NEW YORK — Roger Daltrey says there aren't many contemporary singers who could "lead" a band, and he partially blames shows like "American Idol" for it.
"A lot of the new people they choose on shows like 'American Idol' and things like that - I don't ever hear lead singers," The Who frontman said. "They always seem to pick people that are great singers, fabulous singers, but they've never got the voice that makes a great lead singer."
Mr. Daltrey, 67, went on to name drop some of music's best singers: "You hear 10 seconds of Rod Stewart, you know it's Rod Stewart. Ten seconds of Mick Jagger, that's Mick Jagger. Ten seconds of Eddie Vedder, you know that's Eddie."
English-born Daltrey says there is one exception in today's music scene: Adele.
"I mean, I love Adele. That's a lead singer, that's the real deal," he said of the British soul singer, whose sophomore CD "21" is the year's top-selling album in the United States and the United Kingdom.
So, would Mr. Daltrey join the panel of a singing show to fix what he believes is wrong?
"I'd probably throw them all out," he said, laughing.
"I quite like the idea of 'The Voice' - that new show, simply because they have to choose the voices," he said. "They might present me with 50 voices, and if I didn't like any of them I couldn't work with any of them. It would be pointless."
Mr. Daltrey made the comments while promoting his latest tour, "Roger Daltrey Performs The Who's 'Tommy,' " which kicked off earlier this month.
"I rediscovered how fabulous it is as a piece of music, and I decided it needs to be heard," Mr. Daltrey said of The Who's 1969 "Tommy" album.
The CD, mostly composed by band mate and guitarist Pete Townshend, became a Broadway musical in 1993; a film version was released in 1975. But Mr. Daltrey says his new tour gives him a chance to present his side of "Tommy."
"I loved the film, but it's Ken Russell's view of 'Tommy.' The stage play was what it was, and that was Pete (Townshend) and (theatrical director) Des McAnuff's view of it. But to me it's always been the music that's important, and I can never get bored with that because it's brilliant," he said.
"It's a classically written piece of music and I've never seen Tommy as one person, I've always seen Tommy as all of us," he continued. "We're all screaming, 'See me, feel me, touch me, heal me.' "
Mr. Daltrey says his voice has bounced back since he had a precancerous growth removed from his vocal cord just before The Who performed during the 2010 Super Bowl halftime show.
"It's sounding better than it's ever sounded, and this is an extremely long show," he said. "It's richer, it's got a different resonance ... but it's like Johnny Cash, his voice wasn't the same at the end. But it was his best work."
Mr. Daltrey's tour wraps up in the United States on Oct. 25 in Seattle. He'll visit Canada for five dates after.