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Pete Townshend autobio

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Showing 1-25 of 73 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2012, 3:42:56 PM PST
DK Pete says:
I'm currently reading this one...very well written, highly enjoyable and actually learning a few things (and others confirmed) I never knew...

One question...did I sleep through it while i was reading or does Townshend completely ignore mention of his first (excellent and highly underrated) solo album, Who Came First???

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 3:26:12 AM PST
He does not mention it. I kind of enjoyed the book too in that Townshend IMO may be the most fascinating person in rock of all time, but unfortunately I found his book had the quality of someone who may have serious ADD. He seldom spends a great deal of page space discussing any one thing. He certainly does not spend enough time talking about the music and how it was created. And unfortunately he spends a fairly inordinate amount of space on writing about the various boats and houses he has bought, and about the numerous women he cheated on his wife with.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 4:42:06 AM PST
Bernard J. says:
Most autobiographies today are written from start to finish by ghost writers, rather than the subject matter themselves. Maybe the ghost writer was forgetful about some things.

I sometimes wonder if the subjects of these autobiographies even bother to read thoroughly the book the ghost writer has written for them.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 8:55:27 AM PST
Exile says:
I recall years ago Anthony Kiedis was on the Howard Stern show discussing his new autobigraphy and after a series of questions about the subject matter in the book where Anthony seemed a little confused, Howard finally asked, "Did you read the book?"

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 8:58:57 AM PST
Exile says:
I wouldn't be surprised if that is done on purpose to make a book more palatable to a mainstream audience, where they downplay the specifics on the music in favor of Hollywood Insider type dirt.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 9:06:32 AM PST
DK Pete says:
BFD, that's basically how I felt about Keith Richard's book and the recounting of his drug life; obviously a good deal of the book had to be spent on that part of his life but I felt there was hardly anything significance ofered in terms of the actual music he created over the many years.

I felt much the same about Clapton's book. Is it me or does the actual MUSIC seem to rate second place to our "heroes"?

As far as any ghostwriter, it seems-lately-that most of these people openly credit the 'true" writer of their respective books. Being the writer which he is known to be however, I pretty much took it for grabted that Townshend did it on his own.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 10:42:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 1, 2012, 11:41:22 AM PST
Johnny Bee says:
Yep. Little about the actual music, but Townshend certainly isn't reticent about the 'stuff' he's bought and the women he's bedded over the years. And lest we forget, he also does his bit for charity. Oh, and John Entwistle was a prince.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012, 10:43:50 AM PST
Bob Bykowski says:
Townshend has always been (in my opinion) the best rock interview subject, simply because he's so glaringly open and honest. He's also been very self-contradictory over the years, which can be frustrating. But it's his openness that makes 'Who I Am' such an entertaining read, and it's definitely better written and cobbled together than Keith Richards' autobiography, which often seems like the sentences were wrote while experiencing a hangover and saying to oneself, ", s--t, I suppose I better do some writing today...".

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 11:25:37 AM PST
Severin says:
This would make him the opposite of Bob Dylan who rarely answers a question directly.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012, 1:38:48 PM PST
JCRB says:
Highly recommend the Motley Crue biography. Even if you're not a fan, which I'm not, it's an outrageous read. I'm pretty sure there has to be a lot of made up stuff though because these guys would be dead otherwise.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 3:17:15 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 5:05:51 AM PST
Grandpa Tom says:
Hi, Pete. Glad you're back.

I read the Townshend book during my surgical recovery, so I wasn't able to concentrate as I might have otherwise. The dynamic I enjoyed the most was Pete revealing his life as a young, married working man, whose office was in his home, all the plusses and minuses of working at home (I used to do so), his career was writer, musician, and bandleader, and how he coped as his relationships changed. In reality, much the same as everyone else.

I admit I glossed over the drug and marital indiscretions after reading the first few. Way too many accounts of the producers and behind-the-scenes drug and other experiences. I'll pick it up again sometime after my son's finished.

Anyway, my take on the book. I trust you're well as can be. Did the storm affect you?

All the best,


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012, 3:49:12 PM PST
DK Pete says:
Hi Tom..first of all, whatever your surgery was, I hope all is well. As far as the storm..the worst of it for my family was no power/heat for a couple of weeks and no Verizon for an additional two weeks after power came back. Other than that, no house damage for which I/we am grateful beyond words given the horror stories of neighboring towns.

