Pete T ownshend opens up on VH1
THE 80510“ GLOK
Pop icon Pete Townshend has
agreed to reunite the Who this
summer for yet another farewell
tour, which will stop at the Mars
Amphitheatre in West Palm
Beach on Sept. 24.
F irst. though, he picked up an
acoustic guitar and plucked and
bashed his way through a frank
and intimate segment of VHl's
Storytellers, encoring at 1 pm.
Townshend talks as much as he
plays on the show. but much of it
is extremely revealing, shedding A
light on a complex figure who
may be best known for writing the
rock musical Tommy. but has
been a proliﬁc
cently in the
Halls in Lon-
don. the show
ﬁnds a confes-
ting that in his
days in the late '605 and '703, he
didn’t write much about himself
because he didn't think he had
much to say.
‘I looked around me and saw
the people I grew up with and
thought they were the subjects of
my work," he says. ”They were the
ones who were interesting.“ He
then adds playfully: ‘Now that
I've had a rich and varied life. I
think it’s time to write about me."
This show, however. mines the
past. not the present. quite skill-
fully. Townshend performs clas-
sic Who songs (Behind Blue
Eyes, Won 't Get F ooled Again.
and Baba O'Riley). along with
surprises such as Greyhound Girl
(an older B side). Pure and Easy
(a track left off the l97l Who's
Next album. which Townshend
considers the “finest straightfor-
ward. nonconceptual Who al-
bum"), and the opening Let '3 See
Action. 3 post~Tommy. pre-
Who's Next tune.
Townshend is backed ably by a
band that includes Pink Floyd
touring guitarist Phil Palmer, per-
cussionist Jody Unscott and key—
boardist John (Rabbit) Bundn'ck.
The music is sublime — and
'Townshend's commentary is
equally so. Although he shame-
lessly plugs his new six-C D boxed
set, Lifehouse Chronicles, which
will be sold on his Web site
also fills in a lot of blanks for Who
He reveals that Baba O'Riley,
for instance. was a name chosen
as a combination of Meher Baba
(the Indian guru whose writings
Townshend was studying at the
time). and electronic musician
Terry Riley, given an added Irish
twist of O'Riley for the song title.
Townshend also talks at length
about how Behind Blue Eyes‘
which he calls ”the closest to a
love song that I ever got the Who" ‘
to pertorm.’ later took on mean-" ' i
mg somehow as being about Ger:
man fascism. He didn't realize it."
was perceived that way until thgj,‘
k’ho pe rformed it in Vienna in;
1996 and a hush fell over thy:
crowd. which he said seemed Suﬁ:
prised that the band was even do-z"
ing the tune L“
‘lt‘s crazy how a song can take
on a life of its own,” Townshend-
says during this insightful hour in
the S torytellers series, which this '
week celebrates its fifth anniver'. .,
sary of getting performers to step"
outside their typical concert per-f ‘
sonas and reveal more of them-