Roger Daltrey insists that the Who is still going strong — but admits that he’ll be the first one to pack it in the moment they’re not. Daltrey’s autobiography, Thanks A Lot Mr. Kibblewhite: My Story, is set for publication in the U.S. on October 23rd and chronicles his colorful life and career from his early years in Shepherd’s Bush, London to the present day.
Daltrey told The Daily Mail that he and Pete Townshend are still very much up to the task of carrying on with the Who, explaining, “We are having more fun on the road than we’ve ever had. I think Pete feels the same way as me. I’d like to do it because I think we play music better than anyone. And all the time we can do that well and not cheat it. . . I had a few years where my voice wasn’t good and I had pre-cancerous condition on my throat, and I thought I was going to have to stop. But since then I have cured the problem and I take care of it.”
He added: “I am going to keep on doing it as long as I can still do it, not cheat it. If I ever come off and think, ‘You can’t do this any more, Rog,’ and that thought goes through my head, that will be it and I’ll walk away from it because I don’t want to cheat you.”
Daltrey spoke frankly about why finally writing his memoirs was a goal he needed to meet: “I never felt I had done enough in my life. I’ve never felt apart from my mates that I used to be (with) in Shepherd’s Bush, and never been apart from the class I grew up with. That’s why I wanted to do this book, so whoever reads it has an idea of what it felt like to be in this whirlwind of a new industry starting up. It was a young industry we were inventing as we went along. It made it incredibly dangerous but also incredibly exciting and quite a lot of it was quite terrifying.”
Fans were kept in the dark about how ill Roger Daltrey actually was back in 2015 when he battled his way back from a crippling bout of meningitis, revealing, “It was horrible. I really did think I was dying and I had tubes coming out of everywhere and I was in unbelievable pain. I rang a few friends up to say goodbye because I was getting worse and worse. I just started to think back through the end of my life. . . there were no lights at the end of the tunnel… and I thought about my life and not being able to believe what I’ve done. I thought about my family and I thought they would be alright, and if I go. . . I let go, and when I let go an incredible peace came over me. I did feel incredibly peaceful and like being wrapped in cotton wool.”
The Who’s history has shown no shortage of instances where Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend have butted heads regarding the direction of the band throughout the decades. Over 50 years on, Townshend explained to us that today, he and Daltrey happily stand as equals: “I think Roger has grown in a whole number of different ways. And one of the ways that he’s grown is, in a sense, in learning to conduct a power struggle within a band, because it’s just he and I. It’s not four people; he’s not in a corner fighting to express himself. It’s just him and me now. So, if he and I sit down to talk, if we sit to discuss music, or projects, or albums, or songs that we might do, it’s much more equal than out ever has been in the past. And I think for the both of us, that means a complete reappraisal of the way that we work together.”
Photo Courtesy of Trinifold/AEG