Roger Daltrey

Roger Daltrey Announces He’s Retiring the ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’ Scream: ‘I’m Over It’

Connecting via Zoom from across the pond, Roger Daltrey exclaims with excitement, “I’m actually looking forward to a tour! This time, I’m out there to have a good time.” Despite his many treks with The Who, including the recent symphonic tours with Pete Townshend that began in 2019, Daltrey’s upcoming nine-date North American run, kicking off June 12 in Vienna, Va., is something entirely different. He describes it as “a mostly acoustic set of Who gems, rarities, solo nuggets, and other surprises,” complete with Q&A opportunities for the audience.

“I’ve done all those years with The Who, my solo stuff, and charity gigs,” Daltrey tells. “Now, I just want to branch out and do something different, with varied instrumentation, and stop using tape loops. It creates a new sound and gives me the freedom to sing songs by others that I’ve admired over the years. I’m determined to enjoy myself and explore this new freedom on tour. Let’s see where it ends up.”

When asked about the setlist, Daltrey is adamant about keeping it a secret. “I’m not gonna talk about songs,” he says. “Too many people reveal songs these days. There’s no surprises left with concerts because everyone wants to see the setlist beforehand. The Internet has ruined live shows for me. Who wants to know what’s coming next? People forget about surprises. I can’t stand it.”

Perhaps, it’s suggested, it’s just an audience with weak bladders who want to pick the right spot to visit the bathroom? “Why not just start listening to the bloody show in the toilet, then?” he says with a laugh.

One song Daltrey expects to perform is The Who’s classic “Won’t Get Fooled Again”, but with a twist. “We don’t use a tape loop for the instrumentation. We play it on real instruments, which takes it off the rails and gives me more room as a singer.” However, he notes, “I’m not gonna do the scream. I’ll get the audience to do the scream. I’ve done that scream for 55 years, and I’ve had enough of it. It’s brutal on the vocal cords. They can do the scream, and I’ll do everything else. At 80, I think I deserve to be more into singing.”

Daltrey’s band for the tour includes Who musicians Simon Townshend (Pete’s younger brother) on guitar, violinist Katie Jacoby, and Billy Nicholls on mandolin and vocals, rounded out by Jody Linscott on percussion, guitarist Doug Boyle, bassist John Hogg, harmonica player Steve Weston, Geraint Watkins on keyboards and accordion, and drummer Scott Devours. “I like to put bands together where we’re a real band and everybody gets the spotlight,” Daltrey says. “A band is more than just great musicians; it’s about chemistry. That’s not gonna happen here.”

The Q&A part of the night will involve fans submitting written questions before the show. “The band and I will review them backstage and choose the most interesting ones,” Daltrey explains. “It creates a lot of fun, and you can get some good comedy out of it if you’re lucky.”

Daltrey is also working on other projects. Although he has no plans yet to record another solo album, he doesn’t rule it out. “If anything interesting and challenging comes up, I’ll have a go at it.” He’s also focused on making a biopic about late Who drummer Keith Moon, with a script in place and currently searching for a director. “I want to get this made while I’m still alive to promote it,” he says.

Daltrey is contemplating a second book to follow his 2018 memoir, delving deeper into the shyness and insecurities he felt during The Who’s early days. As for The Who, Daltrey says he’ll do it if Pete wants to and if they’re both on fire. “If he really wants to do it, I’ll turn up even with a broken leg and deliver.”

If The Who never return, Daltrey says he’s satisfied the band did its bit — and then some. “We did as much as I could ever have wished for, and more. I thought it ended on the ultimate presentation of Pete Townshend’s music, which is out with the orchestra while maintaining the thunder of a rock band. That’s what the music deserved.”

Daltrey’s upcoming tour itinerary includes:
June 10 / Keswick Theatre / Glenside, PA
June 12 / Wolf Trap – Filene Center / Vienna, VA
June 14 / OLG Stage at Fallsview Casino / Niagara Falls, ON
June 16 / Bethel Woods Center for the Arts / Bethel, NY
June 18 / The Capitol Theatre / Port Chester, NY
June 20 / Leader Bank Pavilion / Boston, MA
June 22 / Tanglewood – The Koussevitzky Music Shed / Lenox, MA
June 23 / Mohegan Sun – Uncasville, CT
June 25 / Meadow Brook Amphitheatre / Detroit, MI
June 28 / Memorial Park / Omaha, NE
June 29 / The Pavilion at Ravinia / Highland Park, IL