New Pete Interview on TheWho.com September 27th 2008



Lowgens02 at aol.com Lowgens02 at aol.com
Sun Sep 28 06:21:13 CDT 2008


 
27th September, 2008 
INTERVIEW 


Here are my answers to questions  submitted by subscribed fans. 



Kallan: Thank you for organizing  Japan Tour. Japanese audiences are eagerly 
waiting for the day when we will meet  you again. I was wondering if you were 
planning on writing new songs on the  Japanese traditional instruments (Koto, 
Shamisen, etc.), like the other  bands? 

I have a very basic Shamisen that I used in the opening song of the  
Lifehouse Chronicles show at Sadlers Wells in London - I think that was in 1999.  I 
haven't used it again since. When I come to Japan I may try to purchase a  
better Shamisen. I have a basic Koto too, but that's unusable. I remember Chris  
Thomas-who produced three of solo albums-telling me that he went to Kyoto to  
commission the building of a Koto from a very famous maker, and the craftsman  
told him it would take him ten years. He had been working on a special  
instrument for the Emperor all his life. 

Do you have any message for your Japanese fans? 

I will not smash any more guitars in your country.  

Robinf: I'm sure you've noticed  your concerts are now attended by people of 
all ages--grandparents, parents and  their young children (we have some folks 
coming to the Boston concert with their  9 and 10 year olds). What do you 
think about how your music is now bridging gaps  between the generations and 
giving us common ground to understand and enjoy one  another? 

If what you suggest is really happening then that sounds like a most  unusual 
thing. Rock was never intended to bridge gaps but to deal with the fact  that 
they were there in quite a disabling way when we were young. We needed our  
own language. Our music was never intended to defy the Greatest Generation. We  
just had to accept they didn't listen to a word we said. So we started our 
own  cultural life. In fact I loved the music of my father's generation. It 
simply  wasn't suited to the conditions in which I grew up. Today, young and old 
people  share many of the same concerns, especially ecological ones. Even so, a 
band  like The Who can engender resentment in young people, merely because 
everyone  has forgotten how hard it was for us to do what we did. There is a 
perception  that it was easier in the late '50s and early '60s to break into new 
creative  areas. There was certainly less competition than there is today, but 
much more  resistance from the Establishment to young people becoming 
powerful too quickly.  

I believe that in fact there may not be so much of a gap to  bridge these 
days. So, I'm really not sure that what you suggest is going is  what is going 
on. Yes, young people come to see The Who. Sometimes they come  with their 
parents. What is important is to try to understand the different  needs we all 
have. As someone in their approaching middle-sixties I don't have  the 
frustrations I had as a young man. But I do share the concerns of young  people today 
about the planet, and its security. Politically speaking, the fact  is I haven't 
been fooled again, so in a sense there is no point singing about  it. But 
young people need to be aware that it is not just the powerful voices on  the 
Right who can twist the truth, but also those on the Left. In any case I do  not 
trust journalists to do anything but gather facts. I then need to make up my  
own mind, and if possible do my own research. The truth is a conclusion not an  
unfolding procession of evolving facts. 

At a Who concert you are listening to music that is intended to  reinforce in 
the audience the notion that they have a right to their own ideas,  whether 
they are old or young, and that is what real freedom is, not doing what  some 
politician, radical, terrorist, mullah, priest, guru, journalist,  university 
professor or jaded rock-star tells you to do. These days especially,  don't 
trust information on the internet. Use it like a conversation. Use it to  take 
stock of your fellow man, like hanging out in the bar. When pundits like  
Arriana Heffington and Perze Hilton talk about me - for example - they have only  
their own strategies, interests, missions, ambitions and image at heart. The web 
 is a place full of egos run wild. The music I have written for the Who was  
intended for you, not for me. I have an ego of course, and it is in writing 
like  this that it will emerge most strongly (but then, here we are, on the 
damned  internet), but on stage with the Who I am doing a very simple job. I need 
strong  shoes, not an ego. 

Johnfsully3: I recently spoke to a  rock legend like yourself who said he has 
constantly been juggling with writing  new material and revisiting/restoring 
older projects that either were never  completed or were never fully realized. 
So with a Quadrophenia Broadway  possibility, The Boy Who Heard Music 
workshop, material for a new Who album, and  a covers record discussion, how does an 
artist like yourself go about  prioritizing such endeavours so that they can 
get to the finish line?  

You speak to other rock legends! You are so disloyal! I suspect you  are 
having a dialogue with yourself Sully - as I often do. Thanks for the last  batch 
of books by the way. A nice selection. 

I have limited time. There are a few ideas still floating around  in my head. 
I would love to see an orchestrated version of Quadrophenia. I would  love to 
do a surround-sound version of the original recording. (Roger is keen to  
take the 1996 Quadrophenia on the road again one day and I'd like that too). I  
would like to see TBWHM as an animated feature. I have on my table really firm  
offers to do all kinds of wonderful things. What I am trying to do today, and 
 will go back to it when I've finished writing this, is to compose in a new 
way  for me. I am always looking for new tricks, and new settings for my work. 
I'm  really trying to keep things simple though. Right now I have about forty 
new  pieces of music, and about the same number of lyrics/poems floating 
around. I  don't need to prioritize anything other than the way I use my time. I am 
happy  in my own company, especially when I'm being creative. I have a 
terrific social  circle here in London, and of course my family and my partner 
Rachel all nurture  me at every level. I simply need to be able to nurture myself. 
So I move day to  day and pick a project that feels right for the time. I am 
willing to change  course at any moment without apology. This infuriates people 
around me who want  to plan ahead. I suppose this is my greatest luxury, not 
so much being able to  change my mind on a whim, but to be able to assess my 
options in an open debate,  and then make decisions as late in the day as I 
can. I'm genuinely excited about  the British theatrical production of 
Quadrophenia because the people involved  (Tom Critchley, Jeff Young, Bill Schultz, Ina 
Meibach) really understand the  essential poetry of the story. In a rock 
piece, if you try to overcook the  story, the dramatic narrative, you might break 
its very spine. Literal narrative  is for stories you want to hear, read or 
enjoy just once or twice at the most.  It is vital for films, TV drama, even for 
comedy. In rock, narrative can really  stop the listener from taking centre 
stage. What I do must stand to be revisited  over and over again by a listener 
who is growing, changing, using the music like  a scent. Rock musicians of all 
kinds are still struggling to understand how  sometimes we pull it off without 
knowing how we did it.  

Retroguy: It seems to me, reading  your last interview here, that you have 
tremendous ambivalence towards the  future direction that you should take with 
your music. On the one hand, you wish  to create new music, which is great 
news. On the other hand, you seem hesitant  to insert much new music into the live 
shows, the thought being that the  audience are more interested in hearing 
the old hits and might be alienated if  they hear too much unexpected new music. 

