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Pete Townsend Ponders Never Joining The Who

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It’s looking as though the Who might just be adding a new European leg to its ongoing “Who Hits 50 Tour.” Tonight (March 26th) the band hits St. Louis’ Scottrade Center and has tagged on a June 11th headlining spot at the UK’s the Isle Of Wight Festival and a June 14th show at Toulouse, France’s 9,000-seat Zenith De Toulouse arena. There’s been no official word as to whether the tour will continue past those two dates.

It just wouldn’t be a Who tour if Pete Townshend didn’t either trash his career with the Who, admit that he regretted nearly every aspect of it — or alternately, shower both the band’s fans and partner Roger Daltrey with thanks and admiration. It all — as we all know — it comes with the territory. In a new essay in Uncut magazine Townshend ponders what he would’ve become of him had the Who not been formed: “What would I have done differently? I would never have joined a band. Although I am quite a good gang member and a good trooper on the road, I am bad a creative collaboration. I would have made a much more effective solo performer and producer working the way Brian Eno has worked. I would be less physically damaged today. My knees, ears, right wrist, and shoulder would work more efficiently. Everything that hurts today hurts because of something crazy I did while showing off onstage with the Who. Roger’s voice has probably suffered in the same way, but he has less regrets, I think.

Although he’s been among the top older statesmen in rock for the past 25 years, Pete Townshend explained that the Who’s mere existence was a threat to all that had come before in terms of not just their music — but how it was created and marketed: “There were a lot of forces that were resisting it. Y’know, the establishment and the music industry at the time wanted us to be moldable — y’know, like the artists of the previous generation. Our world was very different. And I think we just wanted to kind of bring down a big Berlin Wall between us and everyone that was born before 1944 and we did it very, very effectively. So, I wrote ‘My Generation’ as a way of enforcing that, saying ‘We are different than you. We will live forever. We have a different secret.”

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