Posted in music on October 10, 2012

Pete Townshend at Barnes & Noble Union Square (via @Griffin Lotz/
Pete Townshend

The Who's Pete Townshend came to NYC this week in support of his new memoir, Who I Am, making appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and NYPL on Monday (10/8), at Barnes & Noble in Union Square yesterday (10/9), and then on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon later that night (the same episode that Jens Lekman was the musical guest on). That's a picture of him performing at Barnes & Noble above, where he played "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Drowned" after a 45-minute interview. He also performed at his NYPL appearance, playing "Drowned" and "I'm One." Rolling Stone attended the B&N show and they report:

Townshend also opened up about the difficulty he's faced continuing the band after John Entwistle's death in 2002. "We feel the ghosts of Keith and John," Townshend said. "The second phase of the Who in a sense was really when we started to tour again around the year 2000, 2001. We were still able to evoke the sound, particularly with Zak Starkey. Now it's much more difficult even though Zak's there. John's sound was very big and rich and organic. When John died, there was a hole in the sound onstage and I was able to grow into that and find space. And I have to say as a guitar player, I prefer working without John. But as a member of the Who creating the incredible, powerful, driving, visceral sound, he's gone. I can't really do that again."

At one point, Wenner asked Townshend why he hasn't made a solo album in 20 years. "I write lots of music, I record lots of music. I probably write a song every couple of days," he said. "I have a very big archive of unfinished material."

Currently, Townshend is working on the musical project Floss, which he said he is about two-thirds finished, which he described as "a story with music, characters, a Aristotelian plot line very different from what I've done in the past. . . . The thesis is we're all terrified. We're living in terror, we're living in anxiety, discomfort and the fear that we have is for the future, the fear for our children's future, we're worried about the planet, we're worried about terrorism, being able to sustain life as we love it, we're afraid we can't guarantee peace."

Townshend said he loves Lady Gaga and constantly listens to music. "I just kind of surf Spotify and and iTunes and stick it on my iPhone. I listen to a lot of new music." He added that he predicted digital downloads "back in 1985 and before that in 1971. I knew there the digital revolution would change the way art happens and is made and is sold and we're not finished yet."

You can check out videos from his interviews on The Daily Show and Fallon, and his performance "Drowned" from the NYPL show below. You'll notice in the Daily Show video that when Pete walks out, Jon Stewart's house band plays a clip strikingly similar to the second half of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." Neither Pete or Jon acknowledge it, but it's a pretty ironic move considering Pete never liked Zeppelin's music (though he does think they're great guys).

The Who are taking their Quadrophenia tour to the NYC area for four shows in November and December.

Videos are below.


Pete Townshend on The Daily Show

Pete Townshend on Fallon (via The Audio Perv)

Pete Townshend - "Drowned" at NYPL - 10/8/12



Comments (68)

Think this dude still looks kiddie porn?

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 12:49 PM

looks *at*

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 12:49 PM

"And I have to say as a guitar player, I prefer working without John"


Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 12:52 PM

yeah my man LOVES him some kiddie porn.

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 12:57 PM

and he was also at the NYPL....

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 12:59 PM

"Townshend also opened up about the difficulty he's faced continuing the band after John Entwistle's death in 2002"

Yeah, must have been difficult to cancel those two shows after his death.

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 1:30 PM

ah Pete. if left on your own you'd claim you wrote all the beatles songs as well as inventing the telephone.

we all know you did a lot of blow and sucked a lot of dick but that doesnt make yiy an innovator by any stretch

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 3:00 PM

Pete Townshend >>>>>>>>> Thom Yorke

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 4:02 PM

"At the time of his arrest, Townshend admitted using his credit card to visit a web site offering child porn, but told cops he was just conducting research. Along with being placed on the sex offender registry, the performer had to submit a DNA sample to police and have his fingerprints and mug shot taken. As part of his "research project," Townshend drafted the below six-page treatise on the easy availability of child pornography on the Internet. So easy, in fact, that Townshend, 57, wrote that he accidentally discovered a photo of a two-year-old boy being raped when he typed the words "Russia," "orphanages," and "boys" into a search engine." what the fuck?

