Pete's Blog

Three Tributes


Chris Stamp wasn’t just a good looking boy. He was tough, kind, creative and fun to be around. I can’t think of anyone with whom it was better to brainstorm. For me, our best idea will always be The Who Sell Out. We got so excited when we figured we could sell advertising space between tracks on our records. Why leave that income to radio stations and pop magazines? We weren’t prepared for how irritated those guys would be with the idea. Chris was also very spiritually open, and later in his life focussed on the questions of the purpose of the soul. That said, he was never pious or pompous, never preachy. In his last days, despite terrible pain, we who were lucky enough to spend time with him, felt the presence of angels (or something like that) around him. There was a different kind of light in the room when he was fighting back at his cancer.

He had a wonderful life in his early and later years. The middle years, very much like my own, were tough partly because of his massive success. Track Records – which Chris ran for many years – had The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Marc Bolan and a dozen other big hit single successes. The Who’s success in the USA brought us all great notoriety, and Chris was as hard living as the rest of us. But he found recovery many, many years before it came into vogue to do so in the music business, and as a result became like a kind of recovery guru in the New York area, loved and respected by hundreds of people he met in his work as a counsellor.

Roger became especially close to Chris in recent years, all past arguments and complaints forgotten. Love prevailed between them. I never lost touch with Chris because together we continued to be partners in Fabulous Music who published all the early Who music in the UK and Europe.

I will miss him, but remember him with real gratitude and pleasure – always.



Mike Shaw worked with The Who for just a few years, from 1964 to 1967, when he had a car crash that rendered him paraplegic, wheelchair bound with limited use of his upper body.

In his time with us before the accident, he ran everywhere in Soho where Track offices were based, like a jinn. A definitive Mod, he was fastidious about his clothing, and good to look at. He had the most peculiar sense of humour, clipped and self-deprecating. Our early Goldhawk Mod fans remembered him with great affection. He went on to work at Track Records for many years, supervising several major Who repackages, and much more.

A childhood friend of our present manager Bill Curbishley, and our first manager Chris Stamp, he grew up in the East End, but seemed a little posh somehow. He was certainly discriminating. He acted as the first production manager in the rock business, dealing with band movements, hotels, equipment transport, dealing with the tough promoters of the day, and operating the first serious lighting rig ever used by a small band in the early ’60s. The Beatles never even had their own P.A. system let alone lights – though they did have a couple of great roadies of course in Neil Aspinall and Mal Evans.

Eventually, in the ’80s, he found work too tricky and needed daily nursing, and moved to live in St Austell in Cornwall in a modest house, but one that had the most inspiring  view of the sea between the Fowey River over to Megavissy. That kept his soul alive, and although often lonely, he never lost heart. We all tried to see him as often as we could.

He and Chris Stamp passed away within weeks of each other. They were boyhood buddies.



Frank Barsalona was The Who’s agent in the USA from the beginning almost until the end. He arranged our first appearance in New York at the Murray the K Show in 1967, Woodstock in 1969, and every major tour from then until in the ’90s the big companies like Michael Cohl, Live Nation, Concerts West and AEG started to provide entire tour programmes for artists like The Who.

He was loved by all who knew him, a particular favourite with us and the Bruce Springsteen gang. He married his English wife June who we knew as an editor at the British fan magazine Fabulous back in 1964. She actually did our first such interview. Their daughter Nicole arrived much later, a cherished addition to one of the great families of pop and rock.

Frank was a great and discerning art collector, favouring modern work, and his first apartment in New York was designed around a stunning De Kooning that must be worth many millions today. His passing was not unexpected. He’d slowed down lately, and we all knew that Frank was not a man who would be comfortable living slow . . .


Damn! First Mike Shaw, then Chris Stamp, then Frank. They all passed within a week of each other.  It’s been a strange time. I can’t feel sadness though. These three guys were the best, and helped build an industry that still prevails to this day – nearly fifty years on from when they started.

Frank was a gem. Just thinking about him always makes me smile.

Pete Townshend
28 November 2013










27 thoughts on “Three Tributes”

  1. Jason says:

    Very touching words. Although its Mevagissey, not Megavissy…

  2. Barbara Jacobs says:

    Frank was a good guy.
    Everybody who knew him, liked him.

    To all of these good guys, now gone– but never forgotten–
    We remember who you were.
    You are still here, being given your props
    on Pete’s blog.
    That’s who you are.

  3. LyndaGrace says:

    Lovely tributes, fond memories, Pete.

  4. Brooks says:

    Pete, I’m sorry about the loss of your friends. Thanks for sharing their stories in your book. I love your honesty.

    I loved your show last night in Chicago, and that you clearly enjoy still singing your songs.

  5. Tony Care says:

    My thoughts are for the families of Chris, Mike and Frank. Thanks for sharing your memories, Pete.

