Pete Townshend brings ’Lifehouse’ to life
By JEFF DRUMHELLER
In 1971, Pete Townshend was sick of his child,
the 1969 rock-opera “Tommy.”
It was the. then-24-year-old’s second attempt at
creating a story-based album of music — the ﬁrst
being 1967’s “Rael,” which ultimately was a fore-
shadow of things to come.
The success of the project went beyond the
expectations of the ﬂamboyant guitarist.
But after nearly two solid years of singing the
praises of the pinball messiah, 'I‘ownshend decided
it was time to create another child. this one living
Ray would be the main character of a project
called “Lifehouse,” an idea that evolved from Town-
shend’s thoughts of a future dominated by pro-
grammed dreams in an apocalyptic world.
'l‘hose thoughts, once buried in the past, have
ﬁnally come to fruition with the release of “The
Lil'ehouse Chronicles," a six-Cl) box which contains
Townshend’s complete musical and dramatic
“The story itself is about a highly technological
media corrupted by myopic conglomerates," 'l‘own-
shend said of the project last year. “A world in
which entertainment, global information and com-
munication become dangerously intertwined."
Ray was a person with childhood visions oi'a
place called “The Lifehouse." a place where music
combines into one singular note that can he shared
by the people in attendance.
The. importance of the note was that it was
formed from the differences in people, yet adapted
to all in a singular sound of beauty.
This was Ray’s belief as he painted pictures of
his dreams as a boy, dreams of his future.
As a man, he lived in an urban wasteland (the
city) controlled by “Big Brother” in which people
wear suits connected to a grid.
The grid is something like today's lnternet, but
provides its clients with food, medicine and sleep-
But, it also provides lush programming and
entertainment compressed into a virtual reality of
Ray is on the outside of this city life as a rebel
See LIFEHOUSE, E6