Roger Daltrey

ARTICLE ABOUT Roger Daltrey (The Who) FROM SOUNDS, June 28, 1975

This is a refreshingly honest interview with the one and only frontman of the Who. This one should be read by all as Mrs. Charone conducted a really good interview here. Nice one, Barbara!
Read on!

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Roger rides a rock horse

Exclusive Roger Daltrey interview by Barbara Charone

It was rather bizarre actually. There was this enormous inflatible lady, red satin knickers and racy black lace. But she was headless. And there was this silver space capsule plummeting towards earth. But it wasn`t really moving. And there was a patient Roger Daltrey saying “Lola B flat”. And an even more patient Ken Russell saying “Lola A flat”. It was really rather strange.
The fantasy and illusions stop for lunch. The inflatible lady stays behind in a dingy studio at Shepperton while the rest of the less plastic crew take time out from the very last day of shooting `Lisztomania` for lunch.
Franz Liszt climbs out of the space capsule and suddenly becomes Roger Daltrey. Roger Daltrey, actor, climbs out of some fancy grey threads into some scruffy denims and becomes Roger Daltrey, rock singer. We are back to square one.
The atmosphere is decidely more realistic inside the practical but unglamorous canteen. The food is the same standard, barely edible stuff found in any cafeteria but the clientele is more attractive. People from wardrobe and makeup, directors, sultry female extras, all sorts.

ROAST CHICKEN

Roger Daltrey looks up from his roast chicken, casting an eager eye over the colourful crowd. He is very tired today, feeling the blunt edge of continuous work for the last 18 months. Not content to stay home and mind the pigs, Roger Daltrey has been busy lately.
We were talking about this dead end rock has run into. “It`s nothing to do with getting old,” says a member of the world`s only intact and unchanged rock and roll band. “It`s just learning things, growing up and becoming mature. It`s the growing up that`s anti-rock. Rock isn`t refusing to grow up, it`s the people that buy it; it`s what they want to hear. That`s what doesn`t want it to change.
“It`s still only the four people in the band. That`s why we`ve lasted because kids want to see the Who, see those four people. You can`t just turn it off, go somewhere else and expect people to put up with it.
“If the Who went onstage like the Pink Floyd, with an incredible light show, and stood there like four dead people that sounded great, our fans wouldn`t put up with that. Nothing is going to change. So what do you do?” The singer asked passionately. “What do you do?”
If you are the Who, you do a great number of things. You let the machinery unravel, slowly, allowing individual components to function without group environments, positively hoping that frustrations will disappear and the machinery emerge well oiled and more impressive than before.
While not known for their intimate comradeship offstage, the Who have seen even less of each other over the last 18 months with each member pursuing various cinematic and musical projects.
This Summer the individual components are being fused together again for the recording of the first Who album since `Quadrophenia`. Before examing the machinery in toto, let us briefly turn our attention to one energetic cog in the cycle.

“This album is very positive,” said Roger Daltrey referring to `Ride A Rock Horse`, his second solo album released next week. “The first one was a bit negative. If I`d been too positive then, it would have done the Who a lot of damage. I`m not insecure about doing a solo album now, which I was before. It`s not a matter of proving anything. It`s just that I love singing.
“It`s more the way I sing ya know?” he looked up intently making you understand instantly. “Like when I did my first album everyone said `oh Daltrey`s gone soft`. But that was just a side of me that got overshadowed in the Who. This one`s got more balls to it. It`s not wishy-washy at all. And the strings,” he says becoming excited,” aren`t any of that Mantovani stuff.”
Solo albums are a curious breed of record, alternating between the good and the not so good, sometimes sinking to new depths of tastelessness. There is no Court of King Arthur concept here, simply 10 musical songs. You remember, those catchy refrains that last a couple of minutes and are easily hummed? That`s right, songs.
“What I tried to do is get all my different influences on the album. There are little bits throughout that you can hear. One song, `Near To Surrender`, is me old soul days. It reminds me very much of an Otis Redding song, not the actual sound but the way it feels, “(emphasis on the feel).
“Little touches are thrown in all the songs. Like on `Hearts Right` there`s a solo bit that`s very Beach Boys with a little Stevie Wonder thrown in.” The singer laughs. “And `Milktrain,`” he says of a song vocally reminiscent of the Who`s `Dogs`, “reminds me of Syd Barrett, it sums up 1967, that whole flower power period.
“And `Ocean`s Away` has that water bit which is `Quadrophenia`. Of Course,” – he flashes a very large grin, eliciting looks of approval from nearby tables filled with the sultry female extras – “the Who stinks all the way through it. The Who are all over the record.”

