The Who frontman Roger Daltrey has no plans to quit performing despite a recent brush with death.
The septuagenarian has been playing with The Who for more than 50 years and said he will carry on as long he does not think he is cheating the band’s fans.
The My Generation singer met his bandmates, guitarist Pete Townshend and bassist the late John Entwistle, while at school in west London. They were later joined by drummer Keith Moon, who died in 1978.
The Who are considered to be one of the greatest ever rock bands of the 20th century and have sold more than 100 million records worldwide.
The 74-year-old explained that after a lengthy career he kept his performances fresh by pretending he was singing a song for the first time.
“With The Who we are having more fun on the road than we’ve ever had,” Daltrey said.
“I think Pete feels the same way as me. I’d like to do it because I think we play music better than anyone.
“And all the time we can do that well and not cheat it… I had a few years where my voice wasn’t good and I had pre-cancerous condition on my throat, and I thought I was going to have to stop.
“But since then I have cured the problem and I take care of it. I am going to keep on doing it as long as I can still do it, not cheat it.
“If I ever come off and think, ‘You can’t do this any more, Rog’, and that thought goes through my head, that will be it and I’ll walk away from it because I don’t want to cheat you.”
Daltrey was speaking at the Cheltenham Literature Festival to mark the publication of his memoirs, Thanks A Lot Mr Kibblewhite.
The title name-checks the Acton County Grammar School headteacher who expelled him.
“As I was leaving his office, he said: ‘You will never make anything of your life, Daltrey,'” the singer said.
“What I want to say about Mr Kibblewhite now is that he was just a man doing his job to the best of his ability, and I was uncontrollable and he needed to get me out of that school.
“The ‘Thanks a lot Mr Kibblewhite’ now really is a thank you, it really is.”
Daltrey was asked why it had taken so long to write his autobiography when pop stars like One Direction’s Zayn Malik have written theirs at 25.
“What can you possibly remember at 25?” Daltrey asked. “When we were 25 we could barely remember the day before, such was the sixties.
“I never felt I had done enough in my life. I’ve never felt apart from my mates that I used to be (with) in Shepherd’s Bush, and never been apart from the class I grew up with.
“That’s why I wanted to do this book, so whoever reads it has an idea of what it felt like to be in this whirlwind of a new industry starting up.
“It was a young industry we were inventing as we went along. It made it incredibly dangerous but also incredibly exciting and quite a lot of it was quite terrifying.”
Daltrey fell gravely ill in 2015 with meningitis – forcing the cancellation of The Who’s US tour – and left him thinking he was going to die.
“It was horrible. I really did think I was dying and I had tubes coming out of everywhere and I was in unbelievable pain,” he said.
“I rang a few friends up to say goodbye because I was getting worse and worse.
“I just started to think back through the end of my life… there were no lights at the end of the tunnel… and I thought about my life and not being able to believe what I’ve done.
“I thought about my family and I thought they would be alright, and if I go… I let go, and when I let go an incredible peace came over me.
“I did feel incredibly peaceful and like being wrapped in cotton wool.”