Pete Townshend

ARTICLE ABOUT Pete Townshend (The Who) FROM SOUNDS, February 10, 1973

A really nice one about The Who where Townshend discusses several subjects, among them the solo albums, his work with Clapton, rock operas and their future as a band. A “must read” if you like the Who just a little bit.

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Who comes first

Pete Townshend talks to Steve Peacock

If you think you`ve noticed something strange about the Who recently, don`t worry – It`s just the sound of four people following their own noses for a while.
As Pete Townshend puts it: “Just at the moment we`re undergoing a bit of a renaissance, in many senses of the word – going back to square one.” Since they last worked together, in October, they`ve all been following various projects – Moon`s exploits you`ll have heard about, John Entwistle has been getting Rigor Mortis. Roger Daltrey is doing a solo album, Pete had his own solo record out, has been working as producer and concert band organiser with Eric Clapton, and most recently has been working on an album with Willie Barratt and John Otway who`re part of the Community Music set-up. And of course, they all got involved with the Lou Reizner “Tommy”.

UNHAPPY

But give it another four or five months, and you should see The Who back on the road in England with a new albums – the next “rock opera” for want of a better working tag – and a stage set based on it. They`re building their own studio in Battersea, and Pete reckons they`ll be in there in mid-March for two months working on the album. Then a British tour, then America.
He feels the past few months have been very good for the Who, in that they tend to get cloistered in their own little world – “very incestously away from things, like four elderly sisters” – and now they`ve been getting out and about a bit. He says it was remarkably good for him to be involved with the Clapton concert, quite apart from the obvious joy of seeing the thing work and seeing Eric get on a stage again, because “I really needed to play with someone, have some larks. It`s the first time I`ve ever really done anything outside the Who since Thunderclap Newman.”
He is now unhappy, however, about his involvement with the “Tommy” thing, because where Roger was able to add something to his original contribution, he didn`t feel he added anything. Particularly on stage: “In the Who when you`re on stage you don`t remain yourself – you forget all about yourself and you jump about and work and rock and roll in the traditional sense. But when I was suddenly stuck on a stage, not able to do anything but sing a few lines off a bit of paper, I kept thinking `what am I doing here?` – just because I wrote the thing. It`s like writing a TV play and having the bloody author sitting on a chair in the corner of each scene, just because he wrote it.” He refused an offer to appear in the American version.

The Eric Clapton thing started when he was down at Eric`s house “trying to help him to get his cursed album done – it`s three-quarters finished, and what there is is incredible.” That`s not the live album that`s out soon, but some studio tracks laid down by the last Derek and the Dominoes (with Jim Keltner on drums) at Olympic. The album is two or three tracks short as it stands: “In my new role as producer extraordinaire I was hoping that the live thing would be good enough to spur us on to do some studio recording so we could finish the album and get it out. I think the set up we had on stage was one of the finest bands I`ve ever heard, and I`d really like to hear that in a studio.”
Whether or not it would be possible to get that exact band together again to record he`s not sure, but he seemed pretty confident that they could get something near it to finish the album.
But for now, it`s back to the Who, and there`ve been some changes. He reckons that all he wants to do on this album is write it and play on it, leaving the production ideas to the Who as a whole; they`ll be using the new studio, not Olympic, and they won`t be working with Glyn Johns this time. They all felt something had to be done to re-vitalise the band and “what we`ve done really is looked at the Who and said `OK, in order to shake it up let`s turn the whole thing upside down and start again.` I don`t think it`s going to be easy.”

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TRAGEDY

What he`s done in writing “Quadraphenia” (a gag on schizophrenia that`s become a working title) is construct a central figure, a kind of archetypal mod, using each member of the Who as a facet of his character – “so it`s not autobiographical of me, but it is of the Who in a way…
“I suppose what I`m really trying to do is a kind of “Clockwork Orange” musically, if you see what I mean, but where “Clockwork Orange” was a comedy, this is more a tragedy. There are so many tragic things involved with the Mods – the fact that they grow up and become respectable, that`s a miserable situation. The fact they turn into middle aged pop stars, that`s miserable. The fact that they`re badly educated kids, deprived, and the only things they have are kicking people and dancing, that`s miserable. But at the same time it`s got this incredible triumph in that this kid`s an individual in the midst of a world where the individual doesn`t exist.”

PROJECTS

He`s written most of it now, but he reckons that about a quarter will be thrown out when they record, to be replaced by what emerges from the rest of the band. It sounds as if it`ll be not only a major Who album but perhaps the first really major album by the Who. Did he feel that the last few months had given everyone a lot more energy to put back into the band now?
“I don`t think that necessarily follows,” he said. The point was that so far all the solo projects by people in the band have been what`s left over at the edge of the Who – side issues if you like. He has a feeling, though he hasn`t heard any of it yet, that Roger`s album might be the first one to be really successful in its own right, and that that might cause a problem – perhaps even a kind of Rod Stewart/Faces situation. “I think it would be wrong to assume that that kind of situation couldn`t happen with the Who – maybe not in England, but in America…”
“We`ve never been in the position of having a leader as such, we`ve had a spokesman and composer in myself, I suppose, but we`ve never had someone that emoted everything for the group in the way Jagger does for the Stones. I often wonder whether it would be bearable to be in a situation where the Who were just sort of grooving along all the time.

