Who Are You?
By Laura Crapo
My 70s and 80s middle school and high school experience was full of The Who. On my army bag was written band names other than The Who. In my tight jeans that had zero give and a label that read Fancy Ass, and standing in my work boots and with my lumber jacket open to reveal my gym shirt bearing a deer head and the words Deer Park, I was deaf dumb and blind to The Who. Right now I’m standing at the door looking in. I often wondered why people liked them. There was something or somebody blocking me from enjoying them. There was someone in the way of my enjoying The Who and his name is Roger Daltrey.
Behind him stands the real band. He’s the frat buddy, the Will Farrell who came along for the ride to stir shit up.
I watched footage of Daltrey walking off the stage and quitting the band in some documentary. Keep walking, Roger. Walk to the Yes rehearsal space.
It’s clear that the three real members of The Who make sense together. Pete has a beautiful voice. They are his songs.
I know there’s people who know a lot about the band and some of those people have tried to list the reasons why Daltrey’s presence in The Who isn’t a complete travesty. But, no. It’s just wrong. If he were a true friend to Pete, he would have encouraged him instead of stealing his thunder and in an act of hubris worn the cloak of Robert Plant.
Imagine for a moment the passage of time with just the three essential members of The Who. How perfect is that? It’s beautiful. Three member bands have a certain perfection about them. Triumph. The Police. Nirvana..
When I hear in the documentary that he asked Pete if he could be Tommy, my answer was no. You can’t be Tommy because you didn’t write the songs. You can’t be Tommy if you have to ask.
I watched a Who video on my computer and placed my finger over Roger so I could enjoy The Who, but I could still hear him sing and his fringe jacket kept feathering into the image.
To me, it’s a crying shame that he couldn’t let Pete take his place as a creative person. It’s possible Roger could have left and become an actor, or been the spark to ignite a new exciting band. He has enthusiasm, but this time, his tenacity for the rising star of fame came at a high cost. He’s stinking up the whole Who catalogue.
Someone told me there’s a record of demos where Pete sings all the Who songs. This is the album.
Recently, I saw that Roger is touring Tommy on his own. Here is the fruit of letting Roger have his way. It’s wrong, it’s not cool. Every cent of that tour should go to Pete. It’ll probably be so loud it’s deafness inducing, no doubt.
Go write your own songs, find your own identity. Don’t borrow it from Pete or a fictional character that you didn’t create.
If you’re not Pete, then who are you, Roger?