Who would’ve ever guessed 45 years ago that Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey would be using words like “wonderful,” “friends,” and “love” when talking about one another. The Who‘s surviving members spoke candidly about their relationship and the state of the band to The Sun, with Townshend explaining how important Daltrey’s perseverance has been in keeping the band afloat over the years: “My journey with Roger has gone from what I would call an uncomfortable and uneasy place to the most wonderful of places. . . it’s just got better and better. There have been difficulties — but nothing that would cause either of us to lose any sleep. When we began, I didn’t even really want to be in a band. Roger’s ambition, his drive, his commitment, his self-discipline, his need to make the Who his job was what kept me hanging on. He had to bully, cajole and force me to a point where I was writing music. I was creative. I’d done art school. So I put up with the band in order to write the songs.”
He went on to explain, “We’ve got to this point through fallow periods, great successes and some really quite considerable failures. We’ve had albums that didn’t do well and shows that didn’t sell out. Now, however, by giving each other plenty of space, we’ve developed a sense of respect for each other, which is far, far, far greater than we had when we began. So I’m really happy with our relationship. We really are friends and we really love each other.”
Roger Daltrey, who has gone on record as saying that he’s the mouthpiece for Pete Townshend’s work and spoke about his allegiance to the man: “I’m such a fan. He’s one of the best composers of the late-20th century. We love each other and we always did. Even though we did this wrestling in public, God help anyone who came between us.”
Daltrey spoke about the need to get inside Townshend’s material to properly understand it and then, take it to the next level: “It’s almost like I have to eat them and basically s*** them out the other end and there’s the final product. It’s a weird process but it seems to work. I thought, ‘These songs are so good but they sound like a Pete solo album — but then I’m going, ‘How can I make them mine, how can we turn them into an even better Who album?’ I have to do a lot of sketches before I get it right and when I get it right, I know it in my head. One of my problems is that I can’t read lyrics and sing them. They have to come from my heart.”
Roger Daltrey told us that in the years following John Entwistle‘s 2002 death, he’s learned to work as Townshend needs him, while taking on some of the less glamorous aspects of running the band: [“‘Just have to be there if he needs you. That’s the function. I’m just an instrument for him — and I accept that, I’m quite happy with that. But I do all the other stuff behind the scenes, the business side of it. I deal with the interviews when he doesn’t fancy doing them, and a whole raft of other stuff that has to do with Who business that Pete doesn’t do, that I do. So, y’know, we do kind of share the load in different ways.”] SOUNDCUE (:26 OC: . . . in different ways)
The Who kicks off its 2019 “Moving On!” tour on May 7th at Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Van Andel Arena.
- Recently released on CD and DVD is the Who‘s Live At The Isle Of Wight 2004. The set, captured on June 12th, 2004, marked the band’s first return to the legendary UK festival since 1970, and was one of only 19 shows the Who played that year.
- The collection features such Who staples as “Substitute,” “Baba O’Riley,” “5:15,” “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” “You Better You Bet,” “I Can’t Explain,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Who Are You,” “My Generation,” and “Magic Bus.”
- Among the deep cuts included on the set are “Naked Eye,” “The Punk And The Godfather” — along with the Who’s then-recent tracks “Real Good Looking Boy” and “Old Red Wine” from their 2004 hits compilation, Then And Now.