UK stars weigh in on ‘final countdown’ for insurance
UK superstars have joined the chorus of industry experts and trade associations calling on the UK government to commit to underwriting cancellation costs of events such as music festivals and tours, to enable the restart of the live entertainment sector from this summer.
Jools Holland, Depeche Mode, Johnny Marr, Sir Cliff Richard, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Amy McDonald, The Chemical Brothers, Frank Turner and Judas Priest are among those who have weighed in on the ongoing petition for a government-backed insurance scheme, similar to those launched in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Belgium.
The industry’s call-to-action comes days before chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil the Budget. Alongside a government-backed insurance pot, the industry is also urging the chancellor to grant extensions on the 5% VAT rate on ticket sales; employment support; and business rates relief for shuttered venues.
The industry deems event cancellation insurance the ‘last remaining barrier’ to planning events this summer after British prime minister Boris Johnson announced a ‘cautious’ reopening roadmap that could allow festivals to take place after 21 June, but says the window of opportunity for this summer ‘will slam shut very shortly’.
“With the cut-off point for many organisers at the end of the month, this really is the final countdown for many businesses”
Paul Reed, AIF CEO, says: “The prime minister has set out a roadmap and a ‘no earlier than’ date for festivals, and audiences have responded, demonstrating a huge appetite to be back in the fields this summer. But we need government interventions on insurance and VAT before the end of this month when festivals will need to decide whether they can commit to serious amounts of upfront capital.
“Now that we have a ‘no earlier than’ date, insurance is the last remaining barrier to planning. We know that government is aware of the insurance issue and AIF has provided evidence and data to support the case. Having injected huge consumer confidence, government should intervene at this stage and ensure that our culture-defining independent festivals can mobilise and plan for this summer. With the cut-off point for many organisers at the end of the month, this really is the final countdown for many businesses.”
AIF, whose members include Boomtown Fair, Shambala, Boardmasters, End of the Road and Bluedot, recently conducted a member survey in which 92.5% of respondents confirmed they cannot stage events without insurance and described insurance measures as ‘vital’ not optional.
“The window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now”
Tim Thornhill, director of Tysers Entertainment and Sport Division, is working closely with the live entertainment insurance industry and live music industry umbrella organisation Live, to urge the government to work with industry to find a solution.
Thornhill comments: “The government has successfully created a scheme that has enabled the film and television industries to get back to work. Now they need to do the same for the live events industry. But the window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now.
“The live events industry is a massive employer and a significant generator of economic activity. Music alone employs over 200,000 people, with music tourism contributing £4.7bn to the UK economy*. The new YouGov survey shows that demand is there – they will buy tickets and spend on accommodation, food and drink. The government can unlock this boost to the economy at no cost to themselves, just a commitment to help underwrite the cost of cancellations should they occur.”
“This cover will allow our business to function as soon as it is safe for us to do so”
Jools Holland comments: “The solution to this problem could be simple – and what’s more, it doesn’t involve the government paying out money now. Maybe not even in the future, unless Covid strikes again. All we need from the government is the commitment to help if necessary.”
Roger Daltrey CBE comments: “The music business and arts have been enormously affected by the Covid-19 virus, with the ongoing health issues plus the problems thrown up by the government’s essential decision to close our places of work. The government however needs to understand how our industry functions. Promoters, especially those with festivals, bands and any touring acts have enormous outlays before commencing a tour, so insurance for these costs is paramount.
“Insurance companies will no longer cover these costs for Covid-19, which will render much of our business unviable as no promoter can risk setting up an event or tour without this cover. All we ask of our government is to put in place an insurance policy that, in the event of this situation happening again, will cover these costs. As it may be 100 years to the next pandemic it is extremely unlikely that this will involve the government paying out any money, but this cover will allow our business to function as soon as it is safe for us to do so.”
“We have seen the impact on the many people who help make the live shows happen”
The Chemical Brothers comments: “Like many other people we have had to put a lot of work on hold in the last year, and we have seen the impact on the many people who help make the live shows happen. Thousands of jobs have already been lost across the UK live music industry, with many more at risk. The UK government has already provided a financially backed scheme for the film industry, which has allowed production to resume. All we ask is that the same approach be taken to help those in the live events industry, which needs the support too and provides so much to the UK economically as well as culturally.”
