Although there have been countless jokes made about the Who's supposed farewell and reunion tours over the years, Roger Daltrey maintains the Who never broke up. Daltrey told Sky News that the decision to put the Who on ice after its 1982 tour in support of its It's Hard album was more due to health and survival — than a quick cash grab.
Daltrey revealed, “We didn't ever really split up. It was a necessary departure for a few years, because we had problems to solve, musical problems in the band. But we got over it, Pete (Townshend) and I, it runs deep together. It's been said we split up — we didn't. I just announced that this was going to be our last tour because I was very worried about Peter at the time, he was coming out of bad alcoholism and all kinds of stuff, all kind of naughties. And he cleaned himself up, and I just thought if we go back on tour and keep doing this, it's going to kill him. And I love him, I don't want that to happen. So there's all these things that go on but it doesn't mean that we split up. It's never meant that.”
After the Who's 1982 “farewell tour,” they reunited in in 1985 and 1988 for sets at Live Aid and the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) awards, respectfiully. The band went on to tour in 1989, 1996 and 1997, before becoming a fully recommited live act beginning in 1999. Over the past 20 years, the only breaks Daltrey and Townshend have taken from live perfortmance have been in 2003 and 2018.
Although Pete Townshend and Roiger Daltrey have known each other since junior high school and performing together nearly as long, both would be the first to tell you its far from a touchy feely love fest between them: “The chemistry between us musically when we're on stage, it's telepathic. There's something in the air that is intangible. You can't put a finger on it, but I know it's there between Pete and I. It can turn on a dime without even looking at each other. It just happens. It's magical.”
On Thursday (March 14th) Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey met the press at London's Wembley Stadium to publicize the band's July 6th concert at the venue with special guests Eddie Vedder and Kaiser Cheifs. Townshend explained to Sky News why the current back-line of touring musicians is a perfect fit for him and Daltrey these days: “I think the thing about the band that we have at the moment is we've been through periods where we've hand-picked people very carefully, and we've actually employed quite a few lunatics, again, (laughter) 'cause we were used to having lunatics in the band. And we've ended up now with a band that feels like Roger and me and that we're supported by the musicians around us. They don't crowd in to try and get their 'moment.' There's no competition. It feels as though it's honest. That the two original members that are left are Roger and I. We're battling away to kind of try to remain relevant to do good work both onstage and off, y'know? So it feels right to me, what we're doing at the moment.”