The Who‘s Pete Townshend has often expressed deep sadness over the respective deaths of Keith Moon and John Entwistle, but in a new Rolling Stone interview, Townshend shares some harsh sentiments about his late band mates.
Asked if he gets nostalgic when he sees images of Moon and Entwistle projected on video screens during the group’s current concerts, Pete responds, “It’s not going to make Who fans very happy, but thank God they’re gone.”
He then explains, “Because they were f****** difficult to play with. They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together.”
Regarding Entwistle, he says, “John’s bass sound was like a Messiaen organ,” referencing the complex French composer Olivier Messiaen. He continues, “Every note, every harmonic in the sky. When he passed away and I did the first few shows…with Pino [Palladino] on bass, he was playing without all that stuff…I said, ‘Wow, I have a job.'”
Reflecting on Moon, Townshend notes, “With Keith, my job was keeping time, because he didn’t do that…So when he passed away, it was like, ‘Oh, I don’t have to keep time anymore.'”
Pete also talks about his relationship with Roger Daltrey, which he maintains is better than it’s ever been, although it still seems quite strained.
“I used to say that I love him, but with my fingers crossed,” says Townshend. “Now, I like him too. I like all his eccentricities, his foibles, his self-obsession, and his singer thing. Everything about him.”
Pete admits that tensions often arise between them onstage.
“If you watch Roger onstage…[s]ometimes, he can’t stop himself looking over at me,” Townshend says. “It’s irritation. It’s irritation that I’m even there.”
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