Tuesday, December 6, 2016
The Who's Pete Townshend Finds Joy in Performing Live Again
Pete Townshend, guitarist and primary song writer for The Who has made it crystal clear in recent years that he feels absolutely no joy in playing live and HATES his band. However, recently Townshend threw a bit of a curve ball at us by telling us that at least the first part of the previous statement isn't necessarily true any more.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Townshend explains his recent rediscovery of his love for playing before a live audience, saying:
"For me, the last five weeks of the tour we did, before we came to California to do Desert Trip, everything felt very different. I'm notorious for being, I suppose the word is blasé, but also a bit diffident about performing.
We'll do a good show and afterwards, people will say, 'Were you having fun?' And I'll say, 'No, not really.' They'll say, 'Isn't it great?' And I'll say, 'Well, glad you think so but it's just what I do.' That kind of thing.
I'm a little bit detached and I put it down to the way that I grew up. My dad was in a band, and I grew up on the road with my dad, and I feel safe on the road. I don't get nervous on the road. I get a little bored on the road. I don't have a lot of hose kind of starry buzzes that a lot of people get when they perform.
Well, this last couple of months, maybe it's because I can see the end in the distant misty future or maybe it's something else, I started to feel like what I'm doing is of greater consequence. It means more to me, anyway.
In Germany and Italy, and Bologna specifically, at least 65% of the audience were under 30. Now, when we went to Coachella, we were also playing to an audience that was about 50/50 millennials on the one hand – fuck knows why they were there but they were there, and I'm not gonna try and explain it – and people of our age and younger.
But in the middle, we played in Mexico, and the audience was very young, but they knew the words of every song and they sang them the whole way through. And on both nights, when I went to bed, I couldn't sleep. I was tired, but I couldn't sleep, and I think it was because the little artist inside me was excited. I feel I'm still riding on a bit of that now."
Whatever it is that has made Townshend change his mind, I'm glad he is giving at least some semblance of a crap again. It doesn't seem right to me for a performer to go on stage and play with absolutely no passion. If you don't like what you're doing, you shouldn't do it. People want to see performers that are actually having fun and enjoying what they're doing, otherwise it kind of feels like a cash grab and a waste of time.
The end of the year is rapidly approaching. That said, I want to do things a little differently to wrap 2016 up. This year I want to take the days between Christmas Eve and New Years Day (including the two aforementioned days themselves) off. It's been a rough year for me and I want to take that time to not have to worry about putting a blog post out 5 days a week so I can just relax, spend time with my friends and family, and enjoy the holiday season. For those that are wondering, I will still be doing my year end Top 10 Albums of the Year posts but they will be posted the week before Christmas.