The Who

ARTICLE ABOUT Keith Moon (THe Who) FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 17, 1976

I really like this interview with the legend that is Keith Moon. What Moon didn`t know at the time was that he would go on his last tour with The Who this year. There wouldn`t be much of his plans to become a movie star either.
Still considered one of the greatest drummers in rock – enjoy this great interview with a political twist.

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Is KEITH MOON The Biggest Loony in the World?

Or is DENIS HEALEY Even Dafter?

ROY CARR tells the heart-tugging tale of

The Chancellor and the Drummer Boy

When Keith Moon first left the Old Country, it wasn`t to seek a refuge from the taxman. Anyone familiar with Mr. Moon will agree that, up till quite recently, he`s never possessed sufficient funds to worry about such things.
No, the truth is that for the best part of their career the Who have been busy paying off the numerous debts that they have accumulated over the years.
Keith Moon, Esq., with the self-assurance of a man invited to address The Explorers Club after returning from a highly successful expedition into hitherto uncharted terrain, clarifies his current financial position over oxtail and red wines.
“I left Britain”, he recollects with an air of authority, “before Denis Healey came to power. Aside from the weather, I enjoy California because it suits my particular lifestyle – also it never rains. Apparently, one day it did rain, but I was asleep at the time”.
As one who likes to live out of a suitcase, Moon entertains the thought of commuting between Los Angeles and London at the slightest whim; but for the time being his residency in America will be on a much more permanent basis.
Mr. Moon and Mr. Healey have been forced to cross swords.

Moon rationalises that it`s ridiculous, just because the Who will be spending a greater part of the year touring and recording, that in order to stay in, or for that matter gain easy access to Britain, they would have to run a business as a tax loss.
He fully realises that it`s a very touchy subject, but he argues that under the present “regime”, there`s no logical incentive to re-invest any profits in Britain.
“People often misconstrue why so many entertainers, celebrities and sports stars flee the country”, he continues with all seriousness. “It`s not that one isn`t patriotic… perish the thought old chap. What so many people fail to appreciate is that in many cases a person may only ever have a single opportunity to make it”.
In the case of rock musicians, declares Moon, the lifestyle is so precarious that the vast majority are only good for a couple of albums and a couple of tours, and often a degree of success merely enables them (if they`re fortunate) to pay off their most pressing debts. He then goes on to point out that by the time an act is in any position to break even, they`re either on the verge of breaking up or have lost their box office appeal.
“And they may never again have the opportunity to re-establish themselves. Worse still, if they only make it for a year they often stand to end up being worse off financially than when they were playing around the pubs for beer money”.

It`s no secret that economical instability and increased Government taxation has drained much of the adrenalin out of the once thriving British entertainment industry. One can almost detect the regal strains of `Land Of Hope And Glory` growing louder over the clatter of crockery and cutlery as Keith Moon (his hand over his heart and his head held high) makes a plea for those about to go into exile.
Unfortunately, there`s only myself and the wine-waiter to hear him, and the wine-waiter doesn`t understand English.
Thus spake Moon: “I`m British born and educated and proud of it”. He clears his throat. The waiter shrugs his shoulders. “Yet America gets the benefits”. The waiter smiles when he hears the word “America”.
“I`m not just talking about rock stars”, continues Moon, “I`m talking about professional people. I`m talking about a lot of money… millions, millions of pounds and this Government is too bloody damn stupid to realise what they`re doing.
“They`re driving out all those people who make the money – whether it`s on a long or short-term basis. How on earth can a professional man afford to work and live in Britain? He can`t. He`s penalised because of his talent and because of his business acumen and individual enterprise.
“I`m talking from experience now. It`s just not worth making a film or an album over here, and the result is that the business suffers. Skilled people are put out of work and a potential money-making industry goes into decline.
“If you`re a best-selling recording artist and decide to make an album in this country, you can forget about ever seeing 90 percent of the profits because that goes straight to the Government.
“Believe me, anyone who becomes successful is insane to stay here. Anyone who makes sterling – convert it! Sterling isn`t worth a bloody light abroad.”

Temporarily setting aside its financial implications, Moon chooses to elaborate upon the artistic side of his burning ambition to become accepted as both a Bona Fide Movie Actor and a Television Personality.
In Britain, Moon insists, he is automatically type-cast. “I`m a rock star who only ever gets offers to play rock stars. I`ve done that in all four films I`ve been in”.
Hold on, weren`t you a Nun in 200 Motels?
“Typecasting”.
And a throughly disgusting sexual pervert in Tommy?
“Typecasting old chap, typecasting”.
The waiter registers an expression of shock as he overhears the conversation. I register the same face-quake upon being presented with the cheque.
Moon guffaws.
“As an erstwhile actor-laddie”, Moon continues, as efforts are made to reactivate my heartbeat, “I want to do much more acting. It`s the same as a brewer living in Hamburg… you`re in the thick of it, and the same goes for Hollywood”. Quickly adding, “I don`t mean brewing, I mean acting”.
What else!

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“Also, Hollywood offers much more scope in television. There`s a lot more than just plugging your latest record on either the Lulu or Cilla Black Show.
“What else can you do over here? Be one of Bob Monkhouse`s Square Celebrities and hope somebody picks your square, make a prick of yourself on the Generation Game – didn`t he do well! ! !”
You can always guest on the Des O`Connor Show!
“Precisely… and no matter what people say, Hollywood is still the Entertainment Capital of the World and, if I`m into making movies it`s the obvious place for me to live.”
Already Keith Moon has attracted the attention and in some cases the friendship of movie moguls like Sam Peckinpah, Mel Brooks and John Huston. There have been unconfirmed rumours that Peckinpah was interested in re-making the classic `Soldiers Three` yarn with Moon, Ringo and Harry Nilsson cast as the trio of British Army privates stationed in India during the Queen Victorian Raj. Likewise there is a strong possibility that a comedy script written by Moon and Graham Chapman may soon go before the cameras.
A 40 page draft has been delivered simultaneously to Peckinpah, Brooks and Huston for their candid and professional opinion.

“Basically”, explains Metro Goldwyn Moon, “Graham Chapman and myself have written what can best be described as a High Adventure movie – just how high the adventure will be remains to be seen.
“What I`ve tried to do is to combine all the truly great adventure and pantomime stories into one… Treasure Island, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Dick Whittington, The Pied Piper, Grimms – and select an all-star cast in the title roles”.
According to Moon, he`s already secured verbal agreements from such box office stars as James Caan, Elliott Gould, Peter Sellers, Oliver Reed, Peter Cook, Ringo Starr and Zsa Zsa Gabor – who, it transpires, has taken a particular personal interest in Our Lad.
“But she can forget it, I`m much too young and also much too skint to become husband number… well whatever it is. Seven!”
“As I was saying. Aside from a cameo role as Long John Silver (naturally), my role would be producer.”
One thing is certain: no matter how long before plans are finalised, Moon`s movie will not be shot in Britain.
“It will be produced in America with an American crew. I would much rather make it in Britain but the cost would be astronomical and I would have to be prepared to lose on it. “If I made the movie in Britain it would be subject to British tax on a world-wide basis; therefore I could easily end up paying a lot of money out of my own pocket for the `privilege` of making it here.” Moon argues that if one cannot make a profit by bringing money into Britain it`s no use to do so since there won`t be any margin of profit to re-invest in future projects.

“The more films that are made abroad the more the British film industry will suffer. At the moment, there`s no alternative.”
However, Moon wishes to point out that he`s not letting personal ambitions get in the way of The Who.
“Suddenly”, he says with excitement in his voice, “it`s the Who again, and to tell you the truth we didn`t really know quite how it would work or if it would work at all. But once the four of us got back together again the chemistry started fizzing.
“When Pete, Roger, John and myself were out there on stage – Bang!!! It really is something I can`t explain. Sure, I want to get into things like movies but I`m not about to sacrifice the Who because of that. It`s too much fun.
“There`s two sides to the Who”, he insists. “There`s the Pete Townshend side which is all intellectual and there`s the crazy side, the fun side – me”.
We leave the restaurant and climb into the back of Moon`s white Rolls Royce. “I`m the pop image, too many people have forgotten that rock`n`roll is fun”, he says. Then, as we pass the Law Courts, Moon jumps on me and begins tearing off my clothes in full view of the public.
Thank God he won`t be back for almost a year.

