Encountering The Who - 1966

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Fri Aug 6 07:18:10 CDT 2004

>From an article in The Citizen, Gloucestershire at:

My somewhat fraudulent career as a reviewer of the pop
and jazz scene began in the most unlikely of venues -
the Liberal Hall in Yeovil, a conventional
establishment where Lloyd George had once declaimed
with all his Celtic skills. Not long before, as a
freelance looking for work, I had been introduced in a
Soho pub to a tall, lean man whose capacity for double
whiskies was matched only by his encyclopaedic
knowledge of all kinds of modern music. He turned out
to be the editor of Melody Maker, then very much the
weekly voice of authority in such matters before the
New Musical Express found greater favour with the pop
...Freelances don't turn down jobs. On the Wednesday
night I headed for my home town of Yeovil, a notebook
in my pocket and my head full of current music
clich??s I'd rapidly acquired from younger friends. I
made sure that I wasn't wearing a tie or too many
external signs of my middle-brow persona or, for that
matter, my 30-odd years.

In my ignorance I assumed that all bands appeared on
time. The Who started a good hour late - and what
followed absolutely mesmerised me. This Peter
Townshend charged round the small stage, gripping his
guitar as if it were a rifle. His lyrics, hard enough
to decipher, conveyed plenty of anger. Before long he
was actually smashing his guitar on the floor of the

Expensive business, that, I puritanically reflected.

Behind the drums was Keith Moon, a manic figure with
staring eyes. The extraordinary quartet was completed
by Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. They dispensed
the noisiest, weirdest musical evening of my life -
and yes, in its shocking way, it was exciting. Yeovil
had seen nothing like it before.

Dutifully, I went into the cramped dressing room to
have a word with the boys afterwards. There was plenty
of smoking going on and I found the unfamiliar smell
seductive. I got little out of the impromptu interview
but as an MM man I felt I should tell them why I was
there. As I left, a bystander asked me: "What did you
think of that lot?" In my esoteric role, I replied:
"Modelled on The Kinks, you know. Used to be called
The Detours and then High Numbers." My research hadn't
been wasted.

In my critique I mentioned the pyrotechnics and
conscious attempt to cause controversy. I also
mentioned that they were stylishly dressed and had an
undeniable sense of theatre, however destructive. I
had, of course, no inkling of the way their appeal
would spiral, that the Tommy rock opera would turn
into a Ken Russell film, that Moon would be dead by
1978 and Entwistle by 2002. - D.F.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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