Pete Townshend Claims the Who Is “Not a Band,” Details His “Journey Into Darkness” and Evolving Relationship With Roger Daltrey

When you’re one half of the only remaining members of your very famous rock band, things are bound to get a little testy. It seems like the connection between The Who’s Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend remains somewhat rocky—albeit improving.

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Speaking with MOJO, Townshend says his relationship with Daltrey is “better than it’s ever been.” Yet, despite the growth between the two, Townshend admits he sometimes feels more like a fill-in than a mainstay in his own band.

Then again, in Townshend’s words, The Who are “not a band” in the first place, but rather a “brand and a friendship.” Townshend highlighted the group doesn’t challenge one another to work “music miracles.”

“It’s a group of musicians that Roger has chosen,” he said. “I have not chosen any of the musicians I tour with – not even Zak [Starkey]. When Roger brings me onstage I am filling the shoes of a guy called Frank Simes, who Roger tours with solo, and who is a guitar player and musical director.”

Despite feeling a bit like a substitute, Townshend clarified that he prefers the current situation over finding band members himself.

“I am happy to do it,” Townshend clarified. “Someone reading this will say, ‘Stop f***ing complaining, Townshend, and put a band together of people you do want to use.’ But that scares the sh*t out of me.”

Townshend also opened up about his “journey into darkness” during the early ’80s where he went all-in on a solo career following the death of drummer Keith Moon. “If that doesn’t sound too dramatic. You know, I’m still learning how to be in a band,” Townshend said.

Will The Who Ever Tour Again?

It doesn’t look like a tour is in the works, but it’s certainly not impossible. However, Townshend has said in recent interviews that he doesn’t enjoy touring with The Who. That being said, he did tell The New York Times a few months ago that he wouldn’t be opposed to a farewell tour before the band can “crawl off to die.”

“I don’t get much of a buzz from performing with the Who,” Townshend told The New York Times. “If I’m really honest, I’ve been touring for the money. My idea of an ordinary lifestyle is pretty elevated.”

Well, at least he’s honest.

Photo by Kevin Winter

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