A little over a year after the release of the last Who album, Pete Townshend is hard at work on its followup. In a new interview with Uncut, he revealed he's written 25 new songs — 15 demos of which have already been passed along to frontman Roger Daltrey.
Townshend explained, “Right now, I’m in that space where I’ve got my studio set up, my acoustic and electric guitars, a drum box, all there ready to go. There’s pages and pages of draft lyrics. So if the moment comes, I’ll go in and start.”
Fans are buzzing over the prospects of a new Who album in lieu of the scrapped 2021 tour dates due to the ongoing pandemic.
Townshend was asked his thoughts on Bob Dylan's latest album — 2020's Rough And Rowdy Ways, and admitted, “I tried to listen to it, but my interest in other people’s deep journeys into self is a bit limited. I’m a bit like Elton John in that respect: I’m more interested in what new, younger artists are doing. I find the music world at the moment just overwhelmingly, fantastically wonderful. I’m not even that interested in Rod Stewart‘s Christmas album, or even the Who album, to be honest. I’m kind of more interested in finding something amazing on Bandcamp.”
Townshend went on to gush over It Is What It Is — the 2020 album from bassist and singer-songwriter Thundercat, saying, “I’ve been going back to (it), which I just love. I think it’s so absolutely incredible, kind of like Sgt. Pepper — so that’s been an obsession.”
The Who's 2019 album, WHO, entered the Billboard 200 at Number Two. Obviously for an album to have the momentum that the Who's latest set clearly has — it's not just down to boomer fans driving the new music to the upper reaches of the charts. Pete Townshend told us that 55 years on, it's fascinating to realize that it's the younger generations that are keeping the Who alive and thriving: “It's so strange to have that brand that is bigger than either of us. That when we get together underneath that banner, we're conferred with a magical sprinkling of, y'know, historical stardust that attracts an audience that is not just old fans — it's curious young people; people who are interested in our legacy, and where we fit into the history of Western music — and Western sociology.”
Townshend told us that although the Who's fan base continues to grow, he finds that the band's newer fans differ from the die-hards of the 1970's: “They don't have the same kind of parochial loyalties and needs that they used to have. They're much more eclectic, they're much more generous in spirit, they're much more broadly based. Do you know what? They love music. Just music. Well, hey-ho!”