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 10:50 PM

The 2002 tour continued because tons of people were committed to doing a job that summer, and the band committed to them having a job that summer (tech, sound, roadies, drivers, caterers, etc.) JE did blow and was blown in a hotel room in Vegas just as the tour was starting. Had they not gotten Pino Palladino to jump in (where he's been ever since,) many people would have been out of a job. Simple as that. If anything, that says something about the Townshend and Daltrey's work ethic and sense of responsibility.
They weren't making stadium money on that tour, only arenas by that point. They were earning their own keep and supporting others. And yup, Pete's lead guitar playing changed a lot on that tour with more space. Not better without John, just newer.

Posted by Anonymous | October 10, 2012 11:04 PM

If Townshend's not an innovator, no one is an innovator. For everything out there you can nearly always find a precedent, if for some reason you're determined to find one. The fact that there were concept albums and rock operas before Sgt Pepper or Tommy does not make them any less innovative.

Enjoyed the videos!

Posted by Lyle | October 10, 2012 11:43 PM

11:04 Give me a break. Canceling only two shows after a founder member you had been playing with for nearly 40 years suddenly passes away? That's responsibility to your own pocket book and nothing else. And it's certainly not responsible to the fans who paid to see The Who.

Posted by Anonymous | October 11, 2012 5:52 PM

tell that to the 200 or so people counting on a paycheck for a two month tour that summer. no one ever thinks about that side of the business or a touring rock band.

Posted by Anonymous | October 11, 2012 7:49 PM

He's into kiddie porn. End of story. No buts.

Posted by Anonymous | October 11, 2012 8:22 PM

This tour didn't have insurance on it? Nobody ever thinks about that side of the business.

Posted by Anonymous | October 11, 2012 10:50 PM

my older sister took me when i was 9 years old to see thse guys in 1973. ive seen them 14 times since. the guy has always had issues. i have never met them and we probably would not connect but ive always admired the talent and the music they gave to their audience. thats all they should be judged by. its a business like any other. really, i dont see anybody wearing halos on this earth do you??

Posted by cholibaugh | October 15, 2012 12:31 PM

Not better without John, just newer.

Posted by купить шины | October 15, 2012 12:59 PM

I agree not better without john. dug up from the basement the other day "smash your head against the wall" and "rigor mortis sets in" think I"ll go home now and listen some more. should not be on this thing let alone drinking again Im a converted mennonite. just look forward to seeing them again. they always came to chicago during the fall/winter months years ago.

Posted by cholibaugh | October 15, 2012 1:44 PM

so why do you think that EVERYONE, the band, the crew, the fans should have been out of shows because John decided to do drugs that did him on on the eve of the tour? No one made John do that and at his age he was certainly playing with fire and playing with the whole bands future.

Posted by Anonymous | October 15, 2012 2:01 PM

5:52: what about JE's responsibility to everyone?

Posted by Anonymous | October 15, 2012 2:03 PM

i guess these celebrity types think they're invincible. if they had to hold down a job in the real world for just a month i bet they would quickly be off that ego pedestal they're on. i thought it amusing when i was a teenager but the unclean lifestyles they live and the dope and excess. i know its part of the business but its like they cant grow old gracefully. how sad. i dont care what their worth. that book by the way is very disrespectful and while ive always loved their music he does a disservice to himself. must be very embarrassing to roger daltrey. if you read between the lines for a guy with all that talent he really is very empty inside. really should seek some professional help. or come to work on our farm for a month. we'd knock that right out of him.

Posted by keokuk iowa | October 16, 2012 8:15 PM

lets just get that soul train out of the whitehouse, ok??!

Posted by sleepy hollow illinois | October 17, 2012 1:57 PM

lets just get that soul train out of the whitehouse, ok??!

Posted by sleepy hollow illinois | October 17, 2012 2:04 PM

dont you mean urkel and aunt esther??

Posted by amos | October 17, 2012 2:08 PM

great. another geriatric who tour. hope staff remembers to bring plenty of depends and gas X pills. you know when i worked in the nursing home when residents kept singing the same songs over and over its called echolalia and early dementia. if the sex offender thing wasnt bad enough now in an apparent attemp to sell more tickets the guy has gotten on the gay bandwagon and come out as a fudge packer. what a terrible under estimation of your long time fans. oh and by the way pete just a heads up for you-from a womans perspective-its not the size of it,honey its what you can do with it. my wonderful former jockey husband of 25 years could have taught you a thing or two in addition to showing some respect to women as well. to bad i cant sell the tickets now. i live in the middle of nowhere.

