Happy Birthday to Who frontman, Roger Daltrey, who turns 67 years old today (March 1st). Over the past two years, Daltrey has reignited his solo live career performing on his Use It Or Lose It trek with his side band, along with a number of dates opening for Eric Clapton. Daltrey will once again take the stage on March 24th at London's Royal Albert Hall in support of his patron charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust, by performing Tommy in its entirety along with a smattering of other Who classics.
The latest rumors coming out of Britain point to Daltrey and Pete Townshend taking a revamped version of their 1973 "rock opera" Quadrophenia out on the road starting in September -- although there's been nothing close to an official word confirming any future Who dates for 2011.
Last year we asked Daltrey about the state of the Who as it stands now: "We're just working on what to do next. We have a few ideas. There are a few things we need to get around. Pete's having bad trouble with tinnitus at the moment, so we've got a few technical problems to sort out. Y'know it's nothing that can't be sorted on the stage with the volume and that. But we're looking on being out there, hopefully if all goes well, in the spring of next year with a new show. Or, we're toying with the idea of Quadrophenia. There are issues to make it work."
Pete Townshend admits that it's been tough throughout the years for Daltrey to have to bide his time until he's finished the next song cycle for a new Who project: "This was very frustrating for Roger, who is a fantastic singer of my material. The greatest interpreter that a writer could ever, ever want. Y'know he's a fantastic performer, singer, and brings stuff to my work that I can't bring to it myself. Certainly I've never heard any other singer bring it to it."
Townshend says that after five decades of working with Daltrey, he's only recently found the proper way to present his new material to him: "And Roger just said to me several times, 'Y'know, I'll support you in whatever you want to do, let's take some real chances.' And I kind of stamped around the room saying, 'Well that's all very well in words but when it actually comes to it and I deliver him my big ideas, he doesn't want to get behind them, or he doesn't do this or do that . . .' And then actually when it came to it, I realized (that) as long as the work I was delivering him was finished, he would simply make the choice of an editor or a performer."
Daltrey told us that his relationship with longtime sideman -- and kid brother of Pete Townshend -- Simon Townshend is so tight, that he actually considers him to be family. Simon, who's been a constant in the Who's live shows since 2002, has backed Daltrey on the road for years, and during his recent Use It Or Lose It solo dates actually managed to steal the show with an incendiary nightly rendition of the Who's Next classic "Goin' Mobile."
Daltrey explains that his connection with Simon goes far deeper than just being bandmates: "I've always had a close relationship with Simon since he was a little boy. He was Pete's brother, and he used to be 'round my house all the time. He was a real Who fan. And he's been in my band since -- well, every time I've had a solo band, he's been in it. And I actually call him my brother (laughs). It's totally unconditional, I mean, he's great vibes. I mean, he knows the music so well."