INSPIRATION

But only in spirit and inspiration. Like his last solo album, which exposed someone named Leo Sayer to the world, Daltrey has chosen to record songs by less familiar names. This wise move achieves two purposes, simultaneously showing off Daltrey`s voice and new songwriters. Who wants yet another version of the same old songs?
“As usual I didn`t write any of the songs. But if I can`t write, at least I can expose other people because there`s so many artists that can`t get heard. I`d love the album to be a success because the people I`m trying to expose are worthy of getting a bit of success at last. Russ Ballard (who produced the album) has been around for years. He`s Mr Underated.
“I could have produced the album myself but it wouldn`t have been as good as what Russ did. Producing yourself on record is like trying to direct yourself in a film. What`s good to you isn`t necessarily the best you can do. You`ve got to get that something else.”
On the album songwriters like Paul Korda, Bugatti and Musker, Philip Goodhand-Tait, and Ballard, are exposed to an even wider public than before. As if this isn`t enough, Daltrey plans on allowing undiscovered talent to grow and mature on this record label, Goldhawke, of which his album is the first release.
“I feel very good about the record company. The Who should have been doing that a long time ago. When Track was set up those were the original intentions but it backfired.
“In the early days Track was really good. There was Hendrix and Arthur Brown. Then nothing. They lost interest in their own company which is sad. I hope that never happens to me.”
Paul Korda, who wrote three very good songs on `Ride A Rock Horse` is presently in Memphis recording an album for Goldhawke, singing like a `male Nina Simone`. And there are more extraordinary plans.

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“We`ve got a group of young girls,” pause for decadent giggles, “who can really sing. And we`ve got this 16-year-old girl we found doing `Lisztomania`. We were doing a scene for a live concert. All the audience were young girls, the blue knicker brigade” – pause for more decadent giggles.
“At dinner they used to get up and entertain each other. And this one girl got up without a microphone and sang `River Deep Mountain High` and I couldn`t believe it! It was incredible. So we signed her up.”
And there`s the story about the guy who works in a `bloody tailor shop` and wrote a song for Roger. In a business continually low on enthusiasm, Roger Daltrey is an enigma, constantly full of enough energy and excitement to infuse any project despite the necessary voltage. Reacquainting themselves with each other again, the Who need an electrical shock.
“The Who need to get all that energy back together as a unit. At the moment we`re having problems finding that sorta energy. I`d like to see the Who back as a good rock and roll band,” Roger says with the vengeance of a real fan. “We are having a lot of problems. I won`t try and hide the fact that we are.”
I wondered if the problems merely revolved around not working together for a long time.
“It`s that and – well the group vehicle seems to have found it`s limitations on the surface. I think once we get down to it and really do it, we`ll find new boundaries. But at the moment, it all feels a bit cramped.”
With all the recent ballyhoo about the overwhelming `Tommy` film, one could easily attribute the band`s queasy feelings about communal confinement to the film. But the problems are deeper than just a fixation with that deaf, dumb, and blind boy.

