September 25, 2020

1976-01-04 – Arizona Daily Star

1976 01 04 Arizona_Daily_Star_Sun__Jan_4__1976_

9A6: T_W_ELVE7— s_ecnou 97


©lm Chicago SmTlmes

At the end of their concerts on their
current American tour. the Who might all
come forward and put arms around each
other's shoulders to take their bows.
Those are probably the closest moments
in the lives of the British rock super-

Right after the bows. in fact, they are
quite likely to go back to the dressing
room and start screaming at each other
and throwing things about in fits of tem-
per. Probably John Entwistle. the quiet
bassist. will skip the dressing room alto-
gether {or this reason. But Keith Moon.
the drummer; Peter Townshend. the
guitarist and chief writer. and Roger
Daltrey. the singer, aren't ones for hold-
ing back anything.

They don’t even try to keep their dis-
sension a secret. So many interviews
have been printed with various members
criticizing each other. that it‘s amazing
the group has stayed together over 10
years. In a song on the band’s recent
album. "The Who by Numbers" (MCA
reconds and tapes). Pete even refers bit-
terly to the fact that “we talk so much
s— behind each other's backs."

Yet if a fan club for Townshend was
ever formed. there would only be one
person to head it — Roger Daltrey. “He
is a (bleep)-ing good guitarist," Roger
says eamestly. “The new album shows
up Townshend’s guitaring, which I‘m
pleased about, because I've always want-
ed him to do that. l know he doesn‘t con-
sider himself a good guitarist. but I count
him as being the best, because he's the
most inventive.

“He doesn‘t play the same thing every
night. He‘s not into all that." Roger paus-
es for a laugh at his imitation of count-
less blues-rock guitar solos, then contin—
ues “But he’s got a paranoia about being
a guitarist all of a sudden. So I'm really
pleased about that on the album. because
there is not hardly any synthesizer and it
really comes out how good he is."

Roger was referring to the Who’s last
album of new recordings, “Quadrophe-
nia" (Track records and tapes), an ambi-
tious theme album that featured quite a
bit of synthesizer. too much for many
tastes. After completing the album,
Townshend told interviewers that it

marked the end 0! the Who as it was and
the start of something new.

Many thought he meant the group was
breaking up at long last, but instead an
album of old recordings, “Odds and
Sods" (Track records and tapes), was
released and then came word that the
group was entering the studio to make
another album and was going out on tour

once more. Was this the new phase.

“That's Pete kidding himself again,"
says Roger with an exasperated sweep of
his arm as he slouches down on the couch
0! his hotel room. “The Who are the Who.
It's just a progression. The only way
you‘re gonna know anything like that is
when you look back in 20 years’ time and
say, ‘What happened?’

“The way Townshend writes, he is not
only a reflection of society. In some ways
he does kind of get a bit ahead of it. He’s
got incredible insight. you know. He's
very fortunate in that way. Most writers
just totally reflect. but Townshend has
that insight to 30 maybe a year ahead.
even two years ahead.

“But you can’t really tell anything
until 20 years' time. Then you can look
back on it as a thing that happened, and
the Who will be like a work 0! art in it-
self. lt'll have its highs and lows and you
can see it as a total piece. That’s when
you’re gonna tell."

If you look back at the preceding
paragraphs you'll find Daltrey slamming
Townshend and praising him in almost
the same breath. That’s the kind of fan
he is. Even though he won't take second
spot to anyone in his admiration for
Pete's talents. he also won’t hesitate to
tell when he thinks Peter is full of hot air.

Roger has a lot of love in him, too. and
one suspects. despite the fights, it even
extends to the other members of the Who
individually. There’s no question that his
love for the Who as a totality is nearly
fanatical. He is constantly at pains to
differentiate between any comments on

its members and his passionate belief in
the band.

While the Who was recording its latest
album, ston'es began to appear that
Roger was refusing to participate. and
everyone thought it was because of an-
other group fight. But it turned out to be
something totally different.


“We had a lot of problems with man-
agement." explains Roger. “We've had a
problem there tor four years. really. and
it came to a head, so I phoned up Pete
and said. ‘Look. Pete. if he don't get rid
of this lot, I'm not gonng to record anoth-
er Who album, because it they‘re going to
get their slice of it. no way.‘ Because the
Who don’t dump on anyone and it's not a
band that deserves that kind of thing, It‘s
in litigation now. I can't say in what
areas we've been screwed. but it‘s a nas-
ty situation."

Aside from this bit of trouble, the Who
seem to be doing quite well these days.
having completed a smash tour of Great
Britain and continuing to get enthusiastic
receptions in America. But just before
the touring started. Townshend. as usual.

was feeling self-const'ious and depressed
about being a rock star

in interviews With British tu-wspatwrs
he was analyzmg his pdhldUXlCill an-
guish. And sure enough. there was Roger
coming along just behind him to contra-
dict Peter's conclusions

“I know he told people, ‘Roger says
he‘ll be rockin' in his wheelchanr,‘ and he
doesn‘t agree with that.“ says Roger.
"But I don't mean that literally. lt's il
state of mind. 1 don't feel any older; l
don't think any older.

“I think one of Pete's problems is he
doesn't mix with the audience and he
doesn't mix With the kids off the street
anymore. He never really did anyway. to
be really honest, and he‘d own up to that.


“And I do. l still mix with them. I still
make a pomt of keeping my feet down
with them. Because nothing's changed.
you know Nothing's changed down there.
And if he thinks it has. he‘s kidding him-
self." Roger gets so worked up with these
words that he goes into a mini-fit of sput-
tering and stuttering. which used to be a
common thing in his old, hot-tempered
days. Nowadays Peaceful Perce. as he's
nicknamed. tries and usually succeeds. in
controlling his rages. After a few sec-
onds. he collects himself for another
verbal explosion:

“Like I say. it's just a state of mind,
all that: rocking in your wheelchair. I
will be —— or at least my mind will be.
even if my body might be dead."