ZDF Showfenster Friday, 13th Oct 1989; Sabine Sauer interviews Pete Townshend on his new Album “Iron Man” in Oktober 1989. He performs the song “I won’t run anymore” live on stage. Sorry it’s only in b/w.
…the pop group “The Who”. After a break, they are all back together on the stage and I could imagine that some brave parents from nowadays perhaps still remember that they were the rebellious kids of yesterday.
Swinging London. It was here that The Who wrote music history as early as 20 years ago with rock operas like “Tommy”. That’s why Pete Townshend, head of the group, and lead singer Roger Daltrey were immortalized as wax figures.
Here at the Rock Circus, a branch of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, you can find them next to Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and the folk-rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. The Who and their Pinball Wizard – rock history cast in wax.
In the publishers district Bloomsbury Pete Townshend now works part-time as a lecturer at the prestigious publishing house Faber and Faber. In the 70s, even himself owned a small publisher’s. From here stems the idea for his new concept album that he recorded with Roger Daltrey, John Lee Hooker and Nina Simone. Template: a children’s book of the same name: “The Iron Man” by Ted Hughes, which was published here.
In the Birmingham Arena, where the Who began their tour of England, I experienced a first live demonstration: Pete Townshend played – just for me – his favourite song. On the album, he sings it with Deborah Conway: I do not run anymore – Ich lauf’ nicht mehr weg.
Sabine Sauer: “Almost 20 years after ‘Tommy you brought out ‘The Iron Man’ which you will soon get to the stage as a musical. Is there a common idea that combines both works?”
Pete Townshend: “I think I am the link. As a child I had the feeling that music set me free and redeemed me. It showed me the way out of a kind of isolation – it freed me from being a child. I had the same feelings when I read the Iron Man story.”
Sauer: “Even after all this time in the rock business and after many, shall we say, hard experiences, you are still fascinated of fairy tales, of children’s stories. For what reason?”
Townshend: “Because I believe telling the truth is only possible in these. I do not think fairy tales are just for kids. What I mean is that children have the ability to deal with the truth.”
A little boy, and an iron giant. The relationship between the two is developed in the story of Iron Man. First, the boy saves his frightened people from the Iron Man, as he lures him into a trap. Then he gets sympathy for the monster, and the two become friends.
Sauer: “Is the Iron Man for Townshend a symbol?”
Townshend: “Yes, he embodies the technology, the march of technology, he destroys everything man-made, and thus our belief that machines will solve all our problems. He thus shows that the technology stands between us and our future.”
Sauer: “The rock music has left you damage, you are slowly losing your hearing. What do you feel when you think about that?”
Townshend: “It is not the rock music that damaged me, but myself. Rock’n’Roll can be also played very softly. It will still have the same power. Behind the loudness of Rock’n’Roll lies a kind of cowardice. When we started acquiring loud amplifiers, we also began playing music that the audience did not really want to hear. They wanted the Beatles, and we wanted to bring the Who. So we played
the Who and they shouted: ‘We want the Beatles’. In order not to hear them, we were getting louder, so they could not rip us to pieces, because they roared: stop tormenting us.”
A few weeks ago in Los Angeles, everybody wanted to hear nothing else than The Who. It wasn’t quieter at all.
Sauer. “After two grown up daughters, you and your wife Kate will soon also have a son. In the ‘Iron Man’ you are playing the child Hogarth. Isn’t that a nice coincidence, what do you say?”
Townshend. “Yes, actually we do not know how this could have come out, because we have told noone about it. My mom called and scolded: ‘Why didn’t you tell at least your mother? Do I have to read that in the papers?’ And I answered: ‘Mother, if I had told you, I would assume now that you’ve told it to the newspapers.’. So, I have no idea how that’s found out.”
Video length: 07:26 minutes.
For more information on this event click here
October 13, 1989