Roger Daltrey Revisited the Making of “Who’s Next” on “Real Time”

The Who frontman joined Bill Maher for a career-spanning chat

May 4, 2024 2:39 am
Bill Maher
Bill Maher talked with Roger Daltrey on a new "Real Time."

“You look smart. I look like a bag of laundry.” That was how Roger Daltrey compared Bill Maher’s sartorial instincts to his own as he took to the Real Time stage. The Who’s vocalist is touring the U.S. in June, and joined Maher for a candid look back at his own career — including the very distinctive cover of 1971’s Who’s Next.

The vibe was established pretty early, when Maher showed a number of images of a younger Daltrey in full shirtless rock-god mode. “I feel restricted with a shirt on. I took it off and I felt wonderful,” Daltrey recalled. “Well, it used to be. Not quite when you’re 80 years old.”

Maher asked Daltrey about the cover of the band’s album Who’s Next, in which the band stood beside a concrete pillar in a slag heap. Daltrey explained that the band had ambitions to use it for the cover art, but were underwhelmed after seeing it in person. “We’d just gotten out of the group van and thought, well we can use it as a urinal,” he said. “Then it became a competition — who had the highest pee.”

Later, the conversation turned to the chemistry between Daltrey and Pete Townshend. “There’s always been friction, but that’s what makes it special,” Daltrey said. “We existed on friction. That’s where the really good creation came from.”

Daltrey also raised the subject of The Who’s late drummer Keith Moon, about whom he’s been working to make a film for decades. “I’m determined to make a proper film,” he said — and clarified that that meant that it would be no longer than two hours and 15 minutes. Daltrey, it turns out, is not fond of three-plus hour films. He also shared one particularly memorable story about Moon: “He was the only guy I knew who could make Peter Sellars laugh.”

Maher asked Daltrey about revisiting his old songs. “I love them all,” Daltrey said. “There’s only one I’m bored with, and that’s ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again.’”

So, if that’s at one end of the spectrum, what’s on the other? “The one I love singing the most is probably ‘Love, Reign o’er Me,’” he said.

Bands Like The Who Can’t Afford to Tour Anymore
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Some other notable moments from the episode:

  • In keeping with Maher’s ongoing “kids these days” discourse, his opening monologue included a joke about eating Tide Pods. In 2024.
  • Maher on South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem’s dog-shooting incident: “People are defending her. Well, shooting a dog is normal in some parts of the country. So’s fucking your sister — it doesn’t make it right.”
  • This week’s panelists: Former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway and Joshua Green, author of The Rebels: Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and the Struggle for a New American Politics.
  • The first half of the panel largely consisted of Conway and Maher arguing over Trump’s legacy, with Conway hitting as many pro-Trump talking points as she could. Green was less combative and took a more objective standpoint — though he did clarify that, after Conway grilled him on Biden’s take on an issue, “I’m also not here spinning for Biden.”
  • Green on the challenges in predicting the election based on polling now: “I still bump into people who don’t think that Trump and Biden are going to be the nominees in November.”
  • Maher played a clip of a group of tourists being very quiet while two lions had sex on the roof of their vehicle. (His description: “Best roommates ever.”)
  • Maher, offering young men relationship advice: “Here’s an idea — try being nice during sex.”
  • Last week, I was very critical of the editorial segments that close out each Real Time episode. So, credit where credit is due: this week’s iteration was the most compelling one in recent memory. It helped significantly that it was highly focused this time out, with Maher criticizing the temperament and approach of Attorney General Merrick Garland. He didn’t digress, he didn’t take a swing at Gen Z; he honed in on the main point and effectively made his argument — and it made for compelling television.

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