lipsynching and noodling

Toby Elwin telwin at
Fri Feb 12 19:28:17 UTC 2010

Firstly, Howard Stern works in the broadcast industry, not the music industry, he knows so little about being a musician it is comical, that Fred - who is a musician - didn't bother to know what he was talking about shows that some people just have an agenda and because they have access to a forum does not mean they know what they are talking about.  However, the Stern show certainly propagated that The Who lipsynch and mimed their way through.

Every musician who has ever performed more than 2 gigs in their life would know that that was not a mimed effort, the only way to mime something is to either memorize the exact notes they recorded when they mime they are playing the guitar and "improvising", hitting the drum/cymbal on every fill,  or mouth the ad lib on every vocal or not give a crap and let it really show through.  Let's dispel this:  they did not memorize guitar fills, drum fills, or vocal ad libs - they were playing.  Roger Daltrey was singing, he was ad-libbing lines as was Pete and his vocals.  Were the lead vocals double tracked? Unlikely.  The mic does not need to be in your mouth to pick up your voice.  If I'm wrong, I'll burn my degree from Berklee College of Music...

'Nother topic I'd like to add a cent to Pete's noodling or, for me, Pete's playing the last 10 years with The Who.  He just can't be bothered to practice, which he admits, and he really doesn't give a rat's ass about playing guitar for The Who any longer.  He broke his wrist in 1991 and IMO his greatest solo playing came after that during his Psycho Derelict solo tour and pre-Woodstock ('98?) solo tours.  He was incredible, atonal, jazz-y, melodic, enraged, and wringing the guitar for all it was worth.  Now, he just does not give a crap.  

There is precedence for him, even when you look at "Won't Get Fooled..." or "Baba O'Riley" from "Kids are Alright" his solos are pretty bad:  just formula stuff.  The worst, worst, worst recorded offense was The Royal Albert Hall concerts with John Entwistle, he is just awful (for his talent and creativity); if you have the bonus footage of rehearsals you see him talk with Noel Gallagher and he off-loads the all solos for "Won't Get Fooled Again" to Gallagher and Gallagher has never been confused as a guitar god.  Drop the needle on "Eminence Front" or "Slip Kid" or most studio albums, he's brilliant!  

It's sad to say, but Pete Townshend is just a bore on guitar and he doesn't care. 

Now to leave on a positive note, I just don't get what people expect from a concert, I really don't.  I enjoyed The Who.  There are few bands today that would be as much fun to see.  The reality is we are seeing musicians grow and age.  Anyone who slams The Who in 2010 surely slammed Johnny Cash as he got older or Joe Strummer and those people just don't get we all age and musicians (if they are artists) need to bring these changes to their craft.  Was Johnny Cash's voice the same his last 10 years or Joe Strummer?  Did Miles Davis play the same later in his life - thank god, no, he actually changed multiple times through his career.  It is what happens.  Unless you're going through the motions (see Pete Townshend's playing above) then you modify your approach, your voice, your perspective and you invite people in.  The Who in 2010 is nothing like 1998 or 1982 or 1972 - I'm fine with that.  The Who in their mid-60s are better than 90% of the bands "live" today.


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