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A nice overview of musicians birthplaces.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. 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 New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people:Gary Holton, Ronnie Lane, Warne Marsh, Bad Company, Kid Strange.

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 15 $ (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 The Who FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, January 3, 1976

I have regular visits from people reading articles featuring The Who at this site. So for that reason alone it is a pleasure to post an old concert review from the legendary Hammersmith.
Enjoy!

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The Who

HAMMERSMITH

By Steve Clarke

The black monolith (stereolith?) of a PA system towers from floor to ceiling. Onstage The Goodies` Graham Chapman is receiving a hard time from this day-before-Christmas Eve audience, who`re wearing expressions of celebration all over their paper-hatted faces.
It`s the third and final gig of The Who`s Christmas series at Hammersmith Odeon. According to reports Sunday night was great – Monday`s gig a little dodgy. Tonight (Tuesday) they just have to blow everybody`s heads off.
Chapman leaves the audience with a few select profanities. Seconds later, The Who tumble onstage, Moon cartwheeling, and take their positions. Entwistle, a sturdy glitzy carnival with his sequined jacket, is stage right, and Pete`s opposite, wearing a white baggy outfit which looks as if it was pulled on a few seconds beforehand. His face looks decidedly haggard.
Townshend`s arms go into action and his fingers make contact with the sunburst Les Paul, introducing the staccato riff to “I Can`t Explain”.

The music`s okay, but not as powerful as The Who can be. Daltrey`s voice is shot, not as pure as it ought to be. Townshend`s guitar should be louder, but the Entwistle-Moon rhythm section is invincible and pounds along ruthlessly, compelling you to stamp your feet.
Despite these `defects`, spines are tingling and it wouldn`t surprise me if there`s a few wet eyes in the house. Hell, it`s more than good to see The Who onstage at Christmas. All around are faces brimful of joy. I`ve yet to see a band audience relationship like The Who`s; their audiences, no matter what the standard of playing, are always totally entranced by the sheer thrill of seeing Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon on stage together again.
It`s not as if all present grew up with The Who – looking around at the audience, it seems to me that Pete Townshend has no cause to worry whether he`s too old to play rock `n` roll. He might look a little weary, but the spirit which he and the rest of the band project is as young and as vital as ever; “the magic that will set you free” to borrow a phrase.
“Substitute” follows, and like the opening number its lyrics are as relevant today as they ever were. What`s the betting that more than a few guys in the audience are feeling just like that tonight? Into “My Wife”, Entwistle`s excellent song from the band`s finest, “Who`s Next”, follows, and the bassist`s voice is in worse shape than Daltrey`s.

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The further into the set, the better the music gets, and by the time of “Tommy” The Who are playing as they should. Townshend has gained the power his playing lacked earlier, and everything that has made The Who arguably rock`s greatest band is being demonstrated here tonight; the pyrotechnics, the dynamics, the band`s attitude towards its audience and its music.
“I`m Free”, “We`re Not Gonna Take It” and “Pinball Wizard” comes as a feast of power chording, and the energy which flows from the band is almost tangible. The first climax of the evening comes with the “See Me Feel Me” sequence, myriads of `lazer` beams being projected from backstage out across the theatre.
The audience erupts, spilling out into the near-stage area.
Introducing “Tommy”, Moon and Townshend had the wit to send the whole thing up, saying it was a piece of classical music when they know damn well it isn`t. Rock opera? Bullshit. Rock and roll isn`t about `operas`, it`s essentially about energy, joy, and most important of all, communication – and this is where The Who are succeeding most of all.
Unlike Led Zeppelin, The Who cry out for an audience to relate to, and there is no barrier between them and their audience. Mostly they`re not about pretensions. They might be a good deal more affluent than their audiences, but get them on a stage and their richness disappears and you know that at one time in their lives, they`ve lived the kind of life most of the audience are now living.

Unlike The Stones, there`s no celebration of evil and no jet-set ambience.
Daltrey might not be such an amazing performer as Jagger, but he is a lot more touchable as he trots around onstage like a toy soldier.
The only time on Tuesday The Who weren`t one hundred per cent convincing was during “My Generation”. I understand why they have to play it, yet when they do it`s as if they realise it`s one damn big lie.
Otherwise it all makes sense.
Part way through the song the band goes into one of their flop singles “Join Together”, and the song is genuinely apt. By that time the audience`s inhibitions have disappeared.
The following “Summertime Blues” is true to the spirit of classic rock `n`roll. Oddly the penultimate number is “Roadrunner”, at the end of which Townshend widens his guitar tone, even turning in a few Beckisms.
Their set closes with “Won`t Get Fooled Again”, a classic post-Woodstock statement. It`s played majestically, climax after climax, and perfectly timed so that balloons and fake snow fall from the ceiling as the music bursts into its final crescendo.
Townshend hurls his guitar at the amps and it`s over.
If you thought rock was dead at that moment in time, you must have been born in the wrong age. Easily the year`s best display of rock `n` roll.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With a great, big thank you to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Rory Gallagher, Steve Cropper, Sailor, Paul Bley, Labelle, Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart, Queen.

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 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who from New Musical Express, October 4, 1975

If every record review was as positive as this one, I guess we wouldn`t need record reviews. I must admit that I haven`t given this album much attention, but I am on my way to have a listen to it right now.
Enjoy the read!

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Once upon a time, Pete Townshend was young and full of hope.
That was Then.

By Roy Carr
Pic: Neal Preston

THE WHO: “The Who By Numbers” (Polydor)

“The Who By Numbers” displays all the symptoms of post-“Tommy” depression. It`s an album that vividly depicts The Who – in particular Pete Townshend – in a similar position as when they recorded “Who`s Next”. However, this time they appear to be (over) reacting to “Tommy`s” third and most “commercial” manifestation, with the result that “The Who By Numbers” is somewhat tainted with the decaying bittersweet stench of enforced showbiz success.
For most of the time, Townshend takes on all the illusory mannerisms of the artist in torment, aware that he has something to prove but afraid that he may be out of synch with himself. Therefore, against the underlying themes of frustration, isolation, cynicism, disillusionment and self-doubt, Townshend attempts to come to terms with Townshend. However, it`s not in his nature to go on the defensive, so instead he chooses to mount a nihilistic attack: he lashes out in fury and frustration at The Who, severed business associates and himself.

If I didn`t know better, I could have easily construed this LP as The Grand Gesture – Townshend`s Suicide Note. I mean, what other conclusions can be drawn from the lyric of “They Are All In Love”?
“Hey, Goodbye all you punks stay young and high, hand me my cheque book and I’ll crawl off and die / Like a woman in childbirth grown ugly in a flash, I’ve seen magic and fame now I’m recycling trash”.
Throughout, “The Who By Numbers” appears to place much more emphasis on the lyrics than melody to the extent that one immediately realises the overall ambience of the album is somewhat muted. It`s almost as if Townshend doesn`t want to detract from the vitriolic statements he`s making by enveloping the material in archetypal Who pyrotechnics. Sure, there are occasions when The Who resort to these familiar shock tactics but these are kept to a minimum.
It`s for this reason that on just one listening some people might jump to the wrong conclusions about the merits of this album – a problem encountered by Neil Young`s “Tonight`s The Night” – a brilliant rock verite album with which “The Who By Numbers” has an affinity.

With sparse yet extremely careful, clean and subtle production (by Glyn Johns), there is an overall “live” quality to the performances with the basic line-up augmented by a predominant scrubbed acoustic guitar, occasional brass figures and relevant pianistics from Nicky Hopkins.
Yet in appreciating the motives behind the lyrical stance adopted throughout this album, I feel that one needs to be conversant with the lengthy interview we conducted with Townshend (NME May 24). During the interview, Townshend intimated that perhaps both he and The Who had experienced some kind of creative menopause. He pointed out: “The group as a whole have got to realise that The Who are not the same group as they used to be”.
A few weeks later, Roger Daltrey replied to Townshend`s accusations in no uncertain manner (NME August 9). Such was the hostile attitude prevalent in both interviews that everyone expected The Who to break up there and then. They didn`t. But nonetheless, “The Who By Numbers” reveals many of the traumas that were being enacted in The Who camp.
Success often plays strange tricks on one`s psyche and we find Townshend attempting to exorcise his in the only way he knows how – through The Who.

