Interview The Who

Pete Townshend tells DIY about his wishes for people to be able to watch their gigs online, after Roger Daltrey’s refusal to continue broadcasts.

Pete Townshend

has revealed to DIY his regret at not being able to broadcast The Who gigs online, their plans for a new website, and his and Roger Daltrey’s relationship during the recording of the new album.

This summer, The Who broadcasted their UK and European comeback tour live on a dedicated website. For a small donation to charity, fans were able to log in and watch a number of tracks live as they were happening every night. During the European leg, Townshend announced on his website that Daltrey was no longer happy with the broadcasting, as he felt the internet had no contribution to make to The Who’s career, and the broadcasts were stopped. At the same time, The Who’s official website was taken down.

Townshend tells DIY: ‘I am sad we are not webcasting, it seems crazy, so many more people could see us, even on their little screens at home.

But there it is. Roger is making a whole-hearted attempt to embrace and understand the internet, and we hope to open the first website that is true to the democratic style we use to do everything else around the Who brand and the band.’

After revealing that Daltrey was unhappy with the use of the internet in broadcasting The Who’s material, Townshend,tongue-in-cheek, urged fans to write to Roger at a specially created email address .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), to show how important the web broadcasts were.

Such creative differences have always factored in the band, who finally released a new album after 24 years. Despite this, there seems to be a genuine respect for each other’s creative clashes, as Townshend confirmed to us: ‘Yes there is real respect.

There were no compromises on the new record. I listened to Roger’s editorial decisions, and he allowed me a lot of headroom to take risks, some of which made him concerned. He is behind me now, and I am behind him.’

The most recent UK gig was to promote new album ‘Endless Wire’ at the BBC Electric Proms. The show ended with a particularly moving rendition of new song ‘Tea and Theatre’.

We asked Townshend if this heart-breaking tale of a band looking back at the shambolic end of their career need not be taken literally, especially after the glowing reviews of the new material and tour: ‘Absolutely, this may appear to be about Roger and me, and both of us are keen on tea, but it is not.’

You can see The Who’s Electric Proms show on BBC1, at 10.55pm, Sunday 26th November.

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