Pete Townshend ‘Who I am’: Full 4 part Video Interview





In his acclaimed memoir, WHO I AM (Harper), rock icon Pete Townshend shares the story of his evolution from angry young Mod to one of the defining musicians of his generation.


During his travels in the U.S. these last months, Pete stopped off in notable libraries and book stores in several cities to read from his memoir, be interviewed and sign copies of his book.


Pete kindly gave permission for the video recording of one interview, conducted by musician and songwriter John Wesley Harding (A.K.A author Wesley Stace) at the University of Pennsylvania, to be published.


It’s been serialised in the Huffington Post in four parts.








The Who are just coming to the end of their North American tour of ‘Quadrophenia and More’. They have recently announced the dates of a UK and Ireland tour plus some cities in mainland Europe.


For more information and tickets, CLICK HERE.




21 thoughts on “Pete Townshend ‘Who I am’: Full 4 part Video Interview”

  1. Lynda Grace says:

    Thank you Pete. x

  2. Bruce Arbuckle says:

    I attended the book signing event at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and it is one of my most treasured memories in life. I sat and listened and watched Pete talk about the book and his life in a very intimate setting and had the pure pleasure to watch from about 20 feet away, him play and sing his songs.

    I remember thinking that this was indeed a rare opportunity to see his genius up close and personal as I hung on to every note he sang. To be a part of an event such as this one still seems sureal for me but it was worth the time and effort to go there and attend. Watching this video now brings back a phenomal feeling that I will never forget as as long as I live.

    Thank you for putting this video out to the public and for the evening of a lifetime Mr. Townshend!!

  3. Barbara Jacobs says:

    There’s no better experience than to see, hear and feel Pete playing solo.

    Can I trust you Pete, and what you wrote in your book? I can reconcile those two distinct parts of your psyche, with the following example of my own personal experience at “Roger Daltrey Performs a Tribute to Pete Townshend” at Carnegie Hall:
    of you being happy in the moment, yet claiming in your book, that you were:

    filled “with utter dread…an unusual anxiety at the prospect of performing.”

    “What I did seemed magical, although I felt very detached from it…”

    I was in the audience that night, sitting two seats away from Eddie Vedder. When Eddie got up onstage and started singing “SqueezeBox”, then suddenly stopped, saying: “Nah, I was just joking” (or words similar to that)-
    It was I who stood up in the audience and shouted:

    Eddie smiled, looked behind him at you and you were pleased with my disruption and smiled back at us both in return.
    SqueezeBox was then performed in its entirety.
    You looked so happy during the song.
    I know you were happy.

    It was magical and magnificent.
    The crowd roared with delight.

    So, I bossed you all around that night.
    The song wasn’t on the set list and didn’t make it into the concert video.

    You know it happened. You know you were happy.

    P.S.: I would like a director’s cut of that concert video.
    Please give it to Russell Schlagbaum.
    I’ve told him the story:
    “That’s the night I made Pete happy.”

  4. Mike Walter says:

    Pete, very cool of you to provide film footage of your book tour appearances. I, along with so many, had wanted to go and to have finally been given a chance to meet you, and given the fact that, for me, a Who fan for over 37 years, whose had the utmost honor of meeting and receiving autographs from both Roger and John (…the closest I’d ever come to Keith Moon was an offer of a ticket to see the Who in 74 or 75, an offer of which came from a boyfriend of a cousin of mine but never materialized anyway due to a postponed/ canceled (?) show courtesy of the artist in mayhem Keith’s “ill” health. Whatever, I didn’t get to go, my older sister be damned, who was in charge of me at the time and wasn’t allowing me to go anyway).

    I’m rambling. I love you Pete. And the Who. And all it’s four parts. You. Roger. John. Keith. See you soon in A/C and later in NYC for the bene. Really looking forward to that…

  5. Jeff says:

    I was expecting with Pete’s autobiography to read only chronicles of guitar smashing and TV chucking. I conversely picked up a book I couldn’t put down. It proved to be an intelligent and introspective look inside the head of a genius!
    Thanks for telling it like it is, Pete!

  6. Barbara Jacobs says:

    RE: Part2:

    Nice rumba moves, on there Pete!

  7. Don Nolte, PE says:

    Pete, thankyou for the interesting read, the great song writing and energy filled performances over the many years. I’ve enjoyed them all since I first attended The Who concert in Detroit way back around 1970 or 71.

  8. Ed McBarron says:

    I really enjoyed reading your book and your honesty in telling your life story.I now have a better perspective on the inspiration for the songs and your creative process. Thanks!

  9. David Kocour says:

    Loved your book and looking forward to seeing you tomorrow night in Tulsa!

  10. milopinball says:

    Riveting read the book (of course i have it – page 286…”you eat a flower” & gasp & choke.)

