Rock legends The Who to stage 'last big tour' in 2015
Roger Daltrey (L) and Pete Townshend (R) of The Who. [AFP]

British rock legends The Who are to stage their "last big tour" the year after next, frontman Roger Daltrey said in comments published Tuesday, citing their advancing years.

But he told Rolling Stone magazine that the band, whose members are approaching their 70s, will continue to make music after that "until we drop."

The massive 2015 world tour "will be the last big tour," said Daltrey, while adding: "We aren't finishing after that. We intend to go on doing music until we drop.

"But we have to be realistic about our age. The touring is incredibly grinding on the body and we have to draw a line in the sand somewhere. This will be the last old-fashioned, big tour," he said.

The band -- led by 69-year-old Daltrey and rotary-armed guitarist Pete Townshend, 68 -- have spent the last year or two staging their rock opera "Quadrophenia" at shows in Europe and America.

But next year's swansong tour will focus on their hits -- including classics like "Baba O'Riley," "See Me, Feel Me" and "My Generation," with which they closed last year's London Olympic Games.

"People don't want new stuff .. Most people that want to come to a show want to hear what they grew up with. Let's not kid ourselves. We will always sell more tickets if we play the hits. That's a fact. The economics of the road, obviously, demand that you sell a lot of tickets," he said.

In 2014 they might work on a new album, he said. But after the 2015 tour they will slow down, and maybe consider single-location residency style concerts.

"Maybe that means sitting down in a theater for a couple of weeks," he says. "That means you travel to one place, but you're stationed there. You aren't touring.

"It's the touring, the schlepping, that kills you. The music is a joy. The two hours on stage every night is a joy, even though it's incredibly strenuous. The schlepping and changing hotels every day, that can become incredibly hard work."

The Who are among a dwindling band of rock icons who came of age in the 1960s and are sill performing, including the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Lou Reed, godfather of punk, died at the weekend aged 71.

[Image via Agence France-Presse]