CHANGE

“I think it`s this kind of mood, this sort of doubt about whether we can pull off another major album that leads people around us to wonder whether there`s anything going on as regards splitting and things like that. But it`s got nothing to do with splitting – it`s always taken for granted within the group that we`re going to carry on, whatever. But things can change on the outside, and you can`t stop them.”

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper. Any errors in the text from the original magazine may not have been corrected for the sake of accuracy. If you have a music-related web-page where this fits – please make a link to the article. With credits to the original writer of the article from all of us music fans!

This number of Sounds also contains articles/interviews with these people: Dave Lambert, Beck, Bogert & Appice, Isaac Hayes, Peter Frampton, Rory Gallagher, Dusty Springfield, Syd Barrett, Stevie Wonder, Badger, Judy Sill, Jennie Hahn, Help Yourself, Ian A. Anderson.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

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ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM New Musical Express, May 24, 1975

A relatively long, but very interesting interview with Mr. Townshend. I recommend other people than the regular fans to take a look at this one as there is a lot of food for thought here, taking in consideration the fact that this interview is 40 years old today. Some very definitive truths here, but also some opinions that may seem a little odd in the light of later history. Have a good read!

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It was the long, hot summer of 1965 when he rode into town, mounted astride a snarling, virile 500 c.c. nose and wearing nothing but a cellophane loincloth.

There were sullen lines in his face and no-one – not even the tough boys, the ones who hung out in the dappled sunlight and picked off their crabs with switchblades – was willing to look him full in the eye when he got mean.

His name was Idaho Sid Smedley, and would you believe there`s not one mention of him in the following article, which is mainly about…

PETE TOWNSHEND

By ROY CARR

Pete Townshend didn`t die before he got old. Yet death isn`t his problem, it`s the passing of the years and his current position in what he feels is a younger man`s occupation.
“If you`re in a group,” he begins, “you can behave like a kid – and not only get away with it, but be encouraged.”
The name Keith Moon somehow springs to mind.
“If you`re a rock musician,” Townshend continues, “you don`t have to put on any airs and pretend to be all grown up…pretend to be – in inverted commas – `normal` or even be asked to behave like you`re a mature and a highly responsible person. These are just the trappings that society puts on most people – with the result that most kids are burdened down with responsibilities far too early in their life.
“You know the deal: as soon as you leave school you`ve got to find a secure job and hang onto it. I wrote `My Generation` when I was 22 or 23, yet that song breathes of 17-year-old adolescence.
“But then I did have a somewhat late adolescence.”

So what are you trying to tell us?
“Personally, I feel that the funniest thing – and also the saddest thing -about the current state of rock`n`roll is that it`s the pretenders that are suffering the most. Those people who, for a number of years, have been pretending to be rock stars and have adopted false poses.
“It`s the difference between someone who has made rock an integral part of their lifestyle and therefore doesn`t feel like they`re growing old.”
“You want to know something?
“I really hate feeling too old to be doing what I`m doing.
“I recently went to do a BBC TV interview and when I arrived at the studios there were all these young kids waiting outside for The Bay City Rollers. As I passed them by, one of the kids recognised me and said, `Ooo look, it`s Pete Townshend` and a couple of them chirped `Ello Pete`. And that was it.
“Yet the first time The Who appeared at those same studios on Top Of The Pops, a gang of little girls smashed in the plate glass front door on the building.

“Anyway, as I entered the building, the doorman turned to me and smirked. `Ere, what`s it feel like to walk past `em now and have nothin` happen, eh?`
“I told him that, to be quite honest, it brings a tear to my eye. Look, I don`t want them to mob me because The Who have never been a Rollers-type band, what I`m scared of is hypocrisy.”
Hypocrisy? In what way?
“Well, nowadays it`s considered very passe to admit that you`ve got a burning ambition to stand on stage and be screamed at by 15-year-old girls. But when we started out that was something to be very proud of. If it didn`t happen, there was something wrong with you.
“Though I haven`t all that much experience as to what is happening contemporarily in music, I do feel that `the-world-owes-me-a-living` attitude still prevails, not only in rock, but in every walk of life. So now everyone`s gotta look like they really mean business and every bloody singer I see on The Old Grey Whistle Test looks a-n-g-r-y.” He breaks off the conversation to pull relevant grimaces. “When I see this I go into hysterical fits of laughter.
“Sure, I know that I look angry when I play but usually there`s no reason for it. I suppose it`s an adopted aggressive thing, which is in turn a subconscious layover from those days when I WAS angry. I don`t quite know what I was angry at, but I WAS angry, frustrated, bitter, cynical – and it came through in the music I wrote.”

