Decades since the group’s inception, The Who is putting out a new record and going out on another international tour. This is noteworthy not only because the band currently consists of only two of its original members—Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey—but because, if a recent profile by Rolling Stone’s Stephen Rodrick is anything to go by, Townshend doesn’t seem to think much of anyone involved in The Who’s success other than himself.
When asked about the group’s late members, bassist John Entwhistle (who died in 2002) and drummer Keith Moon (who died in 1978), Townshend just sort of shit talks their contributions to the band. “Even when we were [a band,]” he says, “I used to sit there thinking, ‘This is a fucking waste of time. Take 26 because Keith Moon has had one glass of brandy too many.’” Rodrick wonders if sometimes he feels nostalgia for those days, difficult as they were, and Townshend replies: “It’s not going to make Who fans very happy, but thank God they’re gone.”
“They were fucking difficult to play with,” he continues. “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.” Elaborating on this, he says Entwhistle’s “bass sound was like a Messiaen organ...every note, every harmonic in the sky” and that during “the first few shows without him” he felt like he “[had] a job” again when hearing replacement bassist Pino Palladino “playing without all that stuff.”
This sucks enough on its own, but Townshend goes on to say that “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.’”
In case you thought Townshend may have a better opinion of Daltrey, who is both still alive and an important part of The Who’s upcoming album and shows, well, Rodrick’s article unravels bits of that relationship, too. Aside from describing how the new album, Who, was recorded “without [them] ever being in the same room” and through communications handled by “their individual personal producers,” Rodrick describes how the two avoid looking at one another, even when performing. And yet, “sometimes [Roger] can’t stop himself looking over at me [onstage],” Townshend says. “It’s irritation. It’s irritation that I’m even there.”
So, that’s nice.
You can read more about exactly what kind of jerk Townshend is these days by checking out the full story.
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