The WHO – ” Who “

Posted: September 22, 2019 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , , , ,

Roger Daltrey did not mince words when sharing his excitement for the Who’s upcoming LP. “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia,” the legendary singer proclaimed during a recent Q&A with fans.  The Who will release ‘WHO’ their first studio album in thirteen years, this November.

Mentioning the new material in the same breath as the band’s vaunted 1973 concept album is high praise, indeed. The comment also represents an about-face for the Who frontman. The eleven-track album features the talents of long established Who musical stalwarts Zak Starkey (drums) and Pino Palladino (bass) along with Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker and Gordon Giltrap. The record was co-produced by Pete Townshend & D. Sardy with ‘vocal production’ by Dave Eringa (best known perhaps for his work with Manic Street Preachers).

Earlier this year, guitarist and cofounder Pete Townshend revealed that he didn’t even get a response from Daltrey after sending the singer 15 demos. “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.'”

Even after giving the new music his attention, Daltrey only felt a connection with a handful of tracks. “When I first heard the songs I was very skeptical as I didn’t think I could do it,” the singer explained. “I thought Pete had written a really great solo album and I said to him, ‘Pete, what do you need to do this for? Release it as a solo album, it’s great.’ But he said he wanted it to be a Who album.

The artwork is of course immediately recognisable as the work of Sir Peter Blake, The Who’s relationship with Blake actually pre-dates that period; they met him in 1964 at a taping of the legendary TV show Ready Steady Go. Sir Peter also designed and contributed a painting to the sleeve of The Who’s album Face Dances in 1981.

Pete Townshend is refreshingly candid about the new work and his and Roger’s place in the world in 2019. He says:

“This album is almost all new songs written last year, with just two exceptions. There is no theme, no concept, no story, just a set of songs that I (and my brother Simon) wrote to give Roger Daltrey some inspiration, challenges and scope for his newly revived singing voice. Roger and I are both old men now, by any measure, so I’ve tried to stay away from romance, but also from nostalgia if I can. I didn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Memories are OK, and some of the songs refer to the explosive state of things today. I made new home studio demos of all these songs in the summer of 2018 using a wide collection of instruments old and new. We started recording as The Who in March 2019, and have finished now in late August just in time to make some vinyl………maybe even some cassettes……ready for release in November”.

“So I took the songs away and I listened to them, and listened to them some more, and I had some ideas. [Pete] let me have a bit of freedom with changing a few things, changing the tenses of songs and other little things. And he gave me complete melodic freedom. And I gotta tell you that after being very skeptical I’m now incredibly optimistic.” “I think we’ve made our best album since Quadrophenia,” he continued. “Pete hasn’t lost it, he’s still a fabulous songwriter and he’s still got that cutting edge, man.”

The band is in the midst of their orchestral ‘Moving On’ North American tour. Townshend only agreed to the trek, which keeps the group on the road through October, on the condition that the Who release a new album. The as-yet untitled LP will be the band’s first new studio material since 2006.

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