October 31, 2020

1984-02-23 – The Los Angeles Times

1984 02 23 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Thu__Feb_23__1984_

Aawcwted i’rmn

Simon Townshend gets a little first-album help from brother Pete.


Times Staff Writer f“

singer in search of a record

contract and' having a brother
.‘who's the star of one of the world's
foremost rock bands. What a dream

But rock singer. Simon Town-
shend never took advantage of his
big brother Pete, leader 'of the

' legendary rock band the Who.

“I never wanted Pete‘s help.” he
insisted. “It seemed wrong."

Instead. the singer-songwriter
struggled in London for about six
years. bouncing from minor band to
minorband. desperate for a record
contract but ‘never getting one.
Simply being Pete Townshend's
brother wasn't enough. "The_music
business has been very cruel.“ Si-
mon recalled. "I've been thrOugh
more negative stuff with record
companies than I care to remem-

Things have changed now. i
Last year Simon finally accepted

Imagine being a young rock

a boost from brother Pete. who ‘

asked to produce his sibling’s first
album. With the Who star in charge
of production. getting Simon a con-
tract was relatively easy. Poinram
eventually signed him and recently
released his debut album. "Sweet
Sound." To promote it. the 22-
year-old Townshend has been on an
American tour that includes two

Southern California dates—Satur-'

day at the Palace and Tuesday at
Rodeo in La Jolla.

What changed Simon's mind?
Apparently he got fed up with life at
the bottom and didn't care to waste
any more of his youth scrounging
for a record contract. But Simon. his
pride flaring up. emphasized that he
didn't really go to his brother for

, help: "I always play Pete tapes of

my songs whenever I have a chance
to see him. So I_ played him some
tapes last year—April or May. He
loved them. He offered to produce
the album. That shocked me. Of
course. [said yes right away."
Young Townshend's timing was
perfect. With the Who. virtually
disbanded, Pete was looking for
projects. A producing assignment
fell through. so Pete was seeking
another. Enter Simon with his
promising songs. The Townshend
brothers obviously work well to-
gether. For a debut aibum. "Sweet
Sound" is quite admirable. '

- . hike the LP is not fla-
grantly done in Who
style. Pete's influence is

certainly discernible. particularly in
the production and the vocals. It's a

polished effort. with various vocal

and composing flaws cleverly cam-
ouflaged. Without Pete. this would
probably have been a subpar album.

Apparently Simon was being re-
jected by record companies all those
years because his music was too
derivative and underdeveloped—
Pete'Townshend's brother or not. In
a relentless search for music the
label execs would like. he was
flitting from style to style. with no
success. As he described it. the
music of one of his three bands.
Shea Ramah. sounded especially
dreadful: “I went through this phase
where I didn't want to do anything
that sounded remotely like what
anyone had ever written before.
This phase lasted two years. That
was my low period.”


There have been rumors that
friction between the brothers is the
reason the elder Townshend never

Please see SIMON, Rage 7