No, Roger Daltrey Didn’t Really Call the Rolling Stones ‘A Mediocre Pub Band’

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Roger Daltrey, during his interview with the Coda Collection

It was an easy way to grab readers’ attention. The headline, “Roger Daltrey Calls the Rolling Stones a ‘Mediocre Pub Band’,” or some variation thereof, appeared in many media outlets over the weekend. Naturally, the stories were shared all over social media. Trouble is, it was taken completely out of context. In fact, Daltrey called Mick Jagger “the number one rock and roll performer.” It stems from a video interview that The Who’s lead singer gave to The Coda Collection, that was first disseminated to press outlets on November 12, 2021.

In the career-spanning interview with the site’s editorial director Greg Kot, “The Guv’nor” ruminated on the legacies of many of classic rock’s biggest stars, including The Who.

When the topic turned to the Rolling Stones, Kot asked, “Did you hear what Paul McCartney said about the Stones the other day?” (He was referring to an October 2021 interview in which McCartney oddly referred to the Stones as “a blues cover band.”)

Daltrey, who turned 77 last March 1, replied, “I know what he means, but the Stones have written some great songs, but they are in the blues. They are in that format. It’s like comparing cheese and apples. They’re both very tasty, but the cheese does one thing and the apple does another. I’ve always thought that you cannot take away the fact that Mick Jagger is still the number one rock and roll show. The only other people I’d put up against him would be perhaps James Brown, maybe Jerry Lee in his day, or Little Richard, but Mick Jagger, you’ve got to take your hat off to. He’s the number one rock and roll performer.”

Here’s the part that caused all the controversy. “But as a band,” Daltrey continued, “if you were outside a pub and you heard that music coming out of a pub some nights, you’d think, ‘Well, that’s a mediocre pub band.’ No disrespect. You’re looking at me very patchy. But that music can. It’s part of its charm. Like I say. You have to see the Stones. I love them. I just think they’re great entertainment.”

The interviewer then asked, “Did The Who measure themselves against the Beatles and the Stones and the Kinks when you guys were all in the same scene in England?”

“No. No, don’t be silly,” was the reply. “No, the Beatles were beyond-beyond and the Stones. We supported both of them. In 1963 and ’64, we supported both groups. ’64 the Beatles and ’63, and ’64 the Stones a couple of gigs. I’ll never forget that ’64 one with the Beatles. You couldn’t hear a note they played. What’s the point?”

Daltrey was also asked if he and Pete Townshend would be making any new Who recordings. “There’s no point in making any music if you can’t earn a living out of it. For me anyway,” he said. “You know, what’s the point? On the last record [2019’s WHO], it cost me money to make it. I don’t see the point in doing much of that, you know? I’m too working class for that. I’ve been working since my 15th birthday and to go out and not get paid for a job, I don’t mind if it’s a charity, but I have a family to feed as well, a lot of grandchildren, a lot of children. So it’s tricky. I don’t know whether we will ever make any more new music, but I never say never. Let’s put it that way. I haven’t seen [Pete] for two years. I miss him, seeing him. Always enjoy seeing him. But we’re not that kind of friend. We don’t need to be. We know we’re there for each other.”

Related: Daltrey has moved his “Who Was I” tour to 2022, due to the pandemic

The Coda Collection brings to life stories of iconic music moments through a curated library of exclusive, rarely seen films available on Prime Video Channels, and original multimedia content created by renowned experts.

Best Classic Bands Staff

3 Comments so far

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  1. Onteo
    #1 Onteo 16 November, 2021, 07:35

    It’s a shame that last record didn’t chart well, it really was a good one. They apparently need a label that gets out and promote them like the Stones and other bands.

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  2. Wha
    #2 Wha 16 November, 2021, 18:31

    So..he compared them, pretty explicitly, to…a mediocre pub band.

    Reply this comment
  3. 122intheshade
    #3 122intheshade 16 November, 2021, 23:25

    Really enjoyed his recent biography, “Thanks A Lot Mr. Kibblewhite”.

    Reply this comment

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