Rock veteran Roger Daltrey has bemoaned the fact that there are no musical "movements" at the moment, adding: "Here we are with the world in the state it is in, and we've got One Direction."
The Who frontman, who along with bandmate Pete Townshend is set to perform a series of shows marking the group's 50th anniversary, said it is difficult to start a movement now "unless it's ISIS".
Daltrey (70), who famously sang "hope I die before I get old'' in early hit My Generation, said: "Where are the artists writing with any real sense of angst and purpose?
"There are no movements at the moment: we had mod and then there was punk, but it's so hard to start a movement now. Unless it's ISIS."
Townshend (69) said he was not bothered by similarities pointed out between One Direction's Best Song Ever and The Who's Baba O'Riley.
"It wasn't important enough to get excited about," the guitarist said.
"I could hear a bit of The Who in it, but so what?
"Considering the stuff we ripped off over the years, it doesn't really matter."
Meanwhile, Townshend described his relationship with Daltrey as "a long-standing friendship that has turned into a bonded love, founded on a deeper understanding of each other's limitations".
"I love him," said Daltrey. "You could say we're like brothers, I suppose."
The Who - whose best-known songs include My Generation, Won't Get Fooled Again, I Can't Explain and Pinball Wizard - have weathered the deaths of their manic drummer Keith Moon in 1978 and bass player John Entwistle in 2002.
In 2011 they are said to have reached an audience of more than 100 million when they were chosen to play at the US Super Bowl, then went on to perform at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics the following year.
Their last album of new material, Endless Wire, was issued in 2006 and was itself the first release for 24 years.