PETE TOWNSHEND: Stories for His Generation
Pete Townshend celebrates the publication of his memoir, Who I Am, with words and music at the New York Public Library.
Pete Townshend celebrated Monday's publication of his memoir, Who I Am, by sitting for more than an hour-and-a-half of questions-and-answers at the New York Public Library. Townshend talked about his childhood in post-World War 2 London, how the other three members of The Who were the best sidemen he could possibly work with, how he came to smash guitars on stage, his influences, his musician dad, songwriting and writing the memoir. He told of flipping a coin with Jimi Hendrix to would close out the Monterey Pop Festival (Hendrix lost, and Townshend agreed that The Who should precede him). He said he was just learning to be happy at 67 and much more. He also read excerpts from the book and performed two acoustic songs -- "I'm One" and "Drowned," both from Quadrophenia.
On The Who: "If we had been four arty farty art students who all thought like I did it would have been a complete mess."
On smashing guitars: "It comes out of thinking after a while that 'This isn't enough and that what I have to do is make some new sounds.' And it did [and] I looked pretty cool doing it."
On Jimi Hendrix, Townshend praised his music but said while he looked like a god on stage, he looked like a bum off.
He talked about hating his mentally ill grandmother and how he only recently forgave her. His parents sent him to live with her for several years when he was four and calls it the darkest period of his life.
About the book, he said, "I had to write for me. I had to write the truth as I saw it and I remembered it..."
Townshend is in New York again on Tuesday, this time doing a Q-and-A with Rolling Stone founder Jann [pr: YON] Wenner at Barnes and Noble in Union Square, followed by an appearance on NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.