Pete Townsend Says He Won't Hurt Himself Performing 'Quadrophenia'
Pete Townshend says that touring Quadrophenia with the Who is the safest thing he could do in terms of stage performance. Townshend, along with the band, will kick off the Quadrophenia & More tour tomorrow night (Thursday, November 1st) in Sunrise, Florida at the BB&T Center.
Townshend talked about hitting the stage with the Who these days and explained to Rolling Stone, "What happens is that I hurt myself. I come off, I've got a dodgy knee, or my arm is almost dislocated, because I've swung it too often. But I feel that when I do Quadrophenia, I don't have to do quite so much of the antics. It's more controlled. And I'm never gonna do anything any better than Quadrophenia for a rock band."
He went on to talk about where he fits into the Quadrophenia stage show: "I have two roles in it: I can sing songs and then stand back and kinda go, 'I am the composer!' The Wagnerian moment."
When pressed on whether the band will be returning for a handful of songs following the main set the was they did during the 1996/1997 Quadrophenia dates, Townshend said, "Maybe just three or four hits. But Roger (Daltrey) is in a new place -- he wants to experiment."
Pete Townshend says that although the current touring version of the Who pays homage to the band's '60s, '70s, and early '80s lineups -- do not confuse it as a tribute "act": "Y'know, there's a temptation to describe what it is that we're doing with the Who as a nostalgia exercise, but actually what it is a virtual reality exercise, really. It's about trying to re-create what was once there, and inasmuch as we don't particularly need to -- it would be nice to have some new material. But y'know, inasmuch as we don't need new material to do what we used to do, we can pretty much use the same techniques."
The Who's second guitarist -- and Pete Townshend's kid brother Simon Townshend -- first joined the Who as their second guitarist when they were on the road behind their last revival of Quadrophenia in the 1990's. He told us that his role in the band since then is to both shadow and compliment his big brother's parts: "Learning Pete's parts -- I'm trying to support him. I'm trying to play the parts that he would play if he was supporting himself, so I have to be aware of that."
Photo courtesy of Ross Halfin