Short Pete interview in Rolling Stone
brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Sat Nov 22 07:18:47 CST 2008
Pete Townshend Escapes From “Rigid” Who Gigs With “In the Attic”
11/21/08, 12:47 pm EST
"It's people getting together that don't quite know the words,"
Townshend of the "In the Attic" acoustic performances he's been
doing with various guests on days off from the Who's world tour over the past three years. Organized by Rachel Fuller, his "beloved
partner" for the past 12 years, they started as a way for her to keep busy
while traveling with Townshend.
"I can only shop so much before I go completely mad," Fuller
joked. "In the Attic" started off as Webcasts from various European
festivals and turned into a series of shows at intimate American venues, with
guests ranging from Lou Reed to Tenacious
D.; a CD/DVD package of two of the Stateside shows will be available next
March at Best Buy.
On November 7th, at the tiny Troubadour nightclub in Hollywood, Fuller organized one more "In
the Attic," this one featuring Ben Gibbard of Death
Cab for Cutie, E from the Eels, Jakob
Dylan and She and Him. Generally, guest performers did three or four
of their own songs, and then summoned Townshend onstage for a Who cover.
"I don't want to be pejorative about the Who," Townshend said
backstage before the show. "It's what pays the rent and it's who I am, to
a great extent. But the Who format is very rigid, very Groundhog Day. And this
is different. A lot of the songs that I've written, the Who wouldn't be able to
do them justice. It's only recently that Roger
[Daltrey] has risen to the challenge of some of the more eclectic material
that I've produced."
She & Him chose to perform a relative obscurity from the Townshend
catalog: "Blue, Red and Gray," from The Who by Numbers.
Before the show, singer (and actress) Zooey Deschanel was carefully copying
down key lyrics onto her left hand, hoping not to sweat them off. "I'm
just trying not to screw it up," she said. Deschanel's first exposure to
Townshend's music came at age 13 — she played the Acid Queen in a summer-camp
production of Tommy.
"It's kind of blowing my mind," Gibbard confided, "sitting
back here, hanging out with Pete Townshend."
If the show, like a summer-camp musical, had more enthusiasm than polish,
that was part of the appeal. Shortly after walking onstage to join Fuller for "Sunrise," Townshend
realized he had forgotten his reading glasses and darted offstage to fetch
them. Highlights included guitarist Mike Campbell joining Jakob Dylan onstage
to replicate the slide part he contributed to "Sixth Avenue Heartache,"
E doing a stately piano version of Bob Dylan's "Girl from the North Country," and Gibbard and Townshend
collaborating on a rough but joyful version of "Mary-Anne with the Shaky
Hand." The show concluded with a group performance of Quadrophenia's
"I'm One." All the performers traded lyrics — except for E, who hung
out at the back of the stage and seemed to be checking his e-mail.
-Brian in Atlanta
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