Roger Daltrey has been the lead singer for The Who, one of the greatest rock 'n' roll bands of all time, since the group formed in 1963. The Who is currently finishing a U.S. tour, drawing audiences that span generations while still delivering the inspired anthems that have kept this band at the top of the rock heap for nearly four decades.
DARWIN: What are your thoughts about technology?
DALTREY: I've got very mixed feelings about it all, you know. I can see the obvious benefits of access to information, but it's access to what information and how people assimilate it [that raises concerns]. I think it also gives access to incredible manipulation.
There is an element, I think, of entrapment that frightens me about the Web.... When you're using it, you can be traced. People think that they're all right, that they can talk to people all over the world, but basically, it's not in normal language, is it? I would much prefer to maintain the human touch.
Do you have a computer at home?
We have, gathering dust. The only reason I'm using one at the moment is that I'm really into model railways and I'm working on a computer system to run it. It's designed by an American, and it's absolutely brilliant. It will allow me to even play with my railway when I'm on tour, via the Net.
The motor railway is perfect, because you can listen to the radio, and you can be doing carpentry, a bit of soldering, electrical work, scenery building or whatever. It's kind of mindless but creative.
Do you ever surf the Internet? Are you familiar with any of the websites that are devoted to The Who?
I'm familiar with the ones we're directly involved with, which are the ones on the Artist Direct Network [www.whodirect.com]. And I know that Pete [Townshend] has a website, and I've seen what he does on his. I think he does a really good job of it.
Why did The Who decide to regroup and tour again this year?
Very, very simply, we just felt it would be really great to do it in the new century, and if we're going to do it at all, we haven't got many more years in which to do it well. I think we've been proved right by the reviews that we're playing better than ever before. We've stripped it back down to the basic band it always used to be, just a four-piece or five-piece. We've buried a dose of the past. We've finally kind of grown up and are enjoying it again, for the first time really, since Keith [Moon, ex-drummer] died.
Why do you think The Who is still so popular today?
There may be many reasons, but I think the main one is that Pete Townshend wrote these magical songs that are timeless. They have as much impact on a new generation today as they did when they were written. There is no doubt that's the reason we maintain the longevity and the numbers of people that come to see us.