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The Who's Pete Townshend looks ahead and back at 2018 in New Year's message to fans

Rick Diamond/Getty Images for The WhoAfter announcing -- via a new Rolling Stone interview -- that The Who plan to release a new album and launch a symphonic arena tour this year, Pete Townshend has posted a message on his band's official website about the group's 2019 plans, plus a variety of other topics.

Townshend starts by wishing fans a Happy New Year, then reiterates that The Who "will be back in action this year, with new recorded music [and] a new stage show."

He also reveals, "I've suggested we might do a special series of shows for our close fans towards the end of 2019."

Pete goes on to discuss his favorite new music of 2018, which included releases by Sia, Thundercat, Kendrick Lamar, neo-soul band The Internet and guitar virtuoso Gordon Giltrap.

Townshend adds, "Unlike a lot of people of my age I love a lot of trance as well as hip hop and rap," before singling out British DJs Gareth Emery and Christina Novelli, and young hip-hop artist Arin Ray.

He admits that he hasn't heard much heavy rock he's liked lately, noting, "I don't think rock is quite 'dead,' but it seems to be ailing, in the clinic, waiting for a transfusion. Hope I can help."

Meanwhile, Townshend confesses that he usually suffers "from a fairly mild form of manic depression" at this time of year, but points out, "I'm feeling much happier already, and it's still January."

Pete says that "[a]ccepting the reality of clinical and psychological depression must be The Big Cause for 2019...some artists have already been brave enough to speak about it. It's not uncommon among creative people; it's not uncommon, period."

Other topics Townshend touches on in the message are U.K. charities he supports, and his wife Rachel's music projects.

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