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Though the staccato powerhouse chording and rumbling drums on “Dreaming From The Waist” are reminiscent of the tension that prevailed throughout “Quadrophenia”, it`s a saga of Pete`s quest for lost youth. He admits that the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak almost to the point of impotence.
Such is his dilemma that Townshend often communicates with the voice of a young man feeling that he`s grown prematurely old. This may just be a temporary fixation but one cannot avoid the overwhelming aura of finality about the way in which he observes himself in “However Much I Booze”.
“I see myself on tv, I’m a faker, a paper clown / It’s clear to all my friends that I habitually lie, I just bring them down”.
Utilising his familiar anthem approach Townshend castigates past associates with the venomous anti-music business “How Many Friends” – a subject which John Entwistle sardonically explores over a brute force riff on “Success Story”.
However, there are moments when the apocalyptic vision is temporarily set aside. With an almost skiffle-type treatment “Squeeze Box” is a spot of sheer rudery, while “Blue Red And Grey” is pure whimsy as Pete plunks a mandolin with just a suggestion of brass hovering in the background.

The Revolutionary salsa-inspired “Slip Kid” which opens up the proceedings has all the earmarks of another “Magic Bus” and restates the “My Generation” thesis, while the closer “In A Hand Or A Face” reverts to archetypal Whoism and deals with rock `n` roll paranoia set against a veritable barrage of the band`s collective might.
It`s common knowledge that The Who`s greatest musical achievements have been born out of sheer frustration and “The Who By Numbers” is no exception, revealing as it does the kind of sagacity that Lennon attained by publicly casting out his demons via his “Working Class Hero” album.
Thematically, “The Who By Numbers” is a transistory album in that with vehement honesty it brings to a close the first decade of The Who; clearing both the decks and the air for the immediate future.
Despite all its inherent characteristics of a downer trip, I refuse to believe that in any way this is The End. The remarkable way in which Townshend, Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon perform their respective roles throughout this album isn`t indicative of a band suffering from a terminal malady. It`s more a maturing – a girding of the loins.
The Who have always been fraught with problems and the paradox is that it`s this element of anguish that persistently motivates them as such a highly intense and vital creative force.
Earlier this year, The Who threatened to deliver a straight-forward rock album. They kept their word. Though it may take some time for certain factions to arrive at this conclusion. “The Who By Numbers” is an affirmation of four great, if somewhat idiosyncratic personalities.
In short, this album is brilliant.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Johnny Cash, All Platinum Records, Victor Jara, Andrew Cyrille, Peter Haycock (Climax), Jim Morrison, The Doors, Joan Baez, Poco.

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 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who from New Musical Express, August 9, 1975

This is the kind of interview that you don`t see too often these days. Today a band of The Who`s magnitude would be surrounded by managers, press agents or people from the record company that would control everything being said. Such honesty as revealed in this article would simply not be allowed. And probably for the better, as it would break up most bands. The Who are still an ongoing entity with Pete and Roger in the band. Quite interesting really, considering the odds after the articles published in 1975. Have a nice read!

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A few weeks ago Pete Townshend, in an interview with NME, got all hot and steamy and despairing about his role with The `Oo – and about The `Oo themselves. This week Roger Daltrey, also in an exclusive NME interview, returned Pete`s fire – with interest. And after this furious exchange of invective, the question on all our lips is: can The `Oo survive…in any shape or form at all?

Tape Op: Tony Stewart Camera: Joe Stevens

Who`s Last?

Just how do you conduct yourself when interviewing a man who`s destined to become A Living Legend?
Do you ensure your shoe laces are tied, your hair`s neatly brushed and that your breath smells sweetly? And then humbly sit opposite your subject, dutifully silent as you wait to hear his proclamations?
Or perhaps you just take along a bucket and spade in case the Centaur – as his latest album sleeve depicts him – craps on the rug.
After all, this is how Polydor are promoting Roger Daltrey.
The Centaur photograph exploits all the romanticism of Greek Mythology to intimate Daltrey is A Living Legend, as well as incorporating the sexual blatancy of the classic Satyr – the lustful beast which is reputed to be part man, part goat. But moulding the hindquarters of a goat onto Daltrey`s fine torso would project a considerably less virile image than those of a stallion.
Look at the shot closely, and you`ll see my (or his) point.
“It`s nothing to do with me mate,” Daltry asserts. “I can never consider that. I wish I could become Charlie Bloggs. I`m pissed off with it, because I feel it`s not me. I`m not A Living Legend. A lot of old bollocks. It`s all half-truths and I don`t really want to be associated with that kind of thing.

“I don`t really want to be A Pop Star, believe it or not. I`d like to have successful records, but that`s it. And I`d very much like never to do any more interviews or anything.”
Gee thanks, Roger.
“Well, you know, the occasional one. I suppose it`s the price you have to pay.”
Yes. But Roger also has an ulterior motive in talking to us, and that`s to answer Pete Townshend`s attack on The Who, carried in a recent NME article.
Stick around because the dirt flies like a sand storm.
Somehow though, you just can`t come to terms with Daltrey`s new image. Here he is, in the Goldhawk Record company offices in London, sandwiched into a comfy chair between a filing cabinet and a stack of audio equipment, taking large hungry bites out of a pear, causing juice to trickle down his chin, the flow of which increases as he tries to talk with his mouth full.
His moods change faster than a streetful of Belisha beacons, going from Sullen to Friendly, and from Aggressive to Rationally Polite. And invariably he`ll laugh at his own moods, throwing his head back and roaring like a triumphant bar-room brawler.
You could describe him as an earthy streetboy.

The interview, though, comes at an appropriate juncture. Sessions for the new Who album, “The Who By Numbers”, have just finished, and after our rap Daltrey will go off to hear the final mixes.
“I`m really pleased with it,” he says, chewing on the pear. “One song particularly, called `Imaginary Man` I think is the best song Pete`s ever written. There`s a few mysteries in there, but it`ll be a good album.
“The shape and form of it is similar to `Who`s Next` with a lot of varied material unlike `Quadrophenia` which was really one vein. But I don`t know what it`s going to do, because I don`t know what people are expecting.
“I think it`s going to be surprising.
“There`s not been a lot of style change at all. How can we? Moon still plays like Moon, John still plays like John, Pete still plays like Pete, and I still sing like me.
“The only time that we really change is after extensive touring, never when we`re in the studio.”
Yet the conversation doesn`t dwell on the album for long, as it`s quite apparent Daltrey wishes to discuss another topic. Like the Townshend feature.

“I never read such a load of bullshit in all my life,” he comments, angrily. “To be perfectly honest, it really took a lot of my Who energy out reading that. Because I don`t feel that way about The Who, about our audiences or anything in that way.
“It was an unbelievably down interview. And I still haven`t come out of it properly yet.
“I`ve talked to fans,” he continues, “and I think Townshend lost a lot of respect from that article. He`s talked himself up his own ass. And there are quite a lot of disillusioned and disenchanted kids about now.”
(In fact the tone of Townshend`s rap was itself disillusioned. He was highly critical of the band as a working unit, their audience and even of their future. In his introduction to the piece Roy Carr admirably precised the prevalent attitude the Axe man expressed.
“Pete Townshend didn`t die before he got old. Yet death isn`t his problem, it`s the passing of the years and his current position in what he feels is a younger man`s occupation”.
But that`s not 32-year-old Daltrey`s chief beef about the article. “My main criticism,” he elaborates, “was the generalisation of saying the Who were bad. The Who weren`t bad. I think we`ve had a few gigs where Townshend was bad… and I`ll go on record as saying that.

“I think we had a few gigs where under normal circumstances we could have waltzed it. We could have done Madison Square Gardens with our eyes closed, only the group was running on three cylinders. Especially the last night.
“You don`t generalise and say the Who was bad,” he stresses, his rage stronger now. “Because The Who wasn`t bad. Wasn`t quite as good as we could have been, but it was because Townshend was in a bad frame of mind about what he wanted to do. And he didn`t play well.
“Sure, we all have our off nights. But don`t go round saying the Who was bad.”
Did Pete sound like a Rock And Roll Martyr to you?
“Yes. Very much.
“You`re putting words in me mouth, ain`t ya?” He laughs.
Well sure. But only if there`s room with the pear.
“Right. That`s the impression I got. And it riles me when he generalises it to say the Who weren`t playing well. The Who can play as well as they ever did, if we can get down to it and take it for what it is. He`s just trying to make the Who something it isn`t.
“I can understand his musical frustration,” he continues. “He must be so far ahead now with just writing songs for The Who. But surely if The Who isn`t a vehicle to get those frustrations out he should find another vehicle.