    Hope the only future edition changes allow the text from the original uncut version. Whoooooyeahhh!!!

  11. Michael says:

    To the entire WHO both alive and passed. Thank you for illustrating so well in both your emotional content and translation to music what it has meant to be a member of “My Generation”.

    Michael – Denver Colorado

  12. rob thomas says:

    read pete’s book in 2 days amazing funny sad ultimately a triumph sad when it ended

  13. John Petrucci says:

    Thank you for keeping me sane and feeling alive. Keep on, rock is not dead they will say.

  14. Juliana Güntert says:

    Please, you have to come to Brazil!!!!!! please… 🙁 Give us a chance to see you live!

  15. Northernlala says:

    Just finished your book. Loved you all my life. Goddammit i havre to see you one last time before one of us croaks! I wish you’d written more about specific songs and the writing process. So many questions still 🙂

  16. Northernlala says:

    I can’t believe you read The Artist’s Way too!

  17. I sent this letter to the Toronto Sun and put it on my facebook page describing how a reporter completely misrepresented Pete Townshend’s behaviour at the Hamilton show.


    I am dismayed at how one of your reporters, Jenny Yuen, completely twisted the facts of the recent Who concert in Hamilton on February the 10th. Yuen made it out that Pete Townshend was an angry monster who told a 7 year old girl at the concert to “f… off”. Nothing is further from the truth. In reality, Pete Townshend displayed his concern for the young girl’s sensibilities in his verbal interaction with the father, Mr. Costello. As well, Pete Townshend showed his concern for the little girl using his own inimitable sense of humour which his fans have known and loved about him for years.

    I saw the Who in Montreal, Ottawa as well as Hamilton on this current tour and Hamilton’s was the best show of them all. Pete Townshend’s guitar playing at the Hamilton show was the best of the three shows I had seen. He gave a bravura improvisational performance of “Drowned” which particularly stands out in my memory. Also, Pete Townshend was in a particularly good mood all evening in Hamilton. As a result, he was quite talkative towards the audience, more so than at the previous two concerts I had seen. He was also complimentary, saying that: “Ontario is the best for rock and roll”. To summarize, Pete Townshend was a gentleman all evening.

    The incident about the “Smash your guitar Pete” sign arose when Townshend asked the father of the seven-year old girl to put down the sign. He followed up by asking Mr. Costello if he really thought it was a good idea to smash a guitar in front of a young child. (This essential fact I have noticed was completely ignored by your reporter.) Townshend then jokingly added to the father that if he didn’t take down the sign he would have to tell him to…and then he mouthed the words “f… off”, again to the father. It was all served up in the context of Pete Townshend’s mischievous sense of humour and the audience responded to it as such. Pete Townshend was just being facetious. In fact, Pete Townshend carried the joke further at the end of the evening when he teasingly hoisted his guitar by the neck to behind his back (a usual prelude to the demise of one of his guitars). He then gazed mischievously towards the audience, making us wonder if he was actually going to do it, but instead he just sauntered off stage. All good clean rock and roll fun and if anything Pete Townshend displayed the utmost concern for the young girl’s sensibilities by making the father question whether showing a child an adult smashing a musical instrument was really a desirable thing for a parent to request. Thus, what was in actuality Pete Townshend displaying concern for a young girl’s sensibilities became completely twisted, by your reporter, to signify exactly the opposite.

    Obviously Ms. Yuen knows absolutely nothing about Pete Townshend and the Who.
    Why would the Sun send someone so ignorant of a subject area to cover a story? You must well know that shoddy reporting will surely result from someone who knows nothing of a subject area. Nevertheless, Pete Townshend is no stranger to controversy and the Who partly built their career on it. However, Ms. Yuen’s article goes beyond stirring up controversy and, in fact, is actually quite slanderous. It is patently unfair to insinuate that Mr. Townshend was callous to a child when, in fact his behaviour was exactly the opposite. Therefore, Ms. Yuen should retract her story immediately and apologize to Pete Townshend. Furthermore, she should learn from this not to subvert individuals true intentions to sell newspapers.

    1. roofgiant says:

      didnt look very good humoured on the video I saw!

    2. roofgiant says:

      Really glad there was an apology and attempt to make amends – Most people are understanding about others screwing up if they have the grace and humility to apologise and make amends afterwards, nice one – honour restored I think and a lot of Who fans happier, myself included – nice one PT. cant wait for the Dublin show in June 🙂

  18. John says:

    Excellent book Pete! Glad you where honest! I still think your one of the best guitar players of all time!!!

  19. Dany says:

    I write from Argentina. We saw The Who in Phoenix, Arizona. And we hope the Spanish translation of the book of Pete. For when? Greetings to All. Dany.

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