October 30, 2020

2000-04-30 – The Tennessean

2000 04 30 The_Tennessean_Sun__Apr_30__2000_

By GARY GRAFF
,Ven l'urlt I mm Man Servli'e

Back in 1965.1he Who gave the
World one of rock‘s most indelible
lyrics: “Hope 1 die before I get
old."

Mostly they didn't. however,
and after 35 years the sentiment
seems more faeetious than rebel-
lious.

The venerable British band,
which staged a 1982 farewell tour
but has regrouped several times
since, has reunited for a summer
tour that will start in lune and.
possibly. for a studio album that
would be its first in 18 years.

'lhe impetus for the reunion
was the release of two vintage al—
bums earlier this year: BBC Ses-
sions. a collection of 19(i0s and
1970s recordings. and The Blues
to the Bush. a live album from
some 1999 shows that's available
only via the Internet site
mwmusiemakeneom.

In short. '1he Who may he get-
ting old, but they're very much
alive.

“I‘ve always kind of laughed at
people who say you're too old to
rock ‘n‘ roll." says the 50—year-old
Roger Daltrey. who sang [hilt line
in My (.‘eneration. “To me it‘s got
nothing to do with your age or
any ofthat; it's to do with the mu-
sic and what the music itself gen-
crates.“

That‘s certainly been true for
11altrey and his colleagues l’ete
'l‘oimshend and John lintwistle.
who remain very active. Daltrey.
for instance, has maintained a
busy solo career as a performer,

TheWhointheGOs

recording artist and actor. Most
recently he‘s fronted the British
Rock Symphony. which perfomis
orchestral versions ofelassie rock
hits. and is producing director
Brad Silberling’s film biography of
the late Who drummer, Keith
Moon.

Meanwhile. the 55-year-old En:
twistle continues to lead his mm
band. which has recorded music
for the children's cartoon Van-
pires. He also creates rock-
themetl lithographs and is writing
a memoir about The Who.

The 54-year-old Townshend.
who has been The Who's main
songwriter. has overcome bouts
with alcoholism and drug addic-
tion to complete a variety of pro
ieets. including the Broadway hit
The ll'ho‘s '1} immy (1989) and a
1996 stage version of Quadrophe-
nia (1973).

Most recently. he‘s resurrected
the band's abortive rock opera

l,ifehouse. begun in 1970. as a ra-
dio play. a stage production and
an album that’s available in dilTer-
ent configurations via his Web
site. mweelpieeom.

So it's not as if the three are
short ot‘work. But there’s a lure to
being The Who that they can‘t
seem to shake. no matter how
many times they promise “never
again.”

“We‘ve gone up and down over
the years," Daltrey says. “It's nev-
er really gone away. though. We
enjoy our company We enjoy the
camaraderie of the band now. I’e—
te has come an awful long way in
his addiction program now; he
hasn‘t gotten all the old hangups
he used to. It‘s really great fun be—
ing back together."

Entwistle agrees.

“It‘s really natural, kind of like a
sixth sense," he says. “You turn
your brain off and. as long as you
don‘t think of what you're playing,

it just falls together very natural-
1),."
Nonetheless, Entwistle cau-

: tions that while the band does

plan some exploratory recording
sessions, there‘s no guarantee that
an album will result.

“Obviously, if we don’t like it. it
won‘t come out." says the
bassist/songwriter. whose contri-
butions to The Who canon in-
clude Boris the Spider, My Wife
and Had Enough. “We've agreed
to go into the studio and have a go
at one. It’s basically. ‘What's The
Who going to be like in the year
2000?’

“And if you like the result. then
there‘ll be an album."

What the band should sound
like now is still very much up in
the air. Entwistle says he’s hoping
for something that hits hard and
heavy, like The Who of the 19605
and 19703.

“I hope it’s going to 'go back to
Who Are You (1978). rather than
Face Dances (1981) and It’s Hard
(1982)," he says. “1 think the feel-
ing is it's going to be a lot more
uptempo, upfront.

“I've said that before," Entwistle
adds. “and 1 usually end up with
the only rock 'n‘ roll songs on the
album. But hopefully it can be dif—
ferent this time."

Daltrey. who has three songs
for the next Who project already
finished and plans to wite with
’l‘ownshend for the first time ever.
is confident that the group can
rekindle the vital. deep-reaehing.
empathetic musical craft of its
heyday.

Who’s Who? A classic band eyes a new generation

“It's a very unique band," he
says. “You can hear the influences.
but it’s not derivative. If you hear
The Stones, they are derivative of
Chuck Berry and the early blues
people. With The Who. you can
hear the influences of those peo-
ple, but it’s become something to-
tally, totally different. with the
way Pete wrote his songs and the
structures.

“And what he wrote about
where everybody else was writ-
ing about sex in various dilfer-
ent ways, Pete was more interest-
ed in the psychological problems
of the adolescent and the young
man," Daltrey adds. "And that, of
course. is timeless. because it
doesn’t change. 'Ihere‘s just a new
generation that comes around
with the same set of problems.“

It remains to be seen, of course.
whether that new generation
wants to hear those problems ex-
plored by three men in their 50s.
Daltrey concedes that it‘s impor-
tant for the band to move beyond
the nostalgic appeal of its classic
tunes to address its fans‘ current
issues.

“I‘ve always been ofthe opinion
that if l’ete could write about the
problems of adolescence. why
can‘t he write about the problems
of middle age?“ Daltrey says.

“Our audience hasn‘t gone
away.“ he adds. “'lhey're still go—
ing through the same things 1 am.
that 1’ -te is. all those little insecu—
rities and everyahing. No one is
completely cleaned up and knows
where they're going, ever in their
life." I