Pete Townshend

  • Aired:  10/08/12
  •  | Views: 17,622

Pete Townshend remembers a less crowded, pre-Internet musical environment big enough for the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Kinks, and the Who. (6:14)

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE )

>> Jon: WELCOME BACK.

MY GUEST TONIGHT THE LEAD GUITARIST AND PRINCIPAL SONGWRITER FOR THE LEGENDARY BAND THE WHO.

HIS NEW AUTOBIOGRAPHY IS CALLED "WHO I AM." PLEASE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM PETE TOWNSEND.

( CHEERS AND APPLAUSE ) HOW ARE YOU?

>> I'M ALL RIGHT Jon: I'M SO PLEASED THAT YOU'RE HERE.

I SPENT SO MANY HOURS WITH YOUR MUSIC

>> I'M NOT GOING TO HELP DISCUSS AMERICAN POLITICS.

>> Jon: PLEASE.

YOU'D BE THE ONLY ONE HERE AT THE TABLE WHO CAN.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT'S GOING ON

>> I'VE NOTICED THAT.

Jon: I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING.

LET ME ASK YOU THIS.

THIS BOOK IS VERY THICK.

HOW HARD IS IT...

>> THANK YOU Jon: ... FOR A ROCK STAR WHO HAS LIVED THE LIFE THAT YOU HAVE LIVED TO REMEMBER THIS?

AND HOW MUCH OF THIS DO YOU BELIEVE REALLY HAPPENED?

>> I'M NOT LIKE THOSE OTHER GUYS THAT YOU HAVE ON HERE

>> Jon: WHAT?

I DO REMEMBER.

MY MEMORY IS REALLY GOOD PARTICULARLY WHEN I USED TO DRINK A LOT

>> Jon: REALLY?

THAT PICKLES YOUR MEMORY.

>> (LAUGHING) Jon: KEPT IT PRESERVED I DO HAVE A SORT OF SENSE OF PICKLEMENT.

IN FACT I HAD A LOT OF PAPER.

YOU KNOW, I HAD STUFF WHERE I HAD WRITTEN LYRICS ON THE ROAD.

IT WOULD BE HOLIDAY INN, ROLLING MEADOWS, YOU KNOW.

WON'T GET IT AGAIN.

ALL I HAD TO DO WAS LOOK IN MY BOOK AND FIND OUT WHAT THEY WERE IN ROLLING MEADOWS ON APRIL 15, 19-WHATEVER IT WAS.

I WOULD MOVE WHERE I WAS, WHERE I HAD WRITTEN THAT LYRIC.

THAT KIND OF THING HELPED ME A LOT.

I SAVE BITS OF PAPER.

I SAVE NOTES AND LETTERS.

IT WAS QUITE EASY TO REMEMBER.

MY MEMORY FOR INCIDENTS WAS GOOD.

I WOULDN'T WRITE CRAZY THINGS DOWN BUT I RETOLD THE STORIES SO OFTEN THAT THEY BECAME KIND OF LITTLE MOVIES.

IT WAS VERY EASY TO WRITE A BOOK.

>> Jon: DO YOU FEEL... I WONDER IF IN TODAY'S AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA TWITTER AND FACEBOOK AND WITH EVERYONE KNOWING... WHEN I

READ SOME OF THESE STORIES THEY'RE SO VIVID AND SO DESTRUCTIVE.

COULD THE BAND HAVE BEEN THE WAY THEY WERE IN THIS CURRENT ENVIRONMENT OR WAS THIS JUST A SPECIAL TIME WHERE THERE WAS

SORT OF A FREEDOM TO DO THINGS THAT YOU WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO DO NOW?

>> I DON'T KNOW.

I REALLY DON'T KNOW.

I MEAN, I THINK... LOOKING BACK THE THING WAS WE WERE UNDER A MICROSCOPE.

AS YOU WOULD BE TODAY.

BUT NOT IN THE SAME WAY.

ARTISTS TODAY NOT ONLY ARE SUBJECTED TO INCREDIBLE SCRUTINY BUT THEY WILLINGLY PUT UP THEIR LIVES ON TWITTER.

EVERYTHING THAT THEY DO.

AND, YOU KNOW, THEIR RELATIONSHIPS, WHERE THEY'RE GOING.

THE MOVEMENTS FROM PLACE TO PLACE.

