Having just finished a worldwide tour; 'The Who hits 50!', Roger talks us through his highlights including playing at Glastonbury Festival, 'Glastonbury was a wonderful night, the crowd were incredible and it wasn’t pissing down with rain like it was last time.' he says, 'And incredible, even though Pete had trouble with his sound, but when he gets angry he gets better!'
Playing a 50 year anniversary for the band has been a remarkable feat, Roger notes 'there's more grey hair in the audience, it's extraordinary watching the fan base grow and evolve over the years.' Yet there's still a lot of young people who come to the shows; 'I think it because Pete’s music will always speak to the teenage generation.'
On being asked what he is most proud of accomplishing, Roger immediately states; 'Being part of keeping the Who together, it’s a real achievement to still be playing to crowds of a hundred thousand people after 50 years in this business.'. Roger also plays his part in charity work, most notably with Teenage Cancer Trust and Teen Cancer America. He says, 'I remember my life at that age and it was a very isolated and difficult period.'
"I call it my Tommy phase as I felt deaf, dumb, blind and didn’t fit in anywhere."
Since creativity was always an outlet for the band, it's no surprise Roger has dipped his toe into the world of art, having collaborated with Eminent Life, a company which creates limited edition products to celebrate the Arts; founded by Jerome Jacober. 'Jerome approached me three years ago to create a champagne bottle to celebrate the anniversary of The Who and my career.' Roger says, 'They really did an amazing job at pulling this project together and the result is very impressive.'
The champagne in question is none other than Charles Orban, a grower/producer in the Marne Valley, producing a new cuvee in which Roger has had firsthand involvement with, from tasting to the final product, creating a deliciously decadent champagne which is both authentic and unique. 'To me the choice of the 3 grapes was essential,' explains Roger, 'like music needs harmony; this is exactly the same with this ensemble. The Pinot Noir gives the structure and body; the Chardonnay brings the longevity of the wine and the finesse into it. Where the Pinot Meunier makes it vibrant and alive.'
'Fitting then, a new champagne product for the rock n roll lifestyle?' We asked to which he replied, 'The only time its about the champagne is when you have your first hit record. And then it’s for bathing in and pouring over everyone.' Sounds delightful.
Reminiscing over old times, Roger tells us a story on the late Keith Moon and a pompous barman, the latter who dared question how he knew the difference between liquor brands by taste alone; 'The barman took him up on this, blindfolded Keith and then poured out everything they had behind the bar. Needless to say Keith got everything right!'
It's not all glitter though, 'Actually the Rock and Roll lifestyle is about travel, grit and hard work.' Says Roger, 'It appears easy on the surface but its nose to the grindstone, not just for the band but for the whole crew who put the show on.'
Being a sybarite himself, Roger adds a little life advice; 'Do what makes you happy. I used to love bathing in Champagne. (Much more fun than the bath of baked beans I had to sit in for the ‘Odds and Sods’ album cover.)'
We might just try that.
By Sufiyeh Hadian.