Roger Daltrey trading in 'rubbish' weather of England for South Florida sunshine
The Who frontman comes to Seminole Hard Rock for '90 minutes of fun'
PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Roger Daltrey is happy to be coming back to South Florida.
The lead vocalist for The Who recently wrapped the band's first-ever South America tour, so one might think he'd be ready to take a break. Not so, the 73-year-old British rocker told Local10.com in a recent telephone interview from his home in England.
"It's a necessity for a singer to keep singing when they get to my age because it's a kind of, it's only a muscle, and if you sit down and let it go to fat, then it's going to be all over, and I don't want to stop singing yet," Daltrey said.
As the frontman for one of the world's most-recognized rock bands, Daltrey could go anywhere. So why start his solo road tour in South Florida?
"South Florida's not a bad place to be this kind of year," Daltrey admitted. "The weather here is absolute rubbish."
Joking aside, he's looking forward to Wednesday night's concert at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
"It's a great venue to play," Daltrey said. "You know, we've had some great gigs there, including The Who. It's probably a bit big for me, I don't know. But equally, it doesn't matter. I don't play any different whether the crowd's, you know, 10 people or 10,000. It doesn't make any difference to me. I play the same. I never go through the motions."
That's good news for fans who hope to hear the crooner perform his hits from The Who, along with his solo works.
In the early days, Daltrey used to make the band's guitars. It was a craft he learned while working at a sheet metal factory outside London.
"We couldn't afford to buy them," Daltrey said. "I made my guitar, my first copy of a Fender -- a big, bad copy, but it sounded good."
Daltrey said bandmate Pete Townshend had a guitar neck that Daltrey helped him to finish.
"In those early years, that's what we used to do," Daltrey said. "You know, this was post-war Britain. We weren't wealthy at all and guitars were way out of our reach, so we made them. If we wanted it that bad, we made them."
Daltrey said Townshend, who made it a calling card to smash his guitars after a performance, never smashed any of his.
"We got rid of them by then," Daltrey said.
He can still remember the first time Townshend took up the practice of instrument destruction.
"It made the smashing of the first guitar, for me, personally, quite an emotional blow, to be honest, because there I was sweating all these years trying to make a guitar anywhere near as good as the one he was smashing," Daltrey recalled.
Despite the confession, Daltrey said his relationship with Townshend remains solid.
"We don't always agree with each other, we can both be very difficult people if we want to be, but when it comes to it, there's a deep, deep down love for each other, you know, and respect with each other," Daltrey said of The Who's lead guitarist. "I have a great relationship with him. I love him to bits and I admire him so much for his music. His music is extraordinary. It's so different than anything else that's out there."
Daltrey also lamented the recent loss of fellow rocker and Florida native Tom Petty, who died of cardiac arrest earlier this month in California. Petty was 66.
"Over the age of 50, we're all in the drop zone," Daltrey said. "You don't know when it's going to be, you know."
Daltrey is no stranger to tragedy. The Who lost drummer Keith Moon to a drug overdose in 1978 and, more recently, bassist John Entwistle to a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2002.
But Daltrey has no concerns about his own mortality or the band's continued longevity.
"As long as Pete's there and I'm here, The Who will still make music, and as long as we can do it well, we'll still get on stage and do it, I'm sure," he said.
Fans coming to Wednesday night's show can expect to hear The Who classics, plus some songs that the band has never played on stage.
"The most important thing for me, you know, is to have 90 minutes of fun," Daltrey said. "It's as simple as that."
One of Daltrey's personal favorites from The Who collection is "Behind Blue Eyes."
"I just remember the day I sang it so well," Daltrey said. "My dog had just been run over. My dog had blue eyes. And it's a fabulous song. I love that song."
But, as the South American tour reminded him, "Baba O'Riley" is likely the song for which The Who will be remembered long after Daltrey is gone.
"Seeing, you know, 300,000 South American people knowing every word of 'Baba O'Riley' and jumping up and down to it, you suddenly realize that that song's got legs that will go on for a very long time," Daltrey concluded.
The "Teenage Wasteland" lyrics, along with a slew of other songs from The Who's collection, have reached a new generation on the long-running "CSI" television series and its subsequent spinoffs.
The "Pinball Wizard" will take the stage at Hard Rock Live on Wednesday at 8 p.m. Tickets range in price from $55 to $155.
Until then, Daltrey hopes to go fishing while he's soaking up the sunshine in the Sunshine State.
"I want to get out in a boat somewhere," he said. "I need to clear my head. I've been traveling. I didn't even realize how far South America was. I need to get that journey out of my system."
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