The Who per-
forms Tuesday at
the Save Mart
Game“! News Service
coming to Central Valley
Mart Center on
the campus of
Tickets are on
sale now at
select Save Mart
by phone at
485-8497 or at
the Save Mart
Townshend and Daltrey are the
only surviving group members
By Chuck Darrow
Gannett News Service
The Who, which comes Tuesday to Fresno’s Save
Mart Center, is wrapping up its ﬁrst tour since
Charter members Pete Townshend and lead
vocalist Roger Daltrey will be joined by drummer
Zak Starkey, bassist Pino Palladino, keyboardist
John “Rabbit” Bundrick and guitarist Simon
Townshend, Pete’s brother.
According to a band publicist, Townshend, the
group’s guitarist and composer, spends a good
deal of his time online. Which is why it wasn’t sur-
prising that he consented to an interview only if it
was conducted via e-mail:
Question: According to your Web site, this tour
is showcasing new material, the ﬁrst time that’s
happened in many years. Does performing new
songs make tounng more enjoyable?
Answer. It makes it less predictable. So many of
the classic Who songs we play affect our audi-
ences in the same way every time. New sruﬁ chal-
lenges us, and our audience, to connect on a differ-
ent level. We have to make space for each other.
05 What are the subjects [for songs] that interest
you nowadays? Are they essentially the same as
they’ve always been, or do you ﬁnd yourself
drawn to topics you didn’t address in the past?
A: I have been stuck in a groove since I was 19
years old and got a hit with The Who with one of
my ﬁrst songs, “Can’t Explain." This song was
impired by "Young Man Blues" by the jazz smger
Mose Allison (Chrissie Hynde told me that the
Kinks ﬁrst big hit, “You Really Got Me” by Ray
Davies was inspired by the same song).
That groove begins with the strange, bleak
mood of postwar Britain There was a lot of pride
in what we’d done, but for us younger ones trying
to see what had happened there was a lot of
denial. Who are my targets? Many of them are
now my age, old men and women from 50 to 70
years old. And yet in all of them I see children
with unanswered questions. I don’t blame parents
or grandparents. They were heroes. In any case
without the “Great Silence” of the postwar years,
rock music as we know it today would never have
been born. We’d still be dancing to saxophones
and living in romance.
Q Has getting older aﬁ'ected you as a composer?
A: Hardly at all. I’ve always been ambitious
sneered at for my pretensions and don’t regret
trying new things. But I‘ve always known that I
can do several things better than almost anyone
else on the face of the Earth, so I am less of a will-
ing Polymath (Renaissance man) than some of my
ex—art school buddies.
Q: How is the set list determined?
A: Roger decides how it ﬂows and he uses old-
school showman’s instinct that usually works very
well. We get advice and ideas from fans, too. End-
ing the show with the prayer from the end of
“Tommy” (“Listening To You") was an obvious
idea that we had stopped using.
Q: Any time an act of your stature and longevi-
ty hits the road, the “this could be the last time”
conversation takes place among fans. How much
longer do you see The Who touring, assuming
health is not an issue?
A: That’s right I was happy to quit back in 1982.
Happy not to tour. Now I’m happy to be back. I may
come and go all over again. But this is a big tour
because we’ve made a new album and I want peo-
ple to hear it, so we‘re going everywhere we can.