Pete Townshend on both sides of the law

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Oct 7 05:38:56 CDT 2004

>From The Naples (FL) Daily News at:,2071,NPDN_14939_3235226,00.html
(requires registration)

The Ancient Rocker: Pete Townshed, on both sides of
the law
By MIKE JAHN, Special to the Daily News
October 7, 2004

Let's talk about Pete Townshend's first brush with
American justice and his current love affair with it. 

Three of the songs he wrote for the Who are now being
used as theme music for three different shows in the
"CSI" television series. "Who Are You?" is the theme
music on "CSI," the founding show. "Won't Get Fooled
Again" may be heard on "CSI: Miami." And the
just-launched "CSI: NY," rocks to "Baba O'Reilly,"
more commonly known for its refrain, "it's only
teenage wasteland." 

Pete's emergence as contributor to TV cop shows is
today's news. What happened 35 years ago? It was
morning in New York in May of 1969. The phone rang. It
was my friend and Manhattan neighbor, Steve Baron,
leader of a folk/jazz rock quartet and friend of
Pete's since both bands appeared on a show promoted by
legendary New York DJ and self-proclaimed "Fifth
Beatle" Murray the K. 

Steve said, "Pete's here. He threw a fire marshal off
stage at the Fillmore East and the cops are looking
for him. What should I do?" 

A fire in the joint next door had let smoke seep into
to the famous Lower East Side rockery in the middle of
a concert. A fire marshal went onstage, unannounced
and out of uniform, to tell the audience to leave.
Pete thought he was a crazed fan, and tossed him off. 

I knew dozens of rock stars, had seen lots of crazed
fans, and Steve expected me to give him solid advice. 

"Lay low," I said. 

Well, it was my first and only experience with helping
a fugitive evade prosecution. Had I seen a couple of
"CSI" shows I might have given better advice. 

More seriously, last year Pete was cleared of child
pornography charges but placed on a sex offender
registry in Britain for viewing that material on the
Internet. I believe him when he says he was
researching his autobiography and suspected that he
was molested as a child. Unlike most rock stars, he's
an intelligent, well-spoken, and thoughtful man who
would write his own autobiography. And he has written
about child molestation before. 

Besides, I shared a six-pack with him once, and am
old-fashioned enough to believe that you can't drink
with a man without getting a sense of him. If Pete
Townshend is a pedophile, I'm Muhammad Ali.

-Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!

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