Billboard on Pete SXSW Keynote
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Thu Mar 15 06:22:17 CDT 2007
Townshend Reveals The 'Method' To His Madness At SXSW
Jonathan Cohen, Austin, Texas
Pete Townshend utilized his keynote address at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tonight (March 15) to unveil a new music Web site dubbed the Method. The concept was first introduced in the early 1970s via music intended for "Lifehouse," which eventually morphed into the Who's "Who's Next" album.
Starting in late April, the program, designed by Lawrence Ball, will allow Web site subscribers the chance to "create their own musical composition by 'sitting' for the Method software composer, just as you would site for a painter making your portrait," according to a statement. Townshend, who turns 62 in May, previously used the program to inspire "Fragments," the opening song on the new Who studio album, "Endless Wire."
"You enter data about yourself, you share some stuff about how you feel, and you get back a piece of music," he said. "There was no computer in 1971 big enough or powerful enough to do what I wanted it to do, and of course, there was no Internet."
Townshend said the subject will then own a third of the copyright of the piece of music, and he hopes one day to hold a concert where various "Method" compositions can be shared. "It might sound like a seal or a plane going by," he said. "It may sound terrible or it may sound beautiful. This is an authentic portrait."
Because "Who's Next" was not released in its intended form, Townshend says he has always preferred its follow-up album, "Quadrophenia." "It's purer," he said. "It's full of energy. It's also simply a story of a kid who has a bad day. It rains and he goes and sits on a rock and he contemplates the future and the present. He decides to do something he's never done before; he prays. That's the end of the story.
Townshend also spoke about his ongoing series of cybercasts with his partner Rachel Fuller, dubbed In the Attic. Recently, a New York edition of the event found Townshend playing Velvet Underground songs with Lou Reed in a tiny club.
"I've got a foot in the old established camp and a foot in the new camp. Lou and I onstage at Joe's Pub, looking into each other's eyes ... at one point, he said, 'Is it okay to sit down?' I said, 'Sure!' You don't know how f*cking huge that was to Lou Reed, to be told that he could play and sit down. He's a couple of years older than me!" Townshend also bemoaned the lack of live music content online, demanding, "What do we do with [live music broadcasts on] the Internet? We delay them! You can have it later, when it fits into your work day. F*ck it. I want it live!"
-Brian in Atlanta
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