C`mon Pete, you`re either evading the moment of truth or approaching it in a very roundabout manner. What`s brought on this manic obsession about being too pooped to pop, too old to stroll?
“It`s just that when I`m standing up there on stage playing rock`n`roll, I often feel that I`m too old for it.”
No kidding.
“When Roger speaks out about `we`ll all be rockin` in our wheelchairs` he might be but you won`t catch me rockin` in no wheelchair. I don`t think it`s possible. I might be making music in a wheelchair – maybe even with The Who, but I feel that The Who have got to realise that the things we`re gonna be writing and singing about are rapidly changing.
“There`s one very important thing that`s got to be settled.” He pauses again. “The group as a whole have got to realise that The Who are NOT the same group as they used to be. They never ever will be and as such…it`s very easy to knock somebody by saying someone used to be a great runner and can still run but he`s Not What He Used To Be.” Townshend pauses yet again. “Everybody has a hump and you have to admit that you`ve got to go over that hump.”
Yes we have…no we haven`t – Townshend won`t commit himself either way as to whether The Who are over the hill, but he intimates in no uncertain manner that the group are beset with acute problems.

“You`ve got to remember that there was a time when suddenly Chuck Berry couldn`t write any more. He just went out and performed his greatest hits and I`ve always wondered what THAT was all down to?
“Jagger told me at his birthday party that he was having difficulty in writing new material for The Stones, which is unfortunate because nowadays so much importance is placed upon writing songs.
“To a degree, you could call it front-man paranoia – and even Roger gets it from time to time. Let`s face it, Jagger carries a tremendous amount of responsibility apart from being The Stones front-man.
“Forget about that tired old myth that rock`n`roll is just making records, pullin` birds, gettin` pissed and having a good time. That`s not what it`s all about. And I don`t think Roger really believes it either. I think that`s what he`d really like to believe rock`n`roll was all about.
“Steve Marriott has chosen to live it like that and, as far as I can see, he`s having a good time. Fair enough – but in my opinion Marriott`s music falls short of his potential, which is a bloody shame because everyone knows what he`s really capable of…there`s all those old incredible Small Faces records piled up.
“For me, `Ogden`s Nut Gone Flake` is one of the classic albums of the sixties and, if it`s the difference between that music and having a good time, I prefer that Steve Marriott suffer, because I want the music.

“Believe me, I don`t want to sound too cruel and vitriolic, but I do think that you have to face up to the undeniable fact that there`s no point in your life when you can stop working.
“You can`t suddenly turn round and say, we`re on the crest of a wave so now it`s time to sit back and boogie. Deep down inside, everyone wants to do this but it`s tantamount to retiring altogether. And personally, I can`t do it.
“It`s not necessarily to do with standards,” Townshend continues, before I have time to fire another question. “The Who`s `Odds & Sods` collection would have been released even if it hadn`t been all that interesting, but it`s all been put down in the past for being sub-standard.”
Apparently the reason for its release was to make null and void the increasing amount of Who bootlegs currently being circulated, and once a second volume has been prepared and issued, there will be no need to backtrack. “If,” says Townshend, “The Who were gonna wave their banner for standards, `Odds & Sods` would still have remained unreleased. Standards have got absolutely nothing to do with it. I feel that it`s the pressure at the front of your mind that…not necessarily your fans…but then, maybe your fans really are the most important people…are actually sitting twiddling their thumbs waiting for your next album.
“Every time they wait, they become more and more impatient. What Jagger said in that interview that he did with NME is that between the albums they are eagerly waiting for, he`d like to chuck out an R&B set to keep `em happy. Fair enough, if he thinks it`ll make any difference – but of course it won`t.

“It`s just like making a `live` album. The fans will say `Thank you very much`, but what we`re really waiting for is the next studio album, so get on with it.”
PHEWHATASCORCHA!
New subject: Townshend was once quoted as stating that the eventual outcome of any Who recording depended entirely upon whether or not he could keep Moon away from the brandy and himself from imbibing whatever it took him to get through a session.
“At the moment, what governs the speed of The Who is the diversification of individual interests. We would have been recording the new album much earlier were it not for the fact that Roger is making another film with Ken Russell.
“Roger chose to make the film and John wanted to tour with his own band The Ox, so I`ve been working on tracks for my next solo album. Invariably what will happen is that once we all get into the studio, I`ll think `Oh fuck it`, and I`ll play Roger, John and Keith the tracks I`ve been keeping for my own album and they`ll pick the best. So as long as The Who exists, I`ll never get the pick of my own material…and that`s what I dream of.
“But if The Who ever broke up because the material was sub-standard then I`d really kick myself.”
But the way you`re going on, Peter, old Meter, it sounds like The Who is on it`s last legs?
“However much of a bastard it is to get everyone together in a recording studio, things eventually turn out right. You see, though it has never been important in the past, we do have this problem that everyone has been engaged on their own project, so that the separate social existence that we lead has become even more acute.