I can honestly say, that it's very rare for a bio of any of 'these guys" to keep me riveted all the way through.....even The Beatles. I'm mainly enjoying the book because I can actually "hear" Townshend speaking as I read it knowing (cautiously assuming) that he wrote it all himself.

There were a couple of revelations for me-one biggie was the sexual abuse from his grandmother as well as his heavy cocaine use in the eighties which I didn't know about (I knew about the heavy drinking).

Overall, a pretty good book (my favorite of the year, though, is on a different type of "Rock Star"... Killing Kennedy by Bill O'riley) but again, as with most of these aubiographies, not enough emphasis on the creation of the music...although many of the circumstances which surrounded the music was pretty interesting.

Anyway, nice-as always-to "see" you and whatever the health issue was, my very best wishes all 'round!!!

Posted on Dec 1, 2012, 9:56:14 PM PST
MyRidesHere says:
I have never read an autobiography that was so unveiling,revealing,haunting,compassionate and honest.Pete ran the gamut through every human emotion I can think of while writing about all aspects of his life.
This man gets his due.Yet he deserves more.What will we do when he's gone? There will be no one to take his spot on his level of musicianship and aura.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012, 12:14:28 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 9:11:36 AM PST
Robert has the posting here (so far) Pete, is fairly honest in an interview and has pushed too many of those interviews over the cliff by saying something just a bit over-the-top. Just listen to what he says at the end of "The Kids Are Alright" right before the "Won't Get Fooled Again" segment as in just a few sentences he sums up just what rock music means to a real fan....Classic.

Pete, has been working on his autobiography for years now and I thank the editors that trimmed this book down cos' I'll guess Pete turned in a few thousand pages (hence the non-inclusion) of many things like "Who Came First" as there just wasn't room for everything.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012, 7:04:50 AM PST
DK Pete says:
Philip, as I'm reading it, I thought the editors jumbled a thing or two. I can't for the life of me figure out why I was thinking that It's Hard was the first post-Keith Moon release and that Face Dances came after.

..amazing how the mind mixes things up over the years which you thought you were so 150% certain of. I can still almost swear that It's Hard was the first Who album on Warner Brothers..and I can almost still remember two FM jocks on the radio as they were about to debut Athena on the air (remembering them as saying that it was a bit of a letdown after not having a new Who album for nearly 3 years or whatever it was).

..and yet, I re-checked the band's discography and found that Face Dances was, indeed, released first!! Man, have the years caught up with my aging brain!!

Posted on Dec 2, 2012, 7:25:43 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 7:34:59 AM PST
tmoore says:
Oh yeah - Face Dances was the first post-Moon album. You Better You Bet was the single from that album, and Athena (from It's Hard) was a year later. I really liked the song Athena --at least the music of it, I'm not so crazy about the lyrics.

I felt the same way about Clapton's autobio. I almost wish I hadn't read it, because for a while after I did so, all I could think of when listening to 461 Ocean Boulevard (especially on songs where he and Yvonne Elliman sing together) was the two of them getting it on all the time since he made such a big deal about that in that book. He just made it sound like getting together was almost instantaneous (I'd like to hear her side of that story - I guess I'd believe it more if she said that-- although I will concede that it was the '70s and I do remember what those times were like). That really detracted from my enjoyment of that album (and the 2 or 3 following ones) for a while.

The Townshend book sounds interesting since I also am fascinated by him. Although, in the same way we are having problems sometimes, one wonders about whether they are remembering things correctly.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012, 7:39:44 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 7:40:28 AM PST
Grandpa Tom says:
Hi, Pete:

Thank you for the reply and kind words. I'm grateful you're OK!! I had a hip replacement in Nov, and returned to work Wed., truly thankful for an incredible wife, medical care, and employment.

Regarding Face Dances and It's Hard, I like both albums a lot. Of course they're different than the Moon years, however, I think Don't Let Go The Coat would fit on Numbers. I LOVE the lyric:

" I can't be held responsible for blown behaviour
I lost all contact with my only saviour...." and the rest.

I think it's one of Pete's strongest compositions of all-time, not to mention the performance is exceptional.

All the best,

Posted on Dec 2, 2012, 8:06:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 8:09:41 AM PST
tmoore says:
DKPete - re: Townshend's 80s cocaine (or at least drug) use -

I remember an item at the very end of "Before I Get Old" - the 1985 Who biography - about him finding a jar of some pure-based drug on the beach and, after thinking about it, smashing it against a rock. So that revelation is not a surprise to me.

