Friday, January 11, 2019

Thanks a Lot, Mr. Kibblewhite - Roger Daltrey

Probably my first exposure to the Who was hearing their smash "I Can See For Miles" blasting out of the radio back in the day (I don't remember any of their previous songs getting much airplay in the mid-west) and being completely knocked out by it. Of course, from there we got the ubiquitous Tommy and Who's Next, both of which were on constant rotation everywhere - and rightfully so - and seeing them perform in the Woodstock movie completely blew my teenaged mind. Most of my bands have covered some song or another or theirs and their influence on my life cannot be overstated!

That said, Daltrey was probably the member of the Who that I was least infatuated with. Of course, he had style and his voice is integral to the group, but he wasn't the guitarist or songwriter (both of which I aspired to be), he didn't have the madness'n'drive of Moon or the stoic talent and dark humor of Entwistle. In fact, comparatively, he was a bit of a homebody, which was a necessary repercussion of being a singer and wanting to keep his voice in shape (which didn't always happen, as many live tapes will attest!). In video interviews he was somewhat reserved and quiet - especially compared to the others - and didn't come across as personable as he could.

This book, however, is a bit of a revelation. He writing style is very conversational and he is witty, funny, charming and appears to be a very decent human being. He does not shy away from his humble roots and uses a lot of cockney slang as he tells his story of his youth and of the band, which he initially formed as the guitarist, with a couple of homemade guitars that literally fell apart on him, giving him to impetus to become a singer! He enlisted Entwistle and then Pete and, of course, everyone knows the story of Moon showing up and demolishing their sit-in drummer's kit and becoming the 4th member of the group.

Roger moves quickly and doesn't give a lot of detail overall, but does spend time on incidents like Moon collapsing on stage (which seemed funny at the time, but looking back as an adult, it really was just sad), the audience deaths in Cincinnati, his fights with Pete, his time being booted from his own band, his interventions with the other members' substance abuse, the deaths of Keith and John and more. Of course, he gives an overview of his acting career, as well, along with his pride in his family and his home, where he worked on many projects with his own hands. And, as he gets older, he has had some health issues, but is content with the current version of the Who and of his personal life.

It turns out that he is a great story teller, albeit not as long winded as someone like Pete! I can actually relate a bit more to Pete's moodiness, artiness and intellectualism, but Roger really comes across as a guy that you truly would like to hang out with at the local pub! A nice addition to your collection of books on the Who!