Pete's Blog

Storms and people passing


The big storm passed through, not too bad where I live in London, but Rob Lee our webmaster lives by the sea on the south coast and I was worried for him. The storm ended a tumultous few weeks. 


Several people important to me have passed away. Peter Kay, a friend and chef who designed my kitchen passed away a few weeks ago leaving three daughters. He worked for the footballer Tony Adams charity Sporting Chance for many years. He was a lovely man who had health problems all his life. He passed peacefully. 


Then it was Phoebe, the Irish woman who was one of the first group to come to Erin Pizzey’s Chiswick Women’s Aid – the Richmond house that Keith Moon visited, and that helped kick off Double O, the Who’s charity. Erin came from Ireland with eleven children, and was regarded as something of a saint in Brentford where she lived and died. 


Then David Hooper passed away. He was the caretaker and watchman at Eel Pie Oceanic for many years; he had to stop work when he was hit by a truck on a pedestrian crossing and lost his leg. He managed to end a life of hard drinking in time to be a support to his estranged daughter when she was taken seriously ill ten years ago. 


Yesterday I heard about the passing of Lou Reed. I’d been thinking about him after meeting Jean Michel Jarre last Saturday. He is a friend of Lou and Laurie Anderson. My heart goes out to Laurie whom I met briefly when Lou played with me at Rachel Fuller’s ATTIC JAM at Joe’s Pub in NYC. Lou seemed to have fun that night, and it was wonderful and easy for me to perform with this clear-sighted musician who I had expected to be so difficult. 


Finally, yesterday, I learned than Bhau Kalchuri, the Chairman of the Avatar Meher Baba Trust in India, had passed away on Wednesday. Bhau was a good friend to me, and this week has been a strange one for me, with many swerves and ups and downs, and it didn’t surprise me when I heard he had died. Many Who fans will know I have been a follower of Meher Baba since 1967. Sometimes I am unsure of the sanity of believing that Meher Baba is God in human form, as he claimed. But Anita Viellard, a light-hearted and glamorous Parisian artist I knew very well, told Baba “We don’t mind you thinking you are God, we just love you anyway.” 


So we had our little storm here in the UK. Nothing like Hurricane Sandy, but we know you are thinking about us just as we thought of you on the East Coast. I am very much alive. I hope Rob Lee still has a roof on his house, it is just 25 yards from the beach.

29 thoughts on “Storms and people passing”

  1. mike hartley says:

    Pete… Pardon my audacity but I am compelled to offer this bit of perspective. We are at the age where we lose friends, many of long standing. Not that long ago after personal losses of more than a few lifetime companions a lovely elderly woman said to me, simply – “roses will bloom again”. Peace.

  2. Lynda Grace says:

    Dear Pete,

    so much sadness.
    My thoughts and prayers are with you, and your loved ones passed,and their loved ones.
    I am glad you are doing well.
    I do hope Mr. Lee is safe.

    much love and hugs, Lynda Grace xo

    1. Yvonne says:

      Hi Pete
      Thank you for sharing the video of you and Lou.
      Brought a smile. I had the opportunity to see him at The Stone in the Village some time ago and when I heard of his passing I was glad to have seen him in such a cozy venue. Was special.
      Sorry it has been a daunting time for you, keep them in heart and remember them with a smile.
      Glad you all got through the “big storm” and
      coming from NY…I hope Lee escaped it unaffected…especially that Sandy’s arrival was one year ago yesterday!
      You feel better!

  3. Bob Mac says:

    (spell checked 🙂

    Putting together sme semblence of the meaning of it all in the face of loss is something man has been faced with through the ages. Thanks Pete for always being so transparent in your work and communication, it really does “realy” your heart. I respect your beliefs whole heartidly as it reflects such an earnest search for the great.. answer. For me, I accepted Christ at the age of 9. I am 44 now and he is more real and true today than ever. KNowing him is like falling in love for the firt time. Thanks very much for your faithful blogs and art.. so sublime and majestic.

  4. Bob Mac says:

    Putting together some semblance of the meaning of it all in the face of loss is something man has been faced with through the ages. Thanks Pete for always being so transparent in your work and communication, it really does “relay” your heart. I respect your beliefs whole heartedly as it reflects such an earnest search for the great.. answer. For me, I accepted Christ at the age of 9. I am 44 now and he is more real and true today than ever. Knowing him is like falling in love for the first time. Thanks very much for your faithful blogs and art.. so sublime and majestic.

  5. Susan Leigh Miller says:

    Actually, Meher Baba WAS God, as we all are, playing it “this way” for a while.

  6. Alan Shine says:

    Thanks for the music it’s been a life saver and looking forward to seeing you in 2015 if it’s true about the 50th anniversary tour.

