The Who have announced that they’ll release a new studio album later this year.
The as-yet-untitled record will be the band’s first since 2006’s Endless Wire – and it’ll be backed by a symphonic tour across the US and Canada.
Rolling Stone report that Pete Townshend’s management team approached him with an offer from Live Nation for the Who to play shows throughout 2019 – but the guitarist had one condition.
Townshend reports: “I said I was not going to sign any contracts unless we have new material. This has nothing to do with wanting a hit album. It has nothing to do with the fact that the Who need a new album.
“It’s purely personal. It’s about my pride, my sense of self-worth and self-dignity as a writer.”
The album has still to be pulled together from 15 demos that Townshend recorded last year, with frontman Roger Daltrey planning on laying down his vocal parts soon for a 2019 release.
Townshend describes the new music as “dark ballads, heavy rock stuff, experimental electronica, sampled stuff and cliched Who-ish tunes that began with a guitar that goes yanga-dang.”
The tour dates have still to be revealed, but the Who will play 31 dates across and bring in a local orchestra each night.
Daltrey says: “I’ll be 75 in March and this feels like a dignified way to go and do music. That’s all we’re really left with. We’re old men now. We’ve lost the looks. We’ve lost the glamour.
“What we’re left with is the music and we’re going to present it in a way which is as fresh and powerful as ever.”
The band are also planning festivals in the UK this summer, according to Rolling Stone, with details still to be confirmed.
The Who have also ruled out the possibility of playing the recently announced Woodstock festival which will take place in August to mark the 50th anniversary of the original event.
Daltrey explains: “What would be the point? I can’t work outside in the heat anymore like that in August. It’ll kill me. I got really big problems with heat now due to my meningitis. But I think they should do it with young bands. I don’t see why they should have us there.”
Further details will be announced in due course.