Hello, this is Roger Daltrey. I'm a musician and the lead singer of a band called The Who, in case you haven't heard of us, we've been around since the 60's. Our songs are featured heavily on CSI, it's always a Who track of some kind of another.

Victoria from reddit is assisting me. Ask me anything! Ask me anything!

I'm doing this to support my Prizeo campaign for Teen Cancer America, which is a charity that I've started to help support teen-agers with cancer in the health system, because at the moment in your country there is very little support for those ages 13-23, so ask me anything you like: http://www.prizeo.com/prizes/roger-daltrey/an-incredible-vip-concert-experience


EDIT I'd like to thank everyone for the questions. Some of them were quite challenging and interesting. And thank you for supporting me over the years of my career, and any support you can give us for Teen Cancer America, would be gratefully received. They're from your communities, these teen-agers, and you owe them to get this done. They deserve to have this done. They deserve this to be achieved in your country. Thank you!

Comments: 1188 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

theoxandmoon884 karma

Hi, Roger! I’ve been waiting years for this opportunity, and I’m so happy it’s finally come around. I’m probably one of the biggest Who fans that exists. You’ve probably noticed my username, and here’s http://imgur.com/o8tXVv3 a picture of me with some of my stuff! I saw you in Toronto when you performed Tommy, and I also saw Who 2 when you came to Detroit. Both shows were fantastic! That being said, I have a some questions. First off, I was wondering if you have any word on an American tour after the UK-Ireland tour. Secondly, can you tell us any interesting facts about Keith, Pete, and John that no one really knows, like personality quirks or weird habits or something? Also, what is your favorite memory between the four of you? I have so many more questions, but I will limit it to these. Thank you so much for doing this AMA. I wish you and Pete all the best, and hope to see you soon in the States! PS: Tell Pete I saw Simon in Ann Arbor and he was great. Thank you!

RogerDaltreyHere740 karma

Not at the moment. Obviously there will hopefully be one - we're calling this tour now as the Beginning of the Long Goodbye, and we don't know how long that goodbye will be. But we have to be realistic about the years we're in. After John went, I realized we are all in the drop zone after 50-odd. This is the beginning of the long Goodbye, because we might never end it, and we might drop onstage, if we get that lucky! But we are also in the process of making more music on record. Pete's making some fabulous music. So we've got a lot going on, we're going to space it out and enjoy ourselves, we want to make sure that what we do is quality. So it will happen, but I don't know when. But sometime, in the future.

I wouldn't do that to them, hehehe. No, with friends, private things you keep private. And I haven't really got any to be honest with you. Everything they've done in their lives have been so public, it's ridiculous!

Ooh, that's a hard one. I haven't got a favourite. We were just so lucky to find each other. That's a bit of our lives, it's kind of miraculous, that 4 so different people, such individuals, and we happened to end up in a band together it's RIDICULOUS. And I find that bit about our journey absolutely miraculous. There were some bad times, every time I look at photographs from that period or that Pete was having a terrible time on the road, we were always laughing, we were always in fits of hysterics in photographs. We had a lot of fun, a lot of fun. It was hard, hard work. It's not easy work. People that come with us on the road that come with us on the road, they usually wear out within 2 weeks. In the old days we used to play 13 days in 2 weeks. But we seem to have that energy and that chemistry and supporting each other. It was a very very special time.

spacecowboy007408 karma

Do you think we'll ever see another musical landscape like we did back in the 60s and 70s?

Edit: spelling

RogerDaltreyHere1803 karma

I hate to say "never" but I think it's impossible really. Because we were inventing it as we went along. And it was a blank canvas, and we could paint in very broad brushstrokes. And the media outlets were very limited, so you only had to make some kind of impact and meet people and make connections and the whole thing became self-perpetuatin'. I know there's this whole thing with social media that i don't really understand, it's beyond me, but it seems to me like a lot of good music gets lost in it. Whereas in our time, you had to buy an album, you had to buy 10-12 tracks, and you might have only liked 4 of them, and I always found that some of the songs I didn't like initially ended up after a few plays being my favourite songs. And the ones I bought the album for int eh first place became my least favourite! I think there's something about the internet now, that because you can download just a few tracks, that something gets lost. And that's why I'm still a great proponent of vinyl, because not only does it sound better, but as an artistic format, the album cover, the scale of it, the shape of it, it's the perfect artistic statement. And they sound so much better, there's no doubt about it. And it becomes more personal because if you scratch it, there's a scratch there from you. SO there are these things on vinyl that will never live on in digital. The coffee stains on the cover.

ningrim285 karma

What were the emotions like before going on stage for the concert in NYC shortly after 9/11?