Posted by union illinois | October 17, 2012 2:25 PM

musically, it is Quadrophenia, and for anyone who shows up willing to let it be a night of well played and passionate music, they will probably be rewarded in spades. Those looking for THE WHO, as in 1965-1978 or 1982 (or even 2000) will be missing the point.

Right, everyone loved JE, but absolutely - he was the one who fucked it for many people on the eve of that tour. It is music, but it is also a livelihood, and Pete/Roger simply kept working.
Plant and Page didn't call their 90s work Led Zeppelin, rightfully so because JP Jones was alive and well. Townshend and Daltrey are the only members of the Who alive (uh, unless you count Kenney Jones - he actually was an equal member for four years. )
So - in some ways, they ARE the Who. Their choice....

Posted by Anonymous | October 17, 2012 10:09 PM

we like this website between barn work. not facebook or twitter fans. guess we'll go see the old dogs while they can still hunt. might be one of the last times. back to afternoon feeding.........

Posted by great dane in libertyville,illinois | October 18, 2012 12:48 PM

wow,anymous sounds kind and has moxy,too....wonder if he likes animals.....and has a sense of humor.....

Posted by union, illinois | October 18, 2012 2:11 PM

i dont know lets try. if anymous is bi-sexual does that mean if you buy him something he gets sexual?? were just dumb midwest farm girls.....hey,anymous-
Q: How can you tell when your at a gay Oktober fest??
A: When Pete Townshend says all the bratwurst tastes like shit!!
whats your favorite Zeppelin album anyway??

Posted by sleepy hollow,illinos | October 18, 2012 2:22 PM

What do you call an Amish guy with his hand up a horses ass?
A: A mechanic!

Posted by amos | October 18, 2012 4:01 PM

anymous might know. Whenever theres a Who tour Simon T usually plays somewhere locally. Whoever books these why is it always in the shitty? Oh, I mean the city. Saw him 27 years ago in Wheeling,Illinois @ a dive called Synergy. Wheeling is basically just outside the Chicago area like Rolling Meadows. Very far from what you'd actually call rural or country. Why do the country mice always have to trek 2 hours into those yuppie neighborhoods to see their favorite acts. Simon's version of 'Pinball Wizard' on You tube kicks some butt. Better than any version Pete did in his day. This time he's playing @ Martyrs again Nov 28 and for tickets you have to order on this huey. The redneck biker joint up the road 20 miles has classic acts their all the time. Starship,Kansas Steve Miller were all there over the summer. Obviously from all the tours over the years the band know people here that give them the idea all the die hards are in the city. Grew up in the city but moved way out years ago. Hope I never have to move back. At least the actual Who shows are by the airport access to all major X-ways. Years ago they always used to play the Stadium and Amplitheatre long gone for quite some time now. Those are still all black areas used to take your life in your hands. Always an unsurpassed show once you got inside but all those jigs with their crowbars in between traffic tapping new cars. most whites were'nt gonna take their shit they're were always fights. ah,the good old days.........anyway,back later or next week.............

Posted by union,illinois | October 19, 2012 12:57 PM

Tony Iommi book was better. I shudder to think: Pete Townshend and Mick Jagger?? Eeeeeeewwwwwwww!

Posted by K.Lindsey | October 22, 2012 1:53 PM

kudos to some of the comments on here. my son has no teachers he can trust or call heroes. same goes for clergy people. now he'll remember my teenage idol as a gump. when they say life is wasted on youth they're not kidding. our tickets have since been donated to a community fundraiser. funny how the tickets went on sale long before the book came out.

Posted by veritas | October 22, 2012 7:08 PM

Remember them the way you knew them best. Life is so short. Sadly, much of what they've done will go uncelebrated. So, in saying that:

It is what it is maybe it's age
But the music had it's own life long ago
The best to you when you hit the stage
This season and always as you hit the road

Posted by chris from inverness | October 24, 2012 7:16 PM

3:36 its cold i know im growing old

Posted by early morning cold taxi | October 24, 2012 7:35 PM

sometimes i fear this will go on my life through

Posted by tattoo | October 24, 2012 7:37 PM

sickness will surely take the mind

Posted by amazing journey | October 24, 2012 7:40 PM

why can't we have eternal life and never die?