Sir Cliff Richard comments: “The live events industry has suffered hugely as a result of the pandemic and has been shut down for nearly a year. Venues, performers and crew have all been badly affected. People’s jobs and income have vanished almost overnight. OUR BUSINESS BRINGS INSPIRATION AND HAPPINESS INTO PEOPLE’S LIVES. WE CAN MAKE THEM SMILE WHEN THEY ARE SAD AND WE CAN HELP THEM SING WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SING ABOUT! We need the government to help us plan for when it is safe to resume OUR business.”
“The industry is facing near catastrophe without adequate government support”
Amy MacDonald comments: “When people attend a gig they buy a ticket, turn up and enjoy the show. What they don’t always understand is the months of preparation that went on behind the scenes to get to that particular point. Thousands of emails and phone calls, meetings, site visits and not to mention huge amounts of money spent to just get to a point where the tickets are on sale. Another important aspect of preparing for a show is the need to ensure the event but it’s now impossible to get any insurance to cover these shows.
“As we have seen from the recent cancellation of Glastonbury, the live industry cannot even plan to start up again because it is too much of a risk without any insurance. The live industry has been put on hold for nearly a year and with no date for a return and no chance to even plan a return, the industry is facing near catastrophe without adequate government support. Nobody wants to live in a world without live music.”
“Can the PM tell us why he won’t help an industry that contributes billions to the UK economy each year?”
Robert Plant comments: “We all desperately want the UK live industry back on its feet again, so we can enjoy our favourite bands or sports event. Yet without insurance to cover these events, these things can’t happen. So please, can the PM tell us why he won’t help an industry that contributes billions to the UK economy each year?
“We’re not asking for any money, just a commitment to help if Covid ever strikes again. We don’t want a hand-out, we just need a hand up.. to help us get back on the stage. I’ve spent 55 years performing in halls, clubs, theatres and concerts halls across the UK. Now we’re in unchartered waters, soon there will be nowhere left to play. So I’m lending my voice to this campaign in the hope that the government will see sense and lend support before many of our beloved music venues disappear forever.”
Harvey Goldsmith CBE, promoter, comments: “As promoters and producers of live concerts we cannot produce tours without insurance against Covid. We are the risk takers and often have to pay considerable sums upfront to be able to create the tour. If the government at any time decide it is unsafe to continue, or commence a tour, we must be able to take insurance to protect us, as any normal business would expect. If no insurance is available our business will collapse.”
“The single most powerful measure the government could take is to underwrite any losses from Covid-19 cancellations”
Philip McIntyre, promoter, comments: “I would like to support your campaign to have the government underwrite any losses suffered from Covid 19 cancellations whilst the pandemic is still prevalent. My company is in the top five of all live entertainment groups in the UK we are obviously keen to start operating again but we worry about uninsured risk. Now we have a plan to come out of lockdown the single most powerful measure the government could take is to underwrite any losses from Covid-19 cancellations after June this year.
“This would give the risk takers so much confidence they the live arts would return to normal by December this year. If there are claims they would more than likely be on a regional basis and not onerous and the business generated in town and city centres would more than cover them in my estimation the government would be in profit 12 months ahead of a no action situation.”
Frank Turner comments: “It cannot be exaggerated, the devastation caused in my industry by the pandemic. We’re doing what we can to hang on and plan for a better future. An insurance plan will help us survive and come back quicker, and it doesn’t involve the government paying out any extra money now (or possibly ever). It would make an enormous difference.”
“Every effort is made to reduce the costs of a cancelled concert including trying to reschedule a date”
Johnny Marr comments: “The solution to getting music back up safely is easy and it doesn’t involve the government committing money now. All we need from the government is the commitment to help if necessary with an insurance scheme backed by them, and that will get our crews and suppliers back working. The government would only have to pay out in the worst case.”