I don't think I'm as ambivalent as I might appear. I am simply not  willing 
to conform to established patterns of work. That sometimes leaves me  looking 
lost. So I agree I get lost, but I know what I'm searching for.  Something new 
that will engage me enough to see it through to the end, and  something that 
an audience will find useful to them, and will regard me kindly.  The live 
shows, as I have said many times, are defined and constrained by  Roger's needs as 
a singer. If you look at my past solo shows I played all kinds  of crazy 
things. What I like about playing older music is that it is easier, so  I can try 
new things as a performer within the constraints of the old show. Have  you 
heard about Billy Corgan's recent experiment? It is fascinating, writing  songs 
before a Live audience over a period of time - a little like my idea for  the 
very first Lifehouse. Today the Who carries too much wonderful baggage to  
just dump it an experiment in public, so I keep my ongoing experiments closer to  
my chest.

 

You mentioned that you wouldn't want to record new tracks with the  live 
band, as they are, in essence, channelling the Who experience for Who  fans. 

That's right. We are like a tribute band in that sense. The best,  although I 
liked the 1989 line up too. I believe we could make a great record  with 
those musicians, but I can't really see why I would want to. It would be  like 
starting a new band. 

How about this, though? McCartney, though, has included on his  "Tripping the 
Light Fantastic" live album several tracks of the band running  through some 
original tunes, as well as old standards at sound checks. Who fans  on this 
site have clamoured for both new music as well as the cover tunes album  idea. 
If you recorded and released these types of songs, we'd get to hear them  
"live" but you wouldn't be disappointing anyone. And how about releasing such  
material here on your website? 

Who fans may clamour to their hearts content. They always have. I  take very 
little notice. What you are suggesting would be as tricky to arrange  as any 
other serious project and would need to be excellent or it wouldn't be  worth 
doing at all. As a solo artist I have given away some very interesting,  but 
otherwise low quality stuff, especially unreleased demos. If I was a solo  
artist like Macca things would be different. And I think Roger has demonstrated  
that when he works solo, or without me around, he too is very ambitious and  
courageous about reworking old Who songs and singing his old favourites. When we  
come together there is a force that comes into play. We are both aware of it, 
 but don't really know how to work with it. Sometimes when we try to change  
things around we feel like we are needlessly tampering. Roger was quoted 
lately  as saying that nothing about the Who is broken, so it doesn't need fixing. 
But  he is nonetheless full of ideas for ways to do new things. He wants me by 
his  side of course. But when we stand side by side the force I spoke of 
comes into  play, and the music rolls, and we become like concert professionals 
playing  Beethoven over and over again. This isn't merely pop music any more. 
It's gone  too far now for me to pretend otherwise in some futile hope to appear 
humble -  the Who's music, some of it, a good bit of it, has taken on a power 
that we in  the band never imagined could be possible. We are in awe if it. 
Cover versions?  What would I want to cover to compare to my best songs for the 
Who? Leonard  Cohen? Springsteen? Dylan? Joni? Mingus? Mozart? I'm happy to 
cover  myself.
 

Brianlajd: Pete, please can you  clear up the 'covers album' debate? What say 
you? Would you record an entire  album without a Pete Townshend penned track 
included? 

I have no interest in it really. Roger had the idea to do something  on his 
own (while I was writing this year) for this web site. I said if I was  free 
I'd like to play on it. T-Bone Burnett was invited to produce it and it  looked 
for a while as though it might make a proper record for Roger. Then  suddenly 
people were talking about T-Bone making the next Who record. A Who  record 
without my songs is not a Who record, it's a record by some musicians  using the 
Who brand name to get attention. Read what I said above about covers.  It 
makes uneasy reading, but it's true. T-Bone, a genius in my opinion, could  make a 
great record of covers with Roger, because Roger is one of the truly  great 
interpretive singers of rock. T-Bone would have a harder time with me, and  The 
Who with me taking a major role. I would simply get in his way, and he would  
get in mine. We both know that. 

As for recording an album without my songs, what would be the  point of that? 
There are millions of musicians who can play other people's music  better 
than I can. Let them cover other people's songs. I'm a composer. Covered  in 
warts, arthritic, deaf, battered, bitter and tired. I'm ready for my best  work. 

Boyo: The Who have toured  extensively celebrating their music and 
re-inventing the sound of many of the  songs overtime. Is there any chance that you will 
look at touring, celebrating  your own solo music in the future in the same 
way? 

I tried it in the mid '90s and although I loved it I am enjoying  working 
with Roger and the current band too much to go back to trying to run two  
performing careers at the same time. On the 1989 tour we intended to do more of  my 
solo stuff, and in order to do so I needed a bigger band. People thought the  
Who was hiding behind a horn section or something. It doesn't mix. My crash in  
the late '70s, that led to me leaving the band in 1982 and not coming back  
creatively until 24 years later was a direct result of trying to stay in the 
Who  and satisfy my needs as a solo artist. Best to keep it simple.  

Perry: How about doing a long  string of Who concerts at a smaller theatre in 
NYC like the Beacon? You wouldn't  have to travel all over the States, lug 
all that equipment around, spend money  on flights and travel and stuff. 

Sounds like fun. However, my comfy posh hotel suite in NY costs a  lot. My 
share of the meagre profit we'd make at the Beacon wouldn't cover it. To  be 
honest, if we could fill stadiums again I might consider playing them. There  is 
a lot of nonsense being circulated about the idea that musicians can afford  
to give away their recorded music and survive on concert tickets. Concerts cost 
 money to put up, and only certain artists can charge high prices. Playing 
for  pleasure sadly means playing for vanity. 

Miss jane marple: I heard about  John Entwistle having written some chapters 
of an autobiography prior to his  death, and actually saw concert footage in 
which you mentioned owning it  now. 

I certainly don't own it, nor have I got a copy. I have read it  though.


Is there any chance that fans will ever see any of it? Will you maybe  
publish parts of it with your own autobiography? 

My biography is on ice.



Considering how overlooked John is in general it would be nice  to have a 
bit more insight like the letter to a fan that you recently made  public, many 
thanks for that! 

I agree. But that letter was a very rare thing. He didn't write much,  and 
didn't say much. I don't know how much John actually wrote. I know he  started 
in league with Bob Pridden. I do not have possession of it. I don't  think I 
said I own it, I think I said (or meant) that Bob had given it to me to  read. 
It was great, but quite short. 

Nedrow123: Just curious why nothing  from 'Who By Numbers' has been done live 
for so long? Is it hard to reproduce  live? Pretty much every other album has 
been represented (certainly everything  since 1970) in the last 12 years of 
touring. 

I could play BLUE RED AND GREY. But what would Roger do? He'd  probably 
laugh. He is keen to do SLIP KID but I don't like it much without the  piano and 
backing vocals I ported in from my demo. Roger and I both love the  album now, 
but the songs are not very well-known, and some of them are quite  tricky to 
play.

