Roger Daltrey: The Who 'Might Do Other Things, More Experimental' After Final Tour
"We have to be realistic about our age," Daltrey says, responding to Pete Townshend's comments last week about a final big tour for the band, "But it's not going to be the last thing The Who will do"
The Who may be eyeballing a final tour, but it has no plans to stop performing, according to Roger Daltrey.
The group's Pete Townshend caused a stir last week when he told reporters at the London screening of the new documentary "Sensation -- The Story of the Who's Tommy," that the duo will tour the world for its 50th anniversary, which will be "the last big one for us." But Daltrey says that we'll certainly still have The Who to kick around.
"I think you have to clarify what he said, and what we man is we cannot keep going on doing these month-after-month, long, extended tours," Daltrey tells Billboard. "It's extremely hard, hard work, just the grind of it. So we have to be realistic. The band got better reviews on our last tour (the 2012-13 Quadrophenia & More trek) than we had for years. It was incredibly enjoyable. It was incredibly exhausting, and we have to be realistic about our age. But it's not going to be the last thing The Who will do. We're going to be doing events. We're going to be doing shows. We might do other things, more experimental. We might decide to do something in a theater, some small production where we sit down for two or three weeks in one town; that could be managed 'cause we're not schlepping our bodies from city to city. The joy of the stage is wonderful, but the traveling every day is exhausting."
Daltrey also promises that The Who will continue to be available to play for good causes -- including the Teenage Cancer Trust in the U.K. and the Teen Cancer America initiatives he's helped launch.
"We've always been there for charity shows," he says. "The Who has always been there from the very beginning when people were in trouble and need a band for a charity show. We've always been there, and that's not going to change."
Daltrey adds that the prospect of reaching a 50th anniversary (the group formed in 1964 and released its first singles and album the following year) is not something he and Townshend take lightly. "Any band who survives in this business that long, it's extraordinary," he says. "With the crap in this (business) and that we had to deal with, it's remarkable that we survived at all. We've lost two of us (Keith Moon and John Entswistle) and the (Rolling) Stones lost one (Brian Jones). It's remarkable that any of us survived."
The Who is releasing a Super Deluxe edition of its landmark 1969 rock opera "Tommy" on November 11, featuring extra discs with Townshend's demos for the album and an entire live presentation from multiple sources. Townshend, meanwhile, is still working on his next conceptual piece, "Floss," while Daltrey is contemplating his first solo album since 1992 and will perform as part of the Moody Blue Cruise in April. And he's still very much involved with the cancer organizations, with an eye towards growing Teen Cancer America -- the beneficiary of a $1.6 million Who Cares benefit concert on Feb. 28 in New York City -- beyond its clinics at UCLA and at Yale University.
"We're talking at the moment to 25 different hospitals," Daltrey reports. "We've got to raise a lot of money, of course; all I can do is light the fire, which I think I've done, and it's up to the American people and the families and the doctors to start pressuring your system to come up with this. This is not the expensive side of medicine; this is the cheap side...If we can do it in Britain, I'm sure the Americans can certainly do it. What I particularly like about it is in so many years I've done so many charities and this and that, and you very rarely see big, tangible results. With this one the money goes in and something comes out; you can see a hospital ward that's paid for and done and the nurses being paid for. It's the way to do it, I think."