I hope I am placing the incident with the right book (that memory thing again). However, I am not questioning that I did read about an incident like that with respect to Townshend.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012, 9:11:01 AM PST
DKPete ~

"Face Dances" isn't a bad record but Pete has said by this point he just didn't know how to write a song for The Who any longer and he was looking at a solo career over being in his band.

Again, the editors had a big job to do on this book cos' there are tons of stories that were not used here and Pete writes volumes when he inclined to do so.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012, 9:33:31 AM PST
DK Pete says:
I also seem to recall, after Quadrophenia, there was a lot of talk from Townshend concerning a major dry spell which, finally, broke with Who By Numbers...again..another "event" not covered. I actually remember hearing the album for the first time on the radio and actually judging the songs based on the current "dry spell".

Posted on Dec 2, 2012, 1:38:55 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 1:42:45 PM PST
bass boy says:
The book is good but Pete (or the editors) skimmed over the 2000 U.S tour, where Pete really got his electric-guitar mojo back, as well as the 2002 tour way too quickly. Pete talks about John dying hours before the 2002 tour's kick-off, but all of this (the 2000 tour and the 2002 tour) are addressed only in three or four pages. I would love to find out why Pete went back to playing almost exclusively electric guitar for the 2000 tour, the first (and now only) post-1982 Who tour where Pete was the sole guitarist onstage. I'd love to hear if this switch from mostly acoustic guitar to electric guitar in 1999/2000 was due to a who-cares-about-my-deafness attitude, or if John and Roger talked Pete into being the only guitarist for the 2000 tour.

I'd like to hear more from Pete about Simon Townshend being brought back into The Who (Simon was on the 1996/97 Quad Tour, playing lead guitar) for the 2002 tour mainly as a backup vocalist (Simon only sang backup - no guitar - on the first few songs on The Who's 2002 tour before picking up a guitar later in the set). Pete said Simon was brought in as a result of Entwistle's deteroriating singing voice, to hit the high harmonies, but I wish Pete talked more about his guitar interplay with Simon.
And I'd love to learn about Pete's reaction to Zak Starkey saying "no" when offered full-time membership in The Who around the time of Entwistle's death. Starkey chose to stay on as a touring auxiliary member, so he could also play with other bands like Oasis, etc. As much as I prefer the Moonie years, I was hoping that Pete wouldn't rush over the 2000-2002 tours time period. Sure, it was a brief period, but it was important in The Who's history. The 2000 tour was where a lot of Who critics shut up (Rolling Stone magazine included) and took notice of The Who's in-concert rebirth. Plus, you had the Concert for NY in 2001, where The Who stole the show, and of course, Entwistle's untimely, senseless death at the dawn of the '02 tour, all significant incidents.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012, 1:49:14 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 2, 2012, 2:05:36 PM PST
Bass Boy ~

The first thing I looked for when the book arrived at my front door was a mention of that fantastic tour of the summer of 2000 and yup, there was nothing in the book about it. I think that tour was when Pete got back something that was long missing and from my spot in the front row of seats out there near Marysville it was easy to tell that he was really having fun up there on that stage. That was the best concert I had seen the Who perform since March 1976 in Anaheim Stadium. Heck, the band played: "Naked Eye" during an hour plus encore and they played a three hour show overall and I haven't gone and watched them perform since as it might be a let-down as there is no-way they could top what I saw and heard way back in 2000.....Such a great show it was!

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 2, 2012, 1:54:33 PM PST
Bob Bykowski says:
Donald J. Nelson says: "This would make him the opposite of Bob Dylan who rarely answers a question directly."

Exactly. Pete leaves no emotions uncovered. Totally unlike Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Dylan, in the sense that those guys always leave a hidden mystique hanging over their personalities. That's not Pete. Depending on your point of view, it can either be a refreshing quality or a self-indulgent one.

Posted on Dec 2, 2012, 3:29:06 PM PST
Severin says:
CBS is advertising "The Grammy Nominations Concert Live" this Wednesday 10 PM and the Who will perform among others. I don't expect they'll play more than 2 songs though.

Posted on Dec 3, 2012, 6:55:10 AM PST
Dave Vicks says:
Was Pete ever arrested?
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