“I mean, if I just couldn`t live without Moonie and if I could go over to the States and spend a couple of months with him we`d probably be a lot closer. But as it happens, I haven`t seen Keith since last August. I may have seen a lot more of John but as yet I haven`t seen his new group or listened properly to his album because, apart from working on `Tommy`, I`ve been putting together new material.
“And the same thing applies to Roger: as soon as someone decides to do something outside of the area of The Who the pressure suddenly ceases, because they are the people who put the pressures on me.
“Let me make this clear. I don`t put pressures on them. I don`t say `we`ve got to get into the studio this very minute because I`ve got these songs that I`ve just gotta get off my chest.` It`s always the other way around. They always rush up to me and insist that we`ve got to cut a new album and get back on the road.”
So it`s quite obvious that the pressures are back on and Townshend is feeling the strain.
“In a sense, rock is an athletic process. I don`t mean running about on stage, but as a communicative process it`s completely exhausting. It`s not necessarily being a part of things,” insists Townshend.
“Like I said, when I wrote “My Generation` I was already in my early twenties, so I was by no means a frustrated teenager. And that`s what a lot of people often tend to forget.”

But you were an integral part of that generation?
“Right,” he retorts, “but we`re also part of the Generation that we play to on stage today.
“Let me clarify that statement.”
Yes!
“What I don`t feel part of is not the Generation of age, but the Generation of type. I mean, who the hell were all those people at the `Tommy` premier? Whoever they were, I`m certainly not in their gang!
“Yet funnily enough, whatever the age group, I feel much more at ease before a rock audience.”
So why this current fixation about being to old to cut le Moutard?
“Because to some extent The Who have become a golden oldies band and that`s the bloody problem. And it`s the problem that faces all successful rock groups at one time or another – the process of growing old.
“A group like The Kinks don`t have that problem because, theoretically, Ray Davies has always been an old man. He writes like an old man who is forever looking back on his life and, thank heavens, old Ray won`t have to contend with such problems. But with a group like The Rolling Stones, there`s this terrible danger…now I could be wrong…but there`s no question in my mind that it`s bound to happen…Mick Jagger will eventually become the Chuck Berry of the sixties, constantly parodying himself on stage. And, this is the inherent danger that The Who are so desperately trying to avoid.

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“I can tell you that when we were gigging in this country at the early part of last year I was thoroughly depressed. I honestly felt that The Who were going on stage every night and, for the sake of the die-hard fans, copying what The Who used to be.
“Believe me, there have been times in The Who`s career when I would have gladly relinquished the responsibilities of coming up with our next single or album to another writer. There`ve been a lot of people who said they would have a go but somehow it never quite worked out.”
Why?
“Like a lot of things connected with The Who, I really dunno. Maybe it`s because we`ve got such an archetypal style that`s geared to the way that I write.”
But by his own admission, Pete Townshend has always considered his forte to be writing. The fact that he also happens to be a guitarist is, in his opinion, quite irrelevant. Yet even now, Townshend is astounded when other guitarists compliment him upon his instrumental prowess. He isn`t bowing to false modesty when he insists that, after all these years, he still can`t play guitar as he would really like to.
In his formative years with The Who, he compensated for his acute frustrations by concentrating his energies on the visual aspects of attacking the instrument. Every time he went on stage, Townshend insists he bluffed his way through a set by utilising noise and sound effects which eventually led to the destruction of many a valuable weapon.

“It`s still true even today,” he confesses without embarrassment. “I may be a better guitarist now than I was when The Who first started but I`m far from being as technically proficient as I would really like to be.
“What I like about the way that I play,” he explains, “is what I think everyone else likes. I get a particular sound that nobody else quite gets and I play rhythm like nobody else plays – it`s a very cutting rhythm style. Sorta Captain Power-chords!
“I do like to have a bash every now and then at a wailing guitar solo but halfway through I usually fall off the end of the fretboard. I might have a go, but I`ve resigned myself to the fact that I haven`t got what it takes to be a guitar hero.
“Yet funnily enough I don`t really respect that kind of guitar playing. I`ve got no great shakes for Jeff Beck or Jimmy Page. Sure, I love what they do, but it always seems to me that they`re like the Yehudi Menuhins of the rock business. They`re extremely good at what they do, but I`m sure they`d give their right arm to be writers – though not necessarily in my shoes.
“I don`t really feel the showmanship side of my contribution to The Who`s stage show is fundamentally a part of my personality. It`s something that automatically happens.
“Basically, it stems from the very early days when we had to learn to sell ourselves to the public – otherwise nobody would have taken a blind bit of notice of us; and, like many things, it`s been carried on through up until today. Yet I have no doubt that, if we wanted to, we could walk on any stage and stand there without doing all those visual things and still go down well with an audience.”

So why this depressing down-in-the-mouth attitude. Could it stem, I ask Townshend, from the fact that a critic once bemoaned that, in his opinion, The Who, once the true essence of rock`n`roll, now just go through the motions.
“Well, that statement was true – but on the other hand if it`s unqualified then it might as well be ditched. But you`ve put the question to me and now I`ve got to try and qualify that other journalist`s statement.
“To me, the success of any truly great rock song is related to the fact that people who couldn`t really communicate in normal ways can quite easily communicate through the mutual enjoyment of rock music. And that was simply because, for them, it was infinitely more charismatic than anything else around at that time.
“For example, you`re aware that there`s this great wall around adolescence and that they can`t talk freely about their problems because it`s far too embarrassing. Personally, I feel that adolescence lasts much longer than most people realise. What happens is, that people find ways of getting round it and putting on a better show in public. And as they get older they become more confident and find their niche.
“Now why I think that journalist said The Who now only play rock`n`roll is because on most levels rock has become a spectator sport. It`s not so important as a method of expression as it once was. Today something else could quite easily replace it.”