“But use the Who for what it is. A good rock `n` roll band, that`s all. And one that was progressing.”
Was?
“I say was because we haven`t done anything for such a long time. Hopefully when we get back on the road we`ll still progress. But if we have any more statements like that I don`t see how we can. Cos I know it`s taken a lot of steam out of me and I`m sure it did with the others.”
But Roger you said, was progressing, which strikes me as a rather strange comment to make just as you complete a new album.
“I`m just talking about the road side of it,” he clarifies.
“I mean, we are still progressing. We`re never really The Who in the studio. That`s one of the difficulties getting records made with the band. There was a lot wrong, but we rectified it on this album. We all got stuck in and made a record.
“But there`s not a lot of room for a group because it`s becoming more and more dominated by Pete. It`s very hard to make a group contribution outside of what you actually do in the band. Outside of me just singing, for instance.
“John seems to do alright at it – but every suggestion I make I just get laughed at.
“But I can live with that. I don`t care if I`m just the singer anyway.”

On this point, though, it was Townshend who complained he had to bear too much responsibility for The Who. There was, he bemoaned, too much pressure on him.
“There`s all sorts of problems going down at the moment that have got bugger all to do with the music side of it,” counters Daltrey, “which is usually lumped on my bloody shoulders. But I don`t ever complain about it.
“I agree that because he`s been the mainstay songwriter of the band he`s obviously going to be under that pressure. But I think he enjoys that. As far as going on the road goes I don`t think he`s under any more pressure than any of us, really.”
Townshend`s argument – just to refresh your memories – was also that because the other three guys heavied him into the studio any songs he`d written for a solo album would be snapped up by them. And inadvertently he seemed to be moaning about the fact that Daltrey, Entwistle and Moon could work solo – but that he never saw his own efforts come to fruition – because of The Who.
Daltrey does feel it would be a good thing for Townshend if he did record a solo album, but denies it was impossible because of The Who situation. “You see, I think if he made a solo album he would get some of the musical frustrations out which he can`t accomplish with The Who. Because he can do fucking incredible stuff that The Who`ll never do. They just haven`t got that sort of scope.

“That`s why solo LPs are nice to do. They let your head run riot for a while.
“And I don`t see why he couldn`t have done his own album before this Who set, because I can`t see this one getting released for ages because we`ve got so many problems, outside of just the music. Then The Who would have had second choice.
“And I don`t see it would have hurt The Who.”
“I think we needed this year break. We need to sort certain things out. Like, two months ago it looked as though we weren`t ever going to record again – and now at least we`ve made another record. And I really want to get back on the road.
“I just don`t feel I`m in a group unless we`re playing on the road. It feels like you`re just another session man.”
He pauses, having said his piece.
“Want a cup of tea?” he inquires politely.
Snippets of Daltrey`s rap keep flashing up on the brain`s screen like trailers at the cinema. And it could just be possible that`s yet to come.
At intervals he`s made oblique, but apparent, references to some kind of internal problems other than musical that are having a detrimental effect on The Who`s well-being.
Something seems greatly amiss.

But as the mugs of tea are handed round – and you`ll be glad to know Centaurs do have sweet teeth, because Daltrey started to crunch sugar cubes. Roger seems reticent to divulge the relevant information.
“There`s just certain things going down at the moment,” he does proffer, not particularly helpfully. “You`ll probably hear the whole story in about two month`s time.”
Can`t we hear it now?
“I can`t. There`s a lot of litigation going on between our record company and our management and everything else.”
A clue. But not exactly a scoop.
With a little gently prodding he does, however, begin to open up, revealing in unguarded terms there is, er, disagreement between the Who and their management.
“If we were free now to do what we wanted to do we`d have our record out in the first week of October and we would be touring England in the third week of October and the first week of November. And we`d be off to the States in the second week of November, then back here for some Christmas shows.” He comes out with a series of anecdotes which, due to the laws of libel, I can`t repeat. Worse luck.
“If the record doesn`t come out I don`t know what`s going to happen.
“We could still tour – but we wouldn`t tour with a new act because it`s hopeless trying to play people unfamiliar material. It`s like, the worst thing any band can do. Even if it`s vaguely familiar. Like Elton John at Wembley playing `Captain Fantastic`.
“It didn`t work.

 

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“I wouldn`t mind touring with the old stuff. But that`s what it`ll have to be.”
Any dates pencilled in?
“There are, but I can`t even talk about them because it`s so vague at the moment.
“Maybe it will sort itself out and it`ll go ahead, but I can`t really see it somehow. It`s probably gonna be December before we actually get on the road. The way things are going, and the lack of decisions and various things.”
Christ. Some Main Feature, huh?
Going back to That Townshend Feature – and considering all Daltrey has just said – it does seem somewhat unfair Peter Meter should blame Daltrey`s involvement in “Lisztomania” for holding up the recording of the new album. Which he did.
“Obviously he doesn`t want to talk about these other problems in the Press,” suggested Roger quite rationally. “I do it reluctantly, but I suppose it`s got to come out at one time.
“I can see if it does happen then I`m gonna come out as The McCartney Of The Piece. But there again, what do you do? You can`t live on lies forever. But the last thing in the world I want to do is break The Who up. Anything I can do to stop that happening…I`ll do.
“Now The Who have acted.” (Daltrey`s referring to the legals). “But I don`t know how long I could have gone on without them acting. I really don`t.

“If the legal hassles hadn`t been going on, yeah, then Liszt would have held up The Who recording for three months. Which isn`t a long time.
“I know it was a drag for The Who, and I don`t ever really want it to happen again. But there was nothing I could have done about it.
“As it`s worked out, it didn`t really matter anyway.”
Perhaps at this stage it`d be useful to clarify one or two other matters with so many insinuations whizzing around. Roger, how important is The Who to you then?
“Obviously very important,” he responds immediately. “I mean it`s part of me life, and it`s the last ten years of me life.
“I can accept the fact now it`s not going to go on forever. That`s for sure. You do start to see the boundaries. But I just don`t ever want to give up.
“The Who comes before anything really. It didn`t come before Liszt but it was a group thing. I said, `What do I do?`
“I think Liszt will do The Who good as well. That`s one of the main things in my mind about it, because people – especially in the States – are gonna start thinking I`m Tommy. And I`m not Tommy. I don`t think `Tommy` is – The Who`s best piece of work.

“Liszt is a quick way of showing people that I ain`t Tommy. Which is, at least, a start in destroying that whole `Tommy` stigma.”
But again, when discussing his career in the movies, Daltrey is prone to relate it to his musical pursuits and his role with The Who. For instance, working with Russell, he says, has given him a better understanding of PT`s song writing. “Ken is very similar to Pete,” he explains. “He`s very visual and thinks all the time. But unlike Pete I can talk to Ken. And he`ll explain how he sees a situation to me, and I`ve got a terrific rapport with him.
“Unfortunately me and Pete have never actually got on, on that level. But I find now it`s not so important, because just working with Ken so much has taught me a lot about getting into things in the way I think you should.
“It`s given me a lot more confidence.
“If you can`t communicate on a talking level with someone, and you just go on feelings, and he`s given you a sheet of lyrics and you`ve got a demo to work with, then you need quite a lot of confidence.”
At this point, however, Daltrey is understating his turbulent relationship with Townshend because, as our conversation unfolds – covering The Who`s music and the sheer aggression and frustration it incorporates – it`s necessary for Roger to explain why this should be such an overt facet. And in doing so he reveals considerably more about the personality structure of the band.

