Roger interview on

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Sun Nov 4 08:19:33 CST 2007, a financial website, somehow snagged an interview with Roger!

Fame & Fortune: Roger Daltrey
By Larry Getlen •

The story of The Who is one of the great tales of the classic rock era, combining the best and worst elements of the canon: From musical brilliance born of hardscrabble roots, to the thrills and the tragedy of living too close to the edge.

Tomorrow night, on VH1, that story will be told as it never has before in "Amazing Journey: The Story of The Who," a two-hour documentary featuring extensive interviews with Who members Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey and many of their associates and contemporaries, plus rare footage of the band members when they were just wee British youth.

The special, which will also be released on DVD next week and re-run numerous times on both VH1 and VH1 Classic, is one of the better rock docs of the past several years, delving into the band's history not just chronologically but emotionally as it deeply explores the loving but strained relationships that fueled the band's manic energy.

Bankrate spoke with Daltrey about the film, the band, the music business and his true feelings on Townshend and late Who drummer Keith Moon.

Bankrate: How would you define your relationship with Pete these days?

Roger Daltrey: I feel that where we are now feels right for our age. Now we know how to talk to each other and we know how to listen to each other, which is really important. I think previous to that, we did a lot of talking in ways that each of us didn't understand, and we didn't do an awful lot of listening at times, and that obviously created friction, especially on the road.

Bankrate: Now that you're both more mature and have this deeper relationship, do you find deeper insights into Pete's work?

Roger Daltrey: I very rarely listen to it. My love of Who music is to perform it. So the only time I really hear it is when I'm singing it. I live it. That's the only way I could explain it to you.

Bankrate: Is there still a touch of the famed animosity or tension between you, or has that washed away?

Roger Daltrey: I think there always will be a musical tension, because we fire each other. We challenge each other musically. But the tensions off the stage ... obviously we have our ups and downs, and life isn't a bed of roses for anybody. Where the tension is needed is in the music, and that still exists. Something happens to his songs. If I sing them on my own it'll be one thing; if Pete sings them on his own it'll be another thing. If we do the song together, something happens to it. We just accept that that's our gift, and we're thankful that we have it.

Bankrate: You talk in the film about how "Tommy" gave you your voice in the band. Did you know from the beginning it would be this special thing for you?

Roger Daltrey: No. I don't think the turning point was really even in the studio. The studio was kind of ... the only way to describe it was to say that I'd found a wardrobe full of clothes, and I'd gone in naked. The studio was like, putting this on, then putting a pair of shoes on, and putting a shirt on, and a jacket, and a hat, and finally coming out and then, boom you're cool. You're you. This is you. Look at you. But that didn't come for me until we actually came on stage.

Bankrate: When you sing "Tommy" now, does it still feel as special to you as it did back then?

Roger Daltrey: Yes, it does. I can never sing "See Me, Feel Me" without literally inhabiting the same space that I inhabited when I (first) sang it. That's what interpreting music is all about for me, finding the zone where that song really lives -- where's the heartbeat of it.

Bankrate: In the film, the footage of the band from the early '60s was incredible. When you watch that, what goes through your mind?

Roger Daltrey: (I think), weren't we good? Because I can see it in its totality, I can see the whole thing now. If I saw a band like that in a bar tonight, I would sign them up immediately, as I'm sure most people would. You could see the talent is immense, isn't it? I'm not blowing my trumpet, I'm just being factual about what you're actually looking at in that piece of film. There's something special going on. We are babies.

Bankrate: For your first single, "I Can't Explain," it says in the film that you sold 104,000 copies and made only 250 pounds each. Looking back, was everyone in the band just that incredibly naive about money and business?

Roger Daltrey: Oh, for years, yes. Totally. It was never ... I mean, we wanted to make a living at it, and we all had a dream of being rich and famous, but we didn't have a clue about it. As long as we were playing our music and getting as many women as we wanted and traveling, it was fantastic.

Bankrate: Was there a point where the reality of that kind of hit you over the head and you said, maybe I'd better get a handle on this?