Posted by heaven and hell | October 24, 2012 7:42 PM

the moment your born you start to die

Posted by when i was a boy | October 24, 2012 7:44 PM

the sun is shining but not for me

Posted by melancholia | October 24, 2012 7:48 PM

no one cares nor understands

Posted by one man band | October 24, 2012 7:51 PM

if you let them do it to you you've got yourself to blame

Posted by dirty jobs | October 24, 2012 7:53 PM

im left with only tears

Posted by song is over | October 24, 2012 7:57 PM

now dont't you worry be happy

Posted by peppermint lump | October 24, 2012 8:00 PM

every single dream is wrapped up in the scheme

Posted by relay | October 24, 2012 8:03 PM

i get so lonely and turned around

Posted by four faces | October 24, 2012 8:07 PM

the passion is so strong when im alone

Posted by i am an animal | October 24, 2012 8:09 PM

the pleasure seems to balance out the pain

Posted by blue red and grey | October 24, 2012 8:10 PM

the memories smolder and the soul always yearns

Posted by after the fire | October 24, 2012 8:13 PM

we get hungover but we always survive it

Posted by new song | October 24, 2012 8:15 PM

I was only doing research

Posted by The Diddler | October 24, 2012 8:15 PM

your funny anyway

Posted by recluse | October 24, 2012 8:18 PM

recriminations fester and the past can never change

Posted by slit skirts | October 24, 2012 8:22 PM

its only by the music ill be free

Posted by time is passing | October 24, 2012 8:24 PM

when you grow what i grow

Posted by now im a farmer | October 24, 2012 8:26 PM

i am safe hidden here (or home rather)

Posted by hiding out | October 24, 2012 8:28 PM

will have to leave now since this really annoying woman keeps pestering the librarian and she has a voice like georgia engel from the mary tyler moore show. found "the Legacy" on VHS in the attic so how cool is that. Roger and Sam Elliott in the same flick. only problem is the vibrator is broken.

Posted by recluse chris | October 24, 2012 8:35 PM

^ thank you
(for leaving now that is)

Posted by Anonymous | October 24, 2012 8:48 PM

your welcome smart ass

Posted by recluse | October 24, 2012 8:59 PM

I'm not the one spamming BV.
Besides, wasn't being smart, was being honest.
Shitforbrainz :-)

Posted by Anonymous | October 24, 2012 9:23 PM

sorry. its free entertainment and i don't like to get out much.

Posted by recluse | October 24, 2012 9:37 PM


Posted by Anonymous | October 24, 2012 9:38 PM

"You'll notice in the Daily Show video that when Pete walks out, Jon Stewart's house band plays a clip strikingly similar to the second half of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven." "

You obviously don't watch the show:
1. There is no "house band" on the Daily Show.
2. While yes it is a terrible cover of Stairway, they play that song every night when the guest comes out.

Posted by Bon | November 14, 2012 10:45 PM

are you kidding?? I'm gonna have a hard time staying up for the shows when they get here in 2 weeks. I'm in bed after King of the Hill and the 9 oclock news. I don't know how they still do it but I don't think to many more performing years are left. Daltrey does not look well.

Posted by union,illinois | November 15, 2012 12:57 PM

Abuse?? If that got published mine should be a best seller........................

Posted by anonymous | November 15, 2012 9:07 PM

Great collection of cool pictures, really enjoyed watching these photos. Thanks for sharing with us.

Posted by Evening Dresses | November 23, 2012 12:28 PM

If someone told me in 1972 that I'd still be a fan of the Who today I would have probably decked them. But here it is 2012 and as they've done so many times before the last 2 nites they thrilled and excited me beyond my expectations. I've seen them close to 2 dozen times now and regardless of their shortcomings (Pete's) over the years or a fans shortcomings (overly critical comments) a million thanks to them for all the wonderful music, the shows, the parties and the inspiration and memories over the years. My life or some of the best choices I made would not have been the same if it was not for them. All the best to them now and always. Much love and admiration forever.

Posted by chrisc | December 1, 2012 4:32 PM

I was always a big fan of Pete.

Posted by mike | July 12, 2013 1:10 PM

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