September 23, 2020

1989-04-30 – Chicago Tribune

1989 04 30 Chicago_Tribune_Sun__Apr_30__1989_


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The Who in $9:

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Chicago Tribune. Sunday. April 30. 1%

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Entwistlo, Peter " K Moon.

The Who and the why

What drives old rockers to go back on tour again?

By John Milward

ete Townshend had
planned on a com-
letely different 1989.

e was going to re-
lease his latest song-cycle,
“Iron Man,” and put together
a workshop production of the
thgtrieal mosieal. lish if

e was gomg to po 0 a
half-completed novel, and sign
up some new writers at Lon-
don’s Faber & Faber publish-
ers, where he's been an editor
his wrfe had just sold their
country home, and with their
chfldrerugrown. were thinking
of adopting more.

But the picture was incom-
plete. -

“I had tmmake a decision
about values,” explains Town-
shend, sipping cht Coke m a
New York hotel suite, “and I
sat down with my 014 lady
and said, ‘I have to admit who
I am, what I am: a rock and
roll artist. I Will always
known to the world as Pete
Townshend of The Who. I will
be famous for ‘My Genera-
tion.’ I will be famous for say-
ufi‘hope I die before I get
0 ’

“Whoever I become, I have

(incl ' aJuly 21 etc at
Alpine alley in East roy,
Wis; tickets will flan sale to-
morrow), with

with uitarilsata1 T°w333°§$
W 08¢? trey,
sist John Entwistle joined by
drummer Simon Phillips, a
second guitarist, keyboard
players, a horn section, and
backup sin ers. (The Who’s
original rummer, Keith
Moon, died of a drug overdose
in 1978.)

“I don’t think this tour is
significant of anything


25th birthday," shrugs Town— '

shend, who admits a bit of
embarrassment that his group
will be plying the boards in the
same as the other veteran
Briti superstar oup, the
Rolling Stones. “ or a long
time, I didn’t even want to do
a tour, but I just wanted to be
sure that we’d at least get to
gether and play and say hello
so we $3,! lgoangtgg 1:)
years so w: ut ow-
edgins that we were together
for 25 years and we had a
good time.

“We are of rock and roll,”
says one of the ’s most
notable songwriters. “It’s
where our children were
born—my dau hter was a
m on a cot at oodstock—

this has very much be-
come a thmily show.”

he ope-shoitmieunion
grew into a hotbed
tour afier Townsheud
flew to New York to
attend Janus ’s Rock and
Roll Hall of me dinner,
where be inducted the Rolling
Stones. “I watched the Tern
tations up.” he ,
“mwme Rif . make“:
com put 0 himselfm
most wonderml way, and Dion
Wood. and Stevie Wonder
and then the Soul Stirrers.
And I thought, ‘Who am I to

dictate how many people can
come to this party?’

“I might hate the party, but
I still owe it to myself to
honor my relationship with
the other an in the band. It’s
so ' asipeo le we
need to be seen domg. e are
products of an age in which
rock and roll music means a
hell of a lot.”

For many rock fans who
came of in the ’60s, The
Who sym lized the notion
that brash and brazen rock ’n’
roll could fulfill an almost
spiritual role. Townshend is
very succinct in his definition
of the music: “Rock and roll is
a liberating energy that can
also prov: you the nip-
ment to deal with rob ems
andemotional ' ties.”

While The Who were always
famous for their punkish

he—their early concerts
uently ended wnth Town-
shend smashing his electric
guitar into splinters and Moon
trashing his‘drurn kit—Town-
shend took his own role very

“Maybe that was one of my

_ ” he'says today “hot

ableto Just set a ll .
of simple Joy out of provighng
a semoe. [had quite senpus
moral questions, ahd certainly
ideological uestions about

:3" “'° - '23 ‘° “‘°
arid roll faith. (:33:
to which we actullly
write. The faith that is now
carried forward by whom,
Joan Jett? Joan Jett: She says
rock and roll every the see-
onds on the stage and people
raise their fists. [Bruce]
Spnnasteen does it, but he
doesn't talk about it very
much. What The Who were
famous for was talking about
They also backed it up with