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Pete with or without The Who

Kim wrote:

>I would add that any innovation in NEW music (not live performance) to 
>come from the collection of musicians known as The Who will come from 
>but one, Pete Townshend, and to my mind it matters very little which 
>musicians he uses to play his music.  Much of his best work has been 
>recorded without the help of the other band members.  In fact, I think 
>they unnecessarily restrict his creativity, particularly having to use 
>Roger as a vocalist.

While I am very fond of much of Pete's solo work, I respectfully disagree on
several levels:

1.  On studio recordings, I like Roger's voice much better than I like
Pete's.  And live, there is no question.  Apart from his frequent tendency
to screw up or forget the lyrics he penned, Pete's vocals in concert are at
best a mixed bag.  At his Chicago House Of Blues show there were many, many
instances when he hit bum notes vocally.

2.  As much as some fans of The Who malign many of the concerts at which
Kenney Jones played, I've never heard anyone say that Pete's solo bands
(e.g., Deep End) performed a Who song better than even the Jones-era Who
(and when Keith was still alive, such a comparison would be laughable).
This suggests to me that John and Roger weren't or aren't easily replaced.
Time and again people have complained how bad it was to have Steve Bolton on
the '89 tour, and just imagine "The Real Me" or "5.15" from this latest tour
with one of Pete's solo bassists in place of John.  I can't think of any
reason why the chemistry that still exists on stage can't transfer to the
studio and create a BETTER album than if Pete were to do another one solo.

3.  Of all the Pete demos I've heard that eventually became Who songs, only
ONE in my opinion ("New Song") was better than the Who's version.  This is
to be expected regarding some of Pete's earliest demos, but after a few
years of recording on his own it's clear that he became quite accomplished
at this.  In my mind, The Who's versions weren't merely "better" but
significantly DIFFERENT, and many of those differences have to be credited
to the insights, interpretations, and talents of the other guys in the band.

Finally, regarding Roger as vocalist being a restriction on Pete's
creativity, I seem to recall reading that Pete saw the tension between the
two of them as something that was a good challenge to Pete.

- --Rich B.