On a rare day off from the first leg of The Who's 50th anniversary tour, Pete Townshend punctually enters the room with longtime partner Rachel Fuller to discuss "Classic Quadrophenia."
The symphonic release of The Who's 1973 concept album came out earlier this month and includes music by the London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and vocals by classical tenor Alfie Boe, rocker Billy Idol, and Townshend. There's also a one-night only performance in London set for July 5.
Townshend, 70, has always felt The Who's music was very orchestral for a rock band. But for this performance, there's an entire orchestra and choir to perform his composition. That doesn't faze him a bit.
"They are brilliant, brilliant, brilliant trained musicians," he said.
Townshend had previously dabbled with alternative musical concepts — including bringing rock opera to the masses with "Tommy" in 1969, a project that launched The Who into superstardom. The album spawned a 1975 movie and a Broadway musical.
Townshend said that writing "Quadrophenia," acted as a form of salvation that helped counteract the spoils of success after "Tommy" and the 1971 release "Who's Next."
"We were in real trouble," Townshend says of the period in the early 1970s. "Keith Moon had become this kind of clown. Roger Daltrey had become this rock god." Bassist John Entwistle "was dressing up in spider costumes with silver spiders round his neck," recalled Townshend.
Patrick Macnee dies at 93
Patrick Macnee, the British-born actor best known as dapper secret agent John Steed in the long-running 1960s TV series "The Avengers," died Thursday. He was 93. He died of natural causes in Rancho Mirage, Calif., his son Rupert said. The clever spy drama, which began in 1961 in Britain, debuted in the United States in 1966. It ran for eight seasons and continued in syndication for decades afterward. Diana Rigg played sexy junior agent Emma Peel from 1965 to 1968.
'Over the moon': Actor Noah Wyle and his wife welcomed a baby girl. Wyle's wife, actress Sara Wells, gave birth to Frances Harper Wyle on Monday, the actor's spokeswoman said. Mother and daughter are doing well, and Wyle was described as being "over the moon." Wyle has a son and daughter from his first marriage to Tracy Warbin.
Reacting to history: Celebrities commented on Twitter after Friday's Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. "Love won," talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres said. "Today is beautiful," wrote actress Anna Kendrick. "I'm so happy I'm crying," singer Kelly Osbourne said.