The Who are regrouping to record their first new album in 13 years.
Bandleaders Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have been focused on solo careers in recent years, but the duo is reuniting to record its first new material since 2006’s Endless Wire.
Townshend tells Rolling Stone magazine he has recorded 15 demos for the album, and singer Daltrey is expected to add his vocals later this year, with a 2019 release planned.
“(There’s some) dark ballads, heavy rock stuff, experimental electronica, sampled stuff and cliched Who-ish tunes that began with a guitar that goes yanga-dang,” the guitarist says, admitting his bandmate wasn’t a fan at first.
“I had to bully him to respond and then it wasn’t the response I wanted,” Townshend adds. “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 tells the publication, “They’re all great songs, but sometimes I hear them and I think, ‘I can’t add anything to this to make my job as singer worthy of doing anything better than what Pete has already done’. There’s at least five or six I can lay into and I’m sure they’ll come out incredible… I’m going to spend time getting into them.”
Daltrey, who enjoyed success with a solo album of classic soul covers and a memoir in 2018, can now only hope that the chemistry between the two rockers that has driven The Who for decades is still there as they embark on a new album: “We don’t communicate well, but I’ve gotten quite insular, I suppose. I don’t know why that is, but I accept it,” he explains. “Is the chemistry between us still there? I hope it is. It’s been a year since we worked. We’ll see soon enough.”
The tour dates, which will feature a symphony orchestra at each stop, have yet to be officially announced but concerts are set to begin at New York’s Madison Square Garden in April, a month after Daltrey turns 75.
“This feels like a dignified way to go and do music,” he says. “That’s all we’re really left with. We’re old men now. We’ve lost the looks. We’ve lost the glamour. What we’re left with is the music and we’re going to present it in a way which is as fresh and powerful as ever.”
Townshend has also confirmed plans for the group to play a series of festivals in the U.K. over the summer, ahead of a possible tour planned for the end of 2019.