Townshend goes on to concede that rock doesn`t hold as much genuine mystique as it did with previous generations to the extent that the stigma of the social outlaw has almost been eradicated. Those who have tried to become outlaws have failed miserably, hence the last-ditch shock tactics of Alice Cooper and David Bowie.
“For many kids, rock`n`roll means absolutely nothing.” He compares it to switching on a television set, going to the movies or a football match. It`s just another form of entertainment.
“If what the kids do listen to consists entirely of The Bay City Rollers and the Top 10 then it must mean even less than most other similar forms of mass media entertainment because they`re not really listening.
“The real truth as I see it is that rock music as it was is not really contemporary to these times. It`s really the music of yesteryear. The only things that continue to keep abreast of the times are those songs that stand out due to their simplicity”.
An example?
“`My Generation`. A lot of people don`t understand that there`s a big difference between what kids want on stage in relationship to what they actually go out and buy on record.
“Perhaps the reason why so many young kids can still get into The Who in concert is simply because it`s a very zesty, athletic performance. However, if we just restricted our gigs to performing songs we`d just written yesterday and ignored all the old material then I`m positive that we`d really narrow down our audience tremendously.

“I dunno what`s happening sometimes,” he bemoans. “All I know is that when we last played Madison Square Garden I felt acute shades of nostalgia. All The Who freaks had crowded around the front of the stage and when I gazed out into the audience all I could see were those very same sad faces that I`d seen at every New York Who gig. There was about a thousand of `em and they turned up for every bloody show at the Garden, as if it were some Big Event – The Who triumph over New York. It was like some bi-centennial celebration and they were there to share in the glory of it all.
“They hadn`t come to watch The Who, but to let everyone know that they were the original Who fans. They had followed us from the very beginning of `cause it was their night.
“It was dreadful”, Townshend recollects in disgust. “They were telling us what to play. Every time I tried to make an announcement they all yelled out `Shhhrrruppp Townshend and let Entwistle play `Boris The Spider”, and, if that wasn`t bad enough, during the other songs they`d all start chanting `jump…jump…jump…jump…jump`.
“I was so brought down by it all! I mean, is this what it had all degenerated into?
“To be honest, the highest I`ve been on stage last year was when we used to play `Drowned`. That was only because there was some nice guitar work in it… Roger liked singing it and both John and Keith played together so superbly. Really, that was the only time I felt that I could take off and fly.”

Pete Townshend may well have some cause to feel sorry for himself; when the final reckoning comes he`s got a lot to answer for – in particular, the Curse Of The Concept Album.
Though concept albums are by no means new to popular music – Gordon Jenkins and Mel Torme were churning `em out almost a quarter of a century ago – it was “Tommy” (as opposed to “Sgt. Pepper”) which unleashed a deluge of albums built around one specific theme. These ranged from The Fudge`s horrendous “The Beat Goes On” through to J. Tull`s obscure “Passion Play” up to and including Rick Wakeman`s Disneyesque “King Arthur”.
“None of which,” says Townshend, as he bursts into laughter, “work”
Yet as we all know, Townshend himself has had no less than three stabs at the same subject. So how does he view the trilogy in retrospect?
“I don`t. And if you`re going to ask me which one I prefer, I don`t really like any of them very much. I suppose I still like bits of The Who`s original version but, the definitive `Tommy` album is still in my head.”
Perhaps it would be wise to quit this line of questioning and leave Tommy where he is. But Townshend wants the last word.
“I think that everyone in rock shares the same basic urges, and therefore, that it would be very unfair to me to say it`s alright for The `Oo `cause we invented it. I have great doubts about that.

“For instance, when the Big Feedback Controversy was going on in the mid-sixties, Dave Davies and I used to have hilarious arguments about who was the first to invent feedback.
“I used to pull Dave`s leg by saying `we both supported The Beatles in Blackpool and you weren`t doing it then….I bet you nicked it off me when you saw me doing it`. And Dave would scream that he was doing it long before that. Then one day I read this incredible story about Jeff Beck in which he said” – at this juncture, he adopts a retarded Pythonesque android accent – “`Yeah, Townshend came down t`see d`Tridents rehearsing and he saw me using the feedback`…pause…`and copied it`.” Returning to his natural voice, Townshend scowls, “I never ever saw the Tridents and the man is pathetic.
“Obviously, Beck may feel deeply enough that he invented feedback – but for Chrissakes who gives a shit? Why even comment on it? It doesn`t really matter, it`s just a funny noise made by a guitar.”
Townshend goes on to explain that the innovatory part of rock is not necessarily the part that he`s proud of, even though he`s regarded as The Who`s ideas man. “I was trained in graphic design…to be an ideas man…to think up something new and different…like, let`s give a lemon away with the next album!”
Thank you.
“In the early days of The Who we were tagged with gimmicks and subsequently it made me very gimmick-conscious.
“Now if I might return to `Tommy` for a moment…”
But only for a moment.

