In a new interview with Rolling Stone, The Who guitarist Pete Townshend opens up about his dear departed bandmates, in addition to his lone surviving one, and it’s not terribly flattering for everyone involved.
“It’s not going to make Who fans very happy,” Townshend warned Rolling Stone writer Stephen Rodrick. “But thank God they’re gone. Because they were fucking difficult to play with. They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together.”
Despite that attention-grabbing quote, the rest of the article paints a portrait of the modern relationship between Townshend and Who vocalist Roger Daltrey. The two bandmates have worked together for the past 60 years, and show no signs of hanging it up any time soon. The Who just recorded its second album in 37 years, aptly titled Who. It’s worth noting that the entire album was recorded with Townshend and Daltrey being physically apart throughout the process. One was in Los Angeles and the other in London, both disagreeing about whether or not they were in the same building at one point during the process. Sending demos and tracks back and forth to each other and communicating through personal producers.
“I used to say that I love [Roger], but with my fingers crossed,” says Townshend. “Now, I like him too. I like all his eccentricities, his foibles, his self-obsession, and his singer thing. Everything about him.”
These days the band is touring with a 48-piece orchestra. The shows consistently continue to deliver a pleasant surprise to fans who expect to see two ailing legends hanging onto the end of illustrious careers, but are instead greeted by two consummate professionals and visionaries of their own time attempting to update their work for a modern experience rather than just hitting repeat.
“I’ve always kind of known Pete cares for me,” says Daltrey, “I hope he realizes I care about him. I think my actions through our career have shown that.”
Regardless of their onstage chemistry, the two musicians have differing attitudes toward performing as septuagenarians. Townsend continues to create with orchestras and modern musicians while still basking in the limelight he’s enjoyed for 60 years, while Daltrey remains out of sight only occasionally resurfacing to release anti-climactic solo records.
“We’re not a band anymore,” Townshend said. “There’s a lot of people who don’t like it when I say it, but we’re just not a f*cking band. Even when we were, I used to sit there thinking, ‘This is a f*cking waste of time. Take 26 because Keith Moon has had one glass of brandy too many.'”
Tickets for The Who’s upcoming spring tour are available here.
[H/T Rolling Stone]