Barrie Marshall MBE, promoter, comments: “The tremendous work of the NHS and the vaccination programme means that live events can start soon, this gives us hope that we can begin to share those magical moments and wonderful concerts once again. However, we need the government to help us by providing financial backing in the form of an insurance fund. This is needed to cover the costs of an event if it must be cancelled as a result of a Covid outbreak. Every effort is made to reduce the costs of a cancelled concert including trying to reschedule a date in the future but there are some circumstances where this is not possible.”
“We help to get our industry back on track and to help restart live events in a safe, effective way once it’s possible to do so”
John Giddings, promoter, comments: “Our industry has been hit immeasurably over the past year and we need to get it back up and running again. The government has got to help!”
Judas Priest comments: “The world has been more or less brought to its knees because of Covid-19 in this past year. It has affected so many people and businesses in all walks of life in so many ways. Our industry, the entertainment industry (which is a multi-billion dollar business), is suffering massively. It isn’t just affecting us – a band who want to get back out on the road, performing to our fans around the world – but it is affecting mainly our crew (and all the other crews), the venues and their staff, cleaners, security, caterers, local crew, bus drivers, truck drivers, lighting and video personnel, stage set designers and stage set builders. The list is endless.
“We need help, for the venues to be able to put on shows and the artists to be able to perform we all need to get tour insurance that will cover Covid-19 so shows can go ahead. Now we have the vaccine things should be on the way up but we need your help urgently, please!”
Depeche Mode comments: “With the live music industry in the UK shut down for over a year, our crew, our fans, venues, and everyone else who makes shows possible has been badly affected. Jobs and income have vanished almost overnight, and fans and artists alike have been left wondering when live shows will be possible again. We need the government to help us get our industry back on track and to help restart live events in a safe, effective way once it’s possible to do so.”
Government-backed insurance funds will be explored at ILMC during Insurance: The Big Update, while lessons that can be learned from 2020’s lost festival summer will be discussed during Festival Forum: Reboot & Reset.
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Gallagher, Rogers, Weller and more for 20th TCT shows
Teenage Cancer Trust has announced four of the acts set to play its annual fundraising concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London this 23–29 March.
Headlining the 20th edition of the charity shows are electronic duo Groove Armada, Welsh rockers Stereophonics (with special guest Paul Weller), Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds and funk pioneers Nile Rodgers and Chic, on 25, 26, 27 and 29 March, respectively, with more acts still to be announced.
The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, a longtime Teenage Cancer Trust patron, says: “Once again, we’ve got some incredible artists on the bill for 2020, and I can’t thank them enough for giving up their time for Teenage Cancer Trust. Since the first gig back in 2000, audiences have raised millions to fund Teenage Cancer Trust nurses, support teams and special hospital wards that have helped young people cope with some unimaginably hard times. Without Teenage Cancer Trust these specialist services would simply not be there.
“I’ve seen firsthand the difference this support makes to so many young people with cancer over the years, and I’m beyond proud to be a part of the Teenage Cancer Trust team. Everyone who’s helped us achieve this is a hero in my book, and I’d like to thank everyone who has got us this far.
“Teenage Cancer Trust started out 30 years ago to change everything for young people with cancer. And that’s exactly what we’ve done. But we want a world where cancer doesn’t stop young people from living their lives-there’s so much more we need to do.
“This age group deserves these facilities and programmes in our NHS, but without your support for this charity they would not exist. By buying a ticket to these shows you will be helping this great cause do exactly that.”
“We’re incredibly grateful for the amazing support from the artists getting involved in our 2020 gigs”
Before Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) was established in 1990, there was no specialist cancer care for teenagers and young adults. Those aged 13-24 were being treated on adult wards, or in children’s wards, and this could cause additional stress and trauma, according to TCT. Many felt alone and isolated, as it was likely they’d never meet another person their age with cancer.
Today, around half of all young people with cancer are treated on 28 TCT wards across the UK, by specialist nurses and youth support teams. Almost every young person with cancer can get support from specialist TCT nurses wherever they live.
“The leap forward in care that Teenage Cancer Trust has been able to provide to young people facing cancer over the past 30 years has only been possible thanks to our generous supporters, including our Royal Albert Hall artists and audiences,” explains Kate Collins, CEO of Teenage Cancer Trust. “But much more needs to change, and we can’t wait another 30 years for that to happen.