EDIT: link to the concert

RogerDaltreyHere865 karma

Wow. It's almost, you could almost touch the hole through the walls of the backstage. It was extraordinary, absolutely an extraordinary time. Of course it's in those times of incredible stress the adrenaline kicks in overdrive, and people are dazed, and it kind of brings out the best in humanity. And I was really nervous, you know, I thought "what are we going to play" and Pete said "Let's just play what we always play" and thank god he was right. We went out and played songs that were defiant, not celebratin' anything, but like we're not going away, we're here, and I still find it emotional now, thinking bout it. It was a very roller coaster to be onstage looking at the audience. I don't know if you saw it on the TV, I never saw it on TV, but quite a lot of the front row, there were young children, 8, 9, 10, and they were wearing their father's helmet who were killed in the twin towers. It was so hard to look at it. But they all reacted so positively to the music that you thought "all of this evil, wherever it comes from in the world, music will overcome it, good music, and being upfront with people and talking to people and getting rid of all the stuff in between." When you come face to face with good music. It was an amazing, amazing experience. And i hope I don't ever have to do another one.

telios87184 karma

Hello! Congratulations on such a splendid career. What one thing that you thought was super important in your 20s do you now think, "No, it really wasn't"?

RogerDaltreyHere612 karma

Well, super important in the 20's. Well, just buying things. Just having the ability to go and buy a Ferrari, or buy a house. I got to the bit in my life, and I suppose it comes to everybody who's successful, there really isn't anything I ever want anymore. I have my car and my house and things, but I've become a non-consumer. It's kind of weird! There's nothing I want! Really! I just love meeting people, I love friendships, I love dinner parties and being with people. That's what i enjoy. I get more reward from the charity work and the singin', and that's all I want from life, really. And obviously being with the family, and I've been lucky to have a really good, close family.

DorianOrange159 karma

Hi, Roger! First off, I just want to say that you are an amazing singer and that the Who is my favorite band of all time.

Now for my question: What do you think your music would be like if you, Pete, Keith and John had gotten together, say, ten years ago or so – with technology what it is today and, perhaps more importantly, the effects of the British Invasion already in place?

RogerDaltreyHere325 karma

Ooh, that's a difficult question.

It would have been much harder for us to make it, because it would have been harder to get noticed. I think we had chemistry, I think we had charisma. And I think maybe the one thing we had that would have won us through, we had an incredible amount of energy and the genius of a writer like Pete Townshend, who unlike so much rock music, writes from a very very internal space. And I think that's why our music was successful, and still breathes and lives and touches people today, is because unlike so much rock and pop music, it doesn't play at you, it plays to you. And I think we would have got through, it would have been harder, but I still believe that talent in the end, and what proportion we had that in is anybody's guess, but together we were pretty impressive.

And still are!

Pixel_Me_That146 karma

Hi Roger!

You guys were well known for your on-stage antics when performing. What is your craziest concert story?

RogerDaltreyHere350 karma

I think the most crazy one would have to be the Smothers Brothers TV show in 1967. Where Keith Moon blew up his drum kit. And the explosion was a little bit larger than we had planned. And blew the drum kit to smithereens. And my hearing is still suffering today.

ApieJapie132 karma

Thanks for doing this IAmA! I remember reading somewhere you're working on a movie about Keith Moon. I can definitely see the potential! So what is your role in that project and how far into development is it now? Also, are you planning on doing a little cameo appearance?