  7. jim mahlmann says:

    Glad he made it throught the storm. I am on the Jersey coast. Sandy was not that nice to us. Many of my friends last their home. And a year later they still don’t have them back. I got to my office and found a boat in the middle of the road about a mile from where the slip was.

    Saw the band in 1965 in Filmore for the first time. Had pizza with the band during riots when ML King was murdered and nobody showed up for the 9 PM show. Bill Graham order pizza for all 30 of us. Scary but fun. You guys were great. That was the Intro to Tommy. Seen you many times since then. Good book Pete and Thank You for the years. Oh yeah, I was one of the turkeys who bought tickets to Woodstock to see. we heard ABOUT THE CROWDS AND STILL WENT. cOLD AND DREARY TILL THE MUSIC STARTED.

  8. Trip says:

    Dear Pete,

    First hope Rachel and you are doing well, and are happy and healthy. I am sorry about your friends passing, but you seem to be taking it well as hard as it is, stoic Pete. A few weeks ago, I was thinking about all the great music written by the Beatles, you, Stones, etc., and what it was that led to it besides lots and lots of hard work, and it’s just that special thing, but maybe it is just tons of hard work, and you have been rewarded with the light. Hope the torch is picked up in twenty or so years. Also, been thinking about the last Who album Endless Wire, and what a sick album it is, easily one of the decade’s best in all of music, and how underrated it is, and that is fact not just my opinion. Meanwhile Quadrophenia tour was special, caught Boston, but was late and missed a bit; doh. But then NH was lucky to be third row in front of you guys, and at Providence saw sound check etc. My friend could not stop laughing at some of your jokes, thanks for giving that little extra being one–but with that timing and u had to be there the way u said it–, and I told him yah Pete is really an amazing comic, and as great a guitarist/composer, it’s his humble way and amazing comic spirit that makes him such a one of a kind. Anyway, I’ll stop, but happy you allowed Rocksmith to have one of your songs, please allow them to do a pack like maybe 515, Real Me, and Sea and Sand, haha they will have o figure out a way to have the guitar with a capo on the third. All the best, Trip ps Jimi Hendrix on American Masters, where are you commenting classic one liners??? Miss that Pete Humor that not only sums up a scene 100%, but also makes a person laugh and laugh.

  9. Michel Waesmans says:


    I’ve just finished to read your book this morning. I have learn many things about you, the group & the rock’n’roll circus. I find it very interresting. After that, my respect for you, your work, your generosity and(some) mistakes, are reinforced. You are simply & deeply HUMAN.
    Go your own way, be happy and continue to composed for us. Thanks

    Michel (Belgium)

  10. Marcello says:

    Dear Pete the life still goes on.

    when I read your book I have a light. The idea to write my biography. I endorse everyone to try do this. I am 43 now. And Have a real history to tell is the one of better gift we got in this life. doesn´t matter what you do, musician, surgeon ( me in this case!!!), etc…. I think the best sensation is looking back and remember friends, moments, partnerships, hard work and Think: WAS a Great JOB!!!! Hope shake your fabulous hand onde day!!!You still doing a great job!!!!for you, for us all!!!!

    Dr.Marcello Vannucci ( Brazil)

  11. Tim says:

    Well, just viewed the “A Band Called Death” documentary. They are now being hailed as the first punk band ever and they found their sound upon seeing the Who come through town in the early 70s. i thought I’d reviewed all your lightning strikes in the book. What else did you invent Pete?

  12. Xanda Lemos says:

    Dear Pete

    I’ve been diving into daily, silent dialogues with you (actually with your book) for the last month and I am delighted to learn so many things about you and your music endeavors.

    I saw a Who concert last year in Greensboro, NC, needless to say it was superb.

    You rock as always. And your book is awesome, thanks for sharing every aspect of your humanity with us.


    xanda (read it “shanda” – Brazil/ Charlotte, NC)

  13. michael maguire says:

    It’s good to hear from Pete again. I’m sorry for the recent deaths of those that are a part of his life.
    I always enjoy Pete writing and checking in with us and telling us how he is and what’s happening in his life. I sure enjoyed the tour last year. I made it to 3 of the 4 shows in California. Thanks again for another tour Pete. Thanks to Roger also. I wish them well.

    Sincerely, Michael Maguire

  14. trip says:

    Pete wanted to thank you so so so much for allowing your music on Rocksmith. You could have acted all righteous about it, but you didn’t, and thus many folks like me get to have fun through your hard work which is responsible for the music. Thank you Pete, without you and rock n roll, my life would have been unbearable. Whether you are rocking out or saying something highly intelligent or maybe you are being silly, but best of all you are always being real. Love u bro. peace.

