Pete interview in Reno Gazette-Journal

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Fri Feb 16 18:45:03 CST 2007

>From the Calendar section:

Love reigns o'er remaining members of The Who
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey make nice, open winter tour in Reno
Posted: 2/16/2007 
STORY CHAT(read or post comments)

Could it be? A Who that gets along? That seems to be the case as guitarist-songwriter Pete Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey prepare to make another trek to America as part of their latest revitalization. It's on the wings of a new Who CD, "Endless Wire," that links past to present and has much of the old Who fire -- along with some new twists.

Inexplicably for some, The Who will kick off their winter American tour on Feb. 23 at the Reno Events Center. It is easily one of the biggest tour kick-offs the city has seen.

And it comes at an interesting crossroads in the band's career. In a recent Mojo article by legendary rock writer Dave Marsh, he paints a picture of a Townshend-Daltrey relationship that is stronger than ever.

And in an e-mail interview with Calendar, Townshend, with his trademark wit and opinionated banter, said that is true, apart from disagreements about the Internet and Webcasting some Who shows.

"Roger and I have been through so much trauma, so many deaths," Townshend wrote, referring to the death of Who drummer Keith Moon in 1978 and, more recently, the death of Who bassist John Entwistle. "After John's death in 2002 we suddenly emerged out of a dream -- we might never ever get back to where we'd started, never again approach our zenith, but at least we had each other, and as The Who we had loyal fans.

"We are closer than ever before, yes. We love each other and are growing to like each other. We have always respected each other, but now we are closing the most important circle and setting aside our differences. In a way we set them aside, but we still employ them in our creative process. But there is no need to buy into the sensationalism of a running battle anymore."

At the time of the interview, Townshend wrote that it was a bit early to say if there would be newly-added classics in the live sets for this U.S. tour. "We would like to rehearse 'It's Not Enough,' as this was the first song (on 'Endless Wire') taken up by radio -- but I'm not sure we have time. We also want to correct the fact there is currently no song from 'Quadrophenia' in the set. So changes are planned, but not promised."

Townshend wrote that he's having fun on tour, "which is new for me. I've always loved doing what I do, but it's rarely been a job I could say was fun. Musicians call what they do 'playing' so I suppose it should be fun. I've waited a long time to walk on a stage and not believe that I must give the performance of a lifetime, merely the performance of the evening."

As for the new material, Townshend said that fans are cutting the band "plenty of space" for the new songs and that they enjoy the video and imagery that go along with those songs. There are also newer, younger faces in the audience.

"I have gone on record as saying if I was young I would probably avoid The Who and other older classic artists -- but younger fans don't seem to think as I do," Townshend wrote. "They come in large numbers, possibly with some agenda, possibly just to catch up. It's good to see them."

The reunion of Daltrey and Townshend on record was a long time in the making. "Endless Wire" is the first new studio Who album since 1982's "It's Hard." Townshend wrote that getting the group back together had been Daltrey's openly-professed obsession since their first "farewell tour" that same year.

"The occasional touring I did was always under duress," Townshend wrote. "I did it for other people rather than myself, and my engagement was conditional -- there would be no future. However, I too always had a dream. That was that one day I would write enough songs that Roger could sing that would allow us to put out a Who record. My inability to do that was why I left in the first place.

"It was not until January of 2006 that I felt I had achieved that. Once I had the songs, I wanted to record them with Roger, get them out, then tour behind them so as many people as possible would hear our work."
"Endless Wire" has been favorably compared to Who classics, and Townshend agreed with that comparison -- although he wrote that it wasn't his main aim.

"I wanted any continuity to be a line of authentic and honest attention to our audience rather than our own needs as artists or people. The Who have always driven an audience-weighted career, even in our recordings. The most effective records for us have been the ones that people have been able to truly get inside and occupy -- like 'Tommy' or 'Quadrophenia.'"

So will there be another Who record to follow up this new one? Townshend closed his interview with this tantalizing pair of sentences for fans of the band: "I plan another round of songwriting this coming autumn. Then we'll see what happens."
-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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