RogerDaltreyHere357 karma

Well, the project is a project i've been working on now for 25 years. And I was very close to gettin' the film that I wanted made, way back in, wait, 15 years now. I was very close to having the script I wanted. The film I wanted to make and everybody said "Oh I can see the potential" but I don't know if they realized that film isn't real life, a film script has to speak in its own language, and generally, biopics are generally run of the mill and boring. It would be absolutely criminal to make a film about Keith that was ever run of the mill and boring. So I had to wait all this time so I could buy back the original script that i had written, in partnership with a company called Icon that is Mel Gibson's company, they didn't like the script and i thought 60% of it was correct, and it was written by a guy named John Law, and this script was the first draft. John Law is a NY times theater critic, and he wrote a film called Prick Up Your Ears, and so it's a very mindful film. It's quite a piece. Not just to do with the antics. Because a lot of people don't realize that when you write down some of the things that Keith used to do on the page, that we all used to laugh at back in the day, it feels awful - it could be a really nasty piece of work. A lot of his humor came out of other people's discomfort. I was trying to show his psychology and what drove him. he was self-educated way beyond any schooling he had, he was INCREDIBLY intelligent, an incredible raconteur and a fabulous mimic, but a terrible actor. All kinds of dichotomy. Every facet of his character was extreme. He could be the most generous, the most selfish. I want it to be drama, this film. What I consider to be great drama, Shakespearean. Because Moon deserves it, because he was! And no, certainly not a cameo, I mean, where would I fit in? Hahaha! It's not about The Who, it's going to be about Keith, and one of those things is that you can't re-create The Who, you have to tell the story through people's eyes, so obviously The Who will be in it, but it's all about perspective, and it won't ever be people looking at the Who through a crowd perspective.

frogginfish85 karma

Mr. Daltrey, I heard my first Who album about 20 years ago when I was 16. The song that stuck out to me the most was Boris the Spider. I gotta say, I couldn't be more impressed with the work you and the rest of the band have done over the years! Many thanks!

So, how did you start getting involved with Teen Cancer America?

RogerDaltreyHere234 karma

Teen Cancer America is something I've been trying to get started in America for 12, 13 years. And I've been banging on doors, talking to professional people, doctors and people in the medical world, that there was something greatly lacking in your country, which we in Britain recognized over 20 years ago. And we formed a charity which is called Teenage Cancer Trust, and in Britain, in that 25 years, we have built by the end of next year, we'll have built, we have 29 at the moment, but by the end of next year we will have 32 hospital wards built especially for the ages of 13-23. Because we recognize in this age group, they are certainly not children, and they are certainly not adults. They are very, very different. And when this age group gets cancer, they tend to get very rare cancers, very aggressive cancers because they are growing so fast. They also suffer from late diagnoses because they are so active in sports and things. So there's a lot of reasons why they deserve something special at this age. Pyschologically it's very different for a teen-ager getting diagnosed with cancer rather than a child. For a teen-ager, they know exactly the ramifications of having cancer. And they've had no life. They're a flower about to blossom. So you can imagine, someone having their leg amputated from a bone cancer and in a room next to them is a 6 month old baby screaming through the walls, or there's a clown at the end of the bed - one of our patients, our ambassadors woke up from an operation with a clown holding a ukulele at the end of the bed! you can imagine a 16 year old girl recovering from a brain tumor waking up to that. And in the next room, was a 4 year old screaming. So it's so negative for a teen-ager to be in that environment, and they won't be able to go to a space other than that until they are 18, at which point they are brought to an adult ward. And as you get older, the number of cancers are even more. So it's a triple whammy for them. So if you feel a child deserves a teddy-bear and a nursery, and a child-friendly place to mix, and an adult deserves a lounge and an adult friendly space, equally, there should be something special for this age group. We have recognized that this age group is different in our economy, certainly you can excuse it through the 1940s, but after James Dean and Elvis, there is no excuse for not recognizing that when it comes to the needs of care, they deserve something especially for them where they don't have to be with children or anyone over the age of 25. They have nothing in common with either group. It's bad for children to have contact with them, it's bad for adults, it's psychologically bad all around. It's bad for the nursing staff, because they are generally much closer to the ages of teen-agers. So they tend to take it onboard more when they sadly lose them. They don't all survive as you know. And in Britain it's the number one killer of teen-agers. It used to be between 7-8 a day, now, so in America you're 4 times our population, so you're probably under diagnosed in your country. And they are put into isolation during treatment, which is not right for their psychology or education. And this has nothing to do with medicine. You have fabulous medicine. But this part of your care system could be improved greatly with a lot of goodwill from the administrations and the oncologists, pediatric and adult, of course. It's just goodwill and understanding that you will get much, much better results by making this facility available.

