The Who

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Pete Townshend Still Struggles to Connect With Roger Daltrey

January 12, 2019

The Who's two remaining co-founders have been at it for ages. In fact, a planned 2019 studio album would be the 12th since 1965 for Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. But that doesn't mean they communicate all that well.

"One of the great difficulties here isn't that Roger and I don't get on," Townshend told Rolling Stone. "It's that we don't communicate. Over the years, we haven't really developed a dialogue. I don't think that the fault is on my side. He feels a bit intimidated, perhaps, because I overcomplicate things, but we think very, very differently."

That can make putting together a new album something of a challenge. Townshend says he finished 15 demos across a wide range of genres, then sent them to Daltrey. "Just silence from Roger," Townshend said. "I had to bully him to respond, and then it wasn't the response I wanted. He just blathered for a while and in the end I really stamped my foot and said, 'Roger, I don't care if you really like this stuff. You have to sing it. You'll like it in 10 years time.'"

Daltrey says the delay was caused by two things: He was appearing on a book tour in support of a new memoir, and then later perforated an eardrum, which made listening to music of any kind difficult.

"Now that I'm healed up, I'm going to spend time getting into them," Daltrey told Rolling Stone. "Okay, so I didn't get back to him quickly at first. It doesn't mean anything! I was deaf for about three weeks. It wasn't even possible for me to bloody hear what was in them!"

The as-yet-untitled studio project would be the Who's first since 2006's Endless Wire. The band also plans a 30-plus date North American tour in which they'll be paired with local symphony orchestras. So, clearly there is some sense of connection.

"We do talk on the phone," Townshend added. "That's the most significant way we communicate, though we don't decide much on the phone. He doesn't text and he's just now starting to use e-mail, but he isn't very good at it."

Daltrey reportedly let out out a sigh when he heard his bandmate's comments. "No, we don't communicate well," Daltrey agreed. "But I've gotten quite insular, I suppose. I don't know why that is, but I accept it. Is the chemistry between us still there? I hope there is. It's been a year since we worked. We'll see soon enough."