Townshend Weighs In On The Who's 'Next'
Pete Townshend has taken to his official Web site to weigh in on the future of the Who, which recently wrapped a successful North American tour despite the late June death of founding bassist John EntPete Townshend has taken to his official Web site to weigh in on the future of the Who, which recently wrapped a successful North American tour despite the late June death of founding bassist John Entwistle. Townshend admits he is wrestling with whether to continue collaborating with vocalist Roger Daltrey as the Who, under some different moniker, or at all. The group grossed approximately $27 million from 27 shows reported to Billboard Boxscore, drawing more than 368,000 fans.
"Because of the power of the shows, and their financial success in a slightly depressed marketplace, there are those who conclude that I will naturally continue to perform with Roger under the Who banner," Townshend writes. "There are those, who perhaps think they know me better (as a grouch, a spoiler, a self-obsessed creative, an insecure and pretentious self-styled artist etc), who conclude that now it is all over."
"On the first issue, the recent return to touring, and to me playing electric guitar -- albeit more quietly than I used to in the '70s -- has lead (sic) to further deterioration of my hearing," says Townshend, who played behind a protective plexiglass shield on the Who's original 1989 reunion trek. "My right ear, which encounters both my own edgy guitar, and the machine gun strokes of the drums, has suffered badly. Luckily for me, I still have my left ear, which seems to be less f****d up. I have no idea what I can do about this. I am unable to perform with in-ear monitors -- in fact they increase the often unbearable tinnitus I suffer after shows."
As for the future sessions Daltrey excitedly discussed with Billboard.com prior to the tour and Entwistle's death, Townshend says, "I still don't think I can write new songs for this thing we all call the Who. The Who is a brand name, and two old guys called Roger and Pete. I think I'm going to stick with the two old guys and let the brand name look after itself. It [has] done pretty well without my help -- and despite a huge amount of my active interference -- for the 20 years since 1982 when I did my last studio session with the band."
"I do not want to write with Roger so we can pass ourselves off as a 'new' Who," Townshend stresses. "I want to see whether we can write together, and if he and I have anything we can say together, that we could not say separately. I am not shying away from the usual division of labor -- Roger is more of a singer than a writer, and I am claiming to be a more of a writer than a performer. What I am shying away from is trying to pick up the Who recording legacy where it was dropped in 1976. Whether we call an album a Who album is not the point. We can call it what we like. It is how we approach it that matters."
As Townshend mentioned, the Who has not released an album since 1982's "It's Hard." Townshend wrote several pieces for its intended but never realized follow-up, "Siege," some of which later surfaced on his archival "Scoop" releases.