Roger Daltrey, the co-founder and lead singer of the legendary rock band The Who, has confuted the thought that all the successful rock bands are making millions while unveiling the financial status of themselves in the 70s.
During his latest appearance on the How to Wow Podcast, the British singer, actor, and film producer, Daltrey has reminisced about the early years of the band and revealed the monetary difficulty they faced though they were renowned for being at the top of the game in rock music.
When asked about his first guitar, the iconic musician has said that it was an Epiphone, and his dad almost had to mortgage the house for that. Daltrey explained that he played it in the early tours, and then gave it to Pete Townshend. Since they had trouble getting decent singers, Roger, himself, ended up being the singer, he added.
Daltrey has also touched upon the crucial issue that everybody thought they were making millions, yet, they were actually millions in debt in today’s money. He said they didn’t really make any money until 1970. This year, they’ve done a huge tour, and cut their debt three quarters, but it was still $655,000.
The 1970 tour of The Who, the Tommy Tour, officially began on 9 May 1969 and ended on 20 December 1970. It was in support of their fourth album, the rock opera, ‘Tommy,’ and consisted of concerts split between North America and Europe.
Here’s what Roger Daltrey said when asked about his first guitar:
“The first guitar, my dad almost had to mortgage the house, he bought me an Epiphone, and I played that in the early tours, and then I gave it to Pete [Townshend, guitar] because we had trouble getting decent singers, and somehow I ended up being the singer, not the guitarist.
Sheet-metal working and guitar playing don’t go together, my hands were always cut to shreds, so, plenty of bum notes because of ‘ouch’ [Laughs]
Then I gave it to Pete and Pete used it for a while – can’t remember what happened after that because everything started to move so quickly.
Everybody thought, ‘Oh, these successful rock bands are making millions.’ We were millions in debt – in today’s money, we were millions in debt, honestly.”
He explained how they balanced their financial status as:
“We just worked, worked, worked, and we didn’t really make any money until – I think it was 1970-’71. I remember we came off-tour in 1970, we’ve done a huge tour, and we decreased our debt, we cut our debt three quarters, but our debt was still $655,000.
It was like being on a chain, but then we had the record royalties from ‘Tommy,’ and then it all started to take off, and then the film obviously bought in some money and we had some money at last.”
You can check out the rest of the conversation here.