[Book Review] Roger Daltrey | Thanks a Lot Mr Kibblewhite: My Story

I know the question you’re asking.  It’s not, “Is this book worth reading?”, because you already know the answer.  Who wouldn’t want to read about 50 plus years of rock stardom while fronting The Who?  No, your question is “Who the heck is Mr Kibblewhite?”

Well, he was an instructor Daltrey had in grade school who told him he wouldn’t amount to anything.  Daltrey used that pep talk as bulletin board material for the rest of his life.  Fun fact.

What I dug the most about Daltrey’s book is how he stuck to what is or what became relevant to The Who.  I often do find myself skipping forward in autobiographies to get to the “good stuff”.  I want to know the details of what was happening backstage with the band, not what your grandpa used to like to eat on Sundays.  With only 272 pages (Including the appendix!), I didn’t have to do that with this one.

Roger does tell some stories about growing up during the ’40s and ’50s in a bombed out London.  How he never had much money, but was always looking for a way to earn it.  He once took a job taking lunch orders from welders and soon figured out how he could make a nice profit if he skipped the middle man.  Instead of buying made sandwiches at the deli, he could make them himself if he took a trip to the bakery and butcher instead.  

Through this, he earned enough to get the plywood and parts he need to build his own guitar.  See?  It all comes back to The Who.

That story is also an example his work ethic and how he became the glue that would keep The Who together and performing.  Which you have to admit, he has been successful at.  So far, the only way anyone has left The Who is through premature death.

It also help that he remained the most sober of all the original members and without any writing credits, he never had a cut from the song royalties.  So, he doesn’t make any money unless The Who is touring. 

Roger does not shy away from any subject in his book.  He is frank about his relationships with all of the band members.  He loved Keith Moon but his antics would cause him whole lot of grief. 

John Entwistle had a real mean streak in him.  He would often play so loud that Roger could not hear his return monitor which would cause him to over sing.  For one of his solo tours, he hired John (who needed the dough) and gave him a spot for a bass solo to encourage him to turn it down while he was singing.  It didn’t work.

And his relationship with Pete Townshed wasn’t always a rosy one, but they have an understanding and have only grown closer over time.  Roger has stuck with Pete through the mood swings, his heroin addiction, obsession with hearing loss in the ’90s, and even the implications of his involvement with child pornography.  (He was found to be innocent, by the way.)

When he wasn’t with The Who, he kept busy with acting, solo projects, and visiting his kids… which probably kept him the MOST busy.  Man, he has quite a few of them around the world.  For one of his daughters, he freely admits to not remembering her mother at all!

There is much more in the book, like his hang gliding with no training for some scenes in the movie Tommy, and the time his eye socket was broken by a microphone stand swung by Gary Glitter during the rehearsals for The Who’s Quadrophenia concert in 1996. 

He suffered a concussion and he said it felt like his eyeball was going to roll out of his head, so they gave him an eye patch and sent him out on stage.  That’s rock in roll, baby.   

4.5/5

19 comments

  1. I always wondered where the title of this book came from. Great stuff. I will need to add this to my list of books. Last night I finished Empire of the Clouds which is the third book in the Iron Maiden series written by Martin Popoff!
    Have to support local. lol

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He did a good interview with Stern in support of this book. Also, in hearing many interviews with these English rockers of a certain age, shocking how they ALL made their guitars from scratch

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, Pete didn’t. He grew up upper class, lol It also didn’t bother him when be began smashing them up. But yeah, for a lot of Brits, it was the only way they were going to get their hands on a guitar.

      Like

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