“It`s probably because we`re so different,” he says, “and don`t particularly get on that well outside the band. I don`t want to be in a group with anybody else, although if I could choose three friends to go about with it wouldn`t be those three.
“It`s a very weird situation, but it does lead to frustration. But it`s always worked because it`s led to creating something.”
And also led, it should be noted, to fights. On occasion.
“Yes. On occasion.” Agrees Daltrey.
Well, your knuckles aren`t bruised so the recording sessions must have gone well.
“Look!” He cries, laughing, and holding up his right fist. “Look at that!”
He displays one severely swollen and purple set of knuckles.
“No, no, no. We didn`t have any fights at all,” he points out. “That`s a mosquito bite. Believe it or not.”
A likely story.
“No. We didn`t have any fights this time. We had fights in `Quadrophenia`.”
Tell us more.
“I`ve only ever had one fight with Pete and that was during `Quadrophenia`. It was a bit of a shame because it was a non-argument, and the last thing I wanted to do in the world was to have a fist fight with Pete Townshend.

“Unfortunately”, he adds petulantly, “he hit me first with a guitar. I really felt terrible about it afterwards. What can you say? Pete should never try and be a fighter.
“But when he was being held back by two roadies and he`s spitting at me, calling me a dirty little cunt and hitting me with his guitar I become quite angry. And I was forced to lay one on him. But it was only one.”
That was sufficient?
“Well,” he roars with laughter, “when he came out of hospital…”
But according to Daltrey there has always been a clash between him and Townshend – with Entwistle and Moon as mediators. And perhaps for this reason Daltrey is able to contend with being laughed at in the studio when he makes suggestions.
“Like I say,” he explains, “I can put up with being just the singer. It doesn`t really bother me that much. It`s just one of those things that make you feel – what`s the word? – makes you feel a bit of a misfit.
“But I`ve always felt a bit of a misfit in the Who. That`s another reason why solo things are good for me.”
Cue. Change of reel, and subject.
Everything seemed to be going well for Roger Daltrey, the solo artiste.
He`s now grabbed himself a prestigious slice of the Movie Biz by doing the films “Tommy” and “Lisztomania” – with another, of which he`ll reveal nothing except he has to have his hair cropped, on the starting blocks.

Even his solo-singing career had an auspicious debut, with the excellent “Daltrey” album, “Ride A Rock Horse”, however, isn`t too good.
The vocal performance is good, the musicianship is good, OK, but the material just doesn`t have that stamp of quality.
And to date, business has not been brisk with the set, which is certainly not the kind of sequel one would expect (either artistically or sales-wise) following his first album.
“I`m pleased with it,” comments Roger. “I like it. But then I`m bound to, ain`t I?
“It`s a very American kind of album and it`s not particularly the English people`s taste. But that was intentional. I aimed it at America.
“Maybe I aimed it too much at America.”
Perhaps, though, Daltrey, who as a prominent British vocalist would have the world`s established writers scrambling over each others` backs to get him to use their songs, has taken even more of a chance with the material than he did with the first set. Once again, he`s used unestablished writers (like Leo Sayer was).
“I know it`s a gamble and maybe this time it hasn`t paid off, but I`m gonna carry on doing it.
“It`s just that I get so many kids coming to with songs – and they`re not all good – but occasionally you get the good ones, and I think it`s worth taking a gamble. Maybe I`ve picked the wrong numbers this time… I don`t know. Obviously I haven`t in America. It`s in at 60 this week.
“With a bullet.
“So my judgement`s right somewhere.

“I just remember the days when I would have done anything for a helping hand. If I can help somebody who can`t get a look in elsewhere… then it`s a valid thing to do.”
Not, I wouldn`t have thought, if the album bombed, along with Daltrey`s sole reputation.
Polydor (who can improve your image as Charles Atlas helped build your body) do seem to be putting the big promo wheels in motion. This when discussed, moves onto Roger`s own reluctance to be drawn into the area which he describes as “poshlust”.
“But that`s the business, I suppose,” he remarks mildly. “I don`t suppose kids want to buy records wrapped up in paper bags. They want a bit of glamour.
“You do need your Jaggers and Rod Stewarts, but they`re trying to make me into one, and I`m not. And I never will be.”
Just why is he in the business in the first place then?
You guessed it. “Cos I sings in a band called the `Oo and I likes it. And That Is It.”
But according to Townshend (in That Feature) Daltrey would like to believe rock and roll was “making records, pullin` birds, getting pissed and having a good time.”
“That” retorts Daltrey disgustedly, “just shows he doesn`t understand me at all. Because that proportion of my life which is devoted to that kind of living is such a minimal proportion. If he thinks that`s what rock and roll is to me he must be kidding.

“Just coz I don`t live in a studio like he does doesn`t mean to say I don`t like rock and roll much.”
He pauses.
“There`s a terrible battle going on between me and him, ain`t there?”
In fact you could say this last quote of Townshend`s proves to weigh heavily on Daltrey`s mind. It isn`t until near the end of the interview when he decides to elaborate on the point.
“I`m just thinking about what he said,” he said. “That I`d like to believe that rock and roll was birds, booze and fun. The naivete of that is that the last few bad gigs the Who did were, in my opinion – apart from his head trip – bad because they were physically out boozing and balling all night. And by the time it got to the show at night they were physically incapable of doing a good show.
“So… put that in your pipe and smoke it.
Was that all of you?
“No. That was Townshend. Moon does it, but he can control it. On a few of the last gigs Townshend was pissed and incapable.”
Now Daltrey`s anger is rising.
“So don`t talk to me about booze, because I`ve never been onstage drunk in the last seven years, Mr. Townshend! I don`t know if you`ve ever noticed, maybe he hasn`t but I have. I remember every show we`ve ever done!

“I`m just getting a bit fed up with these left-handed attacks.”
And now he`s retaliating.
“One of the sad things is that Pete and I are probably never gonna be able to communicate,” he explains coolly. “I think I`ll have to sit down and write a letter to the band, because there`s no way of ever speaking to them about it.”
Jesus. What`s the future going to bring then?
Maybe Daltrey is outspoken, vitriolic and often enraged by the circumstances surrounding The Who, and yet underneath it all runs a deep devotion for the band. He may criticise Townshend for what he describes as “pathetic” guitar playing on one gig, and yet he`ll get back up on stage and work with him again.
“The only other way is to give up, init?
“From my point of view… I think I`ve got better on stage in the last six years… and it really frustrates me that the people who were heads, hands and feet above me before are starting to fall by the wayside. I think it`s unnecessary.
“That`s why i want to get back on the road and do it. Because I know they can do it.
“And if they don`t, then the Who breaks up. We`re not a government. It`s only a rock and roll band, after all.
“It`ll be a terrible shame and a lot of people will be disgusted with us for letting it break up. But what can you do?
“In a way,” he continues, “I don`t mind if the Who do finish, because I think we`ve done a helluva lot and I`d hate to see it fizzle. I`d hate to see anything mediocre come out by The Who.”
And in a more dis-spirited moment he comments: “If I feel I`ve come to the stage where I can`t give anymore into rock, and I can`t do the things I like, then I might as well take up acting.
“I might as well.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Gary Holton, Rod Stewart, Colosseum, Aston Barrett, Isaac Hayes, Mike Gibbs, Tim Hinckley.

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 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM New Musical Express, May 24, 1975

A relatively long, but very interesting interview with Mr. Townshend. I recommend other people than the regular fans to take a look at this one as there is a lot of food for thought here, taking in consideration the fact that this interview is 40 years old today. Some very definitive truths here, but also some opinions that may seem a little odd in the light of later history. Have a good read!

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It was the long, hot summer of 1965 when he rode into town, mounted astride a snarling, virile 500 c.c. nose and wearing nothing but a cellophane loincloth.

There were sullen lines in his face and no-one – not even the tough boys, the ones who hung out in the dappled sunlight and picked off their crabs with switchblades – was willing to look him full in the eye when he got mean.

His name was Idaho Sid Smedley, and would you believe there`s not one mention of him in the following article, which is mainly about…

PETE TOWNSHEND

By ROY CARR

Pete Townshend didn`t die before he got old. Yet death isn`t his problem, it`s the passing of the years and his current position in what he feels is a younger man`s occupation.
“If you`re in a group,” he begins, “you can behave like a kid – and not only get away with it, but be encouraged.”
The name Keith Moon somehow springs to mind.
“If you`re a rock musician,” Townshend continues, “you don`t have to put on any airs and pretend to be all grown up…pretend to be – in inverted commas – `normal` or even be asked to behave like you`re a mature and a highly responsible person. These are just the trappings that society puts on most people – with the result that most kids are burdened down with responsibilities far too early in their life.
“You know the deal: as soon as you leave school you`ve got to find a secure job and hang onto it. I wrote `My Generation` when I was 22 or 23, yet that song breathes of 17-year-old adolescence.
“But then I did have a somewhat late adolescence.”