Roger Daltrey: That point came in the '70s, when sadly the management lost control of themselves and started taking drugs, and we had to get to grips with the situation because the tax situation in England was so serious, we would have gone down. It would have buried us. So we had to wake up then.

Bankrate: These were the days of, like, 90 percent rate or something?

Roger Daltrey: Ninety-eight percent.

Bankrate: Wow. That's crazy.

Roger Daltrey: That's Britain.

Bankrate: When did it actually hit you that The Who were an incredibly successful act?

Roger Daltrey: We always felt successful. The success is in the sight of the audience. The success is knowing that you're actually reaching someone and touching them with music. Because that's all you really want to do, and you can never give them enough of yourself when you're doing it. I always feel successful, because it's organic.

Bankrate: I found it really funny in the film when you said, "The Who just wanted to be rich and famous, and we made no apologies for it." Having succeeded beyond most people's wildest dreams, is the whole thing as fantastic as you hoped?

Roger Daltrey: It's incredible! When I look at the numbers of people on this planet and how many people get to have a life as varied and interesting as ours, it's ridiculous. Talk about winning the lottery. I never cease to be amazed by it. But I haven't changed. I'm still the same guy looking out through the same pair of eyes.

Bankrate: The part about Jimi Hendrix stealing your act was also fascinating. Considering that he took so much from you, if The Who didn't exist, do you think Hendrix would have been quite the phenomenon he was?

Roger Daltrey: Oh yes, there's no question. His musical talent was immense, and as a showman he had his thing, but ... Pete was doing that stuff two years earlier, on the "Murray the K" show in early '67. We were doing that on "My Generation" in '65, way before Hendrix. Listen to the solo in "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere." That's all feedback, banging of guitars. Hendrix's whole show came from that. But his musical talent was enormous. We don't claim that without The Who, Hendrix would have been nothing. That's not the point.

Bankrate: Last year, Pete got a bit of press for supposedly ranting to a crowd in Jones Beach about how The Who can't get airplay these days. How would you define your and Pete's place in music today?

Roger Daltrey: I can't. Objectively, from inside it, I can't. I really can't. That has to be in the ears of the audience, but it is hard for every band now to get airplay. You've got to realize that something like 90 percent of the music you're hearing on the radio is chosen by a computer.

Bankrate: That's so depressing.

Roger Daltrey: It is incredibly depressing. That's a fact of life these days. It's marketing, and it's incredibly sad. It's a sad state we're in.

Bankrate: You've been trying to put together a movie about Keith Moon. What is the status of that?

Roger Daltrey: The status is still trying to get a script that's good enough for me, and it's very difficult. It may never happen. I'm starting to think now maybe it won't, I don't know. It does get very discouraging sometimes. I still think there's a film there, but there's one scene I gotta find before it can take off, and I haven't found that yet.

Bankrate: Are you completely spearheading this project?

Roger Daltrey: No. No. It's my project, but Mike Myers is involved with me in it, and he's been trying to get a script, but he's having the same trouble I have. (Editor's note: If the project gets off the ground, "Austin Powers" star Myers is hoping to play Moon.) But I really do need to sit down, because I've been on the road for 13 months. I need to sit down with a writer and see if we can iron out the final wrinkles in it, because it's so close to being a script worth making.

Bankrate: So what's your exact role on this project?

Roger Daltrey: I basically got the rights to it, and the good will of The Who.

Bankrate: So you're just making sure that it lives up to ...

Roger Daltrey: Yeah. Ultimately, my purpose is ... I've always felt that if what I've done in the last 15 years on this project is to get in the way of bad Keith Moon films being made, so be it. There have been attempts to make quite a few bad ones.

Bankrate: What does the future hold for you and Pete as far as The Who is concerned?

Roger Daltrey: Doing what we do. Hopefully making more records. Pete's writing at the moment and playing more shows on stage. We're enjoying it now. We don't feel we have to try so hard anymore. Do we really have to prove anything anymore? We just want to enjoy the fact that we're lucky enough to have been here, and our job is to entertain people. That's what we're gonna do. 
-Brian in Atlanta
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