Shouting Grasshoppers

O'Neal, Kevin W. Kevin.ONeal at
Thu Jan 4 12:42:29 CST 2007

What about "IGTC-ing Grasshoppers" ??????


Kevin in VT

4 January 2007 
Shouting Grasshoppers 
These are replies to questions from the inner circle of Grasshoppers at "" sent to me by Dave Carter. Thanks Dave, and all who asked questions. Slightly different from the usual stuff - the Wise One was really quite challenged by some of these as you will see. 

SHOUTING GRASSHOPPER: 1) Lots of pictures of you this past year with a big grin on your face, and you've made several remarks about it being a good time in your life. Would you say that 2006 was one of the best years ever for Pete Townshend?

WISE ONE (in contrary mood): No. I am happy though, but is not really about the Who or 2006. I just seem to be happy at the moment, I am enjoying it.

2) In the liner notes for Endless Wire, you mention a phone conversation with Eric Clapton. What concern/s did you bring to the call -- and what was his "firm and unwavering advice" to you?

If I had wanted to relate precisely what he said I would have done so. I didn't intend to arouse curiosity, I just wanted to thank him.

3) What was the "cunning plan" that you hinted at prior to the 2006 tour and album release?

It is so cunning that I have forgotten what it was. 

4) Is there any plan to record another Who album or even a few singles?

No plan. No promises. The tour has another year to go in various ways. I'm not getting back on the family-songs-record-tour endless treadmill of the past that made me crazy in the early '80s.

5) How is The Method Project progressing? What is your vision for the ultimate Method performance?

We plan a wider launch of the Beta test web site some time soon, but no date is set. The designers are still fine-tuning the system. The live event that will be the conclusion to the first phase of the web site will be a celebration rather than a performance. The idea is to gather a number of individual pieces of music and play them with videos (and some live music elements as well) at some appropriate venue. The people whose music we employ will hopefully be present to enjoy the occasion.

6) Did the success of Roger and you playing Naked Eye acoustic on the 2002 tour lead to several tracks on the new CD just being the two of you on acoustic?

No. It came more directly from my work on In The Attic, where I was reminded that songs that could be great on the rock stage can also work brilliantly if you have the courage to keep them really simple. I have always understood that, and I think so has Roger, but we do tend to hang on to the rock clichés because they work so well for us. We might be hiding behind a loud band. Acoustic is naked. 
Also, Roger performed Real Good Looking Boy at a charity benefit we did for Samsung's Four Seasons of Hope in New York in 2005. He accompanied himself solo on acoustic guitar. I was very moved by the way he sang my song. It stuck with me. It was so personal to him. I made a decision to continue to encourage Roger to work this way - especially to accompany himself. 

7) Whatever happened to all the tracks that did not make it onto 'Quadrophenia'? It has been reported in the music press from back then that Roger has said that there was enough material for 4 albums.
Some of the out-takes have been released as extra tracks or demos. There may have been enough for 4 albums, but remember Roger was speaking in the days of vinyl. Even so, I'm sure he didn't really mean it or believe what he said. On another note I started to remix Quadrophenia a while ago, and considered adding new material. But I realized very quickly it doesn't need completion. It is complete. I won't say it is perfect, but I don't feel I need to 'improve' on it by adding to the music or changing the story. It was always meant to be a Who-poem, rather than a rock-opera with a story. It is about how we feel when we are faced with our first fall, rather than whether we get the girl.

8) What do you feel is the greatest achievement of The Who?

Tommy. The original demos, the artwork, the first album, the ballet, the movie, the orchestral version, the marching band version, the Broadway show - they were all great, and fun to work on. I could do it all again, and probably will several times before I die.

9) This tour, you have been so much more approachable, available. Do you finally accept that you have been a major influence on people's lives? That the pain in your songs has helped so many with theirs?

I don't understand the angle of this question. It is obvious that I have been an influence on people's lives. I accept that. I hope it doesn't hurt the feelings of the questioner to ask why that acceptance would that lead me to become more accessible? It may be, you see, that my privacy and inaccessibility was important to your engagement with my work. If the pain in my songs touches others, it is probably their pain they feel, not mine. They don't really know me, how can they know my pain? Am I in pain? Have I ever been in pain? Yes, but I haven't always been good at clearly articulating the nature of that pain in my work. It's your pain I'm obviously good at touching. I'm very proud indeed of my ability to do that sometimes, as well as being able to generate release and joy. This issue of privacy is a problem for all artists, but especially songwriters. I've been very accessible in interviews in the past. I left it to John Entwistle to preside in person at the bar after gigs. Now I try to do my bit to meet people, to replace his role in some small way, but I don't know for certain it is a good thing.
I've been more accessible mainly through the live Attic Jam shows of my partner Rachel who is very sociable. Meet & Greet tickets were my suggestion as a way of covering the costs of filming and recording the shows for future release. I must admit I'm not entirely comfortable with meeting fans face to face because I don't think I can ever give them enough time. 

10) Finally, a "Mirror Door"-related question. You summon up Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven as spirits on the "other side". Will rock and roll be remembered in 175 or 200 years? Will the music that you and your peers have created be performed live as classical music is today?

Of course some rock will be remembered. This is not an issue that really interests me. Tommy may be remembered. Who cares? Apparently unplugging my phone charger during the day will have more significance to the children of the future.

11) Bonus queston, just for fun. The internet has spawned more than a few "Greatest Rock Band of All Time" debates. So, for the record, your opinion: Spinal Tap, The Rutles, or Tenacious D?

They are all vital historical documents without which we would have been unable to see, and laugh at, the pretensions, pomposity and absurdity of rock stars.

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