Roger Daltrey Not Nostalgic For 'Woodstock'
Nearly 50 years on, Roger Daltrey is one of the legendary performers from 1969's Woodstock, who doesn't view the festival as the "good old days." In a new chat with The New York Times, the Who frontman was asked how he felt during the 10 hour wait to take the stage at 5:00 am on August 17th, 1969: "Tired! You build yourself up for a fight. We were determined to make our music count. 'We're going to beat this one, we're not going to let it beat us.' You've got to remember, by the time we went onstage, we'd been standing in the mud for hours. Or laying in it, or doing whatever in it. It wasn't actually that muddy backstage, but it wasn't comfort, let's put it that way. . . We were young, and life is a lot easier when you're young. I wouldn't do that show now. Sod that. I'd walk away from it. I'm joking. No, I'd walk away and come back 10 hours later."
Daltrey went on to talk about the festival, which has been romanticized over the decades by those who attended and/or wished they had, recalling, "Yeah, it was boring. Hours and hours of that is boring. We could hear the bands that were on before us, and I particularly remember how good Creedence Clearwater (Revival) was -- they were fantastic."
He went on to say, "I don't think the bands were the stars of Woodstock. In my mind, it's the audience. They were the stars, that half a million people that put up with that crap (laughs) for three days. That coming together of that community was, I think, the key to getting America out of Vietnam. That's when politicians actually started to take notice."
Daltrey explained that the aftermath of the Woodstock festival and the 1970 movie chronicling the event catapulted the Who into super-stardom, explaining, "That summer our audiences went from 5,000 to 100,000, in a six-month period. It was a ridiculous, rapid elevation in status."
Roger Daltrey has always had a realistic view of both Woodstock -- and the 1960's -- often seeing both sides of the same coin: "Woodstock wasn't peace and love. There was an awful lot of shouting and screaming going on. By the time it all ended, the worst sides of our nature had come out. People were screaming at the promoters, people were screaming to get paid. We had to get paid, or we couldn't get back home."
When we last caught up with Roger Daltrey, he told us that nobody should be expecting to catch the Who at any 50th anniversary events: "I haven't heard anything, no. August in America is too hot for me to work in anymore. Since my Meningitis, my (body) thermostat's gone up a creep and I can't work in extreme heat anymore. I mean, you can't re-do Woodstock, because the star of Woodstock was the audience. Well, most of them are probably dead by now, I don't know (laughs). Law of averages, probably 50 percent of them are dead, anyway. You can't re-do it -- you can celebrate the dates."