Pete Townshend: Roger Daltrey On The Fence About New Album

Despite the Top Two success of 2019’s WHO collection, Pete Townshend revealed that fellow surviving Who member Roger Daltrey isn’t necessarily gung-ho about a new album. Townshend spoke with Rolling Stone ahead of the band’s upcoming “The Who Hits Back” North American trek and shed light on where the pair are at in regards to new music: “Roger is diffident about the whole thing. He’s unsure. He’s on the fence. It’s not just about the money. It’s about whether or not it’s truly worth doing. . . I don’t want to end up complaining online about shares of the money and blah, blah, blah. It just gets boring hearing musicians complaining about it, particularly people that have been as lucky as we have, but I think there is a question about whether an artist like me, who spent their whole life in a home studio since I was 17, is it not better for me to work with new artists rather than sit with someone like Roger that isn’t really liking the record I’m making anyway? (Laughs).”

Townshend was asked about the poignant use of his Who songs in NBC’s beloved late-’90s show Freaks And Geeks, and recalled, “It was a real buzz. I remember being very moved by it and very honored. It was a dark comedy show with deep, swinging connotations about performance and education and all the things I’m talking about. The uses were very, very smart. In a sense, it redeemed and gave credence to the fact that I’ve always felt the worst person. . . Let’s get into real trouble here. The worst person to have control of Neil Young‘s catalog is Neil Young. (Laughs) Give it to me. I just think there’s so much stuff there that could be just turned into joy. He’s such an incredible writer, and so much of his stuff is just unknown, partly because he keeps it tied so tight to his chest.”

He went on to talk in depth about the importance of pushing music into new commercial avenues beyond the radio and concert stage, explaining, “The Who ended for a good 10 years. In 1982, the Who closed down, and we weren’t earning money. I started allowing my songs to be used for commercials, for film use, and not all of it was good. There’s no question. Some of it was embarrassingly bad. But it earned money. One of things that did happen, in a couple of places … with the use in CSI, f***! It just hugely, dramatically, powerfully spread the word about the potential. . . These were some of the best songs that the Who had ever recorded. They were on TV over and over and over and over again. It just reminded people that we were still there. I think it probably helped us to come back.”

During Pete Townshend’s recent appearance on NPR, he shed light on the meaning behind “All This Music Will Fade” — the lead track from 2019’s WHO album: “Since the ’60s it’s become more and more basic, more and more simple. Music is often what’s borrowed, what is often stolen, what is often echoed, what is often repeated — particularly in our business. So, it’s kind of absurd for somebody to pop out of the woodwork and accuse, let’s say, somebody like Ed Sheeran — whose music is not exactly (Arnold) Schoenberg — of ripping off some earlier song. It just happens. We only have this limited language to deal with.”

Categories: Pulse Music