Belfast Telegraph

Pete Townshend: I was snobby about rock and roll antics

The Who guitarist believes his generation could have done better.

Pete Townshend wanted his band to be about the music. (Yui Mok/PA)
Pete Townshend wanted his band to be about the music. (Yui Mok/PA)

By Craig Simpson, PA

Pete Townshend has admitted he was “snobby” about rock and roll and viewed the wild antics of some of his musical contemporaries as a waste of time.

The Who guitarist and famed rocker said he looked down on late bandmate Keith Moon during his destructive excesses.

Townshend, who admits he “had some times” himself, said he did not count using heroin or cocaine among his best moments.

He also told The Big Issue that he had wanted his band to be about the art, and not hurling furniture from hotel windows.

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From left, John Entwistle, Kenny Jones, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend (PA)

He said: “I was always pretty snobby about rock and roll.

“As the television went through the window, I would look at Keith Moon and go, ‘what a f***** prat. What a waste of time’.

“Then, two or three times I did the same thing and I would think, ‘what a f****** prat’.

“I was in it for the art. I felt we should confine our antics to the stage. Getting into auto-destruction was straight out of art college.

“People still say that I should never have smashed instruments. F*** off. It is how I got you to listen to me.”

Townshend, who was also principle songwriter for The Who, marvelled at the social changes which took place during the height of the band’s fame.

However, he said the “minor revolutions” of the 1960s did not lead where he had hoped.

The guitarist said: “My generation felt disenfranchised. That is a complex word for feeling like we had nothing to live for.

“It made us not so much angry as loose. We were loose-living. And when psychedelic drugs and more importantly the pill came along, away we went.

“Then we took power. But I think we misused the power to a great extent. The hippy era could have turned into something much better than it did.”

The full interview with Townshend can be read in The Big Issue, out now.

PA

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