“That’s we’re incredibly grateful for the amazing support from the artists getting involved in our 2020 gigs. It’s going to be an unforgettable experience and will help us support every young person with cancer who needs us.”
Around 100 young people who’ve been supported by Teenage Cancer Trust will enjoy the ‘ultimate backstage experience’ during the 2020 shows, which includes meet and greets with the acts, as well as the chance to write and perform their own song and appear on stage alongside Daltrey to share their TCT experiences.
Tickets go on sale this Friday (24 January) at 9.30am via Ticketmaster, Gigs and Tours and the Royal Albert Hall website.
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The Who to play record third date at Hollywood Bowl
The Who will play a third date at California’s Hollywood Bowl as part of their Moving On! Tour this autumn, promoter Live Nation has announced.
The English rock band has never before performed at the iconic 17,500-capacity venue more than two times in one tour cycle. The Bowl dates mark the Who’s first appearance at the venue since a two-show run in April and May of 2006.
Liam Gallagher will open the third Hollywood Bowl show on October 24. The extra date comes as the band cancelled their performance at Rogers Place (20,734-cap.) in Edmonton, scheduled for 23 October.
Guests for the first two Bowl shows on October 11 and 13 are yet to be announced.
In 2017, Live Nation veteran promoters Andrew Hewitt and Bill Silva beat a rival AEG Presents bid to sign a ten-year deal with LA Philharmonic to exclusively promote non-classical concerts at the Bowl.
The Bowl dates mark the Who’s first appearance at the venue since a two-show run in April and May of 2006.
The Who kicked off their stadium tour on 9 May in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ending the first week of touring playing to a sold-out crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden (20,789-cap.) on Monday (13 May).
The Who are accompanied by acclaimed local orchestras as they visit 29 cities across the United States and Canada for their symphonic concert tour. Guitarist and backup singer Simon Townshend, keyboardist Loren Gold, bassist Jon Button and drummer Zak Starkey also join the band.
A UK tour date, at London’s Wembley Stadium, is scheduled for July.
The Moving On! Tour is Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend’s first tour since Endless Wire in 2006. Speaking in a keynote interview at this year’s International Live Music Conference, Daltrey suggested that, despite the tour, his and Townshend’s relationship remains strained. The pair are recording the Who’s new album separately.
The album – the Who’s first record of new songs in 13 years – will be out later this year.
Tickets for the Hollywood Bowl go on sale on Friday 17 May at 12 p.m. local time. More information can be found here.
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From CTS to Post Malone: IQ 83 out now
The latest issue of IQ landed in many subscribers’ laps today, offering readers a full round-up of this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC), as well as an in-depth look at the most important industry trends, figures and events of the past few months.
For those who missed the 31st edition of ILMC, the conference’s biggest year yet, or want to relive the highlights, IQ 83 provides a report of panels on ticketing, festivals, Brexit and diversity, as well as a look back at Roger Daltrey’s Breakfast meeting, complete with anecdotes from the Who’s early touring days.
The magazine also covers the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and the inaugural Futures Forum, in which IQ editor-in-chief Gordon Masson sat down with international star Dua Lipa and her father Dugi to discuss work ethics, women and the pair’s native Kosovo.
IQ’s latest edition marks the 30th anniversary of live events powerhouse CTS Eventim with an in-depth exploration of the company’s history and a look into the man behind the business, Klaus-Peter Schulenberg (KPS). And beyond the history of the company, we ask what’s in store for the new Eventim Live initiative.
The 83rd edition of IQ Magazine – the essential publication for the international live music business – is out now
Elsewhere, IQ 83 focuses on the Swiss live entertainment market, which has become ever more lucrative and attractive to transnational industry conglomerates, placing a strain on some established, independent operators.
The issue also reveals the secrets behind sell-outs, as some of the world’s most popular festivals spill the beans on how they consistently achieve a full house, despite an increasingly saturated and competitive festival market.
Another sell-out success story, IQ 83 talks to those behind rapper Post Malone’s popular world tour, which has sold out arenas across the Europe and South America.
To get your fix of essential live music industry features, comment and analysis in premium print format, click here to subscribe to IQ now.
