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Townshend Reveals Reasons For Who Reunions

Pete Townshend Playing
(Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Pete Townshend admits that various Who reunions over the years have been more about the bottom line, than the love of the art. Townshend spoke to The Canadian Press while promoting his memoir, Who I Am, and revealed, “You know Roger (Daltrey) would make the call, ‘Come on Pete, for heaven’s sake I need a bit of money. Come out with me and John (Entwistle).’ I would often tell myself I was doing it for the greater good but the reason was quite selfish and that epiphany was quite hard because I realized that what I wanted was still to go into the local restaurant and get the best table. It’s that shallow. In a sense, (I wanted) to be respected.”

Over the past dozen or so years, Townshend has seemingly been enjoying himself far more being a member of the Who than he did during the band’s last stand in the late-’70s and ’80s — particularly with the band’s new live revival of Quadrophenia: “This is something that I wanted to do, this is something I’ve been urging Roger to join me in for a long time. It’s not kind of worked out quite as I expected, it’s a bit more rock n’ roll than I expected but that’s OK, too.”

Townshend, who’s now 67, spoke about partaking nightly in a young man’s game, explaining, “It doesn’t matter about growing old — what matters is about still being current. Still being relevant. Still being able to do a really, really great show. Even if you’re playing old songs. Roger and I go on with the band, there’s no question the Who blow most bands away and we still do. I don’t know how we do, but we do.”

Pete Townshend recalled to us one of the instances when Who have been guilty of reuniting for less than organic and creative reasons during the band’s 1989 25th anniversary tour: “Y’know, the fact was at the time, the Who, as a band as we’d known it in the past had kind of come apart. We were just three floating figures, and we felt that we were coming together under a brand name. And Roger (Daltrey) and I have a sense of this today. But since John (Entwistle)’s departure, we haven’t been so acutely uncomfortable about it.”

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