Towser1983: A while back I used the  Method music from one of my Lifehouse 
sittings as a synth backing track and  wrote a piece of music around it. It was 
great fun working out the chord and key  changes that were being dictated by 
the backing and it came out a bit like a  mini opera. I was pretty pleased with 
it.

Question is, if I ever used this  commercially, would I be sued? And 
also (the real question) do you have any  plans to compose new music using the 
Method as a starting point for inspiration?  Both Baba O'Riley and Fragments 
turned out so well. 

Wow! That sounds great. You have discovered what I often find, that  
apparently repetitive music like the Method stuff is actually rich with harmonic  
variance and potential. I did have plans to do an album based on the Method  
tracks, and if I get time I may try something. Lawrence Ball and I need to sit  
down and take stock of what we've managed to do so far. We plan meet soon.  
Everyone involved in the Method project had a great time, and Lawrence produced  
some beautiful and intriguing pieces, and some very challenging ones as well.  

Your Method music is partly owned by you (you own a third), even  though my 
lawyer tells me this is untenable in law. Legality aside (without  prejudice) 
you can do what you like with it. If you added lyrics to the music,  you would 
split the 100% of the song into two equal parts: words and music. You  would 
split any part attributable to the Method music in thirds - one third to  you, 
one to the folks who invented the software, one third to my company. If you  
added to the music in a substantial way, it might be argued that you could get  
more than a third of the music because you would have "arranged" it in a new  
way. 

I want to encourage people to enjoy their own Method music in  whatever way 
they wish. If I took your Method piece and used it for a song, the  good news 
for you is that you would share in the copyright with  me.

Gaylierose: Pete, what is the  status of the Lifehouse Method? I 
unfortunately procrastinated so long that I  didn't get to sit for a portrait, but I am 
looking forward to hearing the  results of this project. 

The web site part of the project is finished. What should happen next  is a 
live event. We were hoping for a sponsor. Nothing doing so far. So when I  can 
afford it I will probably do it myself. 

Tonne99: What was your reaction to  hearing Jimmy Page was trying to steal 
members of your band? Did your feelings  change over time? P.S. Have you heard 
Alejandro Escovedo's Sensitive  Boys? 

I'm not sure that was what happened. Roger and Keith locked horns and  they 
both left the band briefly. We were all children. We were full of really  silly 
ideas and we came to our senses quickly. Do you know what Keith and John  
wanted to call their new band? It's so daft. "Led Zeppelin". You have to laugh.  

PS I just Googled Alehandro etc and so now I've heard it.  

Freditor: You have said you spared  going deaf by not touring in the 80's, 
but after having surgery on my right ear  to correct hearing loss, I still have 
tinnitus which I believe there is no cure  for. Some days are worse than 
others but for the most part, I have learned to  live with it. How is your hearing 
these days? Do you have any suggestions on how  you cope with tinnitus? 
Finally, to change the subject completely, are Fender  planning to issue a PT 
modified EC Stratocaster? 

I'm sorry to hear about your operation. My hearing is just OK, nor  great, I 
am not troubled by tinnitus although I still have it. To survive  tinnitus the 
first thing to do is tell yourself you will not think about it.  Imagine your 
conscious mind sitting a little outside your head, forwards a  little. It is 
a kind of meditation really, It works. What also works is making  sure you 
keep your physical stress levels low. So don't dabble with sexual  abstinence. 
(only kidding!) 

I'm not sure about the Fender guitar. The problem might be that  it is not 
really modified except for a stock Fishman piezo bridge. So it would  not really 
be a PT model at all. I think it has been discussed though.  

Duandi: Which has been your  favourite guitar that you have regularly played 
since you started your career?  And, if there is one, why? 

My favourite was the J200 now residing in the R&R Hall of Fame in  Cleveland. 
It didn't sound that good to the listener, but it sounded great to  the 
player, and had a thin and crisp sound that recorded really well, and a  metal 
'Tunamatic' bridge so it was always dead in tune even on chords played  high up 
the neck. So many acoustic guitars need bridge adjustment on the saddles  but 
don't have them. 

Masonwoodward:Pete, what advice  would you give a young guitar player? I just 
turned 11yrs old and your are my  inspiration. 

Only play when you feel like it. That said, play the way that comes  
naturally and try not to force yourself to copy other people too much. It's good  to 
learn to play songs and licks you love when you are young, but try to invent  
your own things as well. There are so many guitar players, but still, to this  
day, I can pick up a guitar and find something no one has ever done before. 
You  must try to do the same. Be inventive and treat it all like a search, an  
adventure. On the other hand, if you really love playing Rebel Rebel then play  
that too, or whatever you like best. That will keep you loose and your  
fingertips hard. Good luck, Mason. 

Emh: I'm a female performer. The  first time I appeared on stage with a rock 
band, I felt incredibly 'male.' The  energy that zipped through me was 
something I had never felt before--very  electric, very alive. Sheryl Crow has often 
been criticized for "trying" to be  raunchy and missing the mark. Female 
rappers certainly have mastered raunch. But  what about female rockers? Can we be 
taken seriously by a largely male audience?  Is the only way to be a true 
rocker is to be full of testosterone?  

A male-female? Sound like the best kind of creature imaginable to me.  You're 
not thinking of wrapping yourself in dynamite are you? They only reward  you 
in paradise with female virgins I think. Strange, when I perform solo I feel  
very 'female'. With the Who I feel like a soldier, not sure which sex. Sheryl  
Crow is great I think, and looks very natural with an electric guitar. But 
Joan  Jet showed us how it can really work whether you're male or female. You 
just  play the electric guitar hung pretty low and try to look like Bo Diddley 
mixed  with Dolly Parton. Joan often used to come and see the Who. She dressed 
like one  of the Clash, but she definitely exuded a strong female air, she was 
strong but  very sexy. Pink is like that I think. Some women can mix it and 
get it right.  But having said that, what is "right"? You sound like you've 
found something  very special. Develop it. 

Youarewho: Does most of your  writing occur in the day or at night? Can you 
please take us through a typical  day in the life of Pete Townshend. I know 
that you're an avid sailor, but how  else do you occupy your leisure time? 

This is too personal. Today I answer these questions. After lunch I  will 
work in one of my studios. I do like to sail. Tonight I will wrestle with  our 
six dogs, write some emails, talk to some friends in the flesh or on the  phone, 
watch a movie or some TV crime I've recorded, then to bed with a crime  book 
or a biography. I'm reading my friend Robert McCrum's biography of  
P.G.Wodehouse at the moment. 

flog515: Pete, could you tell us  how you got into sailing and what you like 
about it? Is this something you found  later in life? And what kinds of boats 
do you sail, solo or with crew, open  water, lakes etc...? And how has sailing 
impacted you and your music?  

This is such a huge thing for me to try to talk about. I just like  water I 
suppose. The sea can frighten me, so I may like it because it gives me a  buzz. 
Most of all I love boats. All kinds. Your question has inspired me to  think 
about writing something quite substantial about my boating life. It's a  long 
story, with some very tall tales. 

