THE WHO’S ROGER DALTREY unveils his new solo project exclusively in the latest MOJO magazine. The album, entitled As Long As I Have You, released on June 1, is a heavy soul stew featuring full-blooded covers of R&B nuggets as sung by Garnett Mimms, Joe Tex and more, plus Daltrey originals including Certified Rose, once slated for inclusion on The Who’s last studio album, Endless Wire.
But Daltrey’s album nearly never came out, after viral meningitis laid him low in 2015.
“There was a time there when I didn’t think I’d make it all,” Daltrey confesses to MOJO’s Tom Doyle. “But this incredible peace came over me. I’ll never forget it.”
Returning to the project after his recovery, Daltrey wondered at first whether he should release it at all, until an intervention from his Who compadre Pete Townshend restored his confidence. Townshend now contributes guitar to seven of the album’s tracks. “Pete was the one who convinced me that it was great,” says the singer.
Daltrey takes the opportunity to take MOJO through the flashpoints of a stellar career in and out of the Who – like the gig in Aarhus, Denmark in September 1965 that led to him biffing drummer Keith Moon and, for a while, being kicked out of his own band.
“I agreed to go back,” Daltrey recalls, “and the agreement was that they stop doing drugs onstage. I didn’t give a f**k what they did offstage. But when the music’s getting f**ked up ’cos you’ve got so many purple hearts inside of you… Everything’s double speed and you can’t get the words in. I mean, you might as well not be out there. When rock gets too fast, it comes off the ground. It’s no longer a rock. It’s a bag of wind.”
Pete Townshend is also interviewed, exploring his contributions to As Long As I Have You, and his often-rocky relationship with Daltrey.
“You know the difficult thing for Roger and me is that we have never really collaborated on a creative level,” Townshend says, “not even in the way we plan stage shows. Either I am driving or he is driving.”
But he’s full of praise for Daltrey’s vocal powers (“Roger sings like a superhero”) and songwriting.
“The next ‘Who’ album if there is to be one really needs to feature songs from Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend in equal numbers,” he concludes, surprisingly.
The latest MOJO magazine is in UK shops from Tuesday, March 20. Also in the issue: Ry Cooder, Courtney Barnett, Yes, Johnny Cash, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and a fantastic CD of R&B belters from the dawn of Mod.
Roger Daltrey’s As Long As I Have You is released on June 1 by Polydor Records. It’s currently available for pre-order at https://rogerdaltrey.lnk.to/ALAIHY
The title track (see below) is available to purchase and stream right now…
Roger Daltrey portrait credit: Photoshot