September 23, 2020

1968-03-22 – Fond Du Lac Commonwealth Reporter

1968 03 22 Fond_Du_Lac_Commonwealth_Reporter_Fri__Mar_22__1968_

Townsend, John Entwistle and Roger Daltrey,

TE WHO, from left, Keith Moon, [Peter provide on the spot instrument pulverlzation
in their live performances. (Pop Scene Photo)

Scene Is Wild When Group Plays

Breaking Guitars Costly
Antic For ‘Who’ Group

By MIKE JAHN
“I’ve broken 95 guitars,”
Peter Townshend said. “I
broke six that I really liked.
I was the first to do it and
mean it. I broke the only one
that I had once.”

Peter is the energetic lead
guitarist for the Who, a Brit-
ish rock group currently on
tour of the United States. He
sat on his motel bed, between
sets at San Francisco’s Fill-
more Auditorium, and ex-
plained why he’s known for
treating guitars with a cer-
tain disrespect:

“We were playing things
that couldn’t be surpassed,” he
said. “We couldn’t play them
any louder or any harder.
There was nothing else that
we could do.”

It began several years ago
when the Who were playing a
concert in England. Peter uses
feedback like an ordinary
man uses an electric tooth-

brush, swinging the guitar
back and forth to bring it close
to the amplifier and get the
right tone. The guitar began
to bang into the amplifier, and
then the ceiling. Eventually
he began to smash them, and
before long the group was end-
ing their concerts by breaking
the guitar, throwing the drums
around, and disappearing un-
der the cover of a smoke
bomb explosion that obliter-
ated view of the stage.
Costly Gimmick

Though guitars can be ex-
pensive, Peter has a solidly
anti-McLuhanesque view of
smashing them. “Love of the
instrument shouldn’t stand be-
tween me and the music,”
he says. He makes no esti-
mate of the exact cost.

The Who is generally known
as an in-person group because
the sound of guitars splinter-
ing and smoke bombs igniting
is hard to capture on record,

but they have three albums on
Decca, “The Who Sings My
Generation,” “Happy Jack,”
and “The Who Sell Out,” their
latest.

The Who Sell Out is distin-
guished by an album cover
featuring each member of the
group shown testing a differ-
ent brand name product. Pe-
ter is shown with a giant tube
of deodorant under his arm.

The album is a half-hour
segment designed as a radio
program for Radio London,
the defunct pirate radio sta-
tion, including commercials
and station breaks. It has cre-
ated only ripples in the placid
sea of American tap 40 rock
stations.

, Ignite Audience

But the Who music is ex-
cellent. 0n record, they ignite
the audience with excellent
rock songs, with minimal con-
concocted effects, and in per-
son they blend hardrock ex-
huberance with considerable
gymnastics to turn on any
audience.

Keith Moon, the Who 21-
year-old drummer, flails the
drums with incredible energy
while gasping for breath like
a beached guppy.

Lead singer Roger Daltrey
jumps about stage, twirling
the microphone over his head
and banging it into one of
Keith’s two bass drums.

Peter Townshend flies
around the stage taking spec-
tacular roundhouse strokes at
his guitar (a movement he ad-
mits stealing from Rolling
Stone Keith Richards).

John Entwistle, the bassist,
stands to one side and is con-
tent to seem quite disinterest-
ed in the acrobatics going on
to his left. “When we started
we were quite mad at him for
that,” Peter says. “We want.
ed him to get in there and do
his thing. But his acting as an
anchor is probably the only
thing that’s kept us together.”

Peter admits having been
bothered by the fact that
American audiences expect
him to breakguitars, a fea-
ture he dropped from the
Who’s British stage act some
time ago, and has even cut
down on drastically in this
country. But it could be

worse.
(Copvrigm (C) ms by Pop Scene Service)
(Distributed by Bell-McCluro Syndicate)