Threwaway4280 karma

What was it like going from singing Tommy to visually acting him out in the movie?

RogerDaltreyHere167 karma

Initially, it was kind of weird, because it was a whole new world to me, making a movie. But it's an extraordinary thing when I think back on it now. I found it easy because it was singing. The whole first half of the film, I don't obviously say anything, but the second half i found the singing easy, but it's a harder story to tell. But because of the music, it had its own rhythm, so you were kind of running on tracks in a way. The beginning part of the film I found interesting, because when I try to think back on part of it, I actually was blind. It's so weird, because when I look back on the acid queen sequence with Tina Turner, I spent a whole probably 4 or 5 hours laying on the floor underneath her skirt while she was standing above me, and she was shaking her legs, because I watched the film, I haven't got one picture in my head of looking up at her doing that! Really! And it's really weird, I must have been turning my eyes off, it's strange. I thought about it, I couldn't tell you if she was wearing what colour underwear, or even if she was wearing any! And how strange is that? That's the only way I could have done it. They were hosing me down with firehoses, all kinds of things were being done to me, and I was determined not to blink, but somehow I must have shut my eyes off.

RogerDaltreyHere128 karma

Because we had the good fortune to have the genius of Ken Russell directing it, the whole film was a joy to do. And that man I don't think ever got the recognition in life he deserved. Because when you look at the film, it was a forerunner of MTV, it broke so many rules, and he should have ben Sir Ken Russell, that's for sure.

orangejulius78 karma

What's your favorite venue to play?

RogerDaltreyHere226 karma

Oh! I can answer that now, because up until 5 years ago I didn't have one. they were just shows and I enjoyed playing. But I got lucky 5 years ago when I was doing my first solo tour and I played the Ryman Theater in Nashville. I was doing a tour of Nashville, where The Grand Ole opry used to be held. I don't know if it's the ghosts of all the great people who have played there, or if it's the back of my mind, all the people who I used to idolize who used to play there like Johnny Cash, and there I was at that place and the sound of it, the intimacy of the audience, but there's just such a special spirit in that room, it's incredible. So that would be my #1 place, anywhere, and I don't think you can ever beat it.

uh_no_55 karma

how did you originally get into music? and what would you have done with your life had it not been for music?

RogerDaltreyHere193 karma

From seeing Elvis playing on the TV. And then basically, what every guy who saw Elvis in those days, you can imagine what a gray post-WWII world it was - it was a black and white world where everyone, it was down. We were playing on bomb sites. I was born in an air raid, a B-2 raid. That's how close we were to it. So seeing something appear in our lives like Elvis Presley, it was like someone from Mars! And we all wanted to be Elvis, of course. And then I started buying records, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Gene Vincent, all of them. And I just thought " I have to do this" and I made myself a guitar, there was a guy called Lonnie Donegan, and he sang American Blues songs, and he sang in a most particular way. And I thought "I can't sing like Elvis, but I can't turn my head back and wail!" I used to sing in the church choir. So I thought "Well let's have a go." So I took my guitar, went onstage, and never looked back. From the age of 11, I've been in a group, my first group was called Music Skiffle, where we had an old washboard with cymbals as the rhythm section, and a teachest and a broom with a piece of string as a bass. It creates a wonderful sound, it's really traditional music. It developed then, we went on to electric guitars, again making them, and even in the first early days of the Who I made the body of Pete's guitar and my guitar, we couldn't afford to buy them. And I suppose when you get driven, nothing puts you back. It's strange how no matter what obstacles are in the way you manage to climb it. In some ways I felt like the guy in the basement of, what was that film, where the spaceship comes up to earth, CLOSE ENCOUNTERS. In a lot of ways I felt like that guy in the basement, working for 18, 20 hours a day, I was driven to do it, I had to do it. And then all of a sudden, here it is, and here it still is, it's extraordinary.

well, that could have gone a lot of other ways. A lot of my mates, working class, you're always on the edge of the law. I could have become a criminal, a lot of my friends did. It was a very rough society and a rough area that i lived in. Although I did hold down a job, so I think I had more discipline. But I always had the group, if I could have ever become a criminal the group would have stopped me, not that I'm saying I would have become one. I had the music, I didn't need anything. I had a job, I was an apprentice sheet-metal worker for 4 years. I was getting paid more in the band, it was a bit of a joke!

