Did The Who influence your songwriting? What resonated with you?
You can’t beat that run of ’60s singles. Pete Townshend’s musical, compositional style is particularly unique. Very harmonic. I can understand why Pete liked the Beach Boys so much. Something like Pictures Of Lily is so impressive. An amazing piece of music. It’s a beat group, comes out of the traps really explosively but with these super harmonic verses, which he manages to squeeze so many chords into. And does so on a Rickenbacker 12-string. That takes some doing! Then it jumps to a key change. All the while you have this dreamy vocal melody against this explosive beat group approach. Then he comes at it again with all these chords and changes, the guitars getting louder, the drums riffing like crazy. Then – bang! – you get this proto-punk riff – danga da dang dang! – with a key change. So you’re only a minute in and he’s already written more ideas than most people put in four singles, and that’s before you get to the French horn solo!
There’s ambition in all Townshend’s songs, and not just the obviously ‘big’ ideas like the operas…
It’s so ironic that he started out with a song called I Can’t Explain, because he’s the best person in rock at explaining anything!
Via MOJO Magazine
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Lucy, Linus and the rest of the beloved “Peanuts” gang make their big-screen debut, like they’ve never been seen before, in state of the art 3D animation. Snoopy, the world’s most lovable beagle – and flying ace – embarks upon his greatest mission as he takes to the skies to pursue his arch-nemesis The Red Baron, while his best pal, Charlie Brown, begins his own epic quest.
The Who make quite an entrance to this trailer, showcasing the band’s Baba O’Reily, but stopping before Roger Daltry sings about the Teenage Wasteland.
In the latest MOJO Magazine dedicated to The Who’s 50 Greatest Songs, the guitarist and songwriter Pete Townshend holds forth in an extensive, career-spanning interview.
“I think I will stop after this year,” he explains, though he stresses it won’t be the end of his collaborative relationship with Who singer Roger Daltrey.
“I think Roger and I will do odd things together,” he tells MOJO’s Alan Light. “I hope that one day I can write him an album of songs that suit him and the record company won’t demand that we call it the f***ing Who, but I’ve got a bad feeling about it. I think that if I wrote Roger a bunch of good songs, our manager would say, ‘Why not call it The Who? We’ll sell double as many records!’”
“Because when this tour is over, we’ll probably both go our separate ways. So it’s to demonstrate that even this particular gang can grow old – not necessarily gracefully, but can grow old ungracefully, or whatever it is that we’re doing.”
Via MOJO Magazine
Pete Townshend was honored this week at the 11th annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert in New York, where he received the Stevie Ray Vaughan award from Bruce Springsteen. Here’s Springsteen’s speech in full in tribute to the windmilling-guitarist.
Bruce Springsteen’s Tribute to Pete Townshend at MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit
Thank you. Pete’s receiving the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award this year for his dedication to helping others who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, for his work with the Who and his Double ‘O’ charity, Pete’s got a long history of working hard and raising spirits and money for worthy causes. Here’s just a few: In 1986, Double ‘O’ promotions put on a Colombian Volcano relief concert. In 1989, the Who reconvened for an anniversary tour, generated over $8 million for children’s charities throughout the U.K. and the U.S.A. In the past years, the Who have helped the Teenage Cancer Trust raise close to 3 million pounds to provide cancer wards and screening units.
There are plans on this tour to raise funds for charities as various as the Teenage Cancer Trust, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation for Underprivileged Children, the Robin Hood Foundation which funds and supports innovative poverty-fighting organizations in New York City. I could go on and tell you much more about what Pete and the Who have done for others, but I think I’ll tell you a little bit about what Pete’s done for me.
I wouldn’t be windmilling a Fender Telecaster if it weren’t for Pete Townshend. It’s the summer of ’66 or ’67, I’m not sure which one, but it was the first American tour that the Who were on. And I’m in a long line snaking out of Convention Hall down the boardwalk and the billboard read, in big type, Herman’s Hermits [laughter], then The Who [laughter].
I was a young, pimply-faced teenager who managed to scrap enough together to go see my first rock concert ever. Pete and the Who were young pimply-faced teenagers with a record contract, a tour and a rude, aggressive magic. They were on this tour, of all things, opening for Herman’s Hermits [laughter]. There was no justice. So, I scrambled to my seat, which seemed like the cavernous Convention Hall and I waited for the rumble to start.
The first band out, I think was a band called the Blues Magoos. They were at a New York City, uh, yeah,… There are a few folks who remember the Blues Magoos out there? [cheers] I don’t believe you [laughter]. But they had a great song, “We Ain’t Got Nothing Yet,” and they came out and they had these electric suits and when all the lights went out in the hall, the electric suits lit up and, it was high-level special effects for the time. But then the Who came out. I think they played for probably no more than 30 minutes, and before Pete and a cloud of smoke demolished his guitar, bashing it over and over into the floor.
