Thursday, March 19, 2015
How Lambert and Stamp and the Who made it up as they went along
They met in the film business of the early sixties. They got into music to further their film careers. They reckoned that the only way they could get a seat at the table when movie deals were made was by coming along with their own pop group who wrote their own material. That's how they found The Who.
They signed the group by promising to pay them a weekly wage. The Who's parents were very impressed by the weekly wage. Lambert and Stamp didn't know much about the music business but they managed to keep the weekly wage coming long enough to inspire the group. Lambert encouraged Townshend to write long-form pieces that could be performed in concert halls. Stamp showed the group how to carry themselves.
By the time they came to record "Who's Next" in 1971 Lambert and Stamp were so deep in drink and drugs that the group had to take care of themselves. Lambert never quite sobered up and died in 1981. Stamp eventually got straight and has made his peace with The Who, peace enough for them to be featured in a fascinating little documentary about their unique relationship with the group.
Because they were film guys the footage of the group they shot back in the days is surprisingly beautiful. So beautiful, in fact, that it looks almost artificial. The best bit is Townshend and Daltrey sitting together doing what they never did back in the day, which is actually discuss the tensions within the group. Like all the survivors of the sixties they look back in amazement at the things you could get away with in those days just before everybody learned how to be professional.