So what are you trying to tell us?
“Personally, I feel that the funniest thing – and also the saddest thing -about the current state of rock`n`roll is that it`s the pretenders that are suffering the most. Those people who, for a number of years, have been pretending to be rock stars and have adopted false poses.
“It`s the difference between someone who has made rock an integral part of their lifestyle and therefore doesn`t feel like they`re growing old.”
“You want to know something?
“I really hate feeling too old to be doing what I`m doing.
“I recently went to do a BBC TV interview and when I arrived at the studios there were all these young kids waiting outside for The Bay City Rollers. As I passed them by, one of the kids recognised me and said, `Ooo look, it`s Pete Townshend` and a couple of them chirped `Ello Pete`. And that was it.
“Yet the first time The Who appeared at those same studios on Top Of The Pops, a gang of little girls smashed in the plate glass front door on the building.

“Anyway, as I entered the building, the doorman turned to me and smirked. `Ere, what`s it feel like to walk past `em now and have nothin` happen, eh?`
“I told him that, to be quite honest, it brings a tear to my eye. Look, I don`t want them to mob me because The Who have never been a Rollers-type band, what I`m scared of is hypocrisy.”
Hypocrisy? In what way?
“Well, nowadays it`s considered very passe to admit that you`ve got a burning ambition to stand on stage and be screamed at by 15-year-old girls. But when we started out that was something to be very proud of. If it didn`t happen, there was something wrong with you.
“Though I haven`t all that much experience as to what is happening contemporarily in music, I do feel that `the-world-owes-me-a-living` attitude still prevails, not only in rock, but in every walk of life. So now everyone`s gotta look like they really mean business and every bloody singer I see on The Old Grey Whistle Test looks a-n-g-r-y.” He breaks off the conversation to pull relevant grimaces. “When I see this I go into hysterical fits of laughter.
“Sure, I know that I look angry when I play but usually there`s no reason for it. I suppose it`s an adopted aggressive thing, which is in turn a subconscious layover from those days when I WAS angry. I don`t quite know what I was angry at, but I WAS angry, frustrated, bitter, cynical – and it came through in the music I wrote.”

C`mon Pete, you`re either evading the moment of truth or approaching it in a very roundabout manner. What`s brought on this manic obsession about being too pooped to pop, too old to stroll?
“It`s just that when I`m standing up there on stage playing rock`n`roll, I often feel that I`m too old for it.”
No kidding.
“When Roger speaks out about `we`ll all be rockin` in our wheelchairs` he might be but you won`t catch me rockin` in no wheelchair. I don`t think it`s possible. I might be making music in a wheelchair – maybe even with The Who, but I feel that The Who have got to realise that the things we`re gonna be writing and singing about are rapidly changing.
“There`s one very important thing that`s got to be settled.” He pauses again. “The group as a whole have got to realise that The Who are NOT the same group as they used to be. They never ever will be and as such…it`s very easy to knock somebody by saying someone used to be a great runner and can still run but he`s Not What He Used To Be.” Townshend pauses yet again. “Everybody has a hump and you have to admit that you`ve got to go over that hump.”
Yes we have…no we haven`t – Townshend won`t commit himself either way as to whether The Who are over the hill, but he intimates in no uncertain manner that the group are beset with acute problems.

“You`ve got to remember that there was a time when suddenly Chuck Berry couldn`t write any more. He just went out and performed his greatest hits and I`ve always wondered what THAT was all down to?
“Jagger told me at his birthday party that he was having difficulty in writing new material for The Stones, which is unfortunate because nowadays so much importance is placed upon writing songs.
“To a degree, you could call it front-man paranoia – and even Roger gets it from time to time. Let`s face it, Jagger carries a tremendous amount of responsibility apart from being The Stones front-man.
“Forget about that tired old myth that rock`n`roll is just making records, pullin` birds, gettin` pissed and having a good time. That`s not what it`s all about. And I don`t think Roger really believes it either. I think that`s what he`d really like to believe rock`n`roll was all about.
“Steve Marriott has chosen to live it like that and, as far as I can see, he`s having a good time. Fair enough – but in my opinion Marriott`s music falls short of his potential, which is a bloody shame because everyone knows what he`s really capable of…there`s all those old incredible Small Faces records piled up.
“For me, `Ogden`s Nut Gone Flake` is one of the classic albums of the sixties and, if it`s the difference between that music and having a good time, I prefer that Steve Marriott suffer, because I want the music.

“Believe me, I don`t want to sound too cruel and vitriolic, but I do think that you have to face up to the undeniable fact that there`s no point in your life when you can stop working.
“You can`t suddenly turn round and say, we`re on the crest of a wave so now it`s time to sit back and boogie. Deep down inside, everyone wants to do this but it`s tantamount to retiring altogether. And personally, I can`t do it.
“It`s not necessarily to do with standards,” Townshend continues, before I have time to fire another question. “The Who`s `Odds & Sods` collection would have been released even if it hadn`t been all that interesting, but it`s all been put down in the past for being sub-standard.”
Apparently the reason for its release was to make null and void the increasing amount of Who bootlegs currently being circulated, and once a second volume has been prepared and issued, there will be no need to backtrack. “If,” says Townshend, “The Who were gonna wave their banner for standards, `Odds & Sods` would still have remained unreleased. Standards have got absolutely nothing to do with it. I feel that it`s the pressure at the front of your mind that…not necessarily your fans…but then, maybe your fans really are the most important people…are actually sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for your next album.
“Every time they wait, they become more and more impatient. What Jagger said in that interview that he did with NME is that between the albums they are eagerly waiting for, he`d like to chuck out an R&B set to keep `em happy. Fair enough, if he thinks it`ll make any difference – but of course it won`t.

“It`s just like making a `live` album. The fans will say `Thank you very much`, but what we`re really waiting for is the next studio album, so get on with it.”
PHEWHATASCORCHA!
New subject: Townshend was once quoted as stating that the eventual outcome of any Who recording depended entirely upon whether or not he could keep Moon away from the brandy and himself from imbibing whatever it took him to get through a session.
“At the moment, what governs the speed of The Who is the diversification of individual interests. We would have been recording the new album much earlier were it not for the fact that Roger is making another film with Ken Russell.
“Roger chose to make the film and John wanted to tour with his own band The Ox, so I`ve been working on tracks for my next solo album. Invariably what will happen is that once we all get into the studio, I`ll think `Oh fuck it`, and I`ll play Roger, John and Keith the tracks I`ve been keeping for my own album and they`ll pick the best. So as long as The Who exists, I`ll never get the pick of my own material…and that`s what I dream of.
“But if The Who ever broke up because the material was sub-standard then I`d really kick myself.”
But the way you`re going on, Peter, old Meter, it sounds like The Who is on it`s last legs?
“However much of a bastard it is to get everyone together in a recording studio, things eventually turn out right. You see, though it has never been important in the past, we do have this problem that everyone has been engaged on their own project, so that the separate social existence that we lead has become even more acute.

“I mean, if I just couldn`t live without Moonie and if I could go over to the States and spend a couple of months with him we`d probably be a lot closer. But as it happens, I haven`t seen Keith since last August. I may have seen a lot more of John but as yet I haven`t seen his new group or listened properly to his album because, apart from working on `Tommy`, I`ve been putting together new material.
“And the same thing applies to Roger: as soon as someone decides to do something outside of the area of The Who the pressure suddenly ceases, because they are the people who put the pressures on me.
“Let me make this clear. I don`t put pressures on them. I don`t say `we`ve got to get into the studio this very minute because I`ve got these songs that I`ve just gotta get off my chest.` It`s always the other way around. They always rush up to me and insist that we`ve got to cut a new album and get back on the road.”
So it`s quite obvious that the pressures are back on and Townshend is feeling the strain.
“In a sense, rock is an athletic process. I don`t mean running about on stage, but as a communicative process it`s completely exhausting. It`s not necessarily being a part of things,” insists Townshend.
“Like I said, when I wrote “My Generation` I was already in my early twenties, so I was by no means a frustrated teenager. And that`s what a lot of people often tend to forget.”

