Already heralded as one of the new breed of artists who represent a positive future of Rock, U.K. Alt artist YUNGBLUD has been steadily working his way into the mainstream with a Punker-than-you attitude, musical chops to back it all up, and a keen eye on social issues.
In just the past few years since his big break, YUNGBLUD has happily picked up a torch not dissimilar from that which Roger Daltrey and The Who were carrying when they were singing about "My Generation" back in 1965. 57 years later, Daltrey is still active as ever, and this conversation with YUNGBLUD (Dominic Harrison) reveals a rock icon with strong opinions and a rabid curiosity about the experiences of younger artists.
"Rabid curiosity" can be applied as fans can attest, to 25-year-old YUNGBLUD as well, evident in the hyper-aware mentality behind his own self-styled look and music featured on this year's self-titled release and those prior. Getting to speak with a legend such as Daltrey -- whose records he grew up listening to with his father and grandfather -- obviously left him starstruck, but it was Daltrey who seemed most intrigued by how new artists are able to manage today's business on top of social media.
Sharing his story of being discovered, YUNGBLUD remembers being courted by a young artist rep early on who wanted to put him on the U.K. version of The Voice, but told them "No f***ing way," after finding out he wouldn't be able to sing about politics. "I was starting to write about sexuality, fashion, gender … And I just said 'no,' he explains. "If you say 'no' to a major label, it’s like, 'Oh, s***, what do I do now?' I literally just [picked] up my iPhone and was like, 'This is how I feel about the world.' People started responding, and 1,000 followers turn to 10,000 and 20,000."
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"I don’t do the internet at all," says Daltrey. "I have a very bad opinion of social media, I’m afraid. It kind of turned bad once they put the 'likes' in on Facebook. And then people start to play for the 'likes,' which is their ego, and egos destroy you. So, I don’t even go there. I don’t care what you say about me, do what you like. But I wonder, you have built your career on it. Do you have sleepless nights about it? Do those 'likes' worry you?," he asks YUNGBLUD.
"That side of it only came into my f***ing psyche when I quote-unquote made it, in inverted commas. I was bored of everyone taking a picture on a f***ing beach of the perfect life. I wanted to kind of do the opposite, and was like, 'Right, this is how I want to communicate with you.'"
Daltrey, it's worth mentioning, is also impressed with Dominic's music: "I was just listening to your new album, and it’s really uplifting. I love the way you use the crowd-singing sound that you use in your mixing," he tells YUNGBLUD, who explains that magic happens when, "Ten of us will stand around a mic, but it’s mental because it’s 'Sing it high, sing it low, sing it drunk, sing it out of tune,' because when you play a gig, 50 percent of people don’t know how to sing. And that’s what makes the feeling of 'F***ing hell, this feels massive.'"
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"So much of the music in the last 10 years, it’s kind of ignored what you can do with just voices," says Daltrey. "I’m talking about mainstream big-selling stuff. Harmonies — when you listen to the Beach Boys, I mean, their kind of image was totally alien to us," he admits, however adds, "When you listen to the songs of the Beach Boys and the harmonies and all that stuff, it truly lifts your spirits. We really need it these days. Too many solo voices singing mediocre lyrics."
For more than 50 years, the writers at Rolling Stone have been sitting down with artists to get inside their sound, their creative process, and the realities of being a musician — but what happens when we take the writer away and ask two great artists to interview each other? In each Musicians on Musicians episode, two iconic musicians sit down for a conversation about their discography, artistic approaches, personal lives, and everything in between. With the artists in charge, no topic is off-limits. The Musicians on Musicians podcast offers extended, deep-dive versions of the conversations between artists that you can read in the November issue of Rolling Stone. With the musicians in the driver’s seat, this is not your typical interview series. You’ll get to hear the moments in which two musical forces connect — artist to artist, person to person. Musicians on Musicians is adapted from Rolling Stone’s popular franchise. Season 2 is produced by OBB Sound and sponsored by Audible. Listen now wherever you get your podcasts.
Browse and follow more of your favorite music on Audacy's YUNGBLUD Radio, The Who Radio, Rockternative, Drivin' Alt, New Wave Mix Tape, '90s and Chill, Alterna 00s, and ALT Roots stations -- plus check out our talent-hosted Kevan Kenney's Music Discovery, Megan Holiday's My So Called '90s Playlist, and Scott Lowe on the Go's Post Modern Music Box!