The legendary band turns 50 this year and will start playing live around Christmas. Pete Townshend talks hitting the road again ("I'm in good shape"), possible new music and getting older
The Who will embark on a tour late this year to celebrate the band's 50th anniversary, beginning around Christmas in the U.K. before heading to North America in 2015. "It will be a world tour," the Who guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend tells Billboard. "I'm not crazy about going on the road, but I'm in good shape and once I start doing it -- and I'm still very good at it -- I'll take some pleasure from it."
There is also a possibility of new music being released.
"I'm trying to [look] through my 20,000 hours of complete and utter disorganized music [to find possible songs]," Townshend adds. "I'll be pulling some songs out of [his long-gestating project] 'Floss' to give to Roger [Daltrey] to see if we've got enough to make an album. It might be a big waste of time, but I'm hoping there will be an album."
Their last tour was the Quadrophenia and More tour in 2012 and 2013 that celebrated their landmark 1973 album. The last time they toured behind new music was the "Endless Wire" trek of 112 shows in 2006 and '07.
The band officially turns 50 this year although Townshend, Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle started performing together in the Detours in 1961. They changed it to The Who and the High Numbers in 1964, ultimately reverting back to The Who. Drummer Keith Moon joined the band that spring. They have embarked on several "final tours," the first being in 1982, but Townshend says "this is what we should be doing."
"I was ready for the 50th, but it happens when everything else is changing," he says. "I'll be 69 in May and all my friends are getting ill or dying. I knew it would happen. I will be happy if I give people something that makes fans happy. It takes some great planning and I hope it opens up other things that we can avail ourselves of."
Townshend has a new song, written with composer Nathan Barr, that will premiere on the April 20 episode of FX's "The Americans." A remixed version of Townshend's biggest solo hit, "Let My Love Open the Door," appeared on the season opener of "Californication" and was released April 13 as part of a soundtrack EP from Showtime and Townshend's publisher, Spirit Music Group.
Meanwhile, Daltrey and former Dr. Feelgood guitarist Wilko Johnson just released "Going Back Home" on Universal Music's Chess Records label.
Watch The Who's legendary performance at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970