Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

He always had a bad tongue. Roger Daltrey of The Who turns 80

A vocalist for over twenty years The Who is committed to supporting an organization that helps young people struggling with cancer. This year he intends to step down as artistic curator to give space for younger people to act, but he will continue to support the organization as an honorary member. Together with his partner from The Who – Pete’em Townshend they established a twin operation in America under the name Teen CancerAmerica. This year’s culmination of the campaign will take place on March 18 – 24, and on stage, next to The Who, of course, will be Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, The Chemical Brothers, Young Fathers, Blossoms. On the last final evening on stage The Royal Albert Hall down Roger Daltrey will join Robert Plant, Eddie Vader and Kelly Jones.

Kate CollinsCEO Teenage Cancer Trust, summarizing Roger Daltrey’s many years of charitable activity, stated that without the long-term support of The Who musicians, she could not imagine the organization’s activities. In an interview with Metro, Daltrey said: “The £32 million raised from these concerts is the foundation for specialist NHS units, as well as specialist nurses and young workers who help a young man when cancer has turned his world upside down. Now I’m in terrible pain.” knees after 24 years of begging,” he joked at the end.

In 2018, Daltrey described his life in a book titled “Thanks a Lot Mr. Kibblewhite: My Story”, recalling the name of the school teacher who contributed to young Roger’s expulsion from school. “The title of my book was never demeaning, it was a real thank you, because maybe if he hadn’t said what he said then, ‘You’ll never do anything with your life, Daltrey,’ I wouldn’t have done what I did. In a way, he made me “I became fearless. I thought, well, I’ll show you! It became this little thing in the back of my head that constantly fueled me,” he told Forbes magazine. From an early age he was a restless spirit who was interested in everything around him. He had no money, so at the age of 12 he assembled his first guitar. He became interested in music when he first heard someone singing on the radio Elvis Presleyas he himself recalled, the King’s voice made a stunning impression on him.

Free from school restrictions, he quickly joined the first team, and some time later with a friend John Entwistle’em he founded The Detours. He was still interested in building guitars. He loved going to music stores, spending hours looking at the instruments displayed there, then precisely reproducing their shape and dealing with the instrument’s electronics. The experience he gained as an electrician’s assistant on a construction site certainly helped him. Although his voice was his asset from an early age, he loved six-string rock attributes. Maybe that’s why he was one of the most distraught people when, on a September evening in 1964, Pete Townshend broke his guitar during a concert at the Railway Tavern in Richmond. The event, which went down in history and was recognized by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the 50 key moments in rock history, was not Daltrey’s favorite moment. “It was a horror. For me personally, it was a horror. What I wouldn’t give to have a guitar like that one day. When I watched it fall and break, I wanted to cry,” he said in an interview with “The Herald”.

Before he became a big rock star, he had to work hard to survive in his beloved London. Coming from a working-class background, he was not afraid of challenges. He was a sheet metal worker’s assistant, he worked on construction sites and in a factory, as he himself recalled, he did everything to one day stand on his own feet and do what had always been his dream. He wanted to sing and create music and at the same time he wanted to be able to earn a living thanks to it.

Physical work made the young boy from Shepherd’s Bush gain physical strength and his punch had its own power. Daltrey was not one to shy away from fights when he was still at school, and in later years, if he couldn’t come to an agreement on something, he often solved problems with the use of force, as Pete Townshend learned the hard way. One of the strongest arguments, which ended with the knockout of The Who’s guitarist, took place during work on preparing the tour promoting the “Quadrophenia” album. As a result of the clash, The Who’s guitarist lost consciousness. When the emotions subsided, Daltrey, horrified by his actions, rode to the hospital in the ambulance next to his bandmate, holding his hand tenderly and praying for his health. “Fortunately, I lost my memory for an hour or two. Later, Roger was very sweet to me. Of course, we argued many times, but he is a good and loving man,” Townshend confessed in an interview with Louder magazine.

Over the years, The Who’s short-tempered temperament has become a thing of the past. Personal relationships between band members have always been a mixture of love and excessively affective outbursts. Townshend recalled that they were just like a big family that sometimes had good days and sometimes bad days. However, when an argument broke out, it was better to stay away from them. The tragic death of John Entwistle in 2002, just before the first performance of the US tour, changed the relationship between Pete and Roger. Suddenly they realized the relationship between them and the fact that they were now, as it were, inheritors of the memory of their deceased colleagues. “Our relationship has always been a working one, and that’s pretty much it. But when we get on stage, we have chemistry. When we play well, everything starts to fall into place. It’s still as wonderful as ever. But off stage, we’ve never had strong relationships. It’s that simple,” commented Roger Daltrey.

The Who has always been a stage monster. Since his legendary television appearance on the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour” in 1967, when Keith Moon blew up his drums, in the following years their concerts always attracted attention. Daltrey was most often the center of attention, often covering Townshend’s guitar madness and jumps with his presence. He proudly walked around the stage with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel, gently swaying to the rhythm of the music and spectacularly throwing the microphone up, catching it after a while, which became his trademark. In one of his recent interviews, the singer mentioned that he has recently been limiting his use of the microphone because his eyesight is no longer good and he has failed to catch his stage tool several times. When asked by journalist Jim Clash where the idea of ​​​​such behavior during concerts came from, he replied: “I don’t know. I guess I was bored on stage. You know, those long guitar solos and bass shows made me have to do something.”

Daltrey – musician, actor, boxer, lover of sports cars and fast driving, charity activist, brilliant vocalist – these are not all the incarnations for which the outstanding artist is known. He often spoke on political matters, willingly sharing his thoughts and views on the situation in Great Britain. He often joked that he would never be knighted like other outstanding British musicians, because he always had a bad tongue and didn’t care about the consequences of his statements, and since he probably never got along with the ruling camp, the result was a foregone conclusion. . Sometimes he did not accurately assess the consequences of his actions. He was one of the few artists who supported Brexit, for which he lobbied loudly. Years later, this was pointed out to him and he was accused of hypocrisy when, in turn, he loudly advocated the introduction of visa-free travel for musicians, signing a petition on this matter.

2024 marks the 60th anniversary of The Who’s official formation, so fans are expecting Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend to announce something special to celebrate the occasion. Meanwhile, the famous guitarist recently stated that he and Roger must think about the future of their work together. As he himself stated, he is working on a new rock opera based on his novel “The Age Of Anxiety” from 2019 and intends to transfer it to the stage.

In the above-mentioned conversation, Roger Daltrey mentioned that he is slowly thinking about retirement, and in the meantime he is focusing on completing a film about the group’s deceased drummer, whose working title is “The Real Me”, after the song from the 1973 album “Quadrophenia”. Both musicians performed successfully with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under the banner of The Who last summer, but we will soon find out whether fans can count on something more after this year’s series of performances as part of the aforementioned Teenage Cancer Trust. After all, Daltrey and Townshend, who will turn 79 in May, like their other rock peers, seem immortal.