21 Aug 2012
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, the 18th August 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.
18 thoughts on “Summertime”
Keep on working! Whatever the job work at your best! Cheers, Danny
Hi,Pete.I read your blog that translated at your facebook for Japanese fans.
I’m glad to be able to know your recent status.
I saw a picture of you enjoing sailing too.
You are still cool.so cool.just cool.
I’m going to North America for join your gigs from Japan.Can’t wait.
I can’t explain how much I love you.
Oi to the pages down from 1,000 to 500: there isn’t a bookstore on the planet (especially the independents) that would not have a listening audience wanting to hear the lost pages. Yarn away and enjoy every minute.
Sounds hectic otherwise, but delightful all the same. Wonderful performance at the Olympics (by the way!). I was thrilled and dancing around and my newest dog was jumping around, too.
Yeah for the grandson K.
Good to hear from you, Pete. See you in Chicago. Best wishes from all your friends in Iowa.
Keep it up. cannot wait to read your memoirs and your latest projects. I will be seeing you in philadelphia. You always bring a smile to my heart. A true Artist!
So many wonderful exciting things happening. I enjoyed reading the “catch up”.
Congratulations on the Sailing race!
And of course, the Olympic performance was fantastic. I see no reason you shouldn’t have been there, it was perfect.
Ah, maybe this is a sign that your grandson may venture into music….
Thanks for the update, Pete. The Olympics performance was magnificent and fitting. Great selection of songs. See Me Feel Me was particularly appropriate as a tribute to the athletes. So glad to hear that life is good for you. We are really looking forward to the memoirs, Floss, and of course the tour. We will see you and Roger in DC on November 13.
Great Pete! You’re doing well! But, please, finish properly your last ‘pretentious’ work-in-progress, the so called Floss, and release it with all the pomp and circumstance, preferably by The Who and lots of power chords and bombastic drums!! Keep on rocking!!
Congrats on your new book and tour! I’m a former member of the NYPD and have an award to present to you at your book signing in NYC’s book signing. Wanted to present it to you behind the scenes at the book store Can you please send me a private email & get me a contact person at your camp, to get this to you?
It’s for our appreciation & recognition to the show you put on for us at MSG after 9/11
A small token of our appreciation of you rising to the occasion and getting our spirits high at a time we so needed it!
I look forward to hearing back and thank you again We will never forget what you have done for us. God bless and all the very best!
Former Police Officer
Hi Pete, Looking forward to your book eagerly-a longtime admirer and fan. Loved your John Peel lecture last year, you struggling artist. Please keep it up for a long time yet.
Right, able to write this at last, my cat fell asleep and stopped trying to play with my hands. The poor thing doesn’t know how to be careful with her claws. She’s an adoptee and never had other cats to show her. She has wrapped me around her white, silky paw, naturally.
Damn and blasted. I would’ve gladly taken the 1000 page version! Oh well, many congratulations on finishing the work. Even if only half of that 1000 pages, I’m fairly certain it’ll be a brilliant read, as you are one of the rare people who both have something (a lot) to say and the means to say it. So, if only October came sooner. Oh, and I am very very happy to hear that you are going to appear on the Daily Show, with His Brilliance, Jon Stewart.
All the very best.
Looking forward to your story, Pete. See you in Georgia this November.
I just read a review of your “memoir”, is that cool to call it that, don’t want to make you sound like a politician, but memoir sounds better than autobigriophy, a bit classier perhaps? Again your humble side and brilliant wit seem to have risen to the surface. Rolling Stone’s review says you included a lot of your rock star antics in the book, and were brutally honest. And it just confirms, to me anyway, you have soldiered through the riggers of fame as well as anyone. You could of easily acted “above” telling the old stories, but you didn’t. Like it or not, we all love a bit of gossip, it’s human nature to want to hear about another person being silly-I’m sure that’s just one of many adjectives and moods covered but we are talkin your best buddy was keith Moon :<). Your amazing achievements obviously speak for themselves, so for you to allow us to read what I imagine must be both wonderful and a bit sad at times, well that is life isn't it?