But you were an integral part of that generation?
“Right,” he retorts, “but we`re also part of the Generation that we play to on stage today.
“Let me clarify that statement.”
Yes!
“What I don`t feel part of is not the Generation of age, but the Generation of type. I mean, who the hell were all those people at the `Tommy` premier? Whoever they were, I`m certainly not in their gang!
“Yet funnily enough, whatever the age group, I feel much more at ease before a rock audience.”
So why this current fixation about being to old to cut le Moutard?
“Because to some extent The Who have become a golden oldies band and that`s the bloody problem. And it`s the problem that faces all successful rock groups at one time or another – the process of growing old.
“A group like The Kinks don`t have that problem because, theoretically, Ray Davies has always been an old man. He writes like an old man who is forever looking back on his life and, thank heavens, old Ray won`t have to contend with such problems. But with a group like The Rolling Stones, there`s this terrible danger…now I could be wrong…but there`s no question in my mind that it`s bound to happen…Mick Jagger will eventually become the Chuck Berry of the sixties, constantly parodying himself on stage. And, this is the inherent danger that The Who are so desperately trying to avoid.

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“I can tell you that when we were gigging in this country at the early part of last year I was thoroughly depressed. I honestly felt that The Who were going on stage every night and, for the sake of the die-hard fans, copying what The Who used to be.
“Believe me, there have been times in The Who`s career when I would have gladly relinquished the responsibilities of coming up with our next single or album to another writer. There`ve been a lot of people who said they would have a go but somehow it never quite worked out.”
Why?
“Like a lot of things connected with The Who, I really dunno. Maybe it`s because we`ve got such an archetypal style that`s geared to the way that I write.”
But by his own admission, Pete Townshend has always considered his forte to be writing. The fact that he also happens to be a guitarist is, in his opinion, quite irrelevant. Yet even now, Townshend is astounded when other guitarists compliment him upon his instrumental prowess. He isn`t bowing to false modesty when he insists that, after all these years, he still can`t play guitar as he would really like to.
In his formative years with The Who, he compensated for his acute frustrations by concentrating his energies on the visual aspects of attacking the instrument. Every time he went on stage, Townshend insists he bluffed his way through a set by utilising noise and sound effects which eventually led to the destruction of many a valuable weapon.

“It`s still true even today,” he confesses without embarrassment. “I may be a better guitarist now than I was when The Who first started but I`m far from being as technically proficient as I would really like to be.
“What I like about the way that I play,” he explains, “is what I think everyone else likes. I get a particular sound that nobody else quite gets and I play rhythm like nobody else plays – it`s a very cutting rhythm style. Sorta Captain Power-chords!
“I do like to have a bash every now and then at a wailing guitar solo but halfway through I usually fall off the end of the fretboard. I might have a go, but I`ve resigned myself to the fact that I haven`t got what it takes to be a guitar hero.
“Yet funnily enough I don`t really respect that kind of guitar playing. I`ve got no great shakes for Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page. Sure, I love what they do, but it always seems to me that they`re like the Yehudi Menuhins of the rock business. They`re extremely good at what they do, but I`m sure they`d give their right arm to be writers – though not necessarily in my shoes.
“I don`t really feel the showmanship side of my contribution to The Who`s stage show is fundamentally a part of my personality. It`s something that automatically happens.
“Basically, it stems from the very early days when we had to learn to sell ourselves to the public – otherwise nobody would have taken a blind bit of notice of us; and, like many things, it`s been carried on through up until today. Yet I have no doubt that, if we wanted to, we could walk on any stage and stand there without doing all those visual things and still go down well with an audience.”

So why this depressing down-in-the-mouth attitude. Could it stem, I ask Townshend, from the fact that a critic once bemoaned that, in his opinion, The Who, once the true essence of rock`n`roll, now just go through the motions.
“Well, that statement was true – but on the other hand if it`s unqualified then it might as well be ditched. But you`ve put the question to me and now I`ve got to try and qualify that other journalist`s statement.
“To me, the success of any truly great rock song is related to the fact that people who couldn`t really communicate in normal ways can quite easily communicate through the mutual enjoyment of rock music. And that was simply because, for them, it was infinitely more charismatic than anything else around at that time.
“For example, you`re aware that there`s this great wall around adolescence and that they can`t talk freely about their problems because it`s far too embarrassing. Personally, I feel that adolescence lasts much longer than most people realise. What happens is, that people find ways of getting round it and putting on a better show in public. And as they get older they become more confident and find their niche.
“Now why I think that journalist said The Who now only play rock`n`roll is because on most levels rock has become a spectator sport. It`s not so important as a method of expression as it once was. Today something else could quite easily replace it.”

Townshend goes on to concede that rock doesn`t hold as much genuine mystique as it did with previous generations to the extent that the stigma of the social outlaw has almost been eradicated. Those who have tried to become outlaws have failed miserably, hence the last-ditch shock tactics of Alice Cooper and David Bowie.
“For many kids, rock`n`roll means absolutely nothing.” He compares it to switching on a television set, going to the movies or a football match. It`s just another form of entertainment.
“If what the kids do listen to consists entirely of The Bay City Rollers and the Top 10 then it must mean even less than most other similar forms of mass media entertainment because they`re not really listening.
“The real truth as I see it is that rock music as it was is not really contemporary to these times. It`s really the music of yesteryear. The only things that continue to keep abreast of the times are those songs that stand out due to their simplicity”.
An example?
“`My Generation`. A lot of people don`t understand that there`s a big difference between what kids want on stage in relationship to what they actually go out and buy on record.
“Perhaps the reason why so many young kids can still get into The Who in concert is simply because it`s a very zesty, athletic performance. However, if we just restricted our gigs to performing songs we`d just written yesterday and ignored all the old material then I`m positive that we`d really narrow down our audience tremendously.

“I dunno what`s happening sometimes,” he bemoans. “All I know is that when we last played Madison Square Garden I felt acute shades of nostalgia. All The Who freaks had crowded around the front of the stage and when I gazed out into the audience all I could see were those very same sad faces that I`d seen at every New York Who gig. There was about a thousand of `em and they turned up for every bloody show at the Garden, as if it were some Big Event – The Who triumph over New York. It was like some bi-centennial celebration and they were there to share in the glory of it all.
“They hadn`t come to watch The Who, but to let everyone know that they were the original Who fans. They had followed us from the very beginning of `cause it was their night.
“It was dreadful”, Townshend recollects in disgust. “They were telling us what to play. Every time I tried to make an announcement they all yelled out `Shhhrrruppp Townshend and let Entwistle play `Boris The Spider”, and, if that wasn`t bad enough, during the other songs they`d all start chanting `jump…jump…jump…jump…jump`.
“I was so brought down by it all! I mean, is this what it had all degenerated into?
“To be honest, the highest I`ve been on stage last year was when we used to play `Drowned`. That was only because there was some nice guitar work in it… Roger liked singing it and both John and Keith played together so superbly. Really, that was the only time I felt that I could take off and fly.”

Pete Townshend may well have some cause to feel sorry for himself; when the final reckoning comes he`s got a lot to answer for – in particular, the Curse Of The Concept Album.
Though concept albums are by no means new to popular music – Gordon Jenkins and Mel Torme were churning `em out almost a quarter of a century ago – it was “Tommy” (as opposed to “Sgt. Pepper”) which unleashed a deluge of albums built around one specific theme. These ranged from The Fudge`s horrendous “The Beat Goes On” through to J. Tull`s obscure “Passion Play” up to and including Rick Wakeman`s Disneyesque “King Arthur”.
“None of which,” says Townshend, as he bursts into laughter, “work”
Yet as we all know, Townshend himself has had no less than three stabs at the same subject. So how does he view the trilogy in retrospect?
“I don`t. And if you`re going to ask me which one I prefer, I don`t really like any of them very much. I suppose I still like bits of The Who`s original version but, the definitive `Tommy` album is still in my head.”
Perhaps it would be wise to quit this line of questioning and leave Tommy where he is. But Townshend wants the last word.
“I think that everyone in rock shares the same basic urges, and therefore, that it would be very unfair to me to say it`s alright for The `Oo `cause we invented it. I have great doubts about that.