FRUSTRATION

“No, the film hasn`t affected us,” Roger says somberly. “The problems started before the film. It`s us taking ourselves too seriously. That`s the main problem. You`ve got to draw the line somewhere.
“It definitely got to the point where it wasn`t fun anymore,” he says echoing similar statements made in the Press by Pete Townshend. “And if it ain`t fun why bother?
“It doesn`t all have to be fun but I`ve always enjoyed it. But it`s really a group thing. Pete`s having terrible problems with wanting to play again, play in the situation we were playing in. To me, it`s all down to us. You`ve got to go onstage and try to get better and better. Some nights you don`t succeed but after a length of time you do get better.
“Pete seems to want to be able to get better immediately when nothing has changed. I understand his frustration `cause he doesn`t want to jump, when they say jump. But then again, it`s also entertainment.”
For a long time now, critics have suggested that while elevating them to new heights of commercial and artistic acceptance, the `Tommy` album has done nothing but hold the band back. Daltrey disagrees.
“It`s not `Tommy` that held us back. Nobody wanted to listen to what we were doing. `Who`s Next` holds up much better than `Tommy` but nobody wanted to take it seriously. Nobody wanted to give it the amount of thought they gave `Tommy`, just because it was 10 songs and no great, big, bloody thing about a spastic. It was just a bunch of songs rescued from another concept (Lifehouse).
“The whole head of the group was good at that time. We`d had the huge thing of `Tommy`. We were out there playing because we really wanted to play. No big heavy numbers. It was great,” Roger sighs in fond memory. “That was the most enjoyable period of my time with the group.
“The only thing I was down about then was a fear that the Who were getting overshadowed by the synthesiser. It didn`t happen because we took the songs onstage and did without it.
“In `Quadrophenia` we got drowned in it,” he laughs, “and funny enough `Drowned` was the only song that pulled us out. That was my main argument, you`ll never get the Who to play like machines. We`re not robots.”

Sure enough the inevitable happened. Taking `Quadrophenia` on the road without using additional musicians and destroying what made the Who great, meant using complicated tapes of backing tracks. Being a band that thrived more on emotion than mechanics, the Who would often start before the tapes and the tapes would sometimes start before the Who. On a good night they started together.
“What happened with rock and roll music is that it got caught up in technology. Even though it takes leaps and bounds when new sounds come out, nothing really changes. There`s a parallel everywhere. Only technology changes. Rock took on an enormous race between 1964 and 1974 and that`s slowing down. Suddenly it`s got nowhere to go.
“Rock isn`t going to change,” Daltrey says, old passions returning. “All you can do is keep writing the same kind of songs. You can`t let it die. So much has been done but I can`t see something new coming along. That`s why being flexible is so important.
“And, at the moment, the Who isn`t very flexible,” – he says the word like it`s made out of plastic. “That`s where we`re finding the crunch at the moment.”
This being 1975, several founding rock bands seem to be feeling that same crunch. Traffic have broken up. Punters put bets on this being the Stones` last American tour. Time off the road becomes longer than time touring. The Who are the last salvation of a dying era. Do they feel that pressure to stay together?
“I don`t give a shit about that. I don`t care whether they expect us together or not. As long as the next thing we do is 1 per cent better than `Quadrophenia` then I`ll be well satisfied. The album will be a straight album, no concepts and it will get done this Summer. We`ve attempted to start it already,” he says delicately of the fragile situation called making records.
Several weeks ago there was a lovely Saturday afternoon when the sun shone all day and temperatures were pleasantly warm. A perfect day for a rock and roll concert but the schizoid bill at the Crystal Palace Garden Party hardly excited any followers.

