Roger interview in Detroit Free Press

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Sun Oct 19 05:42:29 CDT 2008

A tip of the hat to Detroit from the Who
Concert earnings will go to 2 area charities

Key British invasion quartet the Who has soldiered on since the deaths of drummer Keith Moon in 1978 and bassist John Entwistle in 2002. Guitarist Pete Townshend and vocalist Roger Daltrey are carrying on as the two surviving founding members. After what was billed as a farewell tour in 1982, the band has continued to play sporadic live dates, but has released only one studio album in the lastquarter-century: "Endless Wire," which came out two years ago.

Recently, the Free Press spoke to Daltrey about a special show the Who will do Tuesday at the Palace of Auburn Hills, one of only a handful of concerts slated for North America this fall. The band's rhythm section may not be as formidable now as in the days of Moon and Entwistle, but it won't be chopped liver either. Zak Starkey (Ringo Starr's son) will be featured on drums and veteran session player Pino Palladino will beon bass.

QUESTION: All of your earnings from the show at the Palace are being donated to Gleaners Food Bank and Focus: HOPE. How did this all come about?

ANSWER: The Detroit area was the first major U.S. city to latch on to our single "Can't Explain" back in '65. You know you gave us our first hit record, and since then, we've got this soft spot for Michigan. We know that Detroit is a bit on the blue-collar side, and that's where we come from. With the car industry going through a hard time, we want to pay back a bit to our fans there and help people get through winter. That's why.

Q: What are your memories of your greatest moments onstage here?

A: The first Who concert in the U.S., where we played a whole show as opposed to doing just a few songs, was in Ann Arbor (June 14, 1967, at the Fifth Dimension Club, according to the Who's official Web site). That was our first real appearance in the States. We also did a great gig that year at the Southfield High School.

Q: And how about those legendary shows at the Grande Ballroom?

A: Yeah, I remember the Grande! I can still see it now: Joe Cocker was often our support act, and it was a really good place to play. I can't remember what I did yesterday, but I still remember the Grande. U.S. audiences generally take music a whole lot more seriously than in the U.K. and the rest of Europe. It's more an ingrained part of life than in England, where it's much more throwaway.

Q: There's been talk of the Who recording an album of R&B covers. What's happening with that?

A: Yeah, it's still on the burner, but it might just end up on our Web site. We loved Motown, and we would copy those songs and any others if they were good. We were English, and we were white. But we knew where the center of the music came from. The idea is perhaps to revisit that now and play it like we used to play it when we were 17 or 18. We'd love to do it, but don't know quite what the market would be for that kind of project these days.

Q: You and Pete Townshend will receive this year's Kennedy Center Honors, along withBarbra Streisand, Twyla Tharp, Morgan Freeman and George Jones. What
 was your reaction when you got the news?

A: I mean I was totally stunned! For someone from our background, from London and totally inspired by American music, to be honored by the country thatinspired you was extremely humbling and an honor indeed.

Q: Any final thoughts for your many fans in Detroit?

A: The bad times in Detroit won't last forever. Never bet against the working class; they just need some relief right now. I really do believe in the blue-collar side of America. They're resilient and tough, but need inspiration from people in power to make things happen. Basically, your auto industry needs rethinking and rebuilding, but thepossibilities there are quite promising.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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