A New Who Album? Pete Townshend Says Maybe

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Will 2017 be the year that The Who delivers their first new studio album in more than a decade? It’s not even close to being a done deal, but it’s a possibility. Pete Townshend, in an exclusive interview with London’s Music Week, said that he is “optimistic” about an album of new music by the group. Although the website admitted that the chance of new Who music is “unlikely,” it reported that Townshend is at work on new material that could, at some point, wind up as a new collaboration with Roger Daltrey.

“The Who’s future with recording is still in the air,” Townshend told Music Week. “We’ve tried a lot to make records together, very much like the Stones. They did their blues album [Blue & Lonesome], which has done very well. So now everyone’s suggesting The Who should do the same! Roger and I have had a few occasions where we’ve tried to write and record together but we are more optimistic than ever before, because Roger has grown such a lot; he’s developed creatively, hugely. We’re optimistic we might be able to do something.”

Related: BCB‘s review of the Who at last year’s Desert Trip festival

Townshend added, “People like the Stones, the Who, AC/DC, who are at a point where they are hugely successful not only with their old fans, but are now playing to people under 30. It’s a bit of a dilemma when we go into the studio whether or not to produce new music to compete with new music that’s out there at the moment—whether we should try to sound like Justin Bieber! Or whether we can be so arrogant as to imagine we can recreate the excitement of our early days, creatively. I used to sit in a studio 24 hours a day—I was hard-working, audacious and I was brilliant. And although I work very hard today I’m not the same person, so it’s quite difficult to imagine how I might pull that off. However, that dilemma is one that really needs to be looked at.”

Townshend was speaking with MW about the reissue of his solo album catalog when he was asked about the future of the Who. The last studio album released by the Who was Endless Wire in 2006.

He also revealed that while he currently has no plan to make a new solo album, he has also been working on what is described as a “large-scale, multi-faceted project” since 2008. Townshend also said that a new entry in his Scoop series of rarities is in the works.

Watch the Who perform “5:15” at Desert Trip

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