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“I lived it, so I don’t really need to see it. And if I watched it, I would only watch me — I wouldn’t see the whole thing.”
– Roger Daltrey
It’s not often a journalist is tasked with interviewing a celebrity who is promoting a product he hasn’t actually seen, but as “Amazing Journey” is the new DVD charting the career of The Who — something that Roger Daltrey, speaker of the words above, does know something about, having fronted the British band for 44 years — it would be silly to pass up the chance of a rare audience with one of the titans of rock.
Directed by Murray Lerner and Paul Crowder, “Amazing Journey” is a product of its times, a four-hour home entertainment extravaganza far removed from the previous Who film biography “The Kids Are Alright,” a 100-minute picture released in cinemas in 1979. There are other differences.
“That was made by two fans,” Daltrey says of “The Kids Are Alright.” “We funded it, but basically, that’s just a series of clips. It’s their artistic representation of The Who. This has got much more of a narrative line. We’re executive producers on this, because it’s our archive that they use, but that’s the extent of our input. I did one interview and a pickup interview. I think Pete [Townshend] did one short one. I mainly had to do an interview because most of the film over the years of anybody talking from our band was all Pete. You have to let the filmmaker then do their job.”
The narrative to which Daltrey refers begins with four Londoners who, unlike most rock band members, never got on particularly well as people but whose extraordinary individual talents meshed so well that only The Beatles and The Rolling Stones could reasonably claim to dwarf them in artistic achievement and legend.
Not only have The Who been dispensing great art and conceptual innovation in equal measure since the band first exploded into the public consciousness in 1965 with the classically brutal debut “I Can’t Explain,” the group is also considered by many to be the greatest live act there ever was.
As if this wasn’t enough, Townshend, the band’s main songwriter, helped provide a contemporary chronicle of rock and youth culture via his very lengthy and extraordinarily articulate interviews.
The origins of The Who lie in a R&B band called The Detours. The kingpin of that band was one Roger Daltrey, born in Acton, West London.
It may come as a surprise to those who associate Daltrey with the classic instrument-less rock frontman image, but he started out his musical career not as singer, but lead guitarist.
In 1961, Daltrey recruited one John Entwistle to play bass in The Detours. Unlike the extroverted and often brawling Daltrey, Entwistle was a quiet character. However, he had much else in common with his new colleague, for they were both alumni of Action County Grammar School and were born at the same hospital in 1944. Pete Townshend was the next to join, on the recommendation of Entwistle, who had played in bands with Townsh