Long Pete Interview w/ Brazillian Paper

nakedeye10 at aol.com nakedeye10 at aol.com
Sun Nov 3 03:16:22 UTC 2013

Lots of interesting stuff.  

Thank you, Carrie.


Here is a translation of the recent interview Pete did with a Brazilian paper. 

How as the process of transforming the 1.000 pages os manuscript to the 500 that made the book? Was it more painful to cut than to write? Is there anything you really regreted scrapping?

I had added quite a bit of technical information, for example about the writing of TOMMY, that has now been used for the latest super-release of that album. But where cutting caused problems was where I wrote about past relationships. Some were simply omitted, so old friends were upset I'd left them out. Some were cut, so old friends felt what was left was untruthful.

- Are you an avid reader of rock autobiographies? Which are your favorites? Did you take any of these book into consideration when writing yours? Do you think of it, rock autobiographies as a possible literary genre?

No. Most rock musicians can write OK, but what they are doing is building an image not telling the truth. The last few biographies I've read have been about female journalists: ???

- One thing about "Who I am" that sticks out is its openess and sincerity. How much did you struggle with yourself to tell about your infidelity, child abuse, homoerotic impulses and feelings about other people? Did you set a limit no to hurt people? What was more difficult to write?

I just wanted to tell the truth, what was possible. Of course I didn't want to hurt people, but I knew some people would feel aggrieved. Pretty much everything I wrote was known already to many people around me – I have no secrets, not really.

- Did any of the reactions to the book surprise you?

I am happy the book got good reviews in some places.

- Reading the book I was surprised to be informed that you had music journalists as close friends and that you were very interested in writings about music. Do you still thing there's good things being written about music? Which subjects related to music interest you the most?

Music writing is a strange area. This is the expression of a powerful passion for music, but also criticism. So when those two forms mix we get shifting fields – some writers handle it better than others. I write about music, not musicians or bands.

- When new wave came with all these synts, you kinda worried about what could happen to the electric guitar, the instrument you helped turn into the a great way of expression for your generation. Synths went away, DJs came and went, but guitars remained all through. How important, relevant is the guitar (for you, for the kids) nowadays?

Everything remained – guitars, synths, DJs and now sampling. The guitar is easier than the violin, a little harder than basic piano and keyboard, but it is bedroom instrument – you can learn it and practice when you are alone. There is an intimacy to the process. Then – suddenly – you are out in the open playing for other people. I was 'discovered' by friends who heard me play in an art school classroom, in the break.

- How's rock today, as an art form? Do you think rock bands can still change lives, make people get into art?

We shall see. My next project is very serious, about our fear of the future. But rock music always provides a soft entry to serious issues, and if you wish you can just take the soft path. Rock is entertainment first.

- Also in the book there's lots of stories about your quest for the improvement of sound and the role of technology on it. What is still left to be done and improved? And what do you think is the impact of mp3 players and selling of digital music in the way people relate to music? On the other hand, there's been a rebirth of vinyl records. What do you think about it?

Let's be real about this. Vinyl has not been reborn. There are a few people who use it. Vinyl involves oil in its production, there is no justifiable way for it to come back. But it sounds wonderful. CDs still sound OK if they are well-produced. Online sound like mp3 is OK. The sound isn't great but when I started my career we listened to music on the radio, it always sounded poor. Our first bedroom vinyl record players were rubbish, so that sounded poor too. It was the music that counted, and getting hold of it, finding it, tracking it down. That's so much better today.

- What's the future of the albuns in this singles-oriented iTunes era? Do you see te possibility of new band causing as much sensation today with a conceptual album as you did with "Tommy"?

It would be very hard, but DAFT PUNK just presented a concept album that has done very well, and sounds great.

- You once gave advices to Eddie Vedder on stardom and life. How different is it to be a rock star today and in the 70's and 60's?

As you say, I gave him advice about celebrity, not being a rock star. Today's rock stars are probably rap artists like Jay-Z.

- What usually comes to mind when you think about mortality?

As you get older life gets better. That's my experience. But time also seems to speed up, the clock runs very fast indeed. So looking back the early years seem very long and drawn out, and of great significance. The more recent times seem like a whirl of catching up on simpler thing, peace, quiet and necessary visits to the dentist. As a follower of the Indian Master Meher Baba (since 1967) I should believe in reincarnation. It explains everything about good and bad human behaviour and the universal system of justice - karma. But the idea that I might have to go through all this again (probably as a woman) is not appealing – like anyone approaching 70 years old I am tired of life, but only in some ways. So in a way mortality is lose-lose, but could be win-win. If I come back, well that will have its pros and cons. If I don't come back, well that would be OK too.

- Will we see a new Pete Townshend or a The Who album soon? What has been inspiring you the most to write songs lately?

I am in the middle of a solo project called FLOSS. It will be released next year. That will almost certainly be followed by a 50th anniversary Who project in 2015.

- Planning other books?

Not right now.

- The Who never played in Brazil, and ther's always rumours you would do it someday. Any chance, do you think? And do you have any special interest in Brazil, our culture, our music?

I like Brazilian, boats, planes and women. Of course we will come one day soon. It is destiny. Brazilian music? Of course I adore it. The guitar music and the pop. It is complex, rhythmic, serenading but also passionate and deep. Brazilian music is the best expression of the Portuguese Latin temperament I can think of. When I come to Brazil, with my guitar, you understand what I have learned from Brazilian music.

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