Pete's Blog

Pete Townshend: Summer Blog

This seems like a good time to catch up here. Last August the Quadrophenia Director’s Cut was done and dusted. I decided then to sign the contract with Harper Collins for my memoirs, picking up a project I put down first in 1998, then again in 2005. I thought I would have an easy ride. I’d already gathered all my archives. That had made it possible to write in a new way about Quadrophenia. I could segue straight into my life story. I had the diaries and papers in front of me. I enjoy writing, I figured for my memoirs all I needed to do was swap a studio for a writing desk, and in six months, I would be finished….


In fact I completed the audiobook recording only yesterday, August 18th 2012. The book was accepted by my publisher just two weeks ago, the day before I flew back from my studio in Rachel’s house in France, to rehearse and perform at the Olympics Closing Ceremony. It’s been a squeeze.


I’m not complaining. I’ve worked in luxury, and with good weather mainly. I wrote a good bit of it while on a family holiday in Antigua where we were first over the line in the New Years Eve sailing race. I know that is a brag, but sailing is teamwork, and all I did was write cheques and sit on deck looking deck-orative. While working on the book I’ve continued to write music. While in France for a few weeks during June and July I squeezed in seven new demos – I’ve got a lot of music now for Floss. So much music is work-in-progress that I really need to stop composing and start pulling the various elements together.


The Olympics gig nearly didn’t happen for us – Roger and I weren’t certain that two old geezers should be there singing about our generation, but I’d so glad we did it. The day itself was immense fun. Really well organised. Backstage, it felt like being a part of a great circus, with ballet dancers, mime artists, street-party trucks and literally thousands of workers. The Spice Girls were in the dressing room next door and seemed so happy to be there, looking spectacular, practicing their vocals (and really singing by the way) and sharing make up bags. I got a few tips. Liam Gallagher and his mates in Beady Eye were mooching about, as were the guys from Kaiser Chiefs (who played Pinball Wizard and were glad to hear I approved).


I saw old friends Kate Moss, Kate Hudson, Eric Idle, Mike Rutherford, Nick Mason, Roger Taylor, Brian May, Phil Palmer (from the Psycoderelict and Lifehouse Chronicles shows), Jules Bowen who used to programme for me at my studio in its heyday, Georgia Jagger (who was in a fashion parade), Annie Lennox and dozens of others. I met lots of artists for the first time. It was very cool.


I missed seeing Ray Davies and George Michael, but that might be a good thing: they’re probably fed up by now with me exalting them both to high heaven.


Roger is now completely in charge of the new video presentation for the forthcoming Who-Quadrophenia tour that begins in November in Florida. He has some really exciting ideas and we have a good team. I am not going to be much help. I’ve got two weeks of PR on my new book in October, with a lot of lead work to do prior to that time. I’m looking forward to the tour, mixing performing with PR interviews in which I hope to tell some of the more dodgy stories that my publisher’s legal department have removed from the book. One thousand pages cut to five-hundred. There are a lot of dodgy stories left over.


Around me, there are some wonderful things happening. My partner Rachel Fuller is deeply into orchestrating Quadrophenia for large orchestra and choir. The test we did on BBC Radio with Jeff Beck playing ‘Love Reign O’er Me’ was really promising. This is something I’ve wanted for years, and one of the reasons we got together fifteen years ago. Yesterday we met with Hans Zimmer who has graciously commissioned one of his inside team to work with Rachel at his London studio. So before the expensive recording sessions, we will be able to hear top-notch computer demos, and rehearse intensely with the singers we like best. This will probably premiere at some charity event in the future, then tour as part of a touring orchestra subscription programme. Symphony orchestras are keen to bring in new repertoire that will widen their audience.


The other project I am delighted about is Tommy. Des McAnuff is going to be directing a revival of our 1993 Broadway version at Canada’s Stratford Theatre where he is in his last phase as director. I’m so proud that he’s chosen Tommy as his swan song. That will open in May next year.


Between shows, and whenever I can, I will continue to develop Floss. I’m allowing myself as much time as I need to get it right.


My grandson Kester came yesterday. A little more than two-years-old he is very keen on recording studios. Some of the time he was pretending to sing into proper microphones, sometimes he was singing into the washing up brush. He’s very good at mouth organ. That, you may not know, was my first musical instrument. Pretty easy, all you have to do is breathe. I hope I retain that facility for a few more years. Life is very good.


That’s it. It’s Sunday in London, sweltering hot, off to lunch.


