Doug Sandom (left), and Roger Daltrey

Original Who drummer, Doug Sandom dies at 89

News 01/03/2019

The original drummer for English rock band, The Who, Doug Sandom has passed away at age 89.

On the band's official website, Pete Townshend says, "A bricklayer by trade, Doug was an excellent drummer but was considered by our first record label to be too old for us. It was his age and his wisdom that made him important to me."

Left to right: Roger, Doug and Pete

Sandom joined the group while they were still called the Detours in 1962. Two years later, the band hired a new manager, Helmut Gorden, who in return secured an audition with Fontana Records. According to Sandom, a representative found issues with the drumming and Townshend immediately threatened to fire Sandom if his playing did not improve.

Leaving the Who was the biggest mistake of my life

Sandom, who had always been the peacemaker in the ban, eventually left the band and the two had not spoken for over 14 years.

In 2014, Sandom told the Express that "leaving the Who was the biggest mistake of my life" as Keith Moon replaces Sandom as the band's drummer and they had a successful music career.

Townshend appears to regret the incident as well, saying, "If you have read my book 'Who I Am', you will know how kind Doug was to me, and how clumsily I dealt with his leaving the band." He continues, "He never sneered at my aspirations the way some of my peers tended to do. (I was a bit of an egoistic handful sometimes.) He encouraged me – as did my best friend in those days, Richard Barnes. Doug took a while to forgive me but did so in the end, and although I didn't see much of him, we remained friends."

Sandom struggled most of his later life and was on the verge of selling his drum kit for survival when he was given a contract to write an autobiography, 'The Who Before the Who' (2014). Townshend wrote the forward for the book.

"It would have been the saddest deal of my life. I keep that drum kit at the foot of my bed and kiss it every night before I go to sleep," he expresses. "After all, it’s been onstage when we were up there as a support act to the Rolling Stones, the Searchers, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, Eric Clapton's Yardbirds."

Sandom says he only got the drummer's position because the lead singer, Roger Daltrey, asked him to sit in while the Detours' earlier drummer, Harry Wilson, was out on vacation. 

"The main thing I want everybody to know," he said in 2012, "I still think the Who is the best fucking rock 'n' roll band in the world."