Kaiser Chief on Pete's smashed guitar

Brian Cady brianinatlanta2001 at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 10 11:59:46 UTC 2009

>From The Times:

The V&A: talking 'bout my inspiration

As the V&A opens its new Theatre and Performance Galleries next week, leading figures in show business choose a favourite exhibit

Andrew White, guitarist, Kaiser Chiefs
Pete Townshend's smashed guitar

The first time I heard The Who, I was 5 or 6, and my brother, who was about 17, had a dodgy copy of Quadrophenia and he was watching it on Betamax. I saw the part where Jimmy was in the front room watching Ready, Steady, Go, and The Who were the act playing. Jimmy was air-drumming along and his dad was shouting from the kitchen: “What's that racket?”and Jimmy was saying “Shut up”. I've always had that image of The Who. The music they make, you can pose and strut to it. The Who have done a few film scores but even their other albums sound like film scores. There's so much imagery in the music, you can imagine standing on a cliff top. Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey's lyrics are amazing. They evoke so many emotions from such simple words. It's a huge stadium act - how can they be so grand and yet so personal? It's something we strive towards - and we fail. You want that pomp, the rock'n'roll, the lights, the explosions, but you still want to make
 the audience cry because of the music and it's very rare that bands can do that.

The guitar smashing thing, that's showmanship. I can't do that, I'm not that sort of person. I'm the opposite of what a guitarist should be. The Who and Jimi Hendrix, they were pioneers of rock'n'roll showmanship. They could still make good music even when they had no instruments, when Pete Townshend's guitar was jammed in the ceiling.

My favourite Who song is probably Behind Blue Eyes. In 2007, when we played Glastonbury, The Who were headlining and we were the band before them. I was in the photographers' pit and honestly when they played it, I was looking out at the audience and you could see the emotion.

As a guitarist, Pete Townshend has got everything. Guitarists can maybe just play the blues, or are just good at acoustic, or even if they can do everything they don't sing. But Pete Townshend can do everything. And he writes songs. How can a guitarist that good be a better songwriter? It's frustrating for someone like me who sometimes finds it hard to find a new chord.

That's the point of bands like The Who: there's always something to aspire to. We are never going to be as big as The Who. They are in that different echelon of music that is unattainable. The Who, the Stones, the Beatles, Hendrix, the Doors - you are never going to get that kind of music again and it should be cherished.

 -Brian in Atlanta
The Who This Month!


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