  6. Alain Bolduc says:


    What positively wonderful and fitting tributes to three key members of the Who from the early and later years.

    We can only hope to have someone who is as kind and good with words to write ours when the time comes.



  7. Gina B says:

    bless you

  8. Lance Bonnington says:

    Wonderful and heartfelt tributes. And purposeful skeins of karma twining all of you together.

  9. micha dahm says:

    dear mr.townshend

    … we all have to go only a litle while together on our way here….

    but we`ll meet again a little bit later… I hope.

    PS: thanks for your biography. It`s rather difficult to be an artist.:)
    greetings from the alp mountains!

  10. gary says:

    Sorry for your loss. I was reading your book about him when I
    Heard of his passing. The older we get, the more people
    leave us.

  11. Julian says:

    Jasus Bru!

    I just finished your bio, checked into this website to post some comments, and find this post showing that one of the threads of the book: your mates passing on, is continuing full on.

    A bit of a shock to read that these full-blooded characters who I got to know a bit through your book have now moved on.


    Some comments on the book ( apologies if this is the wrong spot to post this…I checked the bio thread on your site…too much ridiculous pollution/griefing there about Mick Jagger in pajamas ):

    – having read more about the kids who went on to be The Who, little bits about the musical development, really caused my ears to be reborn to your musical acheivements. Live at Hull…instead of just hearing great music and super-tight musicians, apparently born that way or dropped from a different planet, I hear something that was evolved-to, which is more stunning. And the pure virtuosity of all four of you…wow. I do believe that you were playing in the moment in those days, channeling the real deal.

    – have you checked out the little article in a recent BBC Classical music magazine, titled something like “15 worst behaved composers of all time?”

    – Have you checked out the spiritual guide Eckhart Tolle? His audiobooks work for me, on long journeys. No evangelicism intended here, its just that throughout your biography, its glaringly obvious, to the point of multiple klieg lamps, that it could be helpful. Nothing really new in his teachings, it’s more that it’s well said and clears up some minor issues, catch 22’s for a soul in these times. In fact, there are little statements throughout your book, that show that part of you knows exactly what is what.

    Best Wishes and thanks for sharing in your book! Again, condolences for the loss of your friends…and condolences to their loved ones. May we all encounter such rich and helpful souls in our journey!

  12. cw says:

    Frank and Chris both lived in my area on the East End of Long Island. By all accounts, both were wonderful people. I was just at my local music shop and the owner told me about the Chris Stamp memorial in Sag Harbor, NY. Chris was a regular at his shop. He tried to tell me that I must have seen/met him over the years. I couldn’t remember, but it was nice to hear that he was helping so many people with their addictions. R.I.P.

  13. pauline norman says:

    Just finished your bio, took me on a journey back in time to realise how lucky I was to be born in ‘your generation’ – I am 68 and you and The Who have given me so much pleasure over the years. The loss of good friends is happening to us all, it is life’s hard bits but just knowing them makes it all worth while and age just makes it richer. Thank you lovely creative man for sharing your life with all of us, however hard it must have been at times, it was all appreciated. I still remember the sweet smile you gave me one afternoon, walking up Richmond Hill when I said ‘hello’ to you, respecting your privacy I resisted all the temptations to give you a hug and perhaps a kiss and thank you in person. Keep at it Pete you are true star.

  14. Tommy1 says:

    Your tributes to the non-musicians in the Who family is very moving, particularly for Chris Stamp. After a rocky road the Who experienced with he and Kit Lambert, it’s touching to learn that you and Roger were able to mend things with Chris later in life.

    After reading your memoirs, I continue to be touched by how you have become at peace with yourself and others in your life, as you reflect on it.

  15. Scott says:

    Love reading your blog Pete! And you book is fantastic as well. I true treat to read and your talent is amazing. Can you help me with any digital audio or computer questions I might have?

  16. James Dalton says:

    I am quite sorry to here about the passing of your mates. I just got to know a bit about them after reading your autobiography and to hear of their passing away in such short time of eachother is quite a shock. I am so grateful that you have chosen to share so much of yourself with us over the years. My life has been made infinitely richer as a result of years of your work. In my darkest moments, you inspired me to hold on. You spoke for me when I could not find my own voice and for that I shall be eternally grateful. You have created the sort of art that many pretend to aspire to

    Happy Christmas Pete! May 2013 be a great year for Rachel and you.

  17. jasper veninga says:

    Dear Pete and Roger,

    We want to offcourse tribute everything and everybody concerning The Who!
    Who’s first to tribute The Who’s IT’S HARD album. An absolute superb futuristic album where The Who is at their best with Kenny Jones! We want to play the complete album styled with Grunge/Hiphop and beautiful piano, violin ,horns and and graced ladiesinger in a record store around Amsterdam, around September (7th) 2013! Who comes Last!

