October 23, 2020

1986-01-02 – The Age

1986 01 02 The_Age_Thu__Jan_2__1986_

Townshend pulls
out all the stops

WHEN the Who’s maniacal
drummer -Keith Moon seif-de-
structed in 1978, his passing
sounded the death-knell for the
great British rock group.

The remaining members — Pete
Townshend, Roger Daltrey and
John Entwistle —— ploughed on for
another four years. substituting
Kenney Jones on drums and adding
John “Rabbit" Bundrick on key-
boards, but drugs and alcohol al-
most destroyed Townshend as well.

"I was in a mess," recalled Town-
shend, the band’s lead guitarist and
creative iorce. “I was drinking
heavily. I had marital problems.
And the Who — I felt we had been a
dead dog for a while . . . In show
businas you're always told to go on
but the show shouldn’t always go on.
It’s obscene. After Cincinnati, when
11 died in the crush before a 1979
concert, the Who went on but I felt
bitter about it."

The 1982 break-up was a turning
point for Townshend: he released
the solo LP All The Best Cowboys
Have Chinese Eyes, followed up the
next year with Scoop, a collection of
demo tapes, joined the publishers

Faber 8: Fabelr as a book editor and
wrote the semi-autobiographicai
book Horse's Neck.

Now this most articulate of rock
musicians who pioneered concept

albums like The Who Sell Out and"

the rock opera Tommy, has created
White City (Atco 2523924), suh-ti-
tled A Novel, the self-contained
soundtrack for a long-iorm video-
film.

The album was produced by Chris
Thomas who was responsible for
INXS's Listen Like Thieves and the
; fiimis directed by Australian Rich-
‘ ard Lowenstein (also known tor his
‘ INXS videos).

The music. like so much of Town-
shend's work, is semi-autobiographi-
cal, set in the massive West London
housing estate where he grew up
andowhere the Who started out in
196

Townshend — with a nice sense of
irony — writes a preamble on the
album cover, through the resentful
eyes of a iong-term inhabitant of

White City, reacting to the return of
the famous rock star (called Pete
‘ Fountain here) who IS making a film

about his old stamp ing ground. A
scenario within a film!
Townshend hopes that .album-

length narrative video/aibums will
become an established art form, far
more creative than current music
video clips. Not having seen his film,
I can only judge from the music,

which is powerful and thought-

provoking.

Eight of the nine songs are Town-
shend’s. He co-wrote the reggae-
rocker White City Fighting with
former Pink Floyd guitarist Dave
Gilmour whose grandiose interplay
with- Townshend permeates the
track.

Townshend recalls Rabbit Bun-
drick for the album’s extensive key-
boards. with a strong rhythm team
including bassists Pino Paladino and
Phil Chen and drummexs Mark
Brzezicki (Big Country). Clem
Burke (ex-Blondie) and session vet-

nth the public. Instant valuafi'ons". oi Li’s.
nd CD. Whole or Part Collections.

! 99.919999999 978 3919.
E.ST 9lll9ElI9l|9 794 9899.
Will 99, 98991 VALE 379 9429.

-:— .
-A"TYY-A'"
--' I‘llll‘lI/IA

Pete Townshend: articulate.

eran Simon Phillips.

Themes of alienation and frustra-
tion are explored irrsnvage songs
like Give Blood, ”Secondhand Love
and I Am Secure. Seli-destruction is
epitomised by the high-blown guitar
riffs and thundering' drums of
Crashing By Design and the dra-
matic piano and‘ guitar chords of
Come To Mama.

Three tracks are outstanding:

O Brilliant Blues weds - an ironic
mixture of resignation and regret to
a delightful pop tune, enhanced by
vocal harmonies and the harmonica
of Peter Hope-Evans.

.iliding Out is a bleak, paranoid,
almost-Dickensian view of the un-
derprivileged, wrapped in a catchy
melody and a Caribbean tempo with
appealing counter-rhythms.

0 Face The Face is the album's
tour de force. It begins with a jazzy,
walking bass beat, notches up to a
rhythm and blues shuffle and then
pulls out all the stops with power-
house drumming. wailing harmoni-
ca and meaty horns.

PETE Townshend is now busily
writing songs for a collaborative LP
with Roger Daltrey. Another of his
compositions appears on Daltrey’s
latest, and surprisingly effective,
solo effort, Under A Raging Moon
(10 Records DIX 17, through Vir-
gin), an album that took a long time
to reach me, unfortunately.

The title (and the best song) re-
fers to Keith Moon, as does the
Townshend tune, After The Fire, a
dramatic rock ballad with crashing
drums (Bmzicki again) and guitar
(Robbie McIntosh). The royalties of
this song have been donated to the
Band Aid Trust, administering East
African relief. The nostalgic theme,
coupled with regret for lost youth,
continues on the tough rocker Don’t
Talk To Strangers.

Daltrey had a hand in writing this
and three other songs: The Pride
You Hide. an excellent, Paul Young-
style ballad with a strong *Daltrey
vocal, ripe McIntosh slide guitar and
a swelling arrangement; the strident
Move Better In The Night; and the
bluesy R&B of It Don't Satisfy Me,
featuring some tasty harmonica
(Mark Feltham) and ashaliow lyric.

There are two Bryan Adams/Jim
Vailance tunes, both unfamiliar: the
iuil-bore Let Me Down Easy and
Rebel, an attractive and potent rock
ballad that sounds like a precursor
to Summer Of ’69.

Russ Ballard — a favorite of Dal-
trey's — disappoints with the rather
mechanical Breaking Down Pata-
dlse. while Kit Bain's atmospheric
slow rocker. Fallen Angel, shows
off Daltrey's lower register with
pleasing results.

The highlight is the title track, a
pounding homage to Keith Moon
which opens with a Who-like echo-
ing » keyboard rift, followed by
screaming guitars, to the words:
"The wild man laid the thunder
down . ..." -

Then a fantastic drum sequence
begins, featuring (in order) the Pre-
tenders’ Martin Chambers. Queen’s
Roger Taylor, the explosive Cozy
Powell, Stewart Cope land of the
Police, Zak (son of Ri nan) Starkey,
Cari Palmer (no longer with Emer-
son- and .13”) and linedcki. .. .

A raging Moon tfihiite, indeed! "