The Who are planning to release their first studio album in more than a decade this year and will also undertake a U.S. symphonic tour.
Guitarist Pete Townshend told Rolling Stone he refused to sign on for the tour without solidifying plans to release a new album first. He insisted it’s not because he’s hoping to rule the sales charts again. “It’s purely personal,” he said. “It’s about my pride, my sense of self-worth and self-dignity as a writer.”
The as-yet untitled LP will be the band’s first since 2006’s Endless Wire.
Townshend said he’s already completed 15 demos for the project, which he noted will include “dark ballads, heavy rock stuff, experimental electronica, sampled stuff and cliched Who-ish tunes that began with a guitar that goes yanga-dang.” Singer Roger Daltrey has yet to add his contributions to the songs.
The duo admitted its long-running communication issues resulted in some head-butting over the direction of the new material. “There’s at least five or six [songs] I can lay into and I’m sure they’ll come out incredible,” Daltrey said. “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.”
Dates for the proposed 30-date arena tour have yet to be confirmed, but the basic plan is for the Who to hit the Northeast starting in April, then return to the rest of North American in September and October.
Daltrey was pleased with the results of his 2018 solo Tommy symphonic tour, and says he’s confident this is the best way for the Who to continue as he and Townshend approach their mid-70s. “We’re old men now,” he said. “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.”