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“Maybe we got less birds, but we were more important than him”: Pete Townshend reflects on Roger Daltrey’s impact on The Who before Woodstock

“He came out of that Woodstock movie a rock god.”

Pete Townshend has opined on Roger Daltrey’s role in The Who before their iconic Woodstock performance in 1969.

Recalling the band’s experience at the infamous festival in a recent chat with Uncut, Townshend says: “At Woodstock we were on at five o’clock in the morning when everybody was asleep, stoned, exhausted. We began playing Listening To You I Get The Music [See Me, Feel Me] and the sun started to come up.”

“Eventually the whole audience stood up. I think it’s because it’s a prayer, a dedication to the human spirit. That’s kind of magical. It’s not about power. We’re just playing this fucking song; the song is doing it.”

“Roger may have thought he was doing it, I don’t know,” the guitarist says. “I’m often a bit disparaging about Roger in that era, but he came out of that Woodstock movie a rock god.”

Townshend adds that prior to that, Daltrey had just been “a short-haired singer in a band where Keith Moon and John Entwistle and Pete Townshend were probably a bit more important than him.”

“Maybe we got less birds, but we were more important than him,” he says. “Suddenly he was not only equal to us, he was a central figurehead. It was a change in the system.”

In related news, The Who are set to release a massive boxset, Who’s Next | Life House, featuring a whopping 155 tracks later this week. Discussing the band’s future beyond the upcoming release, Townshend tells Uncut that he doesn’t have any concrete plans for the group at the moment.

“I don’t have a unique vision for The Who going forward,” he says. “I don’t know whether Roger does. Roger and I probably need to get together to chat about what we want to do.”

“The interesting thing about our business now is, like the Stones and like McCartney, we’re pushing the age envelope as far as it can possibly go,” Townshend adds. “I’m really happy that the shows we did recently with The Who got such good reviews, but also that they felt so solid and so well organised.”

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