SOME POLITICIANS DO THIS NOW TOO.

I DON'T DO SWITTER.

I'M NOT ON FACEBOOK.

BUT I WAS ONE OF THE FIRST ARTISTS TO DO MY OWN WEBSITE LIKE A BLOG.

IN THE DAYS WHEN, YOU KNOW, YOU WOULD GO TO SOMETHING LIKE BLOG SPOT AND YOU WOULD SEE SOME VERY INTERESTING STUFF.

YOU KNOW, STUFF WHICH IS BEING DISCUSSED NOW IS BEING POSSIBLY NOT SO GREAT.

I REMEMBER READING ABOUT A MUM WHO HAD GIVEN A BIRTH TO THE CHILD AND THERE WERE PICTURES OF THE WHOLE PERIOD OF HER

PREGNANCY, HAVING THE BABY.

ALL OF THAT STUFF WAS VERY NEW THEN.

NOW PEOPLE ARE DISCUSSING THAT.

IS IS THAT GOOD FOR THE KID?

WELL, WE DON'T KNOW YET.

BUT IN MY BLOG, I USED TO TALK ABOUT WHAT I WAS DOING, WHERE I WAS GOING, WHAT I WAS WRITING.

I FEEL AFTER A MONTH OF DOING THIS, I CHECK MY STATS.

THERE WERE MANY MANY MANY HITS.

I'M THINKING, OH, WOW, 10,000 HITS.

IT WAS ABOUT 30 PEOPLE.

>> Jon: (LAUGHING) MAYBE 400 AT THE MOST BUT THEY JUST SPENT THE WHOLE DAY CHECKING, YOU KNOW.

WHAT IS PETE DOING NOW?

WHAT IS PETE DOING NOW?

>> Jon: 0 VERY OBSESSED FANS.

THAT'S IT.

>> THEY WERE THE ONLY ONES THAT HAD COMPUTERS.

THIS WAS WAY BACK.

>> Jon: THE AMAZING THING IS THE SOCIAL TIMES THAT YOU SPENT WITH THE ROLLING STONES, THE BEATLES,

THE BEACH BOYS, YOU WRITE MICK JAG OR WAS THE ONLY MAN YOU EVER SAW THAT YOU THOUGHT, "I'D HAVE SEX WITH THAT GUY."

LET ME ASK YOU THIS, HAVE YOU MET NBC NEWS' BRIAN WILLIAMS?

COMING FOR YOU, WILLIAMS.

WAS THERE A JEALOUSY AMONGST THE BANDS?

A CAMARADERIE, A FEELING LIKE WE ARE THE ONLY PEOPLE IN THE WORLD WHO UNDERSTAND WHAT EACH OTHER IS DEALING WITH?

>> I THINK WHAT YOU SAID IS TRUE.

THAT'S IT.

WE WERE ALSO... WE ALL... WELL, THERE WAS ENOUGH SPACE THEN THAT YOU COULD BE IN YOUR OWN BALLPARK AND NOT INVADE ANYBODY ELSE'S.

YOU KNOW, THE STONES WERE THE STONES.

THE BEATLES WERE THE BEATLES.

THE WHO WERE THE WHO.

YOU KNOW, WE ALL PLENTY OF LEG ROOM.

TODAY, YOU KNOW, THE MUSIC BUSINESS IS JUST AWASH WITH INCREDIBLY TALENTED YOUNG PEOPLE, INCREDIBLY TALENTED.

THEY'VE BEEN PLAYING AND LEARNING MUSIC SINCE THEY WERE BABIES, SOME OF THEM.

THEY EMERGE WITH THEIR COMPUTER MUSIC OUT OF THE BOX ON THE WEB.

YOU KNOW, YOU GO INTO ANY OF THESE SEARCH ENGINES AND LISTEN TO MUSIC.

YOU BECOME OVERWHELMED WITH HOW MUCH FANTASTIC STUFF THERE IS THERE.

WITH US THERE WERE JUST THREE OR FOUR BANDS.

REALLY TRULY.

NOT MANY AT ALL.

DIDN'T HAVE THE BIG STUFF.

THERE WAS COMPETITION BUT IT WASN'T AS STEEP

>> Jon: DO YOU HAVE FIVE MINUTES TO STICK AROUND

>> SURE Jon: WE HAVE HERE WHO I AM.

THE GREAT PETE TOWNSEND, LADIES AND

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