Neohippie: What was Ray High doing  "Playing empty halls for those Fuckin 
freemason crows"? Could you please  elaborate? What does this means? And, in real 
life, has the fact that you're a  Baba Follower changed or affected 
relationships between you and other colleagues  that are or were perhaps into other 
forms of "Occultism" or  Spirituality? 

Why would I elaborate something said by Ray High? The man is an  idiot. 

Meher Baba's teachings suggested that all religions, faiths and  spiritual 
pursuits needed revitalisation in this particular age. He also  recommended that 
his followers didn't reject their family religion. So I still  regard myself 
as a Christian. However, I have a strong intuition that if I lived  before (a 
daft idea, but like so many other people I do have some daft ideas) I  may 
have been a Persian Sufi. If I ever meet President Bush I will strongly urge  him 
to dissuade Israel from EVER bombing Iran. I think Iran has some very, very  
cool people and history and a nice art college - just like Israel. Why oh 
why-as  Rachel says-can't we all just get along? History itself is the answer, 
what has  happened in the past really does affect us today, there is no denying 
it. If we  do deny it, we are making a terrible mistake. We should of course 
live in the  present, that's where the spiritual lesson is carried. But it's not 
easy.  

Grego23: If I recall correctly, I  think you mentioned a while back that you 
were reading Musicophilia by Oliver  Sacks. I am wondering if any of the cases 
described in this book about music and  the brain resonated strongly with you 
in terms of how you think about music and  your brain? 

I love all of Sacks' books. I still have Musicophilia by my bed. I am  a 
composer so I 'hear' music all the time. Some of the case stories in Sacks'  book 
are horrible: people hearing the same crappy song over and over again. It  
reminded me of the middle years of being in the Who. 

Burtonanderson: In the course of  investigating guided meditations, I came 
across a product that induces specific  brain waves via listening to recordings 
of carrier waves. This experience  reminded me of your NeuroElectric Therapy 
(NET) work with Dr. Meg Patterson. To  my knowledge, you only publicly 
discussed your NET experience once (Penthouse,  August '83). As an advocate of NET, 
have you considered other possible, healing  applications of the NeuroElectric 
Therapy beyond detoxification?  

No. Meg's son Lorne is still developing her machine (which was  patented for 
use in pain relief and drug withdrawal scenarios).  

Zeebo13: Can you name a song that  you've written that had its genesis in a 
dream?
 

Sorry. No. Nothing comes to mind. I based several of my stories in  HORSE'S 
NECK on my dreams of the time of writing.

Stateless: I would love to know a  bit about how you record your demos. More 
recent technology obviously offers so  many options with drum loops and 
tracks, but how did you go about laying down  the bases of the older songs? Would 
you record drums to a scratch guitar and  vocal, for instance? Do you use the 
same (or similiar)equipment that you have  used for years? Or do you use the 
latest gear? 

This is another question that could easily turn into a book. Making  demos 
was my only hobby before I got into sailing, and now gardening. I use the  
recording studio less now for fun, but I still regard it as fun rather than  work. 
Composing is my work. I try to compose in free space, sometimes making a  
point of not writing anything down, or even recording anything. I just compose  
for myself and the invisible angels. When I started there were no loops and no  
electronic clicks, I had no multi-track tape machines. So I learned to play  
guitar like a metronome. I keep really good time on guitar. On piano I'm not so 
 good, so around the time of Quadrophenia in 1973 I started to use a 
multitrack  machine at home and often had one track set aside for a metronome click. I 
have  some items of gear that I've had since 1967. Most of my old stuff I've 
given  away to charity auctions. These days I use computers a lot as since 
they've  improved in quality I think they can sound as good as analogue tape. But 
I still  have some analogue tape machines and they do sound wonderful.  

In fact this very day, in between two of the questions, I tested  some 
equipment in my new creative studio and realised I have made it too  complicated. I 
wanted to keep it simple, so I had an old fashioned mixing desk  and an old 
analogue four track tape machine. It will sound wonderful, but it  suddenly felt 
rather too precious, too indulgent. I think I am going to just get  a table, 
a simple microphone amplifier, and record into a computer laptop.  

When I'm song-writing what I want is ONE BUTTON that starts a  recording - so 
I really like the new pocket size WAV recorders from EDIROL and  ZOOM. They 
sound good to me, and are so easy to work with. I have one box from  Korg that 
is a four track recorder no bigger than a cigarette pack.  

Bomber: What do you feel about the  official site? Do you feel it's purely a 
commercial entiity?' Do you think it's  a good way of communicating with your 
audience?
 

Now, here I am really ambivalent, like so many Who fans. My struggle  to get 
the Who onto the web took seven years. By the time Roger and the Who  managers 
were ready to web-rock, I was ready to move on to thought-transference  using 
more sophisticated means. For me web sites have been a way of running a  kind 
of fan club. I don't think it hurts if they make money, but a web site can  
cost a lot more than a secretary handling physical mail. The PT website and  
various experiments associated with it from 1999 to 2007 cost me about £2  
million (more than $3 million). I'm sorry to say this web site will never come  
close to making sense of that self-indulgent act of personal artistic vanity in  
my case. 

One thing that is important is that there are about 400 hard core  Who fans 
who support any venture at all that we take on. They are not fools.  They are 
not obsessive. They just support us unconditionally. Those 400 people  are 
probably the ones who find this commercial site most frustrating. However,  they 
are still here, and that means a huge amount to Roger and me. We know who  you 
are. We see your faces all the time at shows. We know your names, your  
Blogger names and we know how long you often have to wait for the next Who phase  of 
work. We appreciate you very much and I would go so far as to say that we  
love you too. 

Littlequeenie: I was wondering if  you have been following American politics. 
If so, I would love to hear your  opinion on the upcoming presidential 
election and who would you vote for if you  were able to vote in our election? 

I follow it, but it is your country not mine. Pity that, because your  
country is the greatest in the world. I'm happy to have a place in it. I would  vote 
for whichever candidate was willing to continue to act as an international  
force. For a quiet life, the USA would have to become isolationist, stand back  
and let the rest of us fuck up. I wouldn't like to see that happen. For a 
life  that reflects the fact that the USA is a country made up of people from 
just  about every nationality and race on the planet, I think it is better that 
you  try to help where you can even if that bears a very high price sometimes. 
If you  try to help, you will also make mistakes. For my part, I forgive those 
mistakes.  The new President has a tough job, but will be leading a country 
that is closer  to an ideal than any other. I am not a Neocon, but neither am I 
a pussy. Human  beings are essentially cowardly unless they are trained in 
the military to put  their natural fear on hold. If you show them your ass, your 
enemy will bite  deeply. 
27th September, 2008 
INTERVIEW 


Here are my answers to questions  submitted by subscribed fans. 



Kallan: Thank you for organizing  Japan Tour. Japanese audiences are eagerly 
waiting for the day when we will meet  you again. I was wondering if you were 
planning on writing new songs on the  Japanese traditional instruments (Koto, 
Shamisen, etc.), like the other  bands? 

