The Who Releases First New Album In 13 Years Today
The long wait is over!!!! Out today (December 6th) is the long-awaited first new Who album in 13 years, titled simply, WHO. The new collection was mostly recorded in London and Los Angeles during the spring and summer 2019 and was co-produced by Pete Townshend and D. Sardy -- who has worked with Noel Gallagher, Oasis, LCD Soundsystem, Gorillaz -- with vocal production by Dave Eringa -- best known for his previous work with Manic Street Preachers, and Roger Daltrey & Wilko Johnson.
Daltrey and Townshend are joined on the album by long-time Who drummer Zak Starkey and bassist Pino Palladino along with contributions from Simon Townshend, Benmont Tench, Carla Azar, Joey Waronker, and Gordon Giltrap.
The new album's cover was designed by legendary pop artist Sir Peter Blake -- an old friend of the Who's and the designer of such iconic albums as the band's own 1981 Face Dances collection. Blake is best known for his work on the Beatles' 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
The deluxe and vinyl editions of WHO include a total of four additional songs -- including a pair written way back in 1966. The deluxe CD will have two newly-written tracks "This Gun Will Misfire" and "Danny And His Ponies," with the decades-old "Got Nothing To Prove" also on the deluxe CD. The track "Sand" will be featured on the triple red, white, and blue colored 10-inch vinyl edition.
During Pete Townshend's recent appearance on NPR, he shed light on the meaning behind the new album's lead track, "All This Music Will Fade": "Since the '60s it's become more and more basic, more and more simple. Music is often what's borrowed, what is often stolen, what is often echoed, what is often repeated -- particularly in our business. So, it's kind of absurd for somebody to pop out of the woodwork and accuse, let's say, somebody like Ed Sheeran -- whose music is not exactly (Arnold) Schoenberg -- of ripping off some earlier song. It just happens. We only have this limited language to deal with."
Roger Daltrey broke down how he goes about finding his voice within Pete Townshend's new material: "It's a strange journey for me because I have to inhabit the songs. I never want to know what he's written them about, because that would be ridiculous for me. I just have to listen to them, (and) see what I can find inside the music inside me. And our chemistry is such that we very rarely work together; we work separately and piece it together, like a jigsaw puzzle. Basically, I'm singing to a demo track, and he gives me the freedom to then lay my voice on it, where I hear it making the song work. And he trusts my judgment on that, and I thank him for that freedom."
While chatting with Rolling Stone, Pete Townshend was asked what, if any, difference he sees between the new album's music and themes and those of the Who's last album, 2006's Endless Wire: "I don't think they're necessarily that much different. Y'know, I think there are a few dark ballads, there's some experimental electronica, there's, y'know, some heavy rock stuff. It's all new material. And I wanted it to be new material, and I wanted it to cover where I stand at the moment."
Pete Townshend told us the long wait for a new Who album had nothing to do with him not having enough material for the band to record: "I could have put material together for what we would have called a Who record at any time. So, it's not been through lack of material, it's really been about why you would want to put a record out by the Who."
Roger Daltrey, who has been working with the youngest Townshend brother exclusively over the past 25 years, and was more than happy to have Simon -- who's 15-year-younger than Pete -- contribute to the new album sessions with his original tune, "Break The News": "And there I've got a Simon Townshend song, which I'm glad to have done. Because Simon is a great musician and I've been with him since 1994 -- a long, long time. And he writes great songs, Simon. But this one, it's just something lighthearted on the album, but it's got a lot of tenderness in it and I like it. That's been nice doing that. I enjoyed doing that."