In the early days of The Who, before you were stars, how did you make your living?
I was a sheet metal worker.
Did you enjoy it?
I actually did. Because in a funny way, it was creative. We used to make things. We used to make very early computer cabinets, and I was with a great bunch of guys, and we used to sing all day. It was great.
What did you sing?
You name it, we sang it. Mostly things with a rhythm -- things with harmonies, like the Everly Brothers, and a lot of Johnny Cash, which was one of the best rhythms to bang bits of tin to.
When The Who started taking off and you were actually making money, what was one of the first big things you splurged on?
We didn't have any money until the 1970s. We had hit records for six years before we had any money at all. We were so much in debt. (When we did make money), there were two things -- I bought my own house, and I bought my mother a house, which is what working-class British kids used to do. First you bought your mum a house, then you bought yourself a house.
Now, as a veteran rock superstar, do you splurge a lot, or are you more frugal?
I'm not a big spender. I probably give most of it away to charities. I've looked after my family -- I got a big family -- and I live quite a frugal life, really. I've got a very nice farm and a very nice house. I've got one car and two trucks on the farm; broken down tractors -- two good ones. That's it.
No old English castles for you like some other rock stars?
Well, (my home is) an old manor house. It's an old, old house, 400 years old, but it's not in that plush bracket at all. I've lived in this house for 40 years -- it was my first big house after moving out of a two-bedroom. I bought this house in the '70s, and I've been here ever since.
That's a very impressive stability.
I found people I like to be around, real country people. They're brilliant. I love it here.
Sounds like you've got a good life.
I'm surrounded by good people. That's the measure of a good life. All the rest is flotsam.
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