New Pete interview

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at
Sat Aug 15 01:59:48 UTC 2009

>From the Liverpool Echo:

Pete Townshend talks about the new stage version of Quadrophenia at the Liverpool Empire - and the future of The Who
Aug 14 2009 by Catherine Jones, Liverpool Echo
IT was a pioneering album that became an iconic film. Now, almost four decades after The Who brought the world Quadrophenia the coming-of-age drama is coming to the stage.

Guitarist Pete Townshend is the man behind this first live musical version of the band’s 1973 rock opera album which arrives at the Empire on August 25.

Set in London and Brighton at the height of the Mod era, Quadrophenia is told through the eyes of Jimmy, a hedonistic style-conscious teenager searching for a place to belong and a girl to love.

Misunderstood by his parents and stuck in a dead end job, he sets off on a trip to Brighton that will change his life forever.

"I want the show to entertain, of course, but a grander mission is to see it connect with the audience as well," says Pete, who was himself one of the most high-profile Mods in the 60s.

"Good rock music, as we now call my kind of pop, must be functional, it has to do something more than just entertain."

The 64-year-old reveals he "took a lot of convincing" to get involved in the stage project because Roger Daltrey was keen for The Who to play the work live again.

"I think in the end my aspirations as a composer and writer for the theatre proved more powerful than my desire to play this wonderful music on stage with The Who," he reveals. "The Who version may happen again, but not for some years now."

Pete was himself one of the most high-profile Mods in the 60s, but he says the movement was about more than just scooters and fights on the beach.

"The mods I had known were all more gentle souls, effete in some ways, certainly intelligent and creative," he explains. "What the older generation missed was the enormous inner struggle many of the mods were going through.

"Suddenly, around the time of the mods, young people were aware of individual responsibility, especially for their own emotional safety and sense of security, and for their sense of belonging."

Pete won’t be at the Empire to see the show, but says he has a great affection for "Liverpool and Scousers."

"Jeff Young, the writer of this version of Quadrophenia, is deeply rooted there. I adore his writing and my own story-telling method is very similar to his," he says.

"Great poets, artists, music and great personalities and eccentrics have always come out of Liverpool and the audiences in the city are always special.

"I saw Thelma Pickles, a Beatles’ ex-girlfriend, when we were in New Zealand and she’s still perfect in every way."

And there’s a surprise admission about one of Liverpool’s musical sons.

"Pete Wylie came to Plymouth to see Quadrophenia when it opened. It was so great to meet him at last, he’s always been someone I’ve admired - so much so that I’ve done a series of paintings and drawings of him."

As for what The Who is up to now?

"This summer I’m writing, rather aimlessly at the moment. What I come up with may work for a Who recording, it may not. If it works, we’ll be back doing the old tricks with a few new songs no one really wants to hear.

"If it doesn't work I'll be doing a Damon Albarn and coming up with a slide projector, some arty-farty friends, and a bunch of actors trying to make sense of whatever it is - as Roger Daltrey would say - emerges when I go up my own arse.

"I hope that makes me sound like a Scouser!"

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month! 


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