Instead it was a very long day of pretty much unexceptional music and so it was with much pleasure that I watched the Who that same night, on a `Second House` re-run, going through their paces at last year`s Charlton concert.
“That`s the Who,” Roger says of the days the band played live. “Either we own up and say that`s what we do or we pack up. I just don`t know.”
We sat in silence for a few minutes, cups and saucers clanging away in the background. Movie people getting ready to go back to a world of illusions. Finally I asked the dreaded question. Is no more Who a reality now?
“Yeah”, he says hesitantly, “very much more. I can accept it now. I couldn`t two years ago. And the reason I think I can accept it now is because maybe we have done as much as we can do. It`s nothing to do with existing outside the Who. I could have done that years ago; we all could have, no doubt about that.
“It`s just you get to a point where maybe,” optimistic emphasis on the maybe, “maybe you`ve just done as much as you`re ever gonna do within that framework. That`s being really honest.”
But certainly you don`t want to believe that? “I keep telling myself it isn`t true,” Roger laughs returning to his more boisterous self, shedding the serious overtones. I`ll be in there fighting till the last bloody second but like I said, I could accept it now.”
Those are harsh words coming from, perhaps, the Who`s most dedicated fan, who through the years has continually spoken of the Who as some magical society, capable of possessing extraordinary powers. All of which is very true.
Several devout Who admirers expressed surprise over the band`s recent appearance at star-studded, Hollywood-type premieres held round the world to signal the opening of the film event of the year. Some disillusioned followers didn`t understand what Ann Margret, champagne and caviar had to do with rock.
“You`ve got to go in and say this is a film, it`s just bloody show biz. You`ve got to get into that head. It`s just a laugh, nothing more serious than that.
“Those premieres did Pete a lot of harm. He got all these paranoias about who the hell is going to like the Who now. I mean our fans still like us,” Roger says sincerely, almost trying to convince Townshend even though he`s not here. “The film ain`t important at all. It`s the Who that`s important.”
It is 1975 now and the Who have grown up. But so have the audience. `Quadrophenia` completed the circle. The Who must begin another circle or abandon the vehicle.
Lunchtime was over now. Roger Daltrey had to stop being a rock singer and become an actor again. The inflatable lady still wore red satin knickers and racy black lace. The space capsule was still plummeting towards earth. I thought about the Who survival. “Lola B flat” barked Ken Russell. It was really rather strange.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!
The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!
1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.
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ARTICLE ABOUT Roger Daltrey FROM SOUNDS, November 20, 1971

This is in my mind a very early article with the Who, but at this point in their career they had already released five studio albums. There would be five more before they officially disbanded at the end of 1983. Later on they reformed several times, and even released a new studio album in 2006, and have been touring the world ever since.
I don`t know if we will ever see a new studio album from them, but with two original members left of their original line-up, they are still a band worth seeing. Go catch them if you can!

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Daltrey`s Utopia in the wilds of Sussex

Penny Valentine talks to the world`s greatest mike thrower, Roger Daltrey

The world`s greatest mike thrower is feeding his horses – jeans tucked into boots, polo neck sweater, his hair blown in the cold autumn wind, a bucket in either hand. Looking as though he never does anything else.
To the cynical eye the scene wouldn`t look out of place in a smooth cigarette commercial, but in truth this is the easy relaxed life of Roger Daltrey for about five months of the hectic year.
Three or four years back Roger Daltrey wasn`t the sort of man you spent a cosy weekend with in the country. A city boy with an uneven temperament, he was known to be moody, explosive, subject to fits of depression. It made you feel ill at ease to be too long in the same room with him, and he had a way of fixing you with a baleful stare that would ice up the courage of the bravest man. Hence journalists, never known for their courage in the face of adversity, would steer away from him and it was rare that interviews with Daltrey would ever see the light of day.

NUTTY ONE

There was even something of a driving ambition in him then that was a lingering throwback from the very early Who days. In fact his personality appeared to be an embodiment of the Who that the public viewed on stage. Moon was always the nutty one. Townshend looked fiercer than he ever was, but it was Daltrey who wrapped up all the aggression and spit within his own character – a phenomena that caught fire directly the band set foot on stage in those days when the Marquee was specifically their breeding ground and home.
Today the problems that he fought so hard against then no longer exist – eradicated not only by his own hand and through a sense of financial security, but one feels more because at last he feels he belongs. He belongs in fact to the Who and that the set-up is not only incredibly successful but so stalwart a unit has given him a sense of personal security.
So that talking to him in front of a blazing log fire in his Sussex house, drinking tea before we go off to feed the animals, you realise he finds it almost impossible to talk in specific terms about himself. Everything he mentions is in general or part and parcel of the group. He says it`s because he doesn`t really think he`s of particular interest, and certainly the early ambition and the need to desperately rate attention and be up front has gone forever.

