When talking about writing his memoir, Roger Daltrey said he composed the book without a publishing deal, wanting only to do a good job, and to be in control of it entirely- right down to the dust jacket photos and typeface. After reading My Story: Thanks a Lot Mr. Kibblewhite, it’s a wonder Daltrey didn’t build his own press to print it, or trucks to deliver it. After all, the former sheet-metal worker who became the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame singer for The Who describes a challenging and massively successful life built around an unrelenting work ethic, including constructing lakes on his country property in between world tours.
Somehow, the task of lake development pales in comparison to maintaining musical achievement amidst the volatile natures of himself and his other three bandmates. Daltrey acknowledges the fortune of fate- meeting when he did the fellow students that would become his band- but there is an underlying commonality as children of war emerging in bombed-out Great Britain that strikes a more compelling basis for bonding: these were survivors forced to create a new world out of rubble. And, of course, there are the uniquely individual personalities that Daltrey identifies: the quiet but hazardous John Entwistle; the loon on the loose Keith Moon; the sullen creative genius Pete Townshend; and Daltrey, himself, the fight-ready voice up front.
But, there’s much more to the four than one-line character descriptions, and Daltrey does a scalpel-sharp job of candidly cutting in, making the pages turn quickly, and keeping the interest level high, even with stories the die-hards have heard before. A lot is to be learned here about Daltrey, the musician, but even more about Daltrey, the man, and boy. The villainous headmaster Mr. Kibblewhite once told the young student, upon expulsion, that he’d never amount to anything. Instead, Daltrey climbed mountains as Tommy, moved earth as gentlemen Roger, raised millions for teens battling cancer, and now is an author of a rock memoir worth every word.