And his amplifier… Now the audience was filled with a significant number of teenyboppers who were waiting for “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter.” So they sat there with their mouths agape, and they were wondering, like, of course, who are you? Who are these guys? What are they doing? Why are they doing it? And all I knew was, for some reason, this music and the demolishing of these perfectly fine instruments filled me with incredible joy. There was something wonderful about the wanton destruction of good commercial property [laughter].
It was the joy and giddiness of the riot that the Who managed somehow to safely attain; semi-safely attain. But all I knew is that it made me happy and it thrilled and inspired me. Inspired me to a degree where I was in a young band called the Castiles. I was about 16 years old.
We had a gig the next weekend at Saint Rose of Lima Catholic School in the basement for the CYO dance [laughter]. So I went out and I bought a smoke bomb and I bought a strobe light and I brought them over to the gig. And as the night neared its end — not being able to smash my guitar — It was the only one I had, you know. At the end of the night, I lit the smoke bomb in the Catholic school basement. I turned on the strobe light and I climbed on top of my Danelectro amplifier holding a vase of flowers that I had stolen from one of the upstairs classrooms.
And with this huge flourish, melodramatically, I raised the vase of flowers as the flickering, blinding strobe lit me with the smoke all around me, and as the nuns looked on in horror, I reached up and smashed them onto the dance floor [laughter]. And then I jumped off the amp and I stomped all over the petunias, putting them into an early death. Of course, I looked ridiculous and like I lost my mind. The vase of flowers simply failed to have the grandeur of the newly minted Telecaster being smashed to splinters. But, we worked with what we had so… I went home smiling, feeling like a blood bond with Pete Townshend, and I never looked back.
As I grew older, the Who’s music seemed to grow with me. The sexual frustration, the politics, identity. These things coursed through my veins with every concurring Who album. I always found myself there somewhere in their music. “The Seeker”; the seeker is the guy in “Born to Run.” There’d be no “Down in jungle,” ba da ba, “land,” without Pete’s slashing bloody attack on his instrument. Pete is the greatest rhythm guitarist of all time [cheers]. He plays such incredible rhythm and he showed you don’t have to play any lead. It’s an amazing thing to behold, really. Pete managed to take the dirty business of rock & roll and somehow make it spiritual and turn it into a quest.
He may hate this, but he identified the place where it was noble and he wasn’t afraid to go there. I took a lot of that with me as the years passed by. So Pete, I’m here to say, congratulations, well deserved, and thanks for not just Who’s Next, and for Who Are You, but for who I am. Congratulations Pete.
I’m listening now to Roger Daltrey’s interview with Howard Stern, and dug a little bit on YouTube for this – what a balance between musical aesthetics and commercial aspirations this band had. “We couldn’t outstone The Stones, we couldn’t outpop The Beatles. We found our own way with a completely different kind of music.”
Turn these up and use your desk to be your own Keith Moon!
Won’t Get Fooled Again
Pete Townshend has released a new track, Guantanamo, and it’s a stunner. The song is one of two brand new tracks to appear on The Who leader’s new solo comp, Truancy: The Very Best Of Pete Townshend, out on June 29, 2015.
Along with Guantanamo and How Can I Help You, Truancy features 15 other hits from across Townshend’s solo career, including Rough Boys, Let My Love Open The Door and Face The Face.
Read more at http://www.uncut.co.uk/news/hear-new-pete-townshend-song-guantanamo-68480#17DTSKOcxM8g7MlQ.99
A few fun facts about Face The Face – In the US the single had a different take which had bad sound compared to the UK release and on the promo for the single “Face the Face” it said:
“Dear Programmer: Enclosed is a reservice of the Pete Townshend single “Face the Face”. While Pete was visiting us here in the States, He remarked to us that the British single sounded a bit hotter. we checked …He was right. Same edit. Same mix. Hotter sound. Maybe you wouldn’t notice. Maybe you would. Time to re-cart the record. Happy Holidays, Atco Records
That’s Townshend’s daughter Emma Townshend singing some parts on the song, and Jimmy Somerville from Bronski Beat on the harmonica in the video, although Medicine Head’s Peter Hope-Evans is on the record.
The Boston Tea Party venue on Berkeley Street, Boston, Massachusetts was only around for a relatively brief four years but in that time built a name as one of the great psychedelic music venues of the late ’60s, and a must-stop for artists touring the city.