Pete Townshend claims he wanted to quit The Who “pretty much day one”

ABC Audio

While being the guitarist in a legendary British rock band sounds like a pretty good job, The Who’s Pete Townshend claims that for years, he hated every minute of being in the band.

In the Rolling Stone video series The First Time, Townshend talks about some memorable “first times” in his life, like the first time he saw Jimi Hendrix or heard the Beatles.  When asked to recall the first time he ever thought of quitting The Who, he says, “Pretty much day one.”

“I really wanted it to be as brief as possible and it hasn’t been!” he laughs.

“I didn’t like the traveling, I didn’t like being on stage, I didn’t like performing,” Townshend explains. “I didn’t like the fact that…the other guys in the band just wanted to get girls.”

“It didn’t feel like art to me and I’d been to art school,” he adds, smiling at the memory. “So I was interested in art, not money. Art, not women.”

Then, Townshend recalls the first time he did like being in the band: In 1969, during their U.S. tour.

We were allowed to stretch out, we were allowed to explore,” he says. “And then finding, “Wow, when I do something amazingly audacious on the guitar, Keith the drummer and John the bass player, they follow me!…They know what’s in my head.’ So we had this real connection, and that…was something special.

The Who’s current tour is another first, says Pete.  It’s the first time he claims that he’s been on stage with Roger Daltrey and had “a real, real conviction that this is the one guy that I can be onstage with; that we can do a fantastic job together, and there’s nobody else I could work with that would be better.”

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