Pete Townshend says a new Who album remains up in the air. During a chat with Rolling Stone ahead of Friday's (April 23rd) “Super Deluxe” reissue of The Who Sell Out, Townshend touched upon the issues regarding him and Roger Daltrey recording a followup to 2019's Top Two hit album, WHO.
Townshend revealed, “I had a conversation with Roger and flew the idea past him, and he half-liked it, and said it would be interesting to hear when the music comes. And then I started to read things that he was saying in the press, which were very much at odds with the conversation that we had face-to-face. I think we really need to have another proper conversation. Until we have that conversation, I don’t think there’s any real prospect of a Who album developing because it’s all in my hands and I tend to do it, and then Roger comes along and sings the songs.”
He went on to shed light on the decision-making process for the band, which has been downsized over the years into a duo: “There’s only two of us now. And these days, he insists on having music to sing, which he believes in, completely and utterly, that he can get inside. Unless he can inhabit the story of the song, he can’t do a good job. And so it means that I have to, in a sense, work as a tailor. I’m not really that free to write whatever comes off the end of my tape machine.”
Townshend said: “I don’t know whether there will be another Who album. It needs Roger to be on it. And I think he was even complaining that he didn’t make any money out of it. I was like, 'Who does make money out of f***in’ records anymore?' I don’t know who does. Maybe two or three people, but not many.”
Ultimately, Townshend would rather record as the Who than as a solo artist, admitting, “To do a solo album and to properly support it. . . The idea of writing maybe 40 songs and picking 12 and doing the interviews and the videos and all that stuff and going on tour around the world for six months. . . I don’t know that I will ever do that again.”
Pete Townshend explained how he compartmentalized his jobs within the Who's framework: “I always felt as a young man that I had two roles; one was to write for this band called, the Who — of which I was a very difficult member. All four members of the band were difficult. So one of the reasons that I'm proud of it was that I succeeded at a time when the band were very potent, very powerful, very successful — but they were also a little bit off the wall. I'm really proud of the songs I wrote.”