MWE3 Archive Feature Story
conducted by Robert Silverstein for 
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LETíS SEE ACTION!
An interview with Roger Daltrey
of The Who


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Part 2
continued from previous page

Roger Daltrey (RD)
Robert Silverstein (RS)


RS: Another highlight on the Live At The Royal Albert Hall DVD is a blistering version of "Wonít Get Fooled Again" complete with guest guitarist Noel Gallagher from Oasis. "Wonít Get Fooled Again" has always been one of the most controversial and electrifying songs the Who ever made and was a fitting climax to the Whoís Next album. Hearing the song today, the songís lyrics seem almost prophetic considering whatís going on in the world right now. How do you explain the songís enduring message?

RD: Unfortunately, we humans have a habit of repeating history. We never seem to learn the lessons. That was written at the time of Vietnam and all those things. It could have been written after the first World War, after the second World War... Unfortunately we keep going on repeating our mistakes, knowing the deep picture as such, where these things start up, never really gets dealt with. It always ends when peopleís self interest is satisfied. And thatís where (laughter) I think the problem lies.

RS: MCA recently reissued Live At Leeds as an deluxe double CD with a previously unreleased performance of Tommy...

RD: The complete show, yeah.

RS: Live At Leeds has maintained itís unique stature as the greatest live album in rock history. I remember buying the album when it came out over here the week of the Kent State student killings in 1970. For me the album represented an outlet for the anger, frustrations and fears of youth during the Vietnam era of early Ď70s. How do you remember the Live At Leeds show and album?

RD: It is very much an album of that period. Night vigils, all those things... And there was that anger. And The Who I think - because we were British, (and) kind of involved at a distance, you might say - it didnít affect us the same way it affected American youth. Although we felt kind of obliged to kind of lead though... I think what The Who did, we kind of pushed that anger into our music. Where as alot of the bands were playing peace and love songs, we did the angry ones and vented peopleís spleens for them.

RS: The new Live At Leeds is now an expanded double disc set. How do you feel about the concept of the expanded double CD reissues of Who albums?

RD: Iím not against any of all of that. I mean we are musicians, we produce music and Iím not going to criticize any form of our music getting out there to people, to hear it, Ďcause thereís always someone who hasnít heard it and no matter how many records youíve sold and how many fans youíve got and how many fans youíve lost or whatever, thereís always someone new whoís gonna go Ďwhat is that?, Iím interested in thatí. So I donít criticize any of it, I really donít.

RS: How involved have you been in the reissues of The Whoís back catalog?

RD: Hardly at all. I let them get on with it. I really do. I think just as long as the sound quality and all that side of it is good I donít really mind what they do. And the same with advertisements. We get asked all the time, Ďhow do you feel about yíknow "Wonít Get Fooled Again" or "Baba OíReilly" on a commercial?í I say, ĎWell I donít really care because Iím sure we sell as many records as they sell products theyíre advertising, so it doesnít bother me. It really does not bother me. As long as we are doing it. As long as itís not a pastiche of The Who doing it. That would bother me.

RS: Back in the early Ď60s when The Who were still known as The Detours, you were the groupís lead guitar player.

RD: Yeah...

RS: I know in 1959 your had an Epiphone guitar. Was that the guitar you played back in The Detours?

RD: Yeah.

RS: I know you play some acoustic guitar on the Who DVD. Do you still like to play guitar?

RD: Oh I still play guitar quite a lot yeah.

RS: How many guitars do you have and do you have a favorite current guitar?

RD: I play mostly acoustics these days. Iíve got a (Gibson) J-200, Iíve got an old dobro. Iíve got a Fender Strat. Iím going to go down to a three quarter size guitar. It might sound better on stage, Ďcause Pete plays a J-200 and two together makes it...I think you get more value out of two different size guitars.

RS: Regarding the possibility that The Who will be gearing up for some recording sessions later in the year, John Entwistle (recently quoted) said "We know the magic happens onstage, but we haven't tried it in the studio yet. We're working so well as a five-piece that we want to try to carry that onto the album somehow." You yourself once said that ĎMy big ambition in life is to keep The Who together.í After so many incredible years and great albums what kind of album would you like to see the Who record in these first years of the 21st Century?

RD: I just want to see us in a studio experimenting and come out with something that weíre happy with. Iíve got no preconceptions and I think the biggest thing stopping us from doing it is basically fear...thereís alot of fear, of failure. That still wouldnít stop me...Iíll try anything. And obviously we canít ever fulfill everybodyís expectations. As long as we go in there with an open mind, an open heart, and play like we play and have some kind of idea of what we want to say in our songs and then let it flow. Whatever you call it, call it magic or whatever...weíve been given a gift of chemistry between our characters and the way we play. If we go in with that attitude it will happen and it will be great Iím sure of it. It might be an album with a bloody orchestra, who knows? I donít care, Iíve got no preconceptions.

RS: 2001 is the 30th anniversary of the Whoís Next album. The Ď69 to Ď71 period was such a magical time for The Who. Do you agree with so many Who fans who refer to Whoís Next as the greatest Who album?

RD: I donít know if it was the Ďgreatestí. I think it was one of the best recorded albums. I think Quadrophenia in some sense is as great. Itís not actually recorded as well. Theyíre all good for different reasons. I donít like to yíknow... What that period was was, Ď69-71 is where I actually found a voice to sing Pete Townshendís songs in a way that really made us unique. Before that, I was struggling to find the voice for the songs. ĎCause I was a blues singer, I was a James Brown, Muddy Waters, Howliní Wolf type singer. And I didnít know how to put a (drift) to those songs and I was kind of groping in the dark. Between that period of time I found a voice and the band completely jelled, thatís when it kind of sparked into the band it is today.

RS: One of my favorite Who songs from that period was the song "Water". Your vocal on that was brilliant!

RD: We did that at the Metropolitan Opera House! (laughter)

RS: Are there any other Who goodies from the archives that may surface as CD reissues in the future?

RD: They managed to trace the original My Generation album. Thatís going to come out on CD.

RS: Thatís the Shel Talmy tapes?

RD: Shel Talmyís remixing it now. So thatís being remixed. ĎCos thatís a great album.

RS: Best of luck at the show, I know itíll be great.

RD: Weíre there for you, donít worry!

RS: Roger, thanks again for speaking with me.

RD: Okay Robert, you be lucky mate!

 

 

Color photos of The Who at Madison Square Garden by 
kind permission of FrankMicelotta / ImageDirect


 

Special thanks to Sujata Murthy at UMG and Spencer Savage at Image Entertainment. Exclusive Who black and white photographs courtesy Stewart Hellman, are from his new photograph book of The Who entitled Classic Performances Of The Who. To order the book contact: Classicwho@webtv.net  or visit www.Rogerdaltrey.net 

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