December 5, 2020

1998-03-22 – The Los Angeles Times

1998 03 22 The_Los_Angeles_Times_Sun__Mar_22__1998_

She’s an
Original,
Not a
Re-Pete

Who are you?
Emma Townshend tells
you who she isn’t

By Richard Cromelln

eet the new boss, hardly
the same as the old boss—
just your typical debuting
singer-songwriter child of
a ce: .‘fied rock legend. Not to
mention doctoral candidate who
fantasizes in song about stalking a
rival star. ,
“That was written out 'of’qui'te
a bit of envy of other people's
confidence and ability to go
ahead,” Emma Townshend says
of “The Last Time I Saw Sadie,"
an edgy number that evokes
then-President Ronald Reagan’s
would-be assassin in the line
“something came and made me a
little Hinckley."
“It’s exaggerated," cautions
Townshend, whose album “Win-
terland" comes out on Tuesday.

“But I think there were definitely I

moments when I was sitting there
listening to other people getting
played on the radio and thinking,
‘Why can't I just do it?’ "

In other words. hope 1’ m signed
before I get old. But paraphras-
ing papa Pete is not an inherited
trait.

“My dad never used to bring
home his records, so I don't really
know any of his music," says
Emma, the oldest of Townshend
and his wife Karen's three chil-
dren. “I've been ’round at peo-
ple's houses and I've gone,
‘What’s this music?’ and they've
gone, 'It's your dad.’ So it would
be very hard to argue a case for
there being an influence on my
music."

While Pete Townshend's music
with the Who and in his solo
records has tapped rock' 8 aggres-
siomgr grandiosity andepic sweep p.

"?Jth‘ human tum MW"

other direction. “Winterland"is '

IIER OWN PERSON: “I don’t really know any of his music,”
singer-songwriter Emma Townshend says of her rock legend dad.

an austere. intimate collection of
nocturnes more likely to draw
comparisons to Tori Amos than to
“Tommy” or “Baba O'Riley.”
(See review, facing page).

“I tried to choose some songs
that would go together in that
they were quite mysterious. quite
dark." she says. “They were in-
viting in a way, but you sort of
had to work quite hard to get into
it. . . .Then you would like it for
a long time. I wanted to make
that kind of a record. . . . A very
honest record to start with, that
people wouldn't perceive to be a
big media effort."

hat might be wishful think-
ing. Media attention, along
with general debauchery and
chaos. is part of the classic rock
’n ’ roll lifester—even Town-
shend, who knows better, enter-
Hns the stenotype. 1 .

”M37 idea 0 ‘a'roék‘ EW‘chiid-i,

hood is like you get up in the
morning and there's all these
people you don’t even know
asleep on the sofa, you know?
That is so the opposite of what my
childhood was like. The first time
I ever saw proper drugs I was like
22, and it certainly wasn’t at
home. My mum was very strict,
and there was never any kind of
musicians hanging out at our
house or anything like that. Very,
very stable—very much ‘Do your
homework and go to bed’ kind of
thing."

Emma’s father and his musi-
cian parents weren't the only
musical forebears in the family.
Her maternal grandfather, Edwin
Astiey. was a composer who did
the music for such TV series as
“The Saint" and “Secret Agent
Man." and her mother's brother
is a recording engineer who
has mastered the recently issued
Led , Zeppelin BBC' sessions as 7
0-. H'K WPaog§1 ‘..