“…What I think is good about `Tommy` is not that it`s a rock opera or that it`s the first or the last…that`s of course, if you assume that there`s gonna be any more!!”
Don`t worry, there will be. Have a copy of Camel`s “Snow Goose”.
“What I feel is very important about `Tommy` that as a band it was our first conscious departure out of the adolescent area. It was our first attempt at something that wasn`t the same old pilled-up adolescent brand of music. We`d finished with that and we didn`t know which way to go. That`s when we went through that very funny period of `Happy Jack` and `Dogs`.
“It was also a very terrifying period for me as The Who`s only ideas man. For instance, though `I Can See For Miles` was released after `Happy Jack`, I`d written it in 1966 but had kept it in the can for ages because it was going to be The Who`s ace-in-the-hole.
“If you want the truth…”
And nothin` but…
“I really got lost after `Happy Jack` and then when `I Can See For Miles` bombed-out in Britain, I thought `What the hell am I gonna do now?` The pressures were really on me and I had to come up with something very quick and that`s how `Tommy` emerged from a few rough ideas I`d been messing about with.”

And whereas The Beatles had cried that it was impossible to perform “Pepper” in public, the fact that The Who demonstrated that “Tommy” was an ideal stage presentation quickly motivated other bans to mobilise their might for the New Aquarian Age.
With more sophisticated electronic weaponry than they knew how to utilise, the likes of Floyd, Yes, and ELP adopted a more “profound” stance as, in a blaze of strobes, they began to bombard audiences with techno -flash wizardry, pseudo-mystical jargon and interchangeable concepts.
Townshend may have had a helping hand in starting the whole schmear rolling (it sure didn`t rock), but he is adamant in his belief than many alleged “profound” music machines are working a clever con-trick on the public.
“All that they`re really doing is getting together and working out the most complex ideas they can handle, packaging it with pretentious marketing appeal and unloading it on their fans.
“But” – and here comes the get-out clause – “does everything have to hold water? Obviously, it must mean something to the integrity of the band that`s putting it together, but it`s results that count.”
Well the result, as Townshend puts it, has turned many a rock theatre into a dormitory.
“It might be difficult to fall asleep at a Who gig but, I can understand why some bands send their audiences into a coma.
“I don`t like Yes at all.
“I used to like them when Peter Banks was in the line-up, because, apart from being extremely visual, he also played excellent guitar. With so many changes in the line-up, Yes is Jon Anderson`s band and he might be guilty of much of that wishy-washy stuff they churn out – because Jon really is a tremendous romantic. Maybe he believes in the old mystical work, and maybe poetry moves him along – but I`m not concerned either way.”
Just wait until the letters come pouring in.

“It`s like that line in `Punk and The Godfather`…`you paid me to do the dancing.` The kids pay us for a good time, yet nowadays people don`t really want to get involved. Audiences are very much like the kids in Tommy`s Holiday Camp, they want something without working for it.
“That wasn`t the way it used to be.
“The enthusiasm that evolved around The Beatles was enthusiasm as opposed to energy generated by The Beatles.
“You talk to them now about it and they don`t know what happened! It was the kids` enthusiasm for THEM. Now when you see it happening again you can see how utterly strange it must have seemed the first time around.
“For instance, take the amount of energy and enthusiasm that`s currently expended on, say, Gary Glitter… and Gary`s just as confused as everyone else. All he knows is which curler to put on which side of his head – Gary readily admits this, and is all the better for it.
“Get in the middle of a crowd of screamin` kids – it doesn`t matter who they`re screamin` at – and there`s a certain amount of charisma transferred to these people. But then, that`s what fan-mania is really all about.
“When the real charismatic figures like Mick Jagger came along, then I think that rock started to change and THEN the kids began to create their own trends in fashion. The Mods not only used to design their own clothes but sometimes actually to make them; and the fact that they did hum-drum jobs to get money to buy clothes, scooters, records and go to clubs built up this elite. Therefore it wasn`t too long before the artists let that rub off onto them and in that sense, I think The Who were as guilty as anybody else.
“And I`ll tell you why.

“Because in the end we wanted the audiences to turn up to see only us as opposed to the audience being the show and struttin` about like peacocks. We had to be the only reason for them turning up at a Who gig”.
With rock and its peripheral interests having been systematically turned into a multi-million pound consumer industry, Townshend has observed that the customer no longer dictates youth fashion. That`s all down to some designer employed by a multiple chain store.
“Everything nowadays is premeditated. Within days the whole country is flooded with what someone thinks the kids want.”
He believes that the only invigorating youth movement in this country appears to be centred around Wigan`s Northern Soul Scene.
“I wish that would spread more than it has, because I see it as a direct link with the Mod thing. But what is more important is that it`s more philosophical in its attitude about not fighting and not boozing and not smoking. Even though they`re ephemeral things they are nevertheless states of mind which are Very Good Things.
“Like the early Mod thing, this Northern Soul Scene has a fashionable aspect connected with it, but basically it`s concerned with the exact opposite to the Mod preoccupation with getting pilled-up and fighting.
“Funnily enough, I`m still not certain why the original Mod movement was so obsessed with aggro. All I know is that at that time I felt an incredible amount of frustration and bitterness towards society and maybe everyone else felt the same.”