OK I am getting way too heavy, and ironically that goes against most of why I am writing. Don't know if it's true, but the story of you being a bit sad and hanging out one night with Jerry Garcia is inspiring-doubt it made your book-, as the story goes through a night of laughter and joking around mixed with some serious contemplation, at the end of the night you said "Mother nature, it's out there isn't it," as you brightened up. Yup, even without a night/nights of Quadrophenia and your one liners and guitar genius, life is full of treasures as simple as a dog's grin or a sunset/sunrise, the good stuff is always waiting for all of us.
I doubt you’ll ever get this message but I felt that I had to at least try to clue you into what’s gone down with the new stadium in Brooklyn. The mayor, borough president and Jay-Z will tell a story of Brooklyn pride but the people of Brooklyn, especially those that lost their homes and businesses due to unlawful eminent domain, will tell another story. This article explains it much more eloquently than I. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ll be at your show there in November along with a few other friends who protested the project. We figure that we have to live with this monstrosity, we may as well enjoy some of it’s benefits, but it’s with a heavy heart. I just don’t think I could bear to hear you say from the stage how wonderful it is for Brooklyn to have a new stadium, at least without knowing the facts.
I look forward to your show, I’ve been a fan for more years than I care to say.
All the best,
Yesterday, I ate breakfast during the end of Sunday Morning and the beginning of Face the Nation. That means I caught the interview with Pete Townshend. I just wanted to share these “odds and sods” with you about that interview.
People can you hear me? People can you see me? Can I help to cheer you? Welcome to the interview, I guess you all know why we’re here! His name is Pete Townsend, and he became aware this year, that he can now answer the question “who are you – who, who, who, who?” with the question “Can you see the real me?”
It seemed to me like he could see through the haze for miles and miles and miles and miles and miles! “Do you think it’s alright” that he was “going mobile” to talk about the “miracle cure” that empowered him to say “I’m free,” after suffering from the deaf, dumb, and blind kid syndrome that he inherited from being abandoned by his parents and sent to “Tommy’s Holiday Camp?”
The exodus is here, the happy ones are near, now! It’s clear that we now know what it is like to be the sad man, behind blue eyes. It was clear, “you better you bet,” he “won’t get fooled again.” No! No!
It was also clear that he spoke from the perspective of “my generation,” the generation that clearly rose up to say “we’re not gonna take it.” His decisiveness to let “love reign o’er me” is wondrous and something “I can’t explain.” Albeit, I’d call that a “bargain,” the best I ever had…the best I ever had!!!
Well, I gotta go get my back into my living, again. Don’t cry, don’t raise your eye! But, let’s get together before we get much older! Certainly before we get entwistled in the moon! Roger that, Daltry, for Pete’s sake!
Henri (A.K.A. Pinball Wizard)
P.S. “The kids are alright,” as are the grandkids
would you ever consider putting out a solo album playing your acoustic guitar. i saw a clip of your version of “behind blue eyes” and you gave it new meaning when you sang it. when you are done writing, maybe a new album is in your future.
thank you for sharing your creative genius and lending some of us a voice. God bless you.
And a great read that “Who I Am” turned out to be Mr Townshend, bravo! I feel like I know you better than I know myself now.
I’m thankful that you four The Who lads didn’t give Kit Lambert the proper lynching he deserved back in the 60s, for indeed he screwed you all royally. But because of The Who’s clinched teeth decorum concerning Kit (“…that’s just Kit…”) you carried on to become the most prolific rock ‘n’ roll band ever and most extremely charitable chaps that you and Rodger are today.
An x lady friend is banging on my door now, as I sometimes give her a $20 bill for some good shags past and hoped to be future mercy ones. But I’m telling her to sod-off today and every other day she slums to me in the future, as I’ve got to save money for at least a Mexican Stratocaster now in honor of you dear Sir.
Rock steady Mr Pete, sincerely,
Malcolm “Sonney” McShannon, III