on Pete SXSW Keynote

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Thu Mar 15 06:28:50 CDT 2007 

SXSW: Pete Townshend, live and direct 
By Jim Welte - 

Legendary Who guitarist talks reunion, intimate solo efforts, and his forthcoming Web site that was nearly 30 years in the making. 

AUSTIN, Texas--His band has stood accused over the years of milking the nostalgia concert circuit, but in a one-hour conversation at SXSW today, Pete Townshend let everyone know that he is very much focused on the new.

The legendary Who guitarist and songwriter said today that he is set to launch a new Web site that he has been thinking about for nearly 30 years. Dubbed The Method, Townshend said the site will use music composition software to take a person's physical attributes and compose a brand new, personalized piece of music for that person.

"I've been thinking about this for such a long time," he said. "The gathering that the Internet offers is meditation. You lose yourself when you're listening to good music."

The Method will be unveiled at Townshend's Oceanic Studios in London on April 25.

Townshend said he hopes the site will provoke more people to take advantage of the immediacy of the Web.

"The big thing with the Internet has been that you can have it when it fits into your work day. F*** it--I want it live," he said to huge applause in the packed, massive Hilton ballroom. "[Live music] is the moment we make that contract between the artist and the fan. We need more of that."

While The Who has been playing massive stadiums throughout the world over the past six months, Townshend has made time for a series of intimate performances with his partner Rachel Fuller, allowing his to take a step back from superstardom and focus on the creative process.

In one recent show at Joe's Pub in New York City, Townshend was joined by Lou Reed for an entire set of velvet Underground material.

"It was fantastic," Townshend said of the intimate setting. "At one point Lou asked me if he could sit down, and I said, 'Sure.' You don't know how f***ing huge it was to Lou Reed that he could sit down and play."

When asked about the dichotomy of the big, boisterous, sweeping rock songs he used to write and the more intimate material he has released solo and on 2006's Endless Wire, the Who's first new studio album of original material in twenty-four years, Townshend said the aggression of The Who's early years is unnecessary now.

"I now realize that these big, noisy violent acts, I don’t think they're appropriate anymore," he said. "If it's going to be political, let's make it f***ing political." Part of the reason was that I didn't understand politics at the time, although I'm not sure if I do now either." 

-Brian in Atlanta 
The Who This Month!

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