But even as far back as 1968, The Who were somewhat trapped by their own image, when Townshend stated that the thing that had impressed him most was the Mod movement. He had been fired by the excitement of witnessing and subsequently taking an active part in what he felt was the first time in history that youth had made a concerted move towards unity of thought and drive and motive. “It was almost surreal” was how he was quoted at the time.
Somewhere at the turn of the sixties, the youth movement was derailed. Talk of a promised land and the eventual greening of America became suffocated as the consumer industry once again took command, and the Business in showbusiness grabbed the spoils.
When Townshend looks back in time, he can`t help but laugh. “I don`t think they were promises, I think it was just young people promising themselves something… having ambitions to do something… and, if you like, certain rock people were acting as spokesmen. So they are the convenient people to blame. That`s if you want to lay the blame at anyone`s feet.
“Basically, everyone had this mood that something was happening… something was changing. In essence it did, but unfortunately a lot of its impetus was carried off by the drug obsession. Everybody credited everything innovative and exciting to drugs… `yeah man, it`s pot and leapers and LSD, that`s what makes the world great`.

“Then when things turned out to be meaningless and people had missed the bus, they quickly realised that they`d gambled everything on something that had run away. The same thing happened to rock. Rock got very excited and flew off ahead leaving most of its audience behind. The Who went on to do what I feel to be some very brave and courageous things, but in the end the audience was a bit apathetic.
“It was back to what I wrote in `Punk And The Godfather` – you paid me to do the dancing. That`s why when I`m on stage I sometimes feel that I`m too old to be what I`m doing.”
Then, by way of contrast…
“Track by track, the new album that The Who are making is going to be the best thing we`ve ever done. But if people expect another grandiose epic then they ain`t gonna get it. `Cause this time we`re going for a superb single album” Townshend, make your mind up, squire. If the last couple of hours are anything to go by, you`re either – by your own admission – past it, or you`re just after a bit of public feedback.
Ouch. Better not mention that word.

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I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own  webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of New Musical Express also contains articles/interviews with these people: Barry White, Manfred Mann, Mud, Led Zeppelin, Ken Hensley, Kevin Ayers, Mike Harding.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be 15 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.

ARTICLE ABOUT The Who FROM NEW MUSICAL EXPRESS, SEPTEMBER 21, 1974

Time for an article with The Who, one of the most influential bands from the 60s and still going strong today. They have a musical heritage that few others can match and I recommend the younger generation to check them out – listen to  “My Generation” for example! Have a good read.

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Totally unbiased reviewer appraises new Who collection. (Would we lie to you?)

Words: Pete Townshend

While Roger Daltrey was groping round the “Tommy” film set playing (rather masterfully) the part of the deaf, dumb and blind kid himself; while Keith Moon was dressed in a dirty raincoat drinking Guinness with a raw egg and flashing at passers-by; while my fairly good self was ensconced (as usual) in its studio, fast asleep but very convincingly pretending to work, John Entwistle, with a little help from his friends, was rooting about in the mountain of unmarked tape boxes at Track Records in Windmill Street.
He came up with this remarkable collection of unreleased oddities, impulsively labelled “Odds and Sods” by Roger. And I`m going to tell you all why they were never released (What a load of old rubbish it is).
Joking aside, it`s all perfection! Are THE WHO (pause for reverent head-bowing and hand on collar bone, etc.) capable of anything less?

“Postcard” is a John Entwistle song about touring on the road. He describes in luscious detail the joys and delights of such romantic venues as Australia (pause to fight off temporary attack of nausea), America (pause to count money), and of course that country of the mysterious and doubting Customs official, Germany. (Pause, whether they like it or not, for “God Save The Queen”).
Listen out for the field sound effects actually recorded in the countries we toured.
“Postcard” was originally recorded in my house for a maxi-single, as they came to be known here. Maxi-singles were EPs that only cost as much as a single. Unfortunately, ours never got released! We realised at the last minute that we wouldn`t make a profit doing stupid things like that.
I engineered this one with one hand on the controls and the other on the guitar. That`s why I only play one chord throughout the whole song. If John`s bass sound is a little distant, it could be because his speaker cabinet was in the house next door.

“Now I`m A Farmer” is from the same bale of hay, recorded at home for the EP. It`s a drug song, all about the good life out in the fields growing those fantastic phallic ornamental gourds that you can use to…to…to make gorgeous fruit bowl arrangements.
See if you catch the immensely subtle reference to the “Air” in this song. This track is from the period when The Who went slightly mad. We put out several records called “Dogs”, and at least one about finding “one`s inner self”. Gourds mate, that`s the secret to life…gourds.

“Put The Money Down”…is one of the tracks recorded for us by the illustrious Glyn Johns. Terrific sound, beautifully recorded. Wonder what group he used?

“Little Billy”: Now, if I may take the liberty…this is A Masterpiece. Written and recorded for the American Cancer Society in exchange for worldwide success and fame, it ended up, not saving lives, but mouldering unheard in some fat-assed executive`s office for six years.
“It`s too long,” he said in a slimy East Coast accent of the nastiest possible kind.
Actually he was quite nice – used to take me to lunch at the Russian Tea Room. Had baseball bats embroidered on his Y fronts. Oh! What a give-away! I really hate him because he jilted me, the swine. But, as you can hear, Little Billy is doing fine, just fine.