CheckItNow1249 karma

Hello, Roger!

I think it's pretty clear that you've had a tremendous amount of success with The Who. In fact, I think that the band will stick up for a long time. With the 50th Anniversary Tour coming up soon, it's pretty clear that you have left your mark not only on the rock genre, but the music industry in general. Before you say goodbye to music, I must ask you this one question.

Do you like potato chips (crisps)?

RogerDaltreyHere88 karma

Sweet potato chips, yeah. I don't dislike potato chips, but they don't like me very much.

hpholly48 karma

What is your favourite song to perform live? And by the way, I saw you perform last year in Liverpool and you were incredible! Hopefully I will be there again this December.

RogerDaltreyHere148 karma

I enjoy performing all of 'em. There's only one song that I'm a little bit not bored with, because I find it just a harder to get into than any of the others, and that is Won't Get Fooled Again. I'm not tired of the song, because I do perform it in different ways, I've done a gospel version of it and all kinds, I'm just a bit bored of it with the length on the piece as the record. As a singer it's the one song - maybe it's because I can't do the scream like I used to! But all the other songs, I love singing them. Especially when it's a good night, and the voice is good, and the show is going well. I try to sing them as if they're the first time I'm singing in my life. Hopefully I succeed sometimes. But that's how I feel about it.

Call_Me_Jimmy38 karma

Hey Mr Daltrey, big Who fan!

What was your impression of Keith Moon when you first met him?

I have heard he was a handful to deal with sometimes even though he was exceptional with the drums and had a original style, were you guys ever close to kicking him out of the band in the early days because of his personality?

Also how many instruments do you reckon that The Who has destroyed over the years?

Thanks for bringing me years of joy with your music and keep on keeping on!

RogerDaltreyHere88 karma

My first impression of Keith was a little upstart, hahaha! And there's a saying in England, he had more front than Greendales, that is to say he had a larger than life character. He looked much younger than he was, he actually told us he was one year younger than he was, yeah, he liked, but his drumming was exceptional. It wasn't just he was a great drummer. There was something about the way he drummed, and the way I sang, and everyone played together, it was like a pair of knitting needles that sewed three balls of wool together and turned it into a jumper or cardigan or what you want to call it. We never thought of kicking him out, EVER. We did talk about having a replacement drummer come in when we were halfway through a tour, really towards the end in 1975 or something, we were on a tour when Keith od'd and did all kind of stuff a bit close to the edge, and we were stuck in a situation when we had commitments and we had to get through this before we could come home, and we discussed having a stand in for a few shows. We never thought of kicking him out of the band, ever, but we did think of having a stand-in to help get us home. We did pull him round, not long enough sadly, but we managed in the end.

I really haven't any idea at all. It's certainly in the hundreds. I wouldn't go as far as saying it's in the thousands. But they were all good instruments. There was a period when we were doing our first shows in New York, we were doing 3-4 shows a day, where we were repairing guitars where they could be repaired, to use twice because we literally did run out of not only credit, money, goodwill, and the ability to find anymore to smash. Yes, but it must be in the hundreds, but i have no idea. I do have one of Pete's guitars, the one he broke in Japan, that is my own personal memento of all the ones he smashed.

roughtrademark29 karma

Hi Roger,

First kudos for being awesome and part of a tremendous band!

What made you get in to fish farming?

