic. Mathis says the sessions were "a wonderful experience," and he honestly can't remember why the music never came out at the time.

He's shared three of the Love My Lady tracks; listen to them over at Billboard.

Museum to spotlight Johnny Cash's fashion

Johnny Cash was the Man in Black — but you can do a lot with black. An upcoming exhibit at the Johnny Cash Museum in Nashville will spotlight the late icon's fashion. As Rolling Stone reports:

Titled "The Man in Black: The Style of Johnny Cash, Curated by Manuel," the exhibit will focus on the long relationship between Cash and one of his favorite designers. Opening February 26th, 2018 (on what would have been Cash's 86th birthday), the showcase will include some of Cash's stage wear and other garments, along with Manuel's original measurements, supplies and client files relating to the superstar.


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