Pete Townshend feels that fans of bigger bands are reticent to support solo projects for fear of diluting the artist’s group work. Townshend is currently in the midst of a mini-tour in support of his solo Classic Quadrophenia project, and appears tonight (September 8th) on NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Townshend revealed to Ultimate Classic Rock that he’s unsure how long he plans to keep performing at the orchestral gigs: “This show is very much the about the orchestra, the choir and singer Alfie (Boe) playing the role of ‘Jimmy,’ and not about me, so I don’t know I need to tour with it more than this. We are hoping that there will be more, but we’ll see how the critics like it, how the audiences like it. We’ll see whether Who fans will enjoy it or whether they spread negative response. A lot of fans are fearful whenever Roger (Daltrey) and I do anything on our own.”
When asked why Who fans wouldn’t be totally supportive of the new version of Quadrophenia, Townshend explained, “If they are too supportive, they think we’ll never work as the Who again, and they really love the Who. (Laughs) We’ve seen that with Mick Jagger and his solo albums. He’s done some fantastic solo albums and they never sell because, in my opinion, people don’t want him to stop working in the Rolling Stones.
The pre-fame Pete Townshend was among the earliest Rolling Stones fans jamming into their early-London blues gigs. In recent years, he’s been an outspoken fan of Mick Jagger’s solo work, and has joined forces with him on a number of occasions — most notably supplying guitar on the Stones’ song “Slave” from their 1981 Tattoo You album. Townshend told us that although he and Jagger have never written together, it’s not something that’s entirely out of the question: “Y’know, even very, very intimate friends like Mick Jagger, and I’m a great fan of his solo work, I think it’s incredibly underestimated. Y’know, he’s asked me to work on several records with him and I’ve very much enjoyed doing it. But he’s never suggested that we write together. Now, his ex-wife Jerry (Hall) used to say all the time, ‘You and Pete should write together.’ And we would kind of go, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. It may happen, it may not.'”
September 9, 10 – New York, NY – Metropolitan Opera House
September 13 – Rosemont, IL – Rosemont Theatre
September 16 – Los Angeles, CA – The Greek Theatre
Photo Courtesy of WEA