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Pete Townsend On ‘Desert Trip’: ‘It Wasn’t Great. It Was A Gig’

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Despite never losing his gift for delivering some of the most high-octane rock shows on the planet, Pete Townshend admits that performing live doesn’t do much for him. Townshend, who earlier this month, delivered two knockout shows with the Who during the Californian “Desert Trip” events, admitted to London’s The Times, “It means nothing to me. I would be a liar if I said, ‘It was really fun, man. It was great!’ It wasn’t great. It was a gig. I did it and I got paid. The fact is, I don’t really like performing. But I’m good at it. I’m lucky to be good at something. I could have worked in an abattoir.”

Townshend went on to say, “It’s a bit disingenuous to say I would rather have been a starving artist, but no, I don’t get high on stage. I might come off stage and look in the mirror and go, ‘Hee hee,’ but it’s mischievous. It’s, ‘What a load of crap. We pulled off another scam.'”

Despite the fact that the Who has been the primary — and most important — creative outlet of his life, in his heart of hearts, Pete Townshend never wanted it all to go down the way it did: “What we produced was not something that I wanted any part of, particularly. The Who didn’t make the kind of music that I wanted to make, they weren’t the kind of band I wanted to be in, and it was just one of those things where I just happened to be there. And when you put us together, we went off in this particular direction. And if we had been robbing banks, I would’ve had as little control with whether or not I was a part of it or not.”

Photo Courtesy of Rick Diamond

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