September 21, 2020

2007-03-04 – The Dispatch

2007 03 04 The_Dispatch_Sun__Mar_4__2007_

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By Mike Osegueda

McClatchy Newspapers

Who? Of all the questions
Pete Townshend gets, that’s
probably not one of them.

As the guitarist for legendary
rock band The Who, Townshend
is a music icon.

Along with the band’s last
surviving original member,
vocalist Roger Daltrey, Town-
shend is taking The Who back
on the road again, launching a
new leg of the band’s nearly
year-long, jet-setting world tour.

Townshend participated in
an e-mail question-and-answer
session with The Fresno Bee.

Question: At this point, what
keeps you guys touring?
Hunger? A love for traveling?
Money? Knowing there are
cities you’ve never played?

Answer: Money does have
something to do with it, per-
haps not for the reasons most
people would imagine. I have
never amassed money. I live
well and so do all my depend-
ents and a number of lovable
freeloaders.

So I suppose I must have a
hunger to stay connected to peo-

ple at street level. A lot of my
spare cash goes on what others
might describe as charity, but it
feels more like an engagement
with real life to me because I
usually try to do things that
give me an actual personal role.

Q: When you’ve performed a
song so many times -— as you
guys have with many of your
hits — how do you keep it fresh
and not get bored with it?

A: It’s not about us, it’s about
the audience. It’s not that we
feed on their energy, at least I
don’t; it is more about feeling
that we have a function _,_ all of
us gather on stage and in the
crowd to connect, to align, to
focus and to celebrate our sur-
vival and our hope for the
future.

If this ever got boring I would
have to stop, and that has hap-
pened to me in the past. At the
moment, I am having fun on
stage with The Who for the first
time.

Q: How do you re-create the
chemistry of the band with
replacement members. Or can
you?

A: That’s not what we are

The Who,
circa 1979,
from left,
John
Entwistle.
Kenny Jones,
Roger Daltrey
and Pete
Townshend.

File

Townshend having fun on stage with Who for first time

doing. We are reinventing,
revisiting. Zak Starkey is a
disciple of Keith Moon, but
he is, in my opinion, a better
conventional drummer. Pino
Palladino makes not the
slightest attempt to sound
like John Entwistle. That
sound, that definitive four-
man Who sound of “Live at
Leeds,” died when Keith died.

Q: Humor me here: There’s
always much debate about
the idea of who is the great-
est rock band of all time.
Yours is always in the mix.
So, if you were making the
call, who is the greatest rock
band of all time?

A: A lot depends on when
we draw the straws and
whether we make the judg-
ment based on concerts or
recordings. Every band has
its day. Every band at least
has its moment. Rock is such
a simple form, everyone
should be able to do it well at
least once.

The Who seem to have had
a number of good days, but
very few of them were on
record. The Band had many
good days on record, some
quintessential. They were
almost pre-rock in some
ways, and when they worked
with Bob Dylan, they became
subject to his desire to con-
stantly reshuffle the pack.

A British band called The
Pirates was probably the best
band I’ve ever seen live. Just
three guys, driving the stage
out through the crowd like it
was on wheels.

I never claimed we were
the best. Some tour promoter
came up with it. Probably the
same guy who made the
claim for the Stones the week
before.