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The daily dish ...

Banjo therapy . . .

Steve Martin says playing the banjo helped prepare him for his Oscar-hosting gig.

The 64-year-old actor-writer-musician says performing live with the Steep Canyon Rangers made him feel comfortable on the Kodak Theatre stage at the Oscars.

Martin says he wasn't sure why he wasn't nervous before co-hosting the March 7 Oscars with Alec Baldwin, but a friend suggested maybe it was because he'd been in front of audiences around the country with his banjo.

Martin said in a recent interview that he "hadn't been on stage live in front of people in a long, long time, except for this," gesturing toward the banjo in his hand.

He'll begin another tour with the Steep Canyon Rangers on April 19.

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Lawyers N' Roses . . .

Axl Rose is being sued by a famed music manager who claims the singer owes him nearly $2 million in unpaid commissions.

Front Line Management, which was founded by Irving Azoff, sued Rose in Los Angeles on Thursday for nearly $1.9 million in unpaid fees. The company claims it had an oral agreement with Rose to receive 15 percent of the Guns N' Roses frontman's commissions.

The lawsuit states the commissions are due on more than $12 million in earnings Rose made for performances abroad.

Attempts to reach Rose's current management were unsuccessful.

Azoff has represented famous musicians such as The Eagles and Joe Walsh and is currently the executive chairman of Live Nation Entertainment Inc., which recently merged with Ticketmaster Entertainment.

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Placido polyp-free . . .

Placido Domingo says he is still recovering following surgery to remove a cancerous polyp from his colon, but he has returned to work and resumed singing in private -- and plans to be back on stage in a couple of weeks.

The 69-year-old Spanish tenor became ill on tour in Tokyo, had surgery early this month at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and has been recuperating in Acapulco, Mexico.

He returned to Los Angeles on Thursday and a few hours later was back at work as director of the Los Angeles Opera Company.

Domingo told reporters during a break he planned to begin rehearsals for "Simon Boccanegra" at Italy's La Scala in two weeks.

The malignancy was localized so Domingo was able to undergo minimally invasive surgery to remove the polyp.

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Insult to injury . . .

Reality TV star David "Puck" Rainey has been arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after being seriously injured in a car crash last weekend on a rural San Diego County road with his 8-year-old son, officials said.

The bad boy bike messenger featured on the San Francisco-set third season of MTV's "The Real World" was drunk the night of April 20 when he veered off the road in Descanso, east of San Diego, and rolled down an embankment, California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pennings said late last week.

Rainey was pinned in the Ford hatchback, but his son, Bogart, freed himself from the vehicle and flagged down a passing motorist, Pennings said.

The pair were flown to University of California San Diego Medical Center, where Rainey was found to have sustained serious injuries.

Rainey's manager, Michael Martin, said Bogart was released to his mother and Rainey's wife, Betty, while Rainey remained in the hospital to undergo several surgeries.

A hospital nursing supervisor said Rainey was in good condition, but could provide no other details.

Pennings says Rainey will be charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving without a license.

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