The Teenage Cancer Trust shows at 20
Music plays such an important role in young people’s lives and is part of the DNA of Teenage Cancer Trust, so we are honoured to be ILMC’s charity partner in the year 2020.
Teenage Cancer Trust relies solely on donations, and on behalf of the organisation, I am so grateful for the incredible support given to us over many years from the music industry. It’s helped to ensure that no young person or their family faces cancer alone, and that they are provided with specialist nursing and emotional support throughout their treatment and beyond.
2020 is set to be a big year for Teenage Cancer Trust. Not only will the charity be turning 30 years old, but it also marks our 20th annual concert series at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall, where the world’s biggest names in music and comedy come together, raising money to help young people facing the chaos of cancer.
Conceived in 2000 and curated by the charity’s honorary patron, Roger Daltrey CBE, legendary frontman of The Who, these annual shows have grown into an iconic week-long series of gigs and are the charity’s flagship event. They are a highlight of the music industry calendar and have featured some of the world’s leading music and comedy acts.
The Who actually played the first ever Teenage Cancer Trust show at the Royal Albert Hall back in 2000 as ‘The Who and Friends,’ and we have an extraordinary legacy that has seen unique, once-in-a-lifetime performances like Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn performing together for the first time ever in 2013, Sir Paul McCartney in 2012, plus everyone from Muse to The Cure, Ed Sheeran to Tinie Tempah, Olly Murs, Florence + The Machine, Kasabian, Stereophonics, Paul Weller, Eric Clapton, Robert Plant, Sir Tom Jones and many more. And, of course, some of the greatest concerts of the past 20 years from The Who.
The shows have also played host to the cream of British comedy including Ricky Gervais, Little Britain, James Corden, Steve Coogan, Peter Kay, Jimmy Carr, Jason Manford, John Bishop, Kevin Bridges, Russell Howard, Rhod Gilbert and Russell Brand.
Curated by the charity’s honorary patron, Roger Daltrey, these annual shows have grown into an iconic week-long series of gigs…
These incredible shows have raised over £29 million for Teenage Cancer Trust and played a vital role in helping the charity provide 28 specialist cancer units and over 60 nursing and support staff in NHS hospitals across the UK, making an incredible difference to young people diagnosed with cancer.
Teenage Cancer Trust’s units (hospital wards) certainly don’t look or feel like normal wards, instead they’re designed by young people for young people with vibrant colours, music, pool tables, fun activities and Wi-Fi access. These may sound like small things to some but they help enormously to maintain a sense of normality amongst the disruption of cancer.
Around seven young people aged between 13 and 24 are diagnosed with cancer every day in the UK and need expert treatment and specialist support from the moment they hear the word ‘cancer.’ Having cancer is tough at any age but as a young person it brings unique challenges. The psychological, social and emotional impact of cancer on young people is enormous. Imagine, just as life is taking off, cancer shatters everything – your confidence, self-esteem, education, work prospects, hopes and future.
Combining treatment with school, friendships and all the usual challenges of this turbulent time of life means it’s even more important to be treated as an individual, not a diagnosis. Teenage Cancer Trust is the only charity dedicated to ensuring no young person risks facing cancer isolated and alone. Its expert team of specialist nurses and youth support co-ordinators work hard to ensure that the emotional and physical needs of young people and their families are met throughout the entire journey.
With the incredible support of the music industry and our supporters, we’ve been able to continue and grow our work. This support also allows us to bring more young people together to be treated by experts in teenage and young adult cancer, in an environment designed just for them. A heartfelt thank you from us all – we couldn’t do it without you!
‘We tried to create the sound of war’: Daltrey does ILMC
Born during a V-1 raid in the Second World War, Roger Daltrey rose from the rubble-strewn seats of post-war London to become one of the world’s greatest rock frontmen – and host Ed Bicknell, and hundreds of delegates, were on hand to hear all about it, in this year’s later ILMC Breakfast Meeting.
Daltrey opened by talking about his new memoir, Thanks a Lot, Mr Kibblewhite, whose cover features the singer in his mid-70s pomp standing in front of what looks like a bombed-out house. “The world I grew up in was bombsites, of ruined houses being demolished to build jerry-built tower blocks in their place – and I wanted a cover that told that story,” he said. “It’s a composite of me in a glamorous period of my life against those houses being demolished.”