“Too Much Of Anything”: A song about temperance in all things. The insidious horror of excess. Did you hear about that poor chap who died because he drank too much carrot juice? I dedicate this ditty to him.
It was recorded during the “Who`s Next” sessions by Glyn Johns for the Life House film – which never happened. We felt this summed up just what too much of anything can do to a person – too much sex, drink, drugs even rock and roll or nasty blues music.
Realising at the last minute how totally hypocritical it would be for a load of indulgent face-stuffing drug-addicted alcoholics like us to put this out, we didn`t.
Of course, today we`re all different; more mature, less greedy. Anyway, why waste a good money-spinning number like this? I`m being a bit too honest now, aren`t I?

“Glow Girl”: I`m really glad – and amazed – that John found this one and put it on. It`s a rock and roll airplane crash song with a real Pop Art plane crash and a happy reincarnation ending.
I wrote another song with a similar title, “Glittering Girl”. Both ended up on the cutting-room floor. To be honest, I think it was a good job, because better material came along.
And also Kit Lambert was “practising” record production at the time. He used to take us all down to a studio called City of London Studios, which at the time was mono. Yes, absolute mono. It was small and poorly-equipped, but it had something no other studio in Britain could offer at that time – an engineer who could understand what Kit was saying.
This track reveals a lot about the way I write. I rarely leave any good idea unused; Real Themes crop up in “Tommy”, and also in the last lines of this. Only, of course, Tommy was a dear little `boy`. He`s got to be a great big cumbersome oaf these last few years, but he was such a nice baby.

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“Pure And Easy”: You may know this one from my solo album. This is the group`s version. Not all of the group`s versions of my songs are as faithful to the original demo as this one, but as usual the `Oo make their terrible mark. Another track from the abortive Life House story. It`s strange, really, that this never appeared on “Who`s Next”, because in the context of stuff like “Song Is Over”, “Getting In Tune” and “Baba O`Riley”, it explains more about the general concept behind the Life House idea than any amount of rap.
…Not released because we wanted a single album out at the time.

“Faith In Something Bigger”: God, this is embarrassing! I don`t know where to hide. Well I mean, the whole thing about Him is that He is Everywhere, isn`t He? A modest beginning to the musico-spiritual work of the irreligious Who.
This reminds me of The Bee Gees.
The guitar solo is the worst I`ve ever heard. They`re great lads you know, the rest of the boys in the band. Do you think anybody else would`ve put up with this nonsense? Anyway, the whole idea is preposterous – something bigger than US? US! THE WHO! A quick listen to this, lads, will bring us quickly down to size, I can assure you.

“I`m The Face”: Quite simply our first record. Words by Pete Meadon, mod miracle man with desert boots, blue beating, and randy female pop writers on every page of his address book.
Music was lifted from “Got Love If You Want It” by Slim Harpo. Pay your royalties, Meadon! Superb jazz guitar solo from somebody I don`t recognise, fast piano from some pilled-up lunatic who probably made more in session fees that day than we did from the ensuing year`s work. Best of all on this (for me) is Jack the Barber`s handclapping and John`s amazing “Zoops” on the bass…is this really the Who? Wo! Wo! Wo!

“Naked Eye”: Another track from the EP. This was written around a riff we often played on stage at the end of our act around the time we were touring early “Tommy”. It came to be one of our best stage numbers.
This was never released because we always hoped we would get a good live version one day. But then we`re such a lousy live group…

“Long Live Rock”: Well, there are dozens of these self-conscious hymns to the last 15 years appearing these days, and here`s another one. This was featured briefly in the film Keith did the music for – That`ll Be The Day. Billy Fury sang it.
This is most definitely the Definitive Version.
I had an idea once for a new album about the history of The Who called “Rock Is Dead – Long Live Rock”. That idea later blossomed into “Quadrophenia”.

All of these tracks have been part of bigger ideas, or at least grand dreams that didn`t see the light of day. At a time when each one of us in the band is, in a sense, looking at the future wearing a blindfold, it`s great to look back at a time when
we were able to make mistakes without worrying too much. Prepare yourselves people! For the Who`s next mistake! Meanwhile, content yourselves with this little lot.

The full page ads were cooler in the 70s.

The full page ads were cooler in the 70s.

I have personally transcribed this from the original paper and you are free to use it as you like. If you use it on your own webpages – please credit me or put up a link to my blog.

This number of the NME also contains articles/interviews with these people: Mike Oldfield, Brian Protheroe, Jerry Garcia, CSN&Y, Joni Mitchell, The Band, Ravi Shankar, Rufus Thomas, Joey Covington, Johnny Copping, ELO.

The original music paper this article came from (pictured at the top) is for sale!

1. Send me an e-mail, if you are interested. Send it to: geirmykl@gmail.com
2. The offer should be around or upwards of 20 $ (US Dollars) to be considered. (This includes postage).
3. We conduct the transaction through my verified Paypal account for the safety of both parties.