Pete Townshend 

August 19th 2012






10 thoughts on “Pete Townshend: Summer Blog”

  1. milopinball says:

    glad it’s all coming together for you pete.
    about it being sweltering hot.the arctic ice is in unprecedented high temperatures meltdown so maybe you’ll have a long overextended summer while the lower antarctic southern part of the planet has a longer snowy icy sub-xero temperatures winter.why worry?only chews up energy & ages you.if you prevail with a successful Floss it’ll be the most amazing musical legacy later on so best of creative inspirational luck.

    milo pinball

  2. mark says:

    I kind’a felt the same way in regards to your Olympic performance. I thought really?….But you guys pulled it off, and pulled it off well.
    I live in Brooklyn and would love to see you guys in the Barcleys Center. But alas my work schedule will prevent that.
    I’m no youngster by any means, and I will date myself by saying that I’ve seen you guys at Forest Hills and at Avery Fisher Hall. The concert at Avery Fisher was a musical highlight of my life and something I still talk about to this day.
    I think you will like performing in Brooklyn. Personally I think it is the coolest place in the States, and have no doubt that it will be one of your best audiences.
    Regards mark

  3. Sam Verdecchia says:

    I enjoyed the recent docu-drama; “CAN YOU SEE THE REAL ME”. It was pricey to see at the theater, but well worth it. Imagine my glee to see the Brighton Pier. The infamous palace on the pier in all its splendor. Oh my! It would be a shame if they don’t rebuild it to its original form and beauty. Funny, I wrote a song called “Palace by the sea. It’s more or less about pining over the good ol’ days when there are better days to be had yet if we look for it and chase it. The joy is in the journey.
    The Goldhawk Club and Jack’s reminisces about it were quite funny and yet he explained the buzz happening back then so vividly and deftly when The Who in all in their mod glory played “I Can’t Explain over and over. Ah yes the age old conundrum; explaining what you don’t understand. By the way, wasn’t that nice with The fleet of scooters tooling along in the stadium during the closing ceremony at the Olympics playing “Pinball Wizard”.
    You know an American singer-Sam Phillips sang once; “Nostalgia isn’t what it used to be”. Some 40 years later,it takes a lot to excite me. Watching the live footage of The Who from the ‘70s playing The Punk and the Godfather and Love Reign O’er Me was something else. Your guitar tone in The Punk was to die for. Love Reign…In a word-majestic. Now that was exciting. Incidently, when are you gonna release the Tanglewood concert on DVD? Surely a CD. You know while we’re on it. Live at Hull is quite good. Immaculate performance of Tommy.
    I expected something to the tune of 1000 pages what with your book. H&C cut out the dodgy stories? You should have went with Keith Richards’ publisher. Dodgy stories? Don’t we have them all?
    Make “Floss the way you want”. Screw the naysayers. Be adamant about about your vision. I quit a playing with a lot of musicians as of late because it wasn’t true to my heart. It’s what you believe that makes it ring and shine. If i don’t go the show it’s because I’m saving money for a studio tan.
    Be careful in America.

  4. Alina says:

    I am watching you promote your book on Jon Stewart right at this moment. I have always been such an admirer of you. Obviously you were the brains behind the greatest rock and roll band of all tiime. Who I am. You are awesome.

    🙂 One of the 30 blog fans 🙂

  5. Rick says:

    What is the latest on Floss? Any updates?

  6. John Taylor says:

    Dear Pete,
    I enjoyed your memoirs immensely. The details about studio work and the struggles of the music business were particularly insightful. In fact, I would really love to see a book dedicated to your studio and recording experiences. One thing that I can’t seem to get out of my head from your memoirs is the circumstances under which the original Tommy LP was released. As a fan and recording engineer I was always conscious of the power of the songs but the relative weakness of the guitar sounds (no offense intended). Any thoughts on revisiting the tracks to overdub some kick ass guitar tones?

  7. jrm says:

    I just caught “Tommy” on the television today. It has been many years since I have seen it, and even more years since I wore out my album. Yes, I said, “album.”
    I loved it. I forgot about what an innovative piece it was at the time and still is.
    I started looking for your first solo album because I want to revisit some angst and memories from high school.
    Anyway, thanks for working so hard at what you do to bring everyone pleasure through your work.

  8. Matt Mullaney says:

    I doubt you are reading messages from this old post. We met in Antibes years ago. I mentioned I was from Cincinnati and we spoke of the tragedy.
    I’m so glad you are coming back to get the closure you and the families need.
    Thank you.

  9. Mark Novak says:

    Hi Pete, I got 2nd row tickets to see You!! Section CCC row 2 seats 11,12. Im so excited!! Kari Loves Tommy!! this is one of the highlights when we started dating!! we both sing the songs together!! I Love You Pete!! this will be the closest i have seen you since i was 12. McNickols arena, 7 row!! so young i stood on the back of my seat. Stood up above the crowd. Roger staired at me, I fell in Love with You!!!!

  10. Mark Novak says:

    Good morning sunshine!!! Wow!! what a show Pete, so Good!! Thank you for the beautful Tommy intro. Kari was so very happy!! Sneaking in the seeker was special!!!!! Your playing was spot on, so good, you know the way i like it!! I Believe I saw your bum happily wiggling during quadro set!! So Cute!! The annoying old lady with the neon sign who said she knew you, was a challenge the whole concert!! lol!! She was determined to get you attention!!LOL!! i even enjoyed the Dirty Knobs (LoL) they all still need me!! Its all Confirmation!!! we love, that is what we do!!! I get it – not everyone wants to be a part of the Band!! So ironic for roger to forget the line to naked eye, Take a Little Dope!! Lol!! I Love him so!! he gives his all every time!! I Love you for light you always showed me my entire life, the light that has brought us to this doorstep!!! All just One Big wonderful Chance!!!! I Love you Pete Towshend!!!! Talk soon!!

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