October 30, 2020

1979-04-10 – The Times and Democrat

1979 04 10 The_Times_and_Democrat_Tue__Apr_10__1979_

Spare N o tes

By JIM SPEARS
T&D Staff Writer

Of the artists that survived the
storms of the 603 and early 70s,

one survived completely intact:
The Who.

The Who, from their beginning
by that name. consisted of four
musicians: Pete Townshend,
Roger Daltrey. J ohn Entwhistle
and Keith Moon. There were
never any personnel changes, no
one quit, even though the per-
sonality clashes were frequent
and well-documented.

With the death of Keith Moon a
few months ago, it is true that the
group no longer exists as a
whole. But in their prime. The
Who was responsible for film
projects that were masterpieces.

The American film debut of
our high-hat rock and rollers was
in Live At The Monterey In-
ternational Pop Festival, a 1970
effort. Also making their debut
here were J imi Hendrix and
Janis Joplin. The Who‘ followed
Hendrix’ act, and even though
J imi amazed the crowd with his
antics, The Who was incredible
— Daltrey’s mike was destroyed,
then Townshend’s guitar, Ent-
whistle's bass and, finally, the
whole group gleefully an-
nihilating Moon’s drum kit.

When a new Who album ap-
peared one day — ‘Tommy - A
Rock (hera’ — it was avidly
devoured by faithful fans and

enemies alike. It was a superb

album, and was eventually made
into the movie Tommy.

Here was the true genius of the
group:: Daltrey portrayed
Tommy. and the other three had
varying roles in the film. To have
had other film stars do the parts
would have been out of the
question. As a result, we have a
fine piece of celluloid that stands
as a definitive rock and roll
statement.

Tommy was a first for any
group: a film that was based
completely on an album (NOT
the other way around), that not
only starred the group in the
film, but had them playing the
majority of the music. The Who
was the glue for the continuity of
the whole film.

After the round with the album
Tommy,’ a new vinyl slab began
coming together: Quadrophenia.
This was a statement of the Mod
view of life from one vantage
point, and was very, and still is to
a great extent, misunderstood.

Townshend, Entwhistle and

Daltrey are special products of
the British Mod wave. which

swept Britain in the early and
midGOs. Assuch, Quadrophenia’
is a statement not only of other
Mods. but of The Who as well.
Then came the announcement
that 'Quadrophenia’ was to
becomeamovie.

Much to the displeasure of Who
fans and others, the film, which
has been finished, remains
largely unreleased. It is so deep
that it defies comprehension
sometimes Such is the measure
of Townshend's scope as a
songwriter.

AnewWhofilmthatwasinthe
works at the time of Keith
Moon’s untimely passing is
tentatively called The Kick Are
All Right. The film is to be a look
at, who else, The Who them-
selves. Its production has been
lagging since Moon left,- but
shouldsoonbefinished.

There is no doubt that Pete
Townshend’ s efforts, both in the
studio and on the screen, mark
him as a musician of greati
stature, very much misun-
derstood and underrated. But, of
the four Who members, he has ‘

been the binding force that has .
held them together through thick 1
andthin. Ithasbeensuggestedin
musical quarters that Pete will
probably play the drurm himself
during future recording sessions,
when they occur. The man is
talented enough, of that there is
no doubt. Bring on The Kick Are
ABM!

(This is the fifth in a series of
reviews concerning rock and roll
movies.)