Roger Daltrey was one of the featured guests on Monday’s episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, where the venerable The Who frontman mined his vault of memories from the band’s heydey. Daltrey was there to promote the documentary Rock Camp: The Movie, which profiles the Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp experience, featuring appearances from Daltrey, Alice Cooper, Paul Stanley, Gene Simmons, Slash, Sammy Hagar, Joe Perry, Nancy Wilson, and more.
Though Daltrey did not perform on The Tonight Show on Monday, his anecdotes were equally entertaining. Before getting into the meat of the interview, Daltrey took a moment to profess his admiration for The Roots—calling the Tonight Show house band “one of my favorite bands of all time.” He went so far as to say that his performance with The Roots of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” on classroom instruments was the most fun he had singing the Who’s Next track since he first recorded it for the 1971 record.
Between gushing praise from Fallon, Daltrey also told the story of how his iconic mic-swinging trick came about.
“I did it out of pure boredom actually,” Daltrey recalled. “Because I was on the stage with two maniacs and a very straight bass player. And I just got bored and I thought ‘I got this thing in my hand that I’m fed up with holding up there [points to face], what do I do with it?'”
Over time, The Who frontman developed deadly accuracy with his newfound prop, claiming he “could take the cigarette out of somebody’s mouth from about 20 yards.”
Following a brief bout with technical difficulties where Fallon asked Daltrey to stop kicking the camera, the 77-year-old singer reminisced on The Who’s infamous 1967 appearance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, where madman drummer Keith Moon rigged his bass drum to explode.
“It was planned for a little bit of smoke and the skin was gonna break,” Daltrey said of the initial stunt. “But Moon being Moon decided this wasn’t grand enough, and I think he got the pyrotechnic man drunk on a bottle of brandy and talked him into putting about 10 times the amount of powder in the cannon that was supposed to be there, and it was literally like a hand grenade going off.”
Daltrey also pointed out a seemingly minor detail in the historic footage, as guitarist Pete Townshend can be seen patting his head in an attempt to extinguish the flame that erupted in his hair following the blast.
Watch Roger Daltrey talk The Who, The Roots, and the new Rock Camp documentary on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Rock Camp: The Movie is available now for streaming.
Boredom Inspired Roger Daltrey to Create His Iconic Mic-Swinging Trick | The Tonight Show