  15. Dennis says:

    Been listening to the Who again. Defined my generation for so many years. Great music created by great people. I remember when they played a high school auditorium in Michigan, Southfield High School. Heard about it to late and couldnt get in. Who would believe it.

    Thanks for all the great music!

  16. Sean Tully says:


    I really enjoy hearing your thoughts in your writings and your videos (Rachel Fuller’s ATTIC). I love hearing you play solo acoustic guitar too. Thanks for sharing your gift with us.

  17. Ron beasley says:

    Mr. Townshend. I’m a huge fan of the who and your solo projects. I was a bass player for a band which included Gary Stuchell who I believe you met in England in the 80s. He interviewed you while in high school here. Just wanted to say thanks for the music (particularly Quadrophenia). I’ve seen the who twice now and look forward to another tour. Thanks again.

  18. Leo Ward says:

    Hi Pete,

    I live in New Jersey where he storm is upon us now. We are in a State Of Emergency.

    So, I finished reading your book last night. It was enjoyable and entertaining. I found it interesting that Roger was the Leader of the band. Without your creative genius The Who would never have lasted as long as they did.

    Your book lead me to explore youtube videos of Woodstock, JJ Cale, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Joanie Mitchell, Neil Young and a plethora of other great songwriters.

    Like you, I studied visual arts in school but always had a passion for songwriting. At fifty five I still learn every day. Music does not come natural to my ears but I have written countless stream of conscious songs, some good some horrible. To me it is the journey not the prize. Being recognized for ones talent is more satisfying than fame. Would you agree?

    Feel free to email me. I’d love to chat with you.

    Always a fan
    Leo Ward

  19. Larry Stoltenberg says:


    Sorry to hear of you losing more friends. I just finished your book, “Who I Am.” I loved it and found it a great read. Thanks for your music all these years. I’ve been a follower since I heard “Happy Jack” on the radio at my grandparents’ house and I think I have about everything the Who (and you) have released. I’m also a guitar player and have played several of your songs with bands. Your style influenced mine in so many ways. Peace and Love to you!

  20. Matt Martin says:

    Yup. One of the not-so-fun things about getting old – friends start passing away. About the only good thing about getting old is that you finally start to know yourself… but, damnit… it’s too late!!

  21. Michael Scarangella says:

    Mr. Townsend,
    I have followed you since watching the Banana Splits( Four Monkeys dressed as a band) singing “My Generation”. I have enjoyed your music and your book. I was one of those crazy people that loved your shows at MSG, it was always a great adventure to see you play.You never let us down! The Who in NYC was something to experience, I still have my white overalls.
    Thanks for sharing your very personal stories through your writing, it always helps to know that others go through life’s ups and downs! It helps us all get to the Gravy!
    Thanks for all you do!

  22. keny says:

    We met outside harrods isold u two hats tea theater remember

  23. Marco Kirsch says:

    Hi pete! Your biggest fan in Brazil is asking you right here : When are you coming to play for us?

  24. Kevin says:

    Glad you’re still with us Pete. I’ve seen The Who perform Quadraphenia twice – at MSG in New York in 1973 and again as MSG in December 2012. It stands the test of time…great music , great fun always!

  25. Claire Thomas says:

    Your book, “Who I Am” was on my Christmas list this year and I am so glad my daughter got it for me. A really enjoyable read. Thank you for your stories and your candour.

  26. SueB says:

    So sorry to hear of the passing of Rob Lee- it seems you had a premonition…so many losses in the past year for you! Life is so precious and you never seem to take anyone for granted. Grateful for your humanity, and for your courage to share so much of your heart and soul.
    You know that there are many people who feel you are, at the very least, touched by the DIVINE. Whatever, we just love you!!
    My best to Rachel- we miss her out here!!!

  27. Carolyn Marosy says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of so many people that played important roles in your life. I too lost 2 cousins (brothers, separate instances)in 2013, one of whom, John Stroff is THE reason I fell so deeply in love with The Who at a young age. Our love of music and his introduction into so many of the bands I love today was a common bond we shared through our lives. We spent 1982-present attending every WHO/Pete solo show in the NY/NJ area together-the last being Quadrophenia in NJ 2012. At his funeral I gave him a large Union Jack flag in flowers with a ‘Long Live Rock’ banner to see him off…fitting for a Who fan of his stature. Pete, your music provided the backdrop to so many fond memories in our lives. Thank you.

  28. Jeff Hawes says:

    Pete – sorry to hear this. The important thing is you kept up with their lives vs. disconnecting for years like I see happen to too many people. All best and glad you are very much alive!

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