Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Roger Daltrey: Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite - My Story

Doug Collette By

Sign in to view read count
Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite
Roger Daltrey
272 Pages
ISBN: #978-1250296030
Henry Holt and Co.

Unlike most rock and roll memoirs, Roger Daltrey's is not a tell-all. Far from it, because, like most interviews the author conducts, Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite is based on the 'less said the better' premise. In two-hundred-forty some pages, the lead vocalist of The Who is terse and to-the point, perhaps too much so for some readers eager for depth of detail and/or hungry for gossip. The subtitle, then, My Story, carries unusual emphasis: it is a declaration almost defiant in its statement of purpose.

In recounting his life early, middle and late, Daltrey writes in short sharp sentences, strictly from his own point of view. Whether it's the perspective of the stage or as the actual founding member of the British group, Daltrey makes no bones about his opinions or his actions, so much so that, when he attempts introspection and/or self-analysis, he stumbles in his prose: if not lost for words, he fumbles, often repeatedly, only then offering a merely glib vacuity or two, as on the mystical sensation of music or the importance of family.

That is, of course, in stark contrast to Pete Townshend, the one other surviving member of the Who. As contained in his own book Who I Am (Harper, 2013)—and on-line as well as in his actual compositions—the guitarist/vocalist/songwriter's fluid command of language communicates a vivid sense of self and his place in the history of the group as well as in his own life. But, even within the confines of Roger Daltrey's preference to stay busy and take action, Townshend's down-to-earth partner illustrates how the two have become such complementary creative partners over the years

For all his professions of insecurity, the singer is keenly aware of his role as a mouthpiece for Townshend's songs and has, to his credit, always hewed close to the line of that interpretive position. Daltrey is generally so offhanded in his comments that, unless the reader is familiar with his career path as a member of the group and as a solo artist, his assumption of advocacy for his band mate's songwriting may lose its significance. But then, the author isn't out for significance here, but rather to give his take on the course of his life, from childhood to the present.

Thankfully, Daltrey doesn't belabor his early days in (post-) wartime England. Anyone who's read similar treatises from musicians of his generation—see Keith Richards Life (Little, Brown and Company, 2010) has heard enough about bombed out tenement buildings, food shortages and the general lack of basic amenities, etc. But considering the somewhat camouflaged awe with which Daltrey regards the long-term existence of the Who, in all its varied incarnations, it might stand to reason that he would spend more time and attention on the current alignment with just he and Townshend: he doesn't actually give it short shrift, but takes such a hands-off approach to the subject, it's as if he fears too much analysis will destroy it

Intentionally or not, though, Roger Daltrey makes the group's modern motivation(s) seem almost purely mercenary, a fait accompli as the logical extension of his ambition(s) all along. And that's at least somewhat odd given his fascination with the personnel makeup of the original quartet: if there's one recurring theme of Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite, it is this singer's often (but not always) bemused regard for the precarious balance involving himself, Townshend, and their late comrades, bassist John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon. From Daltrey's vantage point, on stage and off, the foursome was perpetually on the brink of terminal fracture.

And the tempestuous relationship of Daltrey and Townshend through the years, including contentious debates in the press and actual physical altercations, would seem to render them the most unlikely pairing in the long run. Yet it may very well be that very volatility, above all (except perhaps the durability of the material) that infuses their modern day concert performances with an intensity that legitimizes them. Of course, the travails of health and other personal issues cast a shadow over the activities as 'The Who" in the early 2000's, superseding whatever friction remains between the two principals, as does, in a more positive realm, their ongoing efforts on behalf of teen cancer research.



comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Book Reviews
Singer’s Survival Guide to Touring by Elisabeth Lohninger
By C. Michael Bailey
March 19, 2019
Book Reviews
Ziga Koritnik: Cloud Arrangers
By Nenad Georgievski
February 3, 2019
Book Reviews
Ricochet: David Bowie 1983
By Nenad Georgievski
February 2, 2019
Book Reviews
Shake Your Hips: The Excello Records Story by Randy Fox
By C. Michael Bailey
February 2, 2019
Book Reviews
Billie Holiday: Lady Sings The Blues
By Ian Patterson
January 16, 2019
Book Reviews
Tracy Fessenden: Religion Around Billie Holiday
By Steve Provizer
January 8, 2019