Daltrey said he, and others like him, became interested in American blues and R&B as a result of their working-class backgrounds. “Being working class in Britain was equivalent of being black in America, and that’s what drew us to that music,” he explained. “We identified with their struggle.”
His love of music, however, started earlier: “I was a choir boy when I was at school, so I had perfect pitch and I was a good singer. But it was [British skiffle singer] Lonnie Donegan who first made he want to throw my head back and wail. He influenced Robert Plant, all the singers of my generation… Lonnie Donegan, he was the one.”
Daltrey said the band that became the Who really developed their chops when they got into the blues, honing their craft by touring constantly across the UK’s then-booming grassroots venues circuit. “There were so many venues, then,” he commented. “Every other vehicle on the roads was a van taking a group up north somewhere to a gig. That’s what was so great – almost every street had a band in it, and almost every band was getting some kind of work, whether it was playing a pub, a bar mitzvah or wedding, a youth club…”
Fast-forward a few years, and the Who are riding high on their post-Tommy success, with Pete Townshend’s rock opera about a deaf, dumb and blind boy (who sure plays a mean pinball) propelling the band to greater heights. Yet despite their growing profile and critical and commercial success, they’re broke: “In 1971, after touring for a whole year, we came back to the great news that our debt, instead of being £1.3 million, had gone down to £650,000,” Daltrey continued.
“Even Peter Sellers used to laugh at Keith Moon, and it wasn’t easy to make Peter Sellers laugh”
As it turned out, the Who’s managers, Chris Stamp and Kit Lambert, had their hands in the till, with Daltrey, Townshend, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon funding the pair’s lavish lifestyles and growing heroin habits.
“You can’t be managed by crooks – as the Small Faces found out [with Don Arden] – but Pete wouldn’t join up with us [to oust Stamp and Lambert],” Daltrey explained, “until he went to America, went to his publishing account and found a load of money missing. In the end they ended up with nothing, and we lost two creative people that could have been part of our team. They were the best creative managers any band could ask for, but they were crooked.”
Their replacement was Bill Curbishley, whom Daltrey first noticed working in the offices of Stamp and Lambert’s company, Track Records. “He used to disappear at the same time every night,” Daltrey recalls. “I only realised later he was on parole. Turns out he was inside for eight years for a bank robbery! One he didn’t do – but, equally, he could have got done for one that he did do…
“He did eight years for someone else, so I knew that if he did a deal with me, he’d be straight with me. And from that day on, we started making money. With Bill, you didn’t have to count your fingers after you shook hands, and that says a lot about a man.”
Reflecting on the Track team’s heroin use, Daltrey said he was also “in a band with three addicts. Pete and John were alcoholics, and Keith would have taken anything. He [Moon] had huge talent – he’d have you laughing until you had to walk out the room, because that’s all you could do; even Peter Sellers used to laugh at Keith Moon, and it wasn’t easy to make Peter Sellers laugh – but underneath that was this incredible frailty and vulnerability. He couldn’t channel his talent in a way he could use it creatively.”
Daltrey also recalled his own brief dalliance with narcotics – “I did speed back in ’64, in the mod days, when we’d play 8–11, and then again from 2–6am, and then I’d drive the van home as well” – but said all the ‘purple hearts’ did was “made me chew my lips up and make my mouth dry so I couldn’t sing.”
“For me it was really painful to hear this group of fantastic musicians play so badly”
The frontman’s distaste for drugs also led to his brief dismissal from the group: “For me it was really painful to hear this group of fantastic musicians, hear this band with so much talent, play so badly [because they were on speed] – I couldn’t take it. So I came off stage and flushed their stuff down the loo… they weren’t best pleased!”
Bicknell then shared an anecdote about his booking the Who in 1968 for a student night in Hull – and the young band’s approach to hecklers. “In May 1968, I booked the Who for 350 very large pounds, and halfway through the set, when you’re in a quiet passage, these very two large Hull dockers who’d made their way into the gig started heckling.
