It has been almost 40 years since Roger Daltrey first hollered, "Hope I die before I get old" and captured the anger and frustration of his generation.
It has been almost 40 years since Roger Daltrey first hollered, "Hope I die before I get old" and captured the anger and frustration of his generation. But it is only now, at the age of 60, and 10 times a grandfather, that life is making sense for the front man of the legendary British rock band the Who.
Daltrey, whose onstage charisma powered the Who to fame in the 1960s and '70s as much as Pete Townshend's caustic lyrics and furious guitar chords, has just made his first video/DVD for tiny tots. The microphone-twirling singer provides the singing and speaking voice for a friendly green dragon on an animated "The Wheels on the Bus" video for independent California production company Armstrong Moving Pictures (distributed by Starlight Home Entertainment).
"Having had children, and now grandchildren, it all sounded like a great idea," Daltrey says. "Yeah, 10 grandchildren. It's just fantastic. Finally life is starting to make a bit of sense."
He admits that the gentle pre-school video animation of the classic children's song is a new departure for a singer whose band is best known for smashing up its instruments and playing at deafening volume.
"I don't see Roger Daltrey as anything other than an everyday human being. I've never been over protective about the image side of the rock'n'roll business. That leaves you at the age of 40," Daltrey laughs. "To me all that's left is the music you play, and in that sense the Who is as powerful now as it ever was."
In a Who career marked by break-ups, solo projects and triumphant reunions, Daltrey has added many more strings to his bow. He has worked as an actor and more recently used rock music to raise funds for sick children's charities in Britain. "Our business was founded on the back of teenagers so it's good to put something back," he said.
"The Wheels on the Bus" video came to him through friends and he was drawn to the idea of involvement in "harmless entertainment" for 2- to 4-year-olds. It was also "a great way of introducing music to a whole new generation of kids -- maybe even the grandchildren of teenagers that grew up listening to the Who."
The original Who line-up is now down to Daltrey and Townshend after the deaths of drummer Keith Moon in 1978 and bassist John Entwistle in 2002.
After years of talking about it, Daltrey and Townshend are getting back together in December to work on what could be the Who's first studio album since 1982's "It's Hard." Townshend's working title is "Who2," which he describes in a Web site posting as "only partly tongue in cheek."
Daltrey is excited by the prospect but recognizes that recording as the Who again will be odd. "There is only Pete and I left. First thing we're going to be doing is him and I going in and making music just together. Then we're going to get our stage band together and work around involving them in whatever that band creates, which is a different thing again."
Daltrey attributes the continuing popularity of the Who to Townshend's "totally unique" style of music rather than his own sexually charged live performances.
"I can't be objective about my role," he says. "I've never seen me. And I've never seen the Who. There is an energy in The Who's music which is undeniable but that is in the writing."
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