To be a mod, you had to have short hair, money enough to buy a real smart suit, good shoes, good shirts; you had to be able to dance like a madman. They were always very respectable – nobody ever stopped making me play the guitar and nobody ever stopped me smoking pot, although they advised me against it. Tommy is the thing, man. By the sea?Yes. Bursting onto the scene with relentless authority, the band released the incredible song ‘I Can’t Explain‘ which propelled their status to international fame. It was as flippant as the girls in the group drinking liebfraumilch in the 1920’s. The uncle is a bit of a perv, you know. Pete Townshend became famous early in his career as the front man of The Who as a guitar smashing tour de force – a man who stood in stark contrast to the relatively buttoned-down Beatles. You can’t create something as huge as rock and roll and then come along and say, “Well, I’m going to do the follow up, now, which is going to be spirituality.” You can’t do it, rock and roll is enormous. He doesn’t feel the pain, he doesn’t associate it with anything. It made the whole gesture so much more vital. According to an analysis by TheWho.net, Townshend broke more than 35 guitars in 1967 alone. I imagine it gets to be a drag talking about why you smash your guitar.No, it doesn’t get to be a drag to talk about it. This is the difficult jump. His on-stage antics were famously wild, a skill which blew away audiences all over the world who were in awe of Townshend’s ferocious behaviour which often saw him smashing a guitar to smithereens. If I’ve got a number that I dig I know that I’ve got to present it to them in the best light. I don’t talk guitar talk, I just throw the thing around.” Today still I’m learning. Pete Townshend onstage Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images P eter Townshend – who smashes his guitar – is regarded among the cognoscenti as one of the best rock and roll guitarists in … Slowly but surely the kid starts to get it together, out of this simplicity, this incredible simplicity in his mind. They record it in eighths at different locations and this ceases to become music to me. They thought, “Well, there’s a smart young lad.” And also you were hip, you didn’t get people uptight. And I don’t know how. Anyway, this got bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until eventually I was setting myself incredible tasks. In an interview on International Live Music Conference, The Who legendary vocalist Roger Daltrey talked about the band’s guitarist Pete Townshend and his habit of smashing guitar onstage. But he had a ripe period when he played – and again smashed – Gibsons. But I’ll explain the pattern of thought which went into it. We were talking about Mods and the army of Mods, the rock and roll army. I still did make a story out of it, didn’t I? Want more Rolling Stone? It’s got to have a rhythm which undulates. But they were always home for long periods, too. They were essentially middle class, they were musicians and I spent a lot of time with them when other kids’ parents were at work and I spent a lot of time away from them when other kids had parents, you know. They were just so exciting and so good that for a long time we didn’t ever dare attempt to make singles because it was blackmail. Like Sgt. When did you start smashing guitars?It happened by complete accident the first time. In comes the kid, man, with his transistor radio, grooving to Chuck Berry. I decided in advance that I didn’t want to smash the guitar, so I didn’t, not because I liked it or because I’ve decided I’m going to stop doing it or anything. I got to jump about and the guitar became unimportant. The deaf, dumb and blind boy is played by The Who, the musical entity. And, as can be seen from the interview, the changes continue. And the whole album is about his experience?Yes, it’s a pretty far out thing actually. But it’s derived as a result of quite a few things. This piece of performance art inspired guitarist Pete Townshend of the Who, who was the first guitar-smashing rock artist. It’s meaningless. I know what it’s like to be a member of a group that it’s difficult to be a member of. But when did he start doing his signature exploit? Fucked if I know; musically, I can’t place it and I can’t place it in any other way. The Big B - Built… “That he … How did this effect your guitar playing?Instead I said “All right, you’re not capable of doing it musically, you’ve got to do it visually,” I became a huge, visual thing. I’ve obviously broken a lot of guitars and I’ve brought eight or nine of that particular guitar I was using tonight and I could very easily have broken it and have plenty more for the future. The acceptance of what one already has is the thing. The Rickenbacker you see here is one of two being offered in the same lot at the upcoming Bonhams Entertainment Memorabilia Auction due to be held in London on the 10th of December 2015. There are beloved figures. Pete Townshend: On Guitar-Smashing Regrets, Stylistic Evolution, and Becoming a Gear Aficionado March 11, 2010 In the summer of 1965, this writer was an aspiring teenage drummer with more than a passing interest in the guitar. We’ve been talking about doing an opera; we’ve been talking about doing like albums, we’ve been talking about a whole lot of things, and what has basically happened is that we’ve condensed all of these ideas, all this energy and all these gimmicks, and whatever we’ve decided on for future albums, into one juicy package. “This pissed me off. But breaking a guitar onstage is … It was the closest to patriotism that I’ve ever felt. The rock star Pete Townshend (born 1945 Peter Dennis Blandford Townshend) is an English rock singer, guitarist and composer who included the smashing of guitars in his mid-1960s act with the rock band 'The Who'. It’s like suddenly everybody getting hung up on a bum trip: mother has just fallen down the stairs, dad’s lost all his money at the dog track, the baby’s got TB. In today’s time sequence, you got to make something which adds up like the present. The billowy clouds get you, that’s the way you think, you think in these kind of adjectives. Pepper’s is an incredibly non-physical album. And then we recorded it segment by segment as I recorded it on the demo disk: guitar first, then drums, then bass, then tambourine or whatever it is we wanted on it. That was the Bulge, that was England’s Bulge; all the war babies, all the old soldiers coming back from war and screwing until they were blue in the face–this was the result. Rolling Stone Magazine included his smashing of a Rickenbacker guitar at the Railway Tavern in Harrow and Wealdstone in September 1964 in … I said, ‘Now will you fucking get out of my life?’ and she stomped out.”, He then continued: “I looked at John and said, ‘What now?’ And he said, ‘Another paper route, I think.’ Once I had done it, it was always there as a possibility. And it sounded okay. You didn’t want to know about the fucking TV. The father starts to hit him and at this moment the whole thing becomes incredibly realistic. They were mods and we’re mods and we dig them. . But the bass (line) I would suggest on the demo, as I said earlier, would be very simple, it would be economical, tasteful and just a vehicle for the song, making the bass line, and if I use them the piano or drum, as simple and effective as possible in putting the song across to the group. I want to tell you two words but I can’t because you’ve got a child there,” Townshend said before then mouthing the expletives in a toxic manner while the crowd cheered on. Eventually what happens is that they crash and they are reincarnated at a very instant musically. An overview of the guitars, amplifiers and effects that Pete Townshend used on stage and in the studio throughout his career, both solo and with The Who, from 1956 to the present. . It can all be read into it. Townshend covered up his mistake by smashing the guitar to pieces, and the rest was history. Townshend was cut from a different cloth to The Beatles, he wasn’t a charming figure who was polite or family-friendly. You got them on your own ground. “Tatoo” is a story, and “My Generation” is a story; in fact, I’m getting storier and storier until now, as I just told you, the next album is just a huge, complicated, complex story, with lots and lots of aspects which I hope are gonna come out in the future. He’s going through this and the uncle comes in and starts to go through a scene with the kid’s body, you know, and the boy experiences sexual vibrations, you know, sexual experience, and again it’s just basic music, it’s interpreted as music and it is nothing more than music. I used to get into very incredible visual things where in order just to make one chord more lethal, I’d make it a really lethal looking thing whereas really it’s just going to be picked normally. (In case Bryan Adams is reading this, one other factoid: During the summer of ‘69 , Pete … Pete will tell you it was art,” Daltrey continued. Like this idea I’m talking about right now, comes from me. There was no need to have any lyric at all really, other than perhaps, you know, some type of Mother’s of Invention-type under-arm deodorant noises, whatever they might be. They had to do everything in terms of what existed already around them. At the same time it can have content if, if one desires content in something as incredible as it is already. Man, with these scooters and with their own way of dressing. The end of your act goes to “My Generation,” like you usually do, and that’s where you usually smash your guitar. If there was one person who wasn’t impressed by Pete Townshend’s infamous guitar smashing on stage, it’s his bandmate and Who frontman, Roger Daltrey. Peter Townshend is the group’s spokesman, and by extension, the spokesman for whatever has become of the Mods. Although I dig my guitar playing, I think it’s kind of an obvious situation, I play what I want to play within my own restrictions. The fact that I did a lot of work on arrangements and stuff like that doesn’t really count. It was the first move that I have ever seen in the history of youth towards unity, towards unity of thought, unity of drive and unity of motive. It’s gonna bring us all down. The mods seemed to have graduated from “My Generation” and “The Kids Are All Right” to very ordinary people, with very ordinary problems.When you look at the people who were mods, the people I am talking about, they are now ordinary people and I mean I’m also going through the same changes. I could hear the notes in my head, but I couldn’t get them out on the guitar. There are few images that more perfectly encapsulate the wildness and abandon of rock ‘n’ roll as Pete Townshend, in all his youthful, late ‘60s glory, smashing an electric guitar onstage at the climax of a Who show. But I just suddenly decided before I went on, that if there was anywhere in the world I should be able to walk off the stage without breaking a guitar if I didn’t want to, it would be the Fillmore. They didn’t stop me from doing anything that I wanted to do. Of course, the one we did separately fell apart. The music has got to be good and it’s got to be immediate and it’s got to be exciting, it’s got to be now. Like which ones?Let me see: “I Can’t Reach You” – “our love was flowing, our life was soaring” and “I can’t reach you; I’m a billion ages past you and a billion years behind you.” It’s all spacy, cloudy, you know; sun glinting on the wings, big massive jet engines silently soaring through the quiet skies, you know all this stuff is great for lyrics. I’m becoming more and more ordinary as I go along. I used to bang it and hit it against walls and throw it on the floor at the end of the act. We were going to release it as a single in England instead of this one we’ve just released called “Dogs.” We made one backing track mono the first time. I like to play simply and tastefully and when I make records at home, you know, I play simply and tastefully and I don’t play like I do on the stage. You see this is the thing about the media barrage – you become aware only of the products around you because they’re glorified, and so that when somebody gets stoned, what they do is that they don’t groove to themselves really, they just sit around and they dig everything that’s around them. I think that unless the actual song itself is good, you know, you can do all kinds of incredible things to it, but you’re never gonna get it. that’s where they used to assemble. It was a movement of young people, much bigger than the hippie thing, the underground and all these things. As a force, they were unbelievable. It didn’t deserve any credit or any respect. Nobody quite remembers exactly under what circumstances the interview was concluded. All those frustrations of summer so wonderfully and so simply, so poetically, put in this incredible package, the package being rock and roll. Primarily, by itself – it’s going to seem incredible – but the record’s got to entertain; it’s so simple and so beautiful. About this page. You just needed a job in order to get you into the stuff, and that was the only equipment you needed. I couldn’t get it out. So we always put it off until Kit was very sure of himself. At this point, the theme, which has been the boy, starts to change. All you want to do is go out for a drink so that’s usually what happens. And the kid doesn’t catch the violence. I don’t play big chords and I don’t smash the guitar around. Their career began in Shepherd’s Bush, a lower-class suburb of London, and took them through such places as Brighton-by-the-sea, scene of the great Mod-Rocker battles several years ago. There is no such thing. The thing is that you become simpler