After a year sabbatical, Pete Townshend is busier than ever pulling double duty promoting the Who’s upcoming tour, along with recording overdubs for the band’s new album. Townshend has posted videos on YouTube featuring scenes from inside the current Who sessions at London’s British Grove Studios. During a chat on the Rolling Stone Music Now podcast, he revealed that although he and Roger Daltrey would love to dive deep into the band’s catalogue — it would probably confuse the majority of the audience.
Townshend explained that — like the die-hard fans — he and Daltrey would love nothing more than to tackle tracks from 1967’s The Who Sell Out along with 1975’s The Who By Numbers: “We are very tempted and we rehearse them often. A few years ago we rehearsed 45 songs and when it got to actually doing the shows, we tried to play them. The fans like it, but funnily enough a lot of the people who come to see the Who now aren’t hardcore fans; they don’t know the music that well. They’re coming to see us before we drop dead or they’re coming to see us because of our reputation. Or they’re coming out of curiosity. So they don’t necessarily know the music.”
Pete Townshend says that through the years — even during his more ambitious pieces such as Lifehouse, which became Who’s Next — he’s never lost sight of his initial audience: “I’m always writing for the first commission I’ve ever had, the Shepherds Bush Who fan who was so delighted when I wrote ‘(I) Can’t Explain,’ and ‘My Generation.’ And I’ve been fairly faithful to that all the way along. So I tend to write songs for where those people are at today. Y’know, they’re older, they’re my age, they’re married, divorced, some of them are dead. I’m still writing for them and for their relationships and about their lives.”
The Who kicks off its 2019 tour dates on May 7th at Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Van Andel Arena.
Photo Courtesy of Ross Halfin