Pete Townshend last week shocked fans when he proclaimed that he was glad that former bandmates in The Who were “gone”. In the same interview, the guitarist revealed that he thought about quitting from “day one” saying it “wasn’t a job that I like”.
The Who’s principal songwriter may have had some ground to stand on when suggesting Keith Moon and John Entwhistle had caused some issues within the band but this latest revelation has come as a shock to The Who’s fans.
Having released their first studio album in thirteen years, Who the guitarist was asked whether he had eve considered leaving the band and if so, when? Townshend replied, “Pretty much day one. I always wanted it to be as brief as possible, and it hasn’t been. … This is not a judgment on them. It’s a judgment on me. … Immediately I started to realize it wasn’t a job that I like. I didn’t like the traveling. I didn’t like being onstage. I didn’t like the fact that it all seemed like all the other guys in the band just wanted to get girls. It didn’t seem like art to me, and I’d been to art school.”
Townshend surmises that The Who’s time was over when the punk movement happened, he said, “I loved the punk movement because that’s what I wanted the Who to be,” he explained. “I remember after seeing Generation X and Siouxsie and the Banshees, just thinking, ‘Wow, this is what we used to do. They aren’t doing it quite as well as we did, but they’re doing it really, really well.’”
In fact, he only began to enjoy the band again some years later. Townshend said, “That was probably quite a way down the road,” he said. “It may have been around the time we first started to work in the United States playing places like the Fillmore and the Electric Factory and the Boston Tea Party, where we were allowed to stretch out and explore.”
We’re glad he got back into the swing of things as Who may well be their best record in decades.