    Y sincerelyours ,

  18. paul mccaffrey says:

    just realised we are all in this together.Love reign on all of us.

  19. David Melling says:

    Just finished reading your autobiography Pete and really enjoyed it. Very funny and extremely well written. You are obviously a very talented person. We saw you at the Floral Hall in Southport in 1967 and were blown away by your group. Still have fond memories of that night.
    All the very best to you for the future.

  20. Bonz Bowering says:

    Thanks for the tribute, Pete. I’d not heard of their passing until today and am saddened at the loss of such powerful souls, all of whom are a great inspiration. I felt I knew these men, having recently read your memoir and the bio ‘Moon’ (Tony Fletcher). I was especially taken with Chris Stamp after watching Amazing Journey: I can only hope to be so classy, articulate and charismatic!
    I had the opportunity to tour the UK in the “noughties” on four occasions allowing me to work with such fine Englishmen as Glen Matlock and Charlie Harper of the UK Subs. Even at the club/small venue level, the entire entourage always felt like a big happy family. I’m pleased to find it’s been like that for a long time. A big thanks to men such as these, yourself and many others for setting such fine examples and paving the way.
    May our cups always be full.
    -Bonz 2013.

  21. Richard Freeman says:

    Hello Pete: First of all, my condolences on the passing of Chris, Mike and Frank.
    I am going to see The Who on Feb. 1 in Oakland, forty-five friggin years since last seeing the band at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
    (That “Long Live Rock” business sure has some mojo.)
    I want to thank you for bringing Arthur Brown to our attention back then – what a phenomenal first record! Of mojo: am pleased to see that he is still at it. Marvelous!
    My best to you and yours.

    Still rocking in my sixth decade, too.

    Richard (from Dalston, but decades in California)

    1. Ron Harris says:


      I was at that same concert 45 or so years ago at the Shrine. Arthur Brown, with the flaming hair, was an amazing pairing to The Who. Saw the concert last night – 1-28- and it brought back those decades of Who memories. Did you see the premier of Tommy at the Hollywood Paladium in ’69? That,too, was a night to remember forever.

      1. Richard Freeman says:

        Ron – Did not see the “Tommy” premiere.
        The show last night was excellent. Bravo to Pete and Roger for keeping the flame, and with such professionalism. The graphic accompaniment was truly world class, as was the syncing of the Entwistle and Moon footage.

  22. Jim Rice says:

    Hi Pete- although you’ve always been one of my favorite guitarists and lyricists, I don’t envy what a difficult road it has been for you in many regards.

    Although the rewards (fame, glory, money, etc.) seem awfully tempting to those of us on the outside, I understand the heavy toll of the rock lifestyle. I admire the way you’ve managed to pursue your creative endeavors despite all of the obstacles, even the self-imposed ones.

    What I admire about you after reading Who I Am, is that you accept your own failures and shortcomings, but you don’t let that hamstring you from trying to be a better person. All of us can be inspired by that determination.

    On a closing note, I saw you in Phoenix on Feb. 6th, and thought you, Roger, and the band were in fine form. Well done! Hope you stay in good health and accept each day as a gift.


  23. The nearly 50 years waiting for THE WHO in South America.

    Please, Please, Please! A crowd waits for the WHO!

  24. linda says:

    In the last year during some low times I load your set from the concert for New York City, then watch and listen. I always find it very uplifting and inspirational. The band’s musical genius, showmanship and creativity have no equals. The Who have created a true legacy of great music. Thank you.

  25. Bill Frisbie says:

    I met Chris Stamp in Sag Harbor, NY, when I lived there some years ago. I know he was doing therapeutic/spiritual work, which I admired; but what endeared me to him was his story-telling. It was clear that he knew EVERYBODY in music in London in those days, and his delivery was hilarious.

    He told me this story about John Lennon: he had been with the Beatles during the filming of the ill-fated “Magical Mystery Tour” movie. One of Lennon’s ideas was to travel in search of odd folk, freaks and misfits, and film them for the movie. One of these was a man afflicted with Tourette’s Syndrome, which caused him to rapidly turn his head and go “Hnaww!” every few seconds.

    Chris: “So years later, I walk into this bar [I forget which one] in New York, and I see Lennon sitting there, nursing his drink. And I looked at Lennon, and Lennon looked at me, and all he said was, ‘Hnaww!'”

    Just finishing your book “Who I am”. Quite a ride. I was at Woodstock and saw you there, also at New Paltz College in New York in 1970, and yet again at Madison Square Garden soon after John Entwhistle’s death. Does this make me a groupie? BTW, Roger’s voice is still the incredible instrument it was when I was younger, and Zak Starkey is my current nominee for Best Drummer On The Planet. Your singing got much better from the old days, and your guitar work was stunning. Thanks for the ride.

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