PEACE

Now his striving is only to be a better singer, not for himself, but the constant advancement of the band he loves:
“I don`t think I`ve ever been a really ambitious person in the sense of the word. Of course I`m always striving to be a better singer – I mean in the Marquee days I was bloody awful. Dreadful. I don`t know whether people noticed, I don`t know whether they notice now, but I know that really that`s what`s important to me.
“I think the Who as a group are important. I mean everyone is a good musician but I don`t think individually we`re that brilliant. If Pete or Keith left they`d only be half as good as they are with the Who.”
We talk about his new found peace and security, how at one time he might have headed a band of his own (“Oh, only in the early days when I was really out front with the Who certainly not any more. If anything happened to the band I`d get out for good.”) Earlier he`d proudly shown me round his beautiful Elizabethan house he bought six months ago just because he couldn`t resist it with its acres of gardens and lakes, its rose gardens and outhouses. Now he says that sometimes a sense of guilt creeps into him to have so much – in many ways an obvious reaction from a man who once only saw his own corner of life and never really viewed the world at large:
“I`m very very happy now but sometimes I wish I wasn`t quite so materialistic. I mean I have got that way and it worries me. I look round here and think what I`ve got and how little other people have.”
I point out that it`s the society we live in and that most of the people who accuse people of being materialistic are the ones who haven`t got anything to lose. “I suppose so,” he says thoughtfully. “Maybe it`s easier to give the world away when you`ve nothing to give.” But he falls quiet for a while and we have tea in near silence.

ROTTEN

In fact Daltrey has tried harder than most musicians to actually do something concrete to help others less fortunate than himself. There have been artists he`s taken in and tried to help and invariably become disillusioned with.
But it doesn`t stop him trying. He has an overwhelming concern for the under-dog, for the ill treated which manifests itself most in his attitude to animals. His horses were all rescued from the meat axe, and amongst the seven dogs that run rampant throughout the house one was left uncaringly by the previous owners. Crippled by rheumatism, Daltrey spent unsparingly on it to bring it back to health.
“People can be rotten miserable sods can`t they? Fancy just abandoning an animal like that. I often wish I could do more but I`ve really been kicked in the teeth lately and – well it puts you off for a while.
“There`s some very talented people around and I`ve thought that if I took their material worries away from them they might get on and do something about their work. So I`ve given them a roof and money and some good grub in their stomachs and you know what – they`ve just sat on their backsides for six months and done nothing. I can`t understand that, it beats me to be honest. I mean where do you go from there?”
Daltrey`s admiration for extremely talented people has always existed. He may have no aspirations of his own but his enthusiasm for others is boundless. It`s always been noticeable that he`s never written any Who tracks and the reason is basically that he feels Townshend is so brilliant an artist that it`s just not worth bothering about, anyway – he grins – he couldn`t write a song to save his life.