I have a very basic Shamisen that I used in the opening song of the  
Lifehouse Chronicles show at Sadlers Wells in London - I think that was in 1999.  I 
haven't used it again since. When I come to Japan I may try to purchase a  
better Shamisen. I have a basic Koto too, but that's unusable. I remember Chris  
Thomas-who produced three of solo albums-telling me that he went to Kyoto to  
commission the building of a Koto from a very famous maker, and the craftsman  
told him it would take him ten years. He had been working on a special  
instrument for the Emperor all his life. 

Do you have any message for your Japanese fans? 

I will not smash any more guitars in your country.  

Robinf: I'm sure you've noticed  your concerts are now attended by people of 
all ages--grandparents, parents and  their young children (we have some folks 
coming to the Boston concert with their  9 and 10 year olds). What do you 
think about how your music is now bridging gaps  between the generations and 
giving us common ground to understand and enjoy one  another? 

If what you suggest is really happening then that sounds like a most  unusual 
thing. Rock was never intended to bridge gaps but to deal with the fact  that 
they were there in quite a disabling way when we were young. We needed our  
own language. Our music was never intended to defy the Greatest Generation. We  
just had to accept they didn't listen to a word we said. So we started our 
own  cultural life. In fact I loved the music of my father's generation. It 
simply  wasn't suited to the conditions in which I grew up. Today, young and old 
people  share many of the same concerns, especially ecological ones. Even so, a 
band  like The Who can engender resentment in young people, merely because 
everyone  has forgotten how hard it was for us to do what we did. There is a 
perception  that it was easier in the late '50s and early '60s to break into new 
creative  areas. There was certainly less competition than there is today, but 
much more  resistance from the Establishment to young people becoming 
powerful too quickly.  

I believe that in fact there may not be so much of a gap to  bridge these 
days. So, I'm really not sure that what you suggest is going is  what is going 
on. Yes, young people come to see The Who. Sometimes they come  with their 
parents. What is important is to try to understand the different  needs we all 
have. As someone in their approaching middle-sixties I don't have  the 
frustrations I had as a young man. But I do share the concerns of young  people today 
about the planet, and its security. Politically speaking, the fact  is I haven't 
been fooled again, so in a sense there is no point singing about  it. But 
young people need to be aware that it is not just the powerful voices on  the 
Right who can twist the truth, but also those on the Left. In any case I do  not 
trust journalists to do anything but gather facts. I then need to make up my  
own mind, and if possible do my own research. The truth is a conclusion not an  
unfolding procession of evolving facts. 

At a Who concert you are listening to music that is intended to  reinforce in 
the audience the notion that they have a right to their own ideas,  whether 
they are old or young, and that is what real freedom is, not doing what  some 
politician, radical, terrorist, mullah, priest, guru, journalist,  university 
professor or jaded rock-star tells you to do. These days especially,  don't 
trust information on the internet. Use it like a conversation. Use it to  take 
stock of your fellow man, like hanging out in the bar. When pundits like  
Arriana Heffington and Perze Hilton talk about me - for example - they have only  
their own strategies, interests, missions, ambitions and image at heart. The web 
 is a place full of egos run wild. The music I have written for the Who was  
intended for you, not for me. I have an ego of course, and it is in writing 
like  this that it will emerge most strongly (but then, here we are, on the 
damned  internet), but on stage with the Who I am doing a very simple job. I need 
strong  shoes, not an ego. 

Johnfsully3: I recently spoke to a  rock legend like yourself who said he has 
constantly been juggling with writing  new material and revisiting/restoring 
older projects that either were never  completed or were never fully realized. 
So with a Quadrophenia Broadway  possibility, The Boy Who Heard Music 
workshop, material for a new Who album, and  a covers record discussion, how does an 
artist like yourself go about  prioritizing such endeavours so that they can 
get to the finish line?  

You speak to other rock legends! You are so disloyal! I suspect you  are 
having a dialogue with yourself Sully - as I often do. Thanks for the last  batch 
of books by the way. A nice selection. 

I have limited time. There are a few ideas still floating around  in my head. 
I would love to see an orchestrated version of Quadrophenia. I would  love to 
do a surround-sound version of the original recording. (Roger is keen to  
take the 1996 Quadrophenia on the road again one day and I'd like that too). I  
would like to see TBWHM as an animated feature. I have on my table really firm  
offers to do all kinds of wonderful things. What I am trying to do today, and 
 will go back to it when I've finished writing this, is to compose in a new 
way  for me. I am always looking for new tricks, and new settings for my work. 
I'm  really trying to keep things simple though. Right now I have about forty 
new  pieces of music, and about the same number of lyrics/poems floating 
around. I  don't need to prioritize anything other than the way I use my time. I am 
happy  in my own company, especially when I'm being creative. I have a 
terrific social  circle here in London, and of course my family and my partner 
Rachel all nurture  me at every level. I simply need to be able to nurture myself. 
So I move day to  day and pick a project that feels right for the time. I am 
willing to change  course at any moment without apology. This infuriates people 
around me who want  to plan ahead. I suppose this is my greatest luxury, not 
so much being able to  change my mind on a whim, but to be able to assess my 
options in an open debate,  and then make decisions as late in the day as I 
can. I'm genuinely excited about  the British theatrical production of 
Quadrophenia because the people involved  (Tom Critchley, Jeff Young, Bill Schultz, Ina 
Meibach) really understand the  essential poetry of the story. In a rock 
piece, if you try to overcook the  story, the dramatic narrative, you might break 
its very spine. Literal narrative  is for stories you want to hear, read or 
enjoy just once or twice at the most.  It is vital for films, TV drama, even for 
comedy. In rock, narrative can really  stop the listener from taking centre 
stage. What I do must stand to be revisited  over and over again by a listener 
who is growing, changing, using the music like  a scent. Rock musicians of all 
kinds are still struggling to understand how  sometimes we pull it off without 
knowing how we did it.  

Retroguy: It seems to me, reading  your last interview here, that you have 
tremendous ambivalence towards the  future direction that you should take with 
your music. On the one hand, you wish  to create new music, which is great 
news. On the other hand, you seem hesitant  to insert much new music into the live 
shows, the thought being that the  audience are more interested in hearing 
the old hits and might be alienated if  they hear too much unexpected new music. 

I don't think I'm as ambivalent as I might appear. I am simply not  willing 
to conform to established patterns of work. That sometimes leaves me  looking 
lost. So I agree I get lost, but I know what I'm searching for.  Something new 
that will engage me enough to see it through to the end, and  something that 
an audience will find useful to them, and will regard me kindly.  The live 
shows, as I have said many times, are defined and constrained by  Roger's needs as 
a singer. If you look at my past solo shows I played all kinds  of crazy 
things. What I like about playing older music is that it is easier, so  I can try 
new things as a performer within the constraints of the old show. Have  you 
heard about Billy Corgan's recent experiment? It is fascinating, writing  songs 
before a Live audience over a period of time - a little like my idea for  the 
very first Lifehouse. Today the Who carries too much wonderful baggage to  
just dump it an experiment in public, so I keep my ongoing experiments closer to  
my chest.

