Berklee Performance Center
added: 15 Oct 2012
// release date: 12 Oct 2012 // label:
reviewer: John Reed
For many, many years, The Who’s Pete Townshend has been talking about writing an autobiography. The project seemed as if it was going on forever and, knowing that Townshend can at times take a while to finish projects (e.g. his “Lifehouse” rock opera), his official autobiography “Who I Am I” (Harper/ HarperCollins Publishers) was finally released on October 8th.
To mark the occasion, Townshend embarked on a short publicity/book tour last week. The tour ended with an interview and live performance at the Berklee Performance Center,at the noted Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA on October 12, 2012.
In front of a full house, Townshend was interviewed by a Berklee professor and spoke in great deal about his rough childhood in post-war England. Townshend talked of how having two musician parents played a huge role in his interest of making music as a career. He also reminisced about his dark days when he was sent to live with his mentally unbalanced grandmother for a time, when his parents split and his mother had found a new love interest.
Townshend also credits his mom with using her connections in the music industry to get him gigs early on in his career. His brutal honesty (which is so apparent throughout his book) was on full display as Townshend said his mom’s musical connections were so willing to help him get work as these men all wanted “to f---“ his mother. This made for a funny, yet uncomfortable, moment during the interview.
Townshend also spoke warmly about his band mates in The Who (Roger Daltrey and the late Keith Moon and John Entwistle). He raved about Entwistle’s talents and songwriting ability and admitted that he did not participate in writing songs with Entwistle and felt more like he was a “session guitarist” on Entwistle’s compositions, just playing the notes and chords that Entwistle had written for him.
To cap the nearly 40 minute interview, Townshend gave a short acoustic performance of some Who classics. He pulled out “Drowned” and ”I’m One” from the “Quadrophenia” album (since The Who will be touring and playing "Quadrophenia" in its entirety later this year and in 2013, he has most likely been practicing these often lately). He also unearthed “The Acid Queen” from “Tommy” and a stunning “Won’t Get Fooled Again” (where he threw in a few
snippets of “Let My Love Open The Door”) which ended the set.
It is well known that Townshend always gives interesting interviews – and it is often felt he takes the interview to an “art form,” and that was apparent to all in the Berklee in attendance as all we could have listened to Townshend for hours - if only he had been willing to talk for that long.
While we won’t all get a chance to hear Townshend tell his stories personally, we can all pick up "Who I Am” - which is one of the best (if not the best) rock related autobiographies ever written.
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