How Roger Daltrey’s ‘Big Mouth’ Led to Touring for Free
Roger Daltrey said his “big mouth” led to playing U.K. dates for free during the summer. It was the Who singer’s way of standing up for music-industry professionals who lost their livelihoods in the era of COVID.
“I just did a tour in England, for nothing, for the musicians who passionately care about our industry,” Daltrey told Forbes. “They were quite poorly treated during the lockdowns and received very little help from both [British and American] governments.
“I took musicians, nine of them, out just to give them a month’s work,” he added. “We had no expectations. and I was hoping that the tour wouldn’t get canceled. Some of us did get COVID, but we got through to the end anyway.”
Daltrey said he was “most concerned” about road crew who might be lost to the industry. “Those guys, they're extraordinary people, incredibly skilled,” he said. “Every day they arrive at 10 a.m., spend all day setting up the stage, putting lights up, all of that. As soon as the band comes off of the stage, they take it all down, load it into a truck, travel overnight to the next gig, then do the same thing over.
“To find those kinds of people again, to rebuild that business, would take years. I worried whether they would actually be there when we went back" on the road],” Daltrey said. “So me and my big mouth! I made a statement that the bands who can afford to – like us who’ve had privileged careers – should look after their own, try to give them some money and work to help replace what they’ve lost over the last couple of years.”
Now 78, Daltrey accepted that touring took a heavy toll on his body, but said “it’s a good toll, gets you fit, keeps you moving instead of just sitting on a chair watching TV. My summer solo tour was an absolute joy.”
The Who will resume their U.S. tour beginning on Oct. 2.
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