 

You mentioned that you wouldn't want to record new tracks with the  live 
band, as they are, in essence, channelling the Who experience for Who  fans. 

That's right. We are like a tribute band in that sense. The best,  although I 
liked the 1989 line up too. I believe we could make a great record  with 
those musicians, but I can't really see why I would want to. It would be  like 
starting a new band. 

How about this, though? McCartney, though, has included on his  "Tripping the 
Light Fantastic" live album several tracks of the band running  through some 
original tunes, as well as old standards at sound checks. Who fans  on this 
site have clamoured for both new music as well as the cover tunes album  idea. 
If you recorded and released these types of songs, we'd get to hear them  
"live" but you wouldn't be disappointing anyone. And how about releasing such  
material here on your website? 

Who fans may clamour to their hearts content. They always have. I  take very 
little notice. What you are suggesting would be as tricky to arrange  as any 
other serious project and would need to be excellent or it wouldn't be  worth 
doing at all. As a solo artist I have given away some very interesting,  but 
otherwise low quality stuff, especially unreleased demos. If I was a solo  
artist like Macca things would be different. And I think Roger has demonstrated  
that when he works solo, or without me around, he too is very ambitious and  
courageous about reworking old Who songs and singing his old favourites. When we  
come together there is a force that comes into play. We are both aware of it, 
 but don't really know how to work with it. Sometimes when we try to change  
things around we feel like we are needlessly tampering. Roger was quoted 
lately  as saying that nothing about the Who is broken, so it doesn't need fixing. 
But  he is nonetheless full of ideas for ways to do new things. He wants me by 
his  side of course. But when we stand side by side the force I spoke of 
comes into  play, and the music rolls, and we become like concert professionals 
playing  Beethoven over and over again. This isn't merely pop music any more. 
It's gone  too far now for me to pretend otherwise in some futile hope to appear 
humble -  the Who's music, some of it, a good bit of it, has taken on a power 
that we in  the band never imagined could be possible. We are in awe if it. 
Cover versions?  What would I want to cover to compare to my best songs for the 
Who? Leonard  Cohen? Springsteen? Dylan? Joni? Mingus? Mozart? I'm happy to 
cover  myself.
 

Brianlajd: Pete, please can you  clear up the 'covers album' debate? What say 
you? Would you record an entire  album without a Pete Townshend penned track 
included? 

I have no interest in it really. Roger had the idea to do something  on his 
own (while I was writing this year) for this web site. I said if I was  free 
I'd like to play on it. T-Bone Burnett was invited to produce it and it  looked 
for a while as though it might make a proper record for Roger. Then  suddenly 
people were talking about T-Bone making the next Who record. A Who  record 
without my songs is not a Who record, it's a record by some musicians  using the 
Who brand name to get attention. Read what I said above about covers.  It 
makes uneasy reading, but it's true. T-Bone, a genius in my opinion, could  make a 
great record of covers with Roger, because Roger is one of the truly  great 
interpretive singers of rock. T-Bone would have a harder time with me, and  The 
Who with me taking a major role. I would simply get in his way, and he would  
get in mine. We both know that. 

As for recording an album without my songs, what would be the  point of that? 
There are millions of musicians who can play other people's music  better 
than I can. Let them cover other people's songs. I'm a composer. Covered  in 
warts, arthritic, deaf, battered, bitter and tired. I'm ready for my best  work. 

Boyo: The Who have toured  extensively celebrating their music and 
re-inventing the sound of many of the  songs overtime. Is there any chance that you will 
look at touring, celebrating  your own solo music in the future in the same 
way? 

I tried it in the mid '90s and although I loved it I am enjoying  working 
with Roger and the current band too much to go back to trying to run two  
performing careers at the same time. On the 1989 tour we intended to do more of  my 
solo stuff, and in order to do so I needed a bigger band. People thought the  
Who was hiding behind a horn section or something. It doesn't mix. My crash in  
the late '70s, that led to me leaving the band in 1982 and not coming back  
creatively until 24 years later was a direct result of trying to stay in the 
Who  and satisfy my needs as a solo artist. Best to keep it simple.  

Perry: How about doing a long  string of Who concerts at a smaller theatre in 
NYC like the Beacon? You wouldn't  have to travel all over the States, lug 
all that equipment around, spend money  on flights and travel and stuff. 

Sounds like fun. However, my comfy posh hotel suite in NY costs a  lot. My 
share of the meagre profit we'd make at the Beacon wouldn't cover it. To  be 
honest, if we could fill stadiums again I might consider playing them. There  is 
a lot of nonsense being circulated about the idea that musicians can afford  
to give away their recorded music and survive on concert tickets. Concerts cost 
 money to put up, and only certain artists can charge high prices. Playing 
for  pleasure sadly means playing for vanity. 

Miss jane marple: I heard about  John Entwistle having written some chapters 
of an autobiography prior to his  death, and actually saw concert footage in 
which you mentioned owning it  now. 

I certainly don't own it, nor have I got a copy. I have read it  though.


Is there any chance that fans will ever see any of it? Will you maybe  
publish parts of it with your own autobiography? 

My biography is on ice.



Considering how overlooked John is in general it would be nice  to have a 
bit more insight like the letter to a fan that you recently made  public, many 
thanks for that! 

I agree. But that letter was a very rare thing. He didn't write much,  and 
didn't say much. I don't know how much John actually wrote. I know he  started 
in league with Bob Pridden. I do not have possession of it. I don't  think I 
said I own it, I think I said (or meant) that Bob had given it to me to  read. 
It was great, but quite short. 

Nedrow123: Just curious why nothing  from 'Who By Numbers' has been done live 
for so long? Is it hard to reproduce  live? Pretty much every other album has 
been represented (certainly everything  since 1970) in the last 12 years of 
touring. 

I could play BLUE RED AND GREY. But what would Roger do? He'd  probably 
laugh. He is keen to do SLIP KID but I don't like it much without the  piano and 
backing vocals I ported in from my demo. Roger and I both love the  album now, 
but the songs are not very well-known, and some of them are quite  tricky to 
play.

Towser1983: A while back I used the  Method music from one of my Lifehouse 
sittings as a synth backing track and  wrote a piece of music around it. It was 
great fun working out the chord and key  changes that were being dictated by 
the backing and it came out a bit like a  mini opera. I was pretty pleased with 
it.

Question is, if I ever used this  commercially, would I be sued? And 
also (the real question) do you have any  plans to compose new music using the 
Method as a starting point for inspiration?  Both Baba O'Riley and Fragments 
turned out so well. 

