British rock veterans The Who will share a stage with former Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page on at least one date of the group’s reunion tour this summer, the band said Monday.
In an unusual move intended to save money, Page, backed by roots-rockers The Black Crowes, will share a road crew and a stage with The Who throughout its U.S. tour of amphitheaters and arenas, but the two mostly will play separate shows.
Still, the two acts are set to co-headline a show sometime in October at New York’s Madison Square Garden, according to Who guitarist Pete Townshend. “I’ve always been a fan of The Black Crowes, and Jimmy played on The Who’s first successful record. He played rhythm guitar on ‘I Can’t Explain,’” Townshend said in a press conference held at Manhattan’s Supper Club. “It’s gonna be good to be together.”
The Who tour will begin June 25 at Chicago’s New World Music Theater; no dates have been announced for the Page/Crowes outing. Page shares
a management company, Trinifold, with The Who.
The Who, which hasn’t released a studio LP since 1982, also hopes to work on material for a possible new album while on the road.
“Roger [Daltrey] and I have never written a song together, and that’s what we’re going to try to do,” Townshend said, sitting between vocalist Daltrey and bassist John Entwistle. “We’re in our mid-50s. If we can’t do it now, we never will.”
For his part, Daltrey, whose songwriting role in The Who has always been minimal, said he has already written several compositions that might be suitable for the group. “Lyrically, they’re strong, but melodically they need the input of the band.”
In the meantime, new live versions of such Who classics as “My Generation” are available on “The Blues To The Bush,” a new customizable CD compilation for sale only on the Web site musicmaker.com.
“It’s what we’ve got at the moment,”
said Townshend, who was dressed casually in a shiny blue windbreaker. “We found this record; we looked under our fingernails, and there it was.”
Musicmaker.com also released a similar live compilation from Page and the Crowes’ 1999 tour together.
Though they’ve often feuded in the past, the surviving members of The Who (drummer Keith Moon died in 1978) appeared comfortable with one another at the press conference, joking more or less amiably with the journalists.
“We like each other, but we f***in’ hate you,” a poker-faced Townshend told a reporter who asked about the state of the band’s relationships.
Entwistle, known for his low-key onstage demeanor, was silent during most of the conference.
The bassist, clad in a denim vest over a black shirt, became animated only during a discussion of the band’s decision to tour as a five-piece rather than in the expanded configurations of recent years.
“It allows us to improvise a lot easier,
rather than worrying about 100 people knowing what you’re going to do next,” Entwistle said.
The Who’s music also will be featured in an upcoming film based on the life of Moon, Daltrey said. A screenplay for the film, which has been in the works for ten years, is expected to be finished by the end of the year, according to the singer.
“I think there’s a great film to be made from the life of Keith Moon. He was a complicated character, a frustrated genius,” he said. “It’s not a band story at all. It’s the story of a drummer on his days off.”
The Who’s tour dates:
- 6/25 – Tinley Park, IL @ New World Music Theater
- 6/27 – Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace
- 6/29 – Burgettstown, PA @ Star Lake Pavilion
- 7/1 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
- 7/3 – Mansfield, MA @ Great Woods Center
- 7/5 – Bristow, VA @ Nissan Pavilion
- 7/7 – Camden, NJ @ E Center
- 7/9 – Wantagh, NY @ Jones Beach Theater
- 8/14 – Phoenix, AZ @ Desert Sky
- 8/16 – Irvine, CA @ Irvine Meadows
- 8/19 – George, WA @ The Gorge
- 8/21 – Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
- 8/24 – Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
- 8/27 – Dallas, TX @ Reunion Arena
- 8/29 – Woodlands, TX @ C.W. Mitchell Pavilion
- 9/24 – West Palm Beach, FL @ Mars Music Amphitheatre
- 9/26 – Tampa, FL @ Ice Palace
- 9/28 – Atlanta, GA @ Phillips Arena
- 9/30 – Cleveland, OH @ Gund Arena
- 10/2 – Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Center