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When I last saw him a year ago he said that he thought the Who were finally established but that they still had a lot to do and a long way to go – does he feel they`ve achieved more in the past year?
“Well we`re still here and that in itself is something these days. We must be one of the few bands around that`s working all the time. I think we`ve progressed and I think that the last album helped a lot, it made a breakthrough for us if you like. I think the one sad thing about the last 12 months is that the Who film – yeah the ruddy Who film that everyone did so much talking about – never got off the ground. But we learnt from that.
“I mean basically it just wasn`t right that Pete should have had all that responsibility, it should have been put into the hands of someone who knew about the process of film making. Pete would be the first to agree with that. As it was he was left to do it practically alone. I mean, okay we all had our heads with him and the script was very good, but I think it was pretty obvious it wasn`t going to work.
“We are going to do a film though – a new one Pete`s got called `Guitar Farm` which Nick Cohn is going to write for us. He`s coming with us to the States and live with the Who first hand and then come back and lock himself up in a thought machine and get it going.”
The American tour kicks off in just over a week`s time and Daltrey grimaces at the thought:
“Not because of the gigs – for the two hours the Who are on stage it`s marvellous. It`s the other 22 hours in the States that are so bloody awful. I`m hoping this time over, which is the last time for a while because really we need a rest to get other things off the ground, `Won`t Get Fooled Again` will have broken new ground for us in America. You know last time we finally managed to drop `Summertime Blues` out of the act at long last. But we had to bring it back in because American audiences wouldn`t let us off stage until we`d played it.”
His constant references to “Won`t Get Fooled Again” pin-point how important he feels that album has been to the Who. As a band who have clung on in the meanest time and surfaced through musical trends galore to re-emerge bright and beautiful he thinks, he says, that album has been a landmark in their career:

DRAG

“It was certainly the best produced album we`ve ever done and you see it was good for us to work with other musicians for once. People like Nicky Hopkins, Dave Arbus and Leslie West are so good and it sparked something off within the band. Because Leslie played lead guitar it meant Pete could give himself more room and really come up with some incredible things. It lifted a lot of weight from his shoulders and gave him more freedom which he`s never had before.
“To be honest I think it was the first album we really enjoyed working on too – all the others turned out to be such a huge drag. We only just managed to get through `Tommy` without leaping out of the window. Yes, I agree, maybe the album did lack something that`s always been connected with the Who maybe on reflection it lacked pure ballads. But it`s given us the chance to get back to that or move on or incorporate the two, it`s given us the chance of progression which is the main thing.”

WILDS

When the US tour and all the hassles it entails is over Daltrey will be back to Sussex and all the things he loves – his American wife Ev and the chance to see his seven-year-old son by his former marriage, Simon, who is here this weekend. It`s a schizophrenic kind of life prevalent amongst most top musicians these days who, once they can afford to seem to scurry off to the wilds. Daltrey says he thinks that really it gives you a much better balance in life to split your existence in this way:
“I live here because I love it and because it`s the balance to the life I lead the rest of the time. I love touring and I love gigs with the Who, but I love being quiet and away from everything here too. I think, yes, it could be dangerous to just have this – I think you could get very stale. You`d stagnate after a while and feel you`d lost touch with reality. But in the same way it would be dangerous to live in the atmosphere I work in all the time and never have a sense of release.
“You see this way you get the best of both worlds and the addition of a good outlook. I can sit here and see what life was like two hundred years ago or more and I can go back into the city and see what`s happening and what`s going to happen in the future. It`s an opportunity for serious reflection.”
It`s dark by the time we get back from the horses. Too dark for Simon to sail the boat he`s just made, but Daltrey promises him a game.

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Roger Daltrey – the world`s greatest mike thrower – leading a life that is really a personal Utopia. His own man down in Sussex more perhaps than he ever is on stage however much he loves it, maybe just because up there with his fringes swinging and his body bathed in sweat and the spotlight picking out the effort in his face he is for a while frozen within an image. A human being with something to live up to and all those yards of mike cable to do it with.
“I suppose, yes, to a certain extent we`re all trapped by our images. I mean there are some nights when I just don`t feel like throwing a mike in the air, just as there are nights when Mooney doesn`t feel like throwing his sticks at someone – so we don`t. But then you`ve got to remember that audiences expect that, that`s really what they`ve come to see. And we`re not always the same – the only reason people think we are is that for some weird reason we get reviewed about every week we`re on tour. You see really we`re just a rock and roll band. That`s all.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Ray Charles, Marc Bolan, Bell & Arc, Ornette Coleman, Rory Gallagher, Paul McCartney, Felix Pappalardi, Van Morrison, Mr. Fox.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.