Wow! That sounds great. You have discovered what I often find, that  
apparently repetitive music like the Method stuff is actually rich with harmonic  
variance and potential. I did have plans to do an album based on the Method  
tracks, and if I get time I may try something. Lawrence Ball and I need to sit  
down and take stock of what we've managed to do so far. We plan meet soon.  
Everyone involved in the Method project had a great time, and Lawrence produced  
some beautiful and intriguing pieces, and some very challenging ones as well.  

Your Method music is partly owned by you (you own a third), even  though my 
lawyer tells me this is untenable in law. Legality aside (without  prejudice) 
you can do what you like with it. If you added lyrics to the music,  you would 
split the 100% of the song into two equal parts: words and music. You  would 
split any part attributable to the Method music in thirds - one third to  you, 
one to the folks who invented the software, one third to my company. If you  
added to the music in a substantial way, it might be argued that you could get  
more than a third of the music because you would have "arranged" it in a new  
way. 

I want to encourage people to enjoy their own Method music in  whatever way 
they wish. If I took your Method piece and used it for a song, the  good news 
for you is that you would share in the copyright with  me.

Gaylierose: Pete, what is the  status of the Lifehouse Method? I 
unfortunately procrastinated so long that I  didn't get to sit for a portrait, but I am 
looking forward to hearing the  results of this project. 

The web site part of the project is finished. What should happen next  is a 
live event. We were hoping for a sponsor. Nothing doing so far. So when I  can 
afford it I will probably do it myself. 

Tonne99: What was your reaction to  hearing Jimmy Page was trying to steal 
members of your band? Did your feelings  change over time? P.S. Have you heard 
Alejandro Escovedo's Sensitive  Boys? 

I'm not sure that was what happened. Roger and Keith locked horns and  they 
both left the band briefly. We were all children. We were full of really  silly 
ideas and we came to our senses quickly. Do you know what Keith and John  
wanted to call their new band? It's so daft. "Led Zeppelin". You have to laugh.  

PS I just Googled Alehandro etc and so now I've heard it.  

Freditor: You have said you spared  going deaf by not touring in the 80's, 
but after having surgery on my right ear  to correct hearing loss, I still have 
tinnitus which I believe there is no cure  for. Some days are worse than 
others but for the most part, I have learned to  live with it. How is your hearing 
these days? Do you have any suggestions on how  you cope with tinnitus? 
Finally, to change the subject completely, are Fender  planning to issue a PT 
modified EC Stratocaster? 

I'm sorry to hear about your operation. My hearing is just OK, nor  great, I 
am not troubled by tinnitus although I still have it. To survive  tinnitus the 
first thing to do is tell yourself you will not think about it.  Imagine your 
conscious mind sitting a little outside your head, forwards a  little. It is 
a kind of meditation really, It works. What also works is making  sure you 
keep your physical stress levels low. So don't dabble with sexual  abstinence. 
(only kidding!) 

I'm not sure about the Fender guitar. The problem might be that  it is not 
really modified except for a stock Fishman piezo bridge. So it would  not really 
be a PT model at all. I think it has been discussed though.  

Duandi: Which has been your  favourite guitar that you have regularly played 
since you started your career?  And, if there is one, why? 

My favourite was the J200 now residing in the R&R Hall of Fame in  Cleveland. 
It didn't sound that good to the listener, but it sounded great to  the 
player, and had a thin and crisp sound that recorded really well, and a  metal 
'Tunamatic' bridge so it was always dead in tune even on chords played  high up 
the neck. So many acoustic guitars need bridge adjustment on the saddles  but 
don't have them. 

Masonwoodward:Pete, what advice  would you give a young guitar player? I just 
turned 11yrs old and your are my  inspiration. 

Only play when you feel like it. That said, play the way that comes  
naturally and try not to force yourself to copy other people too much. It's good  to 
learn to play songs and licks you love when you are young, but try to invent  
your own things as well. There are so many guitar players, but still, to this  
day, I can pick up a guitar and find something no one has ever done before. 
You  must try to do the same. Be inventive and treat it all like a search, an  
adventure. On the other hand, if you really love playing Rebel Rebel then play  
that too, or whatever you like best. That will keep you loose and your  
fingertips hard. Good luck, Mason. 

Emh: I'm a female performer. The  first time I appeared on stage with a rock 
band, I felt incredibly 'male.' The  energy that zipped through me was 
something I had never felt before--very  electric, very alive. Sheryl Crow has often 
been criticized for "trying" to be  raunchy and missing the mark. Female 
rappers certainly have mastered raunch. But  what about female rockers? Can we be 
taken seriously by a largely male audience?  Is the only way to be a true 
rocker is to be full of testosterone?  

A male-female? Sound like the best kind of creature imaginable to me.  You're 
not thinking of wrapping yourself in dynamite are you? They only reward  you 
in paradise with female virgins I think. Strange, when I perform solo I feel  
very 'female'. With the Who I feel like a soldier, not sure which sex. Sheryl  
Crow is great I think, and looks very natural with an electric guitar. But 
Joan  Jet showed us how it can really work whether you're male or female. You 
just  play the electric guitar hung pretty low and try to look like Bo Diddley 
mixed  with Dolly Parton. Joan often used to come and see the Who. She dressed 
like one  of the Clash, but she definitely exuded a strong female air, she was 
strong but  very sexy. Pink is like that I think. Some women can mix it and 
get it right.  But having said that, what is "right"? You sound like you've 
found something  very special. Develop it. 

Youarewho: Does most of your  writing occur in the day or at night? Can you 
please take us through a typical  day in the life of Pete Townshend. I know 
that you're an avid sailor, but how  else do you occupy your leisure time? 

This is too personal. Today I answer these questions. After lunch I  will 
work in one of my studios. I do like to sail. Tonight I will wrestle with  our 
six dogs, write some emails, talk to some friends in the flesh or on the  phone, 
watch a movie or some TV crime I've recorded, then to bed with a crime  book 
or a biography. I'm reading my friend Robert McCrum's biography of  
P.G.Wodehouse at the moment. 

flog515: Pete, could you tell us  how you got into sailing and what you like 
about it? Is this something you found  later in life? And what kinds of boats 
do you sail, solo or with crew, open  water, lakes etc...? And how has sailing 
impacted you and your music?  

This is such a huge thing for me to try to talk about. I just like  water I 
suppose. The sea can frighten me, so I may like it because it gives me a  buzz. 
Most of all I love boats. All kinds. Your question has inspired me to  think 
about writing something quite substantial about my boating life. It's a  long 
story, with some very tall tales. 

Neohippie: What was Ray High doing  "Playing empty halls for those Fuckin 
freemason crows"? Could you please  elaborate? What does this means? And, in real 
life, has the fact that you're a  Baba Follower changed or affected 
relationships between you and other colleagues  that are or were perhaps into other 
forms of "Occultism" or  Spirituality? 

Why would I elaborate something said by Ray High? The man is an  idiot. 

