The Who's Roger Daltrey warns we can't live forever: 'Hope I die before I get too old'

The frontman has called for a halt to medical advances which could extend mortality well beyond the age of 100

“I hope I die before I get too old…and become a drain on the NHS.”

Roger Daltrey, the Who frontman, has called for a halt to medical advances which could extend mortality well beyond the age of 100 and urged society to face up to the inevitability of death.

Daltrey, 69, unveiled the first set of acts who will perform at the annual Teenage Cancer Trust (TCT) gigs, which he curates, at the Royal Albert Hall in March.

The concerts have raised over £17 million for young people with cancer and this year will feature artists including Ed Sheeran, The Cure and Suede.

Daltrey, patron of the Trust, said that the specialist children's hospitals that the charity has funded have made the UK a world leader in cancer treatment for teenagers.

But he warned that there is no "bottomless pit of money" for the expensive drugs needed to treat cancer and said people need to curb expectations that modern medicine will help them cheat death.

"We are never going to cure every cancer and you can spend an awful lot of money on drugs that might only give someone an extra three months of life," Daltrey said. "We should all start to be a bit more aware of our mortality and start debating that fact that we're all going to die one day.

"It could be a heart attack, liver failure or cancer. Only 5% of us die in our sleep and they are the lucky ones. We all really need to wake up. We’ve been living in denial for too long in our society. We'd be better off if we really tried not to live forever. It (death) doesn't frighten me at all."

The star, who famously sang "Hope I die before I get old" in the 1965 hit My Generation, told The Independent/i: "The general public demand too much from the NHS. Expectations are far too great. There will be drugs that we can't afford. The costs are frightening.

"There are drugs that might cure someone, albeit after a long time but they then require other drugs because of the side-effects. Then you're looking at a bottomless pit of money that we simply can't afford and someone has to draw the line."

Daltrey added: "I read in the papers about people's life expectancy being extended beyond 100 to 120 even. Has anybody ever thought what that world would be like? It would be a bloody nightmare. Our children and grandchildren would tell us we were getting in the way."

The Who were notorious for their wild lifestyles, but their singer is now a herbal tea-drinking advocate for healthy living. "The biggest issue for the NHS is to get patients to take a bit more responsibility for themselves," Daltrey said. "They need to take a bit more care of themselves before they get into a mess - by stopping smoking for example."

The TCT, by contrast, is an effective use of resources. "For what the charity puts in every year, we get enormous results and we're leading the world in this field."

Daltrey has recorded a new album with Wilko Johnson, the R&B  guitarist who was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer last year but has continued to perform after rejecting chemotherapy.

"If Wilko had had the chemotherapy he would be dead by now in all honesty," said Daltrey, who hopes to perform with the guitarist at the Royal Albert Hall, his collaborator’s health permitting. "This thing inside of him is as big as a grapefruit and it’s getting bigger every day."

Daltrey confirmed that he will reunite with Pete Townshend for a 50th anniversary Who tour, which would be their "last tour".

Suede will play their 1994 classic album Dog Man Star in full at the shows. Singer Brett Anderson, who reunited the band to play one of the charity's gigs four years ago, said: "I'm really proud, last time we played I came off stage and said 'How was it?' and he said 'Great, but it's just a bit loud though'. I thought for Roger Daltrey to say a show was loud, that's quite an achievement, right?"

Ed Sheeran is making good on a promise to play after prior commitments meant that he could not accept a request from Noel Gallagher to perform last year.

Tickets for the Teenage Cancer Trust shows, which take place March 24-30, go on sale this Friday.


 
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the world's leading suppliers and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links