Townshend on the album's metaphorical aspects: "What's very interesting is that when we talked about this idea that Jimmy (the work's central figure) reflected the band (even literally, as in the rear-view mirrors of Jimmy's Vespa on the cover) ... what we meant was that somehow it was natural to see everything upside down. The reflection process that we believed at the time was that we reflected our fans in some way. In '72-'73, we'd had a really successful time, and what we needed was to find our reflection with our fans.
The band was in peak condition, everything fell into place, the mix worked out really well. We weren't trying to be mods - we never felt like we were mods in the first place, but we really reconnected to our fans. We recorded in Battersea (an area rife with council estates), not our usual place ... and it somehow made us feel like we really had our feet on the ground after the heady days of "Tommy" and "Baba O'Riley" and "Who's Next."
Townshend on memories of the 1996-97 tour: Funnily enough, the only bit of the "Quadrophenia" experience I can remember was doing it at Madison Square Garden, which was a really chaotic experience ... it was chaos but wonderful chaos.
Daltrey: The sort of chaos the British do best.
Townshend: 30-some shows and I don't remember a one of them.
Q: How well has "Quadrophenia" aged?
Townshend: Just as a piece of music, it stands up, and it offers a journey, whether you choose to go on that journey or not. ... There's a poignancy to me of how it connects me to my early days. It's not nostalgia, and it isn't self-indulgent. You've got to remember that the Who were a very young band when we started out in '63-'64 playing to those audiences. We were just kids. ... It seems to still have some potency. Not sure how that works. Maybe because the mod image is so clean-cut - it's a cool look.
Townshend on the Who then vs. now: The other thing that Roger and I carry, apart from the fact that we can take our pick of musicians, is that we miss the other two guys very much. (Keith Moon died in 1978, John Entwistle in 2002.) Roger and I were lucky enough to tour from about 2000 onward with John Entwistle. But there is this constant drive to re-create (and) there was a sense of being liberated, I don't want to make a good thing out of two deaths, but sometimes that's what happens. I do feel freer to explore what I did as a musician back then but also find new things.
Q: What other Who classics will be in the mix on this tour?
Daltrey: You won't get them all - that would be a five-hour show. But we'll do a good portion of stuff and try to vary that - I hope, anyway. I saw Paul McCartney recently (and) I really realized when I saw that concert that people do so much want to hear the hits. It's great that we can get a good show out of "Quadrophenia," but to kiss it goodnight, what better way than with "Baba O'Riley" or "Won't Get Fooled Again"?
Townshend: Wheel out the old chestnuts.
Q: How does the album's youth issues apply today, when young people are so hyper-connected? Are the themes that made you want to write it still prevalent?
Townshend: I think the situation is sharpened by (connectivity). If you're one of those people who gets left out of the loop ... if you can't do Twitter ... God, that must feel lonely. And this is about a man who doesn't fit in.
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