Meher Baba's teachings suggested that all religions, faiths and  spiritual 
pursuits needed revitalisation in this particular age. He also  recommended that 
his followers didn't reject their family religion. So I still  regard myself 
as a Christian. However, I have a strong intuition that if I lived  before (a 
daft idea, but like so many other people I do have some daft ideas) I  may 
have been a Persian Sufi. If I ever meet President Bush I will strongly urge  him 
to dissuade Israel from EVER bombing Iran. I think Iran has some very, very  
cool people and history and a nice art college - just like Israel. Why oh 
why-as  Rachel says-can't we all just get along? History itself is the answer, 
what has  happened in the past really does affect us today, there is no denying 
it. If we  do deny it, we are making a terrible mistake. We should of course 
live in the  present, that's where the spiritual lesson is carried. But it's not 
easy.  

Grego23: If I recall correctly, I  think you mentioned a while back that you 
were reading Musicophilia by Oliver  Sacks. I am wondering if any of the cases 
described in this book about music and  the brain resonated strongly with you 
in terms of how you think about music and  your brain? 

I love all of Sacks' books. I still have Musicophilia by my bed. I am  a 
composer so I 'hear' music all the time. Some of the case stories in Sacks'  book 
are horrible: people hearing the same crappy song over and over again. It  
reminded me of the middle years of being in the Who. 

Burtonanderson: In the course of  investigating guided meditations, I came 
across a product that induces specific  brain waves via listening to recordings 
of carrier waves. This experience  reminded me of your NeuroElectric Therapy 
(NET) work with Dr. Meg Patterson. To  my knowledge, you only publicly 
discussed your NET experience once (Penthouse,  August '83). As an advocate of NET, 
have you considered other possible, healing  applications of the NeuroElectric 
Therapy beyond detoxification?  

No. Meg's son Lorne is still developing her machine (which was  patented for 
use in pain relief and drug withdrawal scenarios).  

Zeebo13: Can you name a song that  you've written that had its genesis in a 
dream?
 

Sorry. No. Nothing comes to mind. I based several of my stories in  HORSE'S 
NECK on my dreams of the time of writing.

Stateless: I would love to know a  bit about how you record your demos. More 
recent technology obviously offers so  many options with drum loops and 
tracks, but how did you go about laying down  the bases of the older songs? Would 
you record drums to a scratch guitar and  vocal, for instance? Do you use the 
same (or similiar)equipment that you have  used for years? Or do you use the 
latest gear? 

This is another question that could easily turn into a book. Making  demos 
was my only hobby before I got into sailing, and now gardening. I use the  
recording studio less now for fun, but I still regard it as fun rather than  work. 
Composing is my work. I try to compose in free space, sometimes making a  
point of not writing anything down, or even recording anything. I just compose  
for myself and the invisible angels. When I started there were no loops and no  
electronic clicks, I had no multi-track tape machines. So I learned to play  
guitar like a metronome. I keep really good time on guitar. On piano I'm not so 
 good, so around the time of Quadrophenia in 1973 I started to use a 
multitrack  machine at home and often had one track set aside for a metronome click. I 
have  some items of gear that I've had since 1967. Most of my old stuff I've 
given  away to charity auctions. These days I use computers a lot as since 
they've  improved in quality I think they can sound as good as analogue tape. But 
I still  have some analogue tape machines and they do sound wonderful.  

In fact this very day, in between two of the questions, I tested  some 
equipment in my new creative studio and realised I have made it too  complicated. I 
wanted to keep it simple, so I had an old fashioned mixing desk  and an old 
analogue four track tape machine. It will sound wonderful, but it  suddenly felt 
rather too precious, too indulgent. I think I am going to just get  a table, 
a simple microphone amplifier, and record into a computer laptop.  

When I'm song-writing what I want is ONE BUTTON that starts a  recording - so 
I really like the new pocket size WAV recorders from EDIROL and  ZOOM. They 
sound good to me, and are so easy to work with. I have one box from  Korg that 
is a four track recorder no bigger than a cigarette pack.  

Bomber: What do you feel about the  official site? Do you feel it's purely a 
commercial entiity?' Do you think it's  a good way of communicating with your 
audience?
 

Now, here I am really ambivalent, like so many Who fans. My struggle  to get 
the Who onto the web took seven years. By the time Roger and the Who  managers 
were ready to web-rock, I was ready to move on to thought-transference  using 
more sophisticated means. For me web sites have been a way of running a  kind 
of fan club. I don't think it hurts if they make money, but a web site can  
cost a lot more than a secretary handling physical mail. The PT website and  
various experiments associated with it from 1999 to 2007 cost me about £2  
million (more than $3 million). I'm sorry to say this web site will never come  
close to making sense of that self-indulgent act of personal artistic vanity in  
my case. 

One thing that is important is that there are about 400 hard core  Who fans 
who support any venture at all that we take on. They are not fools.  They are 
not obsessive. They just support us unconditionally. Those 400 people  are 
probably the ones who find this commercial site most frustrating. However,  they 
are still here, and that means a huge amount to Roger and me. We know who  you 
are. We see your faces all the time at shows. We know your names, your  
Blogger names and we know how long you often have to wait for the next Who phase  of 
work. We appreciate you very much and I would go so far as to say that we  
love you too. 

Littlequeenie: I was wondering if  you have been following American politics. 
If so, I would love to hear your  opinion on the upcoming presidential 
election and who would you vote for if you  were able to vote in our election? 

I follow it, but it is your country not mine. Pity that, because your  
country is the greatest in the world. I'm happy to have a place in it. I would  vote 
for whichever candidate was willing to continue to act as an international  
force. For a quiet life, the USA would have to become isolationist, stand back  
and let the rest of us fuck up. I wouldn't like to see that happen. For a 
life  that reflects the fact that the USA is a country made up of people from 
just  about every nationality and race on the planet, I think it is better that 
you  try to help where you can even if that bears a very high price sometimes. 
If you  try to help, you will also make mistakes. For my part, I forgive those 
mistakes.  The new President has a tough job, but will be leading a country 
that is closer  to an ideal than any other. I am not a Neocon, but neither am I 
a pussy. Human  beings are essentially cowardly unless they are trained in 
the military to put  their natural fear on hold. If you show them your ass, your 
enemy will bite  deeply. 

Suenewjersey: What would you  consider your most satisfying, liberating, 
crowning achievement of your life, so  far, as Pete, the human being? 

Losing my hair and not committing suicide because of it. You women  have it 
easy with hair. 

Yvfcfireman: What will you do when  the Who decides to hang it up and call it 
a career? 

I already quit several times. No one closes the factory  
Suenewjersey: What would you  consider your most satisfying, liberating, 
crowning achievement of your life, so  far, as Pete, the human being? 

Losing my hair and not committing suicide because of it. You women  have it 
easy with hair. 

Yvfcfireman: What will you do when  the Who decides to hang it up and call it 
a career? 

I already quit several times. No one closes the  factory



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