Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend courtesy VH1 Roger Daltry and Pete Townsend courtesy VH1

On a steamy summer night in L.A., stars from across the entertainment spectrum piled into UCLA's basketball auditorium to celebrate pure rock and roll. From David Duchovny to Rainn Wilson, the Foo Fighters to the Flaming Lips, stars literally aligned for the taping of VH-1's third annual Rock Honors, which this year celebrates UK legends The Who.

The show, which airs Thursday, July 17 (9 pm/ET), is not only a way for VH-1 to get back to roots (read: pre-"celebreality"), but is also an edgy rock-u-cation. Opening with grainy, documentary-style interviews about just who The Who are, the special introduces the band - and their legend status - to viewers through the eyes of some of the artists who love them. Sandwiched between the slick segments, though, are the heart and soul of the event: Passionate tribute performances from the Foo, the Flaming Lips, Incubus, Pearl Jam (not to mention a few other surprises) and the honorees themselves.

Joining the music artists to both present during the event and just soak up some rock were myriad stars, including The Office's Wilson, who said that rock has always been integral to his world. He told, "You can track the history of my life through various songs," explaining, "I would start with 'Yellow Submarine' because it's the first movie I saw, and then 'Tambourine Man,' because I used to call it, 'Mr. Tangerine Man,' and it kind of goes year-by-year like that."

In his enthusiasm for the Rock Honors, Wilson almost forgot to mention that he's got his own rock movie, The Rocker, coming out August 20. When we reminded him, he gushed, "To get to be a part of a really awesome rock and roll movie is a lifelong dream." Wilson, though, wasn't the only actor there whose pursuits had been influenced by The Who. Rosanna Arquette arrived, gushing about the band, and said her love of rock has led her to do an upcoming music documentary show.

Alongside the actors, musicians also spoke to how The Who had touched their work. Before his band went on to tape their supercharged tribute performance, Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne - in a dapper Alexander McQueen suit - philosophized about the honorees, saying, "People say this about groups and bands all the time, 'That band changed my life.' But when I saw [The Who], at 14 or 15 years old, they made me believe that rock and roll could change the world."

As he headed inside for the big night, he added, "Who needs religion when you've got The Who?" - Anna Dimond