RogerDaltreyHere83 karma

Hahaha! I wanted to learn bout the science of it, because I've always been into the land, and looking at the future problems with our food production, and fish farming in the days I got involved with it, was in the infancy of the industry, polluting our rivers and things like that, and I wanted to learn about the science of it and learn how we could produce good fish and tidy things up. I learnt an awful lot, and though I'm not in it anymore since I achieved what i wanted to do, all the farms I owned are now successful businesses. And I'm very proud of what i did there, and I'm proud of them for keeping the standards going. We pulled it up by the bootlaces. And I think the state of our oceans, the conditions of our oceans, isn't talked about enough, and the protection of our fisheries aren't talked about enough. And well-managed fish farms provide a lot of solutions to the problems that the next generation of people will be facing if the population continues the way it has.

ModGirl60327 karma

Hello Roger! My brother and I are big fans of your work, he’s 16 and I’ll be 21 in August. We’re both excited about the upcoming tour plans,it would be our first concert if we are able to attend. My question for you,is a bit silly but I am curious, do you still own any of your Mod clothes from the 60s?

Thanks for your time!

RogerDaltreyHere69 karma

Hahaha! I don't know. I think the moths have got them. Hahaha! I gave so much stuff away, and to be honest with you, I'm the kind of guy who doesn't have many clothes, I buy a lot but i have only 3 things that i like and I wear them until they fall off. So no I don't, but I wish I did. They wouldn't be in a very good state. I did have some things from the 1970s but I gave them to friends, like the shirt i wore at Woodstock, it's at the Victoria & Albert museum hidden somewhere. I ought to get it back and auction it for TCA at the moment, to raise money! But sadly I haven't. All the things I used to wear, the leather shirts and things, when people would ask me who made them, apart from a couple of suits that were made for me, I would buy a few chamois leathers, I would go buy car leathers, I would go down to the garage and sew them together!

bluth_man_group24 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA Mr. Daltrey! Longtime fan here! Grew up with my dad telling stories about your concerts, particularly one at the Greek in Berkeley, CA.

Have you ever performed with Joan Jett before? I know you are performing with her later this month- I'm hoping to finally come see you perform in Philly! Is there anything cool you can tell us about the concert?

Thank you!

RogerDaltreyHere69 karma

Well, I've known Joan Jett obviously for years. She's a real rocker and she still cuts it, really cuts it. Well what I can tell you about the concert is that it's a fundraiser to build one of our spaces at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia so all the proceeds are going to that, and that wing will obviously have these facilities in it. And I should be playing Who Songs, and some of my songs. It's going to be a fun night. There are meet and greet packages, we are just trying to raise as much money as we can. One of the things we're struggling with is getting more Americans involved, more American entertainers like myself, the backbone of the music industry was this age group, and I feel like if you've been successful and you've made it, just by donating a bit of your time, a bit of your energy, even if it's just talking about what we are trying to achieve now. And I could do with more support from some of that side of the business. And I don't mind saying so, because your country baffles me. In Britain, any kind of charity work is unconditional. In America they kind of expect to get paid for it, I find that extraordinary.

ZenJack122 karma

Hi Rodger,

I saw The Who in Liverpool, last year, it was good :)

Anyway, what was it like in London during the 60's, with the other bands, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppellin etc?

Also, I'm twenty now, who was your favourite artist when you were my age?

RogerDaltreyHere69 karma

Ooof. I've got to think back now. Wow, that was a time of huge change. Haha! Oh god. Oh dear. I didn't have any real favourites, but the music I got into was more of the blues, the Chicago and Mississippi blues kind of stuff. So it would have been people like Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, all those guys. But if I had to say, James Brown even, we were a melting pot, we couldn't soak up enough, we were like an empty sponge soaking up all the stuff you had over there we were denied for so long. Then the Four Tops came out, the Beach Boys came out, and those influenced us. Bob Dylan had an influence on everybody. How he wrote his songs. So on and on and on it went. But equally I like the Stones, I liked the Beatles, and I loved the Kinks. All-in-all, if i had to choose, oh I can't choose one, it doesn't make sense to choose one. I had great respect for Johnny Cash and the Everly Brothers, not for their music but for the people, and it's quite sad that they are gone. Sometimes I play my tribute to Johnny Cash in shows. Everywhere i go in the world, they know a Johnny Cash song. I don't always agree with what Johnny Cash believed in, but he was his own man and I quite respected that.