Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of British band The Who pose for a picture at Wembley Stadium in London. Photographer: Dylan Martinez/ Reuters
LONDON: I hope I die before I get old, The Who sang in their 1965 hit My Generation. But more than 50 years on, the veteran rock band's two surviving original members are set for a new tour named Moving On! and the release of their first album of new music in 13 years. Singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist/songwriter Pete Townshend, now in their 70s, will take the stage in May as part of The Who's current six-member lineup and backed by an orchestra to play venues in the United States and Canada as well as London's Wembley Stadium in July.
After tours of past hits, namely the hugely influential rock operas Tommy and Quadrophenia, Daltrey, who performed with an orchestra last year, said it was time to do something "that reflects where we are in our lives at the moment".
“We're old men now we can't go out there and pretend it's going to be anywhere like we were 40, 50 years ago," he told Reuters in an interview at Wembley.
“Adding the orchestra can elevate the music into a place where it feels kind of grown up (but) people mustn't think just because there's an orchestra with The Who that it's going to be watered down. We'll be playing exactly full throttle like we usually do.”
Emerging in 1960s London, The Who, which included the late drummer Keith Moon and bass player John Entwistle, have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, with hits like Won't Get Fooled Again and I Can See For Miles.
"We could never have imagined it (the group's ongoing success," Daltrey said.
"I was coming to (Wembley) stadium today and taking the same journey I used to take every night in the group van...All the memories come back."
Townshend, the band's principal songwriter and famed for thrashing his guitar on stage, said he felt "grateful" they could still perform. “Roger and I are very lucky to be alive," he said. "We're lucky to be reasonably healthy. We're lucky that we can still play the music that we grew up with."
The Who this year are also planning to release their first album of new music since 2006's Endless Wire. "We went through so many different phases so now really the challenge is just writing music which is good music which suits Roger and I," Townshend said.
"I'm a real, real hard taskmaster when it comes to what I sing and whether, whether it's a good song or not. And I'll tell you he's still got it," Daltrey said.
“We're old men now we can't go out there and pretend it's going to be anywhere like we were 40, 50 years ago
The singer has said Moving On! is not a farewell tour, but acknowledged the duo's advancing years.
"One of them's gonna be (a farewell tour), we might not make the end of this one," he joked. "Every time you hit the stage there's a possibility of game over at our age."
As a member of The Who, Daltrey received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the British Phonographic Industry in 1988, and from the Grammy Foundation in 2001. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
The Who are considered one of the most influential rock bands of the 20th century, selling over 100 million records worldwide. He and Pete Townshend received Kennedy Center Honors in 2008 and The George and Ira Gershwin Award for Lifetime Musical Achievement at UCLA on 21 May 2016.
Daltrey has also been an actor and film producer, with roles in films, theatre, and television.
Peter Townshend is an English musician and songwriter best known as the lead guitarist, second vocalist, and principal songwriter for the rock band The Who. His career with The Who spans over 50 years, during which time the band grew to be one of the most important and influential rock bands of the 20th century. In 1983, Townshend received the Brit Award for Lifetime Achievement; in 1990, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Who; in 2001, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as a member of The Who; and in 2008 he received Kennedy Center Honors.
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"This is about bringing this thing to a close in a way that is emotional and meaningful and also satisfying in terms of actually answering (as many) questions as possible."