“Pete stopped the song and said, ‘If you can do any fucking better than this, come up here.’ To my horror the guy gets on stage, and Pete spins round and hits this him over the head with the machine heads of his guitar. To this day, it’s the hardest I’ve ever seen anyone hit with anything – blood spurts out this guy’s head and he collapses in a heap on the floor. Then the other guy gets on stage and you kick him in the head!”
“It never ceases to amaze me, the stupidity of these people,” said Daltrey. “It’s the first rule of warfare: you always need to have the high ground!”
Bicknell also recalled the overpowering volume of the band’s speaker stacks, even at that early stage in their career. “We wanted to create the noise of a battlefield,” replied Daltrey. “We were trying to create the sound of war.”
Although Daltrey and Townshend (75 and 73, respectively) are gearing up for a new album, their first since 2006’s Endless Wire, and a Live Nation-promoted stadium tour, Daltrey suggested the pair’s often-fractious relationship remains strained, revealing they are recording the new record separately.
“In the old days you’d just shout out the next number, responding to the vibe of the crowd… now you have to do that before the show”
Artistically, however, his sole remaining bandmate is a bona fide genius, he added: “People overuse the word ‘genius’ […] but when it comes to songwriting, Pete Townshend is – he’s one of the most important composers of the 20th century.”
“I can write songs, but they’re not great songs of significance like Townshend’s are,” he continued, adding he loves “being the guy who takes what Pete’s written” and interpreting it his own way.
Responding to a question from the floor about his opinion of modern big-production shows, Daltrey said: “In some ways I hate it, because we have to play to a setlist. In the old days you’d just shout out the next number, responding to the vibe of the crowd – now you have to do that before the show, because the whole thing has to work with the lighting man, the video man and everything else…
“So, in that sense it’s a little less exciting, but we manage it.”
Daltrey closed by talking about his work with Teenage Cancer Trust, as well as his vision for a worldwide network of hospitals designed specifically for teenagers – the people who, he acknowledged, were key to the success of the Who.
“In the ’70s, when it all went tits up and high earners were taxed at 98%, squeezed till the pips squeaked, we were one of the few bands who didn’t go abroad,” he recalled. “We thought, ‘We voted them [the Labour government] in’; we can’t just leave. So we carried on earning but turned ourselves into a charity, putting all the money we earnt into this charity and giving it out to other charities we thought were worthy.
“That’s how the Who were, and how I still feel. You get out of life what you put in.”
Previous ILMC Breakfast Meeting interviewees include Nick Mason, Bill Curbishley, Marc Geiger, Arthur Fogel, Claude Nobs, Doc McGhee and longtime U2 manager Paul McGuinness.
Roger Daltrey announced for ILMC 31 Breakfast Meeting
Roger Daltrey, lead singer and founder member of the Who and one of the greatest frontmen in rock history, has been announced for this year’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC) keynote interview.
Daltrey will join former Dire Straits manager and raconteur Ed Bicknell for the latest edition of the ILMC Breakfast meeting at 16.45 on Thursday 7 March, joining a roster of previous Breakfast Meeting interviewees that includes Nick Mason, Bill Curbishley, Marc Geiger, Arthur Fogel, Claude Nobs, Doc McGhee and longtime U2 manager Paul McGuinness.
Famed for his powerful voice and energetic stage presence, Daltrey is among the most charismatic of rock’s vocalists, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide across a 50-year career with the Who and as a solo artist.
Daltrey has sold 100m+ records worldwide across a 50-year career with the Who and as a solo artist
As an honorary patron of the Teenage Cancer Trust, Daltrey has additionally been the driving force behind the annual Royal Albert Hall concert series since 2000, and with the recent publication of his memoir, Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My Story, he adds author to a long list of job titles that also includes film actor and producer.
Daltrey’s appearance at ILMC marks the 15th edition of the Breakfast Meeting, which this year moves to a later afternoon slot to accommodate changes to the Friday schedule and the new Futures Forum event.
The announcement follows that of the first round of ILMC panels and sessions in December, with the full conference schedule set to be announced in two weeks’ time.
ILMC, the leading gathering of the international live music business, takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel in west London from 5 to 8 March. The discounted earlybird rate for delegate passes expires on 23 January.