It seems some of the material from soon-to-be announced new Who album -- might be over 50-years-old. Pete Townshend, who along with Roger Daltrey will kick off the Who's next North American leg on September 1st at New York's Madison Square Garden revealed to Metro, "I gathered about 15 or 16 songs to present to Roger, including two that were rescued from 1966 and never recorded by the Who. There is no narrative. Some listeners to the new songs have said that they can sense an underlying story. That was never my intention. . . I wanted more than anything to prove that I can still write songs for Roger's voice the way I used to in the '60s and '70s, but also that together we could break some new ground. I needed to drop new songs for my own dignity."

Townshend, who hasn't released a new song cycle since the Who's last album, 2006's Endless Wire, went on to say, "I am fairly certain I will never top Quadrophenia. In the case of this new album I had to face the fact that touring and performing for me is not the most important part of what I do, or who I am. I am good at performing, and find touring easy these days, but where I find myself pushing at the very edge of my creative ability is in the recording studio."

He went on to talk about how Roger Daltrey handled the new material, saying, "Roger is surprisingly uncertain about what he can tackle these days. His voice is better than ever, but he has really battled to get it that way and had some serious illness. One issue is that he can be wary about his own ability to get inside a song and deliver it. I was very careful to make sure -- in as much as I could -- that every song, every melody, every lyric, would provide Roger with a way in. It does seem to have worked out. I was worried for a while when it seemed I'd failed. At first Roger didn't really feel comfortable with what I delivered. But he did work very hard to inhabit the songs, and his approaches in each case are surprising and unique. Not always what I expected. He has done really good work. There are some amazing vocal moments."

Pete Townshend told us that the Who was among the most versatile bands of their era, and that their musical talent freed him to write material that frequently covered many different genres: "The band the Who never gave me a clear brief. They never said to me, 'We wanna be a comedy act,' but if I gave them comedy songs they were brilliant at them. They never said to me, 'We wanna be a girl-friendly band,' but if I gave them a love song they would do it brilliantly. They never said 'We want to be a heavy metal group' -- if I gave them a heavy metal song, they did it brilliantly. They could do anything -- but they never gave me a brief. Where did I get my brief? I got my brief from the audience."

Townshend went on to say that although the intellectual aspects of music are important, music's main purpose is to soothe and entertain: "Fashion, ideas, style and politics and all this stuff is okay, but what's the function of music in the modern world? It is to divide up time and give us a brief respite from the troubles of our day."

AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON THE FUNCTION OF MUSIC
AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON THE WHO TACKLING DIFFERENT GENRES