THE WHO are just experiencing their third spring at the age of 70. Because their current album "Who" has become a convincing collection of eleven tracks. One is reluctant to attribute the album to "late work" because the protagonists Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend on the record sound more like mid-twenties than mid-seventies
We meet Daltrey (75) and Townshend (74) - one after the other, of course, because love doesn't go that far to face an interview together - in an old-fashioned hotel in central London. The Who's singers and guitarist are in the best of moods. The joy about releasing a new album with "Who" 13 years after "Endless Wire" is great
eclipsed: Roger, your colleague, Pete Townshend, says he wrote the new songs with you in mind. Is that how you see it?
Roger Daltrey: At first I didn't see it that way at all. In the summer of 2018, Pete sent me a surprising 12 songs and said, "I want to make a new The Who album." I liked the demos, but to me it all sounded very much like a Pete solo album. I was attracted by those songs, but didn't feel like I was part of them. I didn't feel any of that. I felt like a rented singer on a Who album. So I told him that.
eclipsed: How can you tell if a song is right for you?
Daltrey: I have to slip inside him, he has to live inside me. I can only sing a song with my heart, not my head. And so I started to paint these new compositions vocally with very rough brushstrokes, throwing melodies and phrasing in the air, moving myself to it, just looking at how this music affected me and my voice. Finally it was clear to me that I was on the right track. And here we are. I am extremely proud of this album. For me it's the best since "The Who By Numbers" in 1975.
eclipsed: Pete, why did you want to make a new album at all?
Pete Townshend: We've played a lot of live shows in the past few years. But at some point I decided to only tour if we have new music. I wanted to continue to feel like an active composer. I am quite happy to tell myself that I wrote great music as a young person. And I am not afraid of nostalgia. But also because of the internet, where you can really hear everything you want, I got this itch, this feeling: Damn, there is so much great music out there, I want to be a part of it!