Published November 04, 2011
Rock legends Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who are lending their mike swinging, windmill guitar-playing support and fundraising efforts to a new program benefiting teens and young adults facing cancer in the U.S.
Singer Daltrey has been putting the spotlight on the issue for decades in the United Kingdom through his work with the Teen Cancer Trust and is hoping to bring those successes to America.
Daltrey has announced the launch of the UCLA Daltrey/Townshend Teen & Young Adult Cancer Program at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center along with other "rock royalty" supporters of the cause, including Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin. Both Daltrey and Plant will be performing fundraisers in the Los Angeles area over the weekend to help boost donations for the project's construction and design team which will help build a special hospital unit where young people battling cancer will stay in adjoining patient rooms around a common lounge, providing emotional support for each other.
Daltrey tells Fox News these types of surroundings are extremely important to this special age group.
"We found by putting teens together as a unit in environment friendly place for them, where they can live the life of a teenager, not next to a 4-year-old or 2-year-old baby or even in some cases a geriatric which is neither good for a 4 year old a baby or the geriatric," he said. "It provides a support system, and that that's enormous. Enormous for a relatively small cost."
Talking about the fundraisers with Plant, Daltrey tells Fox News, "We're just hoping that this will be the spark that lights the fire, that we'll get it going all over your country, because its something that needs to really be recognized because teens have been so overlooked. They really have.
"Without teenagers, the music business, which has given me such a wonderful life and so many thousands of other musicians, wouldn't exist as we know it today. So this is just a way of saying, thank you."
The Who's frontman says there are constantly signs of encouragement to build up these types of programs.
"The biggest reward I ever got from that, was the head of the adolescent department of the hospital in Wales I opened two years ago," Daltrey said. "And when she found out the amount of money that it was costing to build this unit we were building, she wrote saying that she thought it would be better spent within the hospital.
"It was a lot of money because we have to build onto an existing building. But within one week of working on the finished unit with teenagers she had been working with for six months previously in the hospital, she said she cannot believe the changes in these teenagers. She said they had teenagers who haven't gotten out of bed for months sitting there frozen - they don't talk - they came into here and within 24 hours they've explored every inch of the place. Now, they are all mixing, they're talking to each other playing MTV all night long all the things teenagers like to do."
While Daltrey has been busy making the rounds in Southern California getting the UCLA project up and running, Townshend, The Who's guitarist and songwriter, has been toiling away working on the band's "Quadrophenia: The Director's Cut" five-disk box set scheduled to be released Nov. 15 by Universal Music Enterprises.
Townshend has opened his personal archive of notes, hand-written lyrics and original ideas for the rock opera he crafted in the '70s, a rare treat for die-hard Who fans.
When asked about a rumored possible tour next year to support the box set, Daltrey told Fox News with a laugh, "I've heard that, too, but nobody's asked me."
"We got a few issues we have to sort out, and Pete has a serious issue with his ears and I've had serious throat problems in the past several years which I'm sorting, but it's a thing I have to keep an eye on, and I don't think its anything we can't sort out. We've got the desire to do it."
Who fans, will no doubt be ready to flick their lighters and exclaim "Long Live Rock!" when Daltrey and Townshend are ready.