“For instance, when the Big Feedback Controversy was going on in the mid-sixties, Dave Davies and I used to have hilarious arguments about who was the first to invent feedback.
“I used to pull Dave`s leg by saying `we both supported The Beatles in Blackpool and you weren`t doing it then….I bet you nicked it off me when you saw me doing it`. And Dave would scream that he was doing it long before that. Then one day I read this incredible story about Jeff Beck in which he said” – at this juncture, he adopts a retarded Pythonesque android accent – “`Yeah, Townshend came down t`see d`Tridents rehearsing and he saw me using the feedback`…pause…`and copied it`.” Returning to his natural voice, Townshend scowls, “I never ever saw the Tridents and the man is pathetic.
“Obviously, Beck may feel deeply enough that he invented feedback – but for Chrissakes who gives a shit? Why even comment on it? It doesn`t really matter, it`s just a funny noise made by a guitar.”
Townshend goes on to explain that the innovatory part of rock is not necessarily the part that he`s proud of, even though he`s regarded as The Who`s ideas man. “I was trained in graphic design…to be an ideas man…to think up something new and different…like, let`s give a lemon away with the next album!”
Thank you.
“In the early days of The Who we were tagged with gimmicks and subsequently it made me very gimmick-conscious.
“Now if I might return to `Tommy` for a moment…”
But only for a moment.

“…What I think is good about `Tommy` is not that it`s a rock opera or that it`s the first or the last…that`s of course, if you assume that there`s gonna be any more!!”
Don`t worry, there will be. Have a copy of Camel`s “Snow Goose”.
“What I feel is very important about `Tommy` that as a band it was our first conscious departure out of the adolescent area. It was our first attempt at something that wasn`t the same old pilled-up adolescent brand of music. We`d finished with that and we didn`t know which way to go. That`s when we went through that very funny period of `Happy Jack` and `Dogs`.
“It was also a very terrifying period for me as The Who`s only ideas man. For instance, though `I Can See For Miles` was released after `Happy Jack`, I`d written it in 1966 but had kept it in the can for ages because it was going to be The Who`s ace-in-the-hole.
“If you want the truth…”
And nothin` but…
“I really got lost after `Happy Jack` and then when `I Can See For Miles` bombed-out in Britain, I thought `What the hell am I gonna do now?` The pressures were really on me and I had to come up with something very quick and that`s how `Tommy` emerged from a few rough ideas I`d been messing about with.”

And whereas The Beatles had cried that it was impossible to perform “Pepper” in public, the fact that The Who demonstrated that “Tommy” was an ideal stage presentation quickly motivated other bans to mobilise their might for the New Aquarian Age.
With more sophisticated electronic weaponry than they knew how to utilise, the likes of Floyd, Yes, and ELP adopted a more “profound” stance as, in a blaze of strobes, they began to bombard audiences with techno -flash wizardry, pseudo-mystical jargon and interchangeable concepts.
Townshend may have had a helping hand in starting the whole schmear rolling (it sure didn`t rock), but he is adamant in his belief than many alleged “profound” music machines are working a clever con-trick on the public.
“All that they`re really doing is getting together and working out the most complex ideas they can handle, packaging it with pretentious marketing appeal and unloading it on their fans.
“But” – and here comes the get-out clause – “does everything have to hold water? Obviously, it must mean something to the integrity of the band that`s putting it together, but it`s results that count.”
Well the result, as Townshend puts it, has turned many a rock theatre into a dormitory.
“It might be difficult to fall asleep at a Who gig but, I can understand why some bands send their audiences into a coma.
“I don`t like Yes at all.
“I used to like them when Peter Banks was in the line-up, because, apart from being extremely visual, he also played excellent guitar. With so many changes in the line-up, Yes is Jon Anderson`s band and he might be guilty of much of that wishy-washy stuff they churn out – because Jon really is a tremendous romantic. Maybe he believes in the old mystical work, and maybe poetry moves him along – but I`m not concerned either way.”
Just wait until the letters come pouring in.

“It`s like that line in `Punk and The Godfather`…`you paid me to do the dancing.` The kids pay us for a good time, yet nowadays people don`t really want to get involved. Audiences are very much like the kids in Tommy`s Holiday Camp, they want something without working for it.
“That wasn`t the way it used to be.
“The enthusiasm that evolved around The Beatles was enthusiasm as opposed to energy generated by The Beatles.
“You talk to them now about it and they don`t know what happened! It was the kids` enthusiasm for THEM. Now when you see it happening again you can see how utterly strange it must have seemed the first time around.
“For instance, take the amount of energy and enthusiasm that`s currently expended on, say, Gary Glitter… and Gary`s just as confused as everyone else. All he knows is which curler to put on which side of his head – Gary readily admits this, and is all the better for it.
“Get in the middle of a crowd of screamin` kids – it doesn`t matter who they`re screamin` at – and there`s a certain amount of charisma transferred to these people. But then, that`s what fan-mania is really all about.
“When the real charismatic figures like Mick Jagger came along, then I think that rock started to change and THEN the kids began to create their own trends in fashion. The Mods not only used to design their own clothes but sometimes actually to make them; and the fact that they did hum-drum jobs to get money to buy clothes, scooters, records and go to clubs built up this elite. Therefore it wasn`t too long before the artists let that rub off onto them and in that sense, I think The Who were as guilty as anybody else.
“And I`ll tell you why.

“Because in the end we wanted the audiences to turn up to see only us as opposed to the audience being the show and struttin` about like peacocks. We had to be the only reason for them turning up at a Who gig”.
With rock and its peripheral interests having been systematically turned into a multi-million pound consumer industry, Townshend has observed that the customer no longer dictates youth fashion. That`s all down to some designer employed by a multiple chain store.
“Everything nowadays is premeditated. Within days the whole country is flooded with what someone thinks the kids want.”
He believes that the only invigorating youth movement in this country appears to be centred around Wigan`s Northern Soul Scene.
“I wish that would spread more than it has, because I see it as a direct link with the Mod thing. But what is more important is that it`s more philosophical in its attitude about not fighting and not boozing and not smoking. Even though they`re ephemeral things they are nevertheless states of mind which are Very Good Things.
“Like the early Mod thing, this Northern Soul Scene has a fashionable aspect connected with it, but basically it`s concerned with the exact opposite to the Mod preoccupation with getting pilled-up and fighting.
“Funnily enough, I`m still not certain why the original Mod movement was so obsessed with aggro. All I know is that at that time I felt an incredible amount of frustration and bitterness towards society and maybe everyone else felt the same.”

But even as far back as 1968, The Who were somewhat trapped by their own image, when Townshend stated that the thing that had impressed him most was the Mod movement. He had been fired by the excitement of witnessing and subsequently taking an active part in what he felt was the first time in history that youth had made a concerted move towards unity of thought and drive and motive. “It was almost surreal” was how he was quoted at the time.
Somewhere at the turn of the sixties, the youth movement was derailed. Talk of a promised land and the eventual greening of America became suffocated as the consumer industry once again took command, and the Business in showbusiness grabbed the spoils.
When Townshend looks back in time, he can`t help but laugh. “I don`t think they were promises, I think it was just young people promising themselves something… having ambitions to do something… and, if you like, certain rock people were acting as spokesmen. So they are the convenient people to blame. That`s if you want to lay the blame at anyone`s feet.
“Basically, everyone had this mood that something was happening… something was changing. In essence it did, but unfortunately a lot of its impetus was carried off by the drug obsession. Everybody credited everything innovative and exciting to drugs… `yeah man, it`s pot and leapers and LSD, that`s what makes the world great`.

“Then when things turned out to be meaningless and people had missed the bus, they quickly realised that they`d gambled everything on something that had run away. The same thing happened to rock. Rock got very excited and flew off ahead leaving most of its audience behind. The Who went on to do what I feel to be some very brave and courageous things, but in the end the audience was a bit apathetic.
“It was back to what I wrote in `Punk And The Godfather` – you paid me to do the dancing. That`s why when I`m on stage I sometimes feel that I`m too old to be what I`m doing.”
Then, by way of contrast…
“Track by track, the new album that The Who are making is going to be the best thing we`ve ever done. But if people expect another grandiose epic then they ain`t gonna get it. `Cause this time we`re going for a superb single album” Townshend, make your mind up, squire. If the last couple of hours are anything to go by, you`re either – by your own admission – past it, or you`re just after a bit of public feedback.
Ouch. Better not mention that word.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Barry White, Manfred Mann, Mud, Led Zeppelin, Ken Hensley, Kevin Ayers, Mike Harding.

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 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.