Pete Townshend remains unsure how and when the Who will be able to resume their tour dates. Prior to the pandemic, he and Roger Daltrey were on tour with a local symphony orchestra accompanying the band every night, with the 2020 shows working in material from the band’s latest album, WHO. A tour of the UK and Ireland was postponed several times until it was finally scrapped altogether.
Just released is the “Super-Deluxe Edition” of The Who Sell Out in a massive box set, with a total of 112 tracks over five discs. The collection includes never-before-heard outtakes and Pete Townshend demos — along with a heaping dose of replica memorabilia from the era.
During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Townshend was, as always, brutally honest with fans: “Everything is in the air, and nobody knows what’s going to happen. I heard that (our promoter) Live Nation usually has 25 acts out between April and August in America. Next year, they have 48. And so that means there’s a lot of competing for venues.”
He went on to say, “The other interesting thing is that younger people are buying tickets and selling out concerts by younger artists. But our demographic, which is between 30 and 70, I suppose, are not buying tickets at all. . . It’s sort of devastating, the idea that older people, because of their conservatism and life experience, will wait until a tour is 100 percent certain. The finances of it are worrying. Who knows? We don’t really know. But if an opportunity is to come up, I will come.”
When pressed about whether the Who would ever be amenable to a big budget biopic on the band, Townshend said, “I’m not opposed to anything that might help me pay for my yachting. (Laughs) Quite broadly, I wouldn’t object to anything that created spirit around the music that we’ve worked on all our lives. We had maybe seven-to-ten really profoundly productive years. And then, pretty much nothing. We’re living on and living off those years, to a great extent.”
Townshend went on to explain, “The story is. . . interesting, but I don’t think it’s. . . I don’t know. Roger, as you probably know, has been trying to create a film around the life of Keith Moon for I think what is now. . . the first script that Roger sent me for approval was in 1993. I was in New York working on the Tommy show on Broadway. It’s been a long time in the making and I think Roger has rejected at least 10 scripts. It’s not an easy story to tell.”
During his recent appearance on Britain’s The One Show, Roger Daltrey touched upon his desire to make a film that captures the essence of Keith Moon: “I want to make a movie about Keith — I don’t wanna make a movie about the Who — and I do not wanna make a biopic. I want to make a film to try and really capture the complexities of Keith Moon. Because a lot of people think they know about him and they obviously know about these funny exploits; but there were so many sides to Keith Moon. He was fearless, he was crazy — every part of his personality was in excess.”