Pete Townshend issued a statement to clarify what fans and critics alike though was some far too heavy language when speaking about the Who's late members Keith Moon and John Entwistle.
In his recent chat with Rolling Stone, Townshend, who along with Roger Daltrey, heads up the Who's touring ensemble and was asked about his thoughts about performing today without original drummer Keith Moon who died in 1978 and Entwistle who passed in 2002, and said in part: “It’s not going to make Who fans very happy, but thank God they’re gone. . . Because they were f***ing difficult to play with. They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together.”
Townshend took to social media following the backlash, which saw most headlines incorrectly state that Townshend was glad his band mates were “dead” and wrote in part:
“No one can ever know how much I miss Keith and John, as people, as friends and as musicians. The alchemy we used to share in the studio is missing from the new album, and it always feels wrong to try to summon it up without them, but I suppose we will always be tempted to try. To this day I am angry at Keith and John for dying. Sometimes it shows. It’s selfish, but it’s how I feel.”
Townshend addressed that many Who fans felt his comments to be cruel and callous: “I understand that a lot of long-time Who fans will be hurt by the way it comes across as a headline. I only hope that they know me well enough that I tell the truth as much as I can, but I also tell both sides and the upside is missing in the headlines.
He explained that the way he was dealing with the loss of his friends and colleagues was done more tongue-in-cheek than scornful: “I was being ironic in my own English way by suggesting it is something I am glad about. I can be grateful to be free as a player and writer, but sad about losing old friends. It does feel ironic, and it also makes me angry. . . The upside with Keith and John was that on tour and in the studio we had so much fun. Playing with them was hard, but both Roger and I spent a lot of time doubled up in joy and laughter even though we could have benefited from a quieter life sometimes. It was a riot.
Townshend went on to say, “To those family members of Keith and John, especially (their respective children) Chris Entwistle and Mandy Moon, I apologize for the headlines — and for carelessly providing the words that were used — but in the past three months I have done so many interviews I am losing focus and patience. I forgive myself. I hope they can forgive me too. I loved their dads and still do.”
Pete Townshend explained to us that he devised his intricate home demos — many of which are featured on his three Scoop sets — to serve as blueprints for prospective Who tracks: “I just used to try to make the drums indicate (laughs) to Keith what might work. Because he was a wild man. Y'know, he rarely bothered to keep the beat. Keith Moon played drums like and orchestral drummer, y'know, (imitates drum rolls) — y'know, he very rarely went 'boom-boom-dah, boom-dah-boom-boom-dah.' It was all kind of decoration. So I was kind of left to keep the beat. So on the demos I would try hard to give guidelines to Keith.”
The Who releases its 12th studio album WHO on Friday (December 6th).
Pete Townshend On The Who Demos And Keith Moon :