Townshend still surprised Who didn’t split
The Who guitarist Pete Townshend says he’s still surprised the band didn’t split up – and he credits late drummer Keith Moon with keeping them together.
Townshend and Daltrey have continued working despite the deaths of Moon in 1978 and bassist John Entwistle in 2002. But the iconic axeman – who last week apologised for swearing at a young girl – says things could have been so different.
He tells Spinner: “Bands are peculiar things. It could be magic, in a way, two musicians performing together. it doesn’t necessarily mean they will be friendly.
“There have been exceptions – I’ve got a friend Eric Mingus, who’s the son of Charlie Mingus. He tells stories about Thelonius Monk coming around and sitting him on his knee and playing the piano. I find those stories intoxicating and I want to know more: the idea that Thelonius Monk and Charlie Mingus would actually hang out in his house and bounce their respective children on their respective knees is kind of delightful.
“But it’s not something that is necessary between musicians. You can walk onstage with a bunch of people that you hate and produce fantastic music.”
Townshend admits there was “a lot of hatred and uneasiness” during the Who’s early years. “We tended to cover up with crazy behaviour and just start losing ourselves in a kind of a running comedy act,” he says. “Keith kept the atmosphere light.”
The band are infamous for their trashing of hotel rooms, which the guitarist admits could be seen as acts of negative energy. “There’s a sense that the destruction was in some way very, very dark. I think the one incident in Montreal was dark because, actually, that wasn’t just us. That was a party of 20 or 30 people, many of whom were record executives and local people who all participated in this absurd destruction of this beautiful room in a brand-new Four Seasons Hotel in Montreal.
“Those dark moments were very, very few and far between. Keith just made a joke out of everything. He kept everybody happy.
“But there was always a strong possibility of the band flying apart at any moment. I’m surprised that didn’t happen.”
The Who have just completed a US tour of their Quadrophenia And More show. They’ll play across Europe starting in June, including the following UK and Ireland dates:
Jun 8: Dublin O2 Arena
Jun 10: Belfast Odyssey Arena
Jun 12: Glasgow SECC
Jun 15: London O2 Arena
Jun 16: London O2 Arena
Jun 18: Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
Jun 20: Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Jun 23: Manchester Arena
Jun 25: Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Jun 28: Birmingham LG Arena
Jun 30: Liverpool Echo Arena