Rog: Could Bob Seger write me an album?

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Oct 16 09:47:16 CDT 2008

>From The Detroit News:

Legendary band puts local charities in the spotlight during hard times

Even based in Britain, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who knew that Detroit's economic woes have been going on for some time. That's why the founding members of The Who decided to donate their fee for the band's Oct. 21 concert at The Palace of Auburn Hills to two Detroit charities: Gleaners Food Bank and Focus: HOPE.

"The first radio stations in America to play our first single, 'I Can't Explain,' were Detroit radio stations," Daltrey said in a phone interview from London. "When I saw we'd been booked to play Detroit on this mini-tour, I said to Pete, I just can't go into Michigan and take a pay packet when there are so many people from the roots I come from, struggling.

"I know how hard blue-collars have been hit," said Daltrey, who was once a sheet-metal worker in Britain.

Townshend agreed, and the band teamed up with classic rock station WCSX-FM (94.7), and chose two charities. 

"We chose two, one to get people on the bottom end through this winter, i.e., food, which is the Gleaners Food Bank," Daltrey said. "We also chose Focus: HOPE, which is (job) retraining. Because I think Detroit is going to have an incredibly bright future. It's going to take a bit of time, you have to get through this winter, but it might look like a bright spring and autumn next year." 

Another Michigan-Who connection: The band played its first U.S. concert in Ann Arbor at the Fifth Dimension club in June 1967.

The Who started as an R&B cover band ("We did 'Heat Wave,' but I don't think anyone would mistake me for Martha," Daltrey quips) but exploded out of Britain in 1965 with an uptempo rock song, "I Can't Explain." Like all perfect rock songs, it launches you out of your chair within the first eight bars.

By 1967, the group was playing Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint seemingly every few months (they were favorites at Detroit's Grande Ballroom), including a November 1967 show at Southfield High School punctuated by intense feedback and destruction of guitars that few students of that era will ever forget.

Time has taken its toll on the original lineup, but Townshend and Daltrey have perservered, keeping The Who fresh by taking long breaks.

"I think there's a quality to my voice now that is probably better than it's ever been," Daltrey said. "I can do more things with it. I might have lost the really really really top end of it, but I don't know if that's very important."

In fact, he's got a message for Bob Seger.  "I wish he'd write me a solo album. Can you ask him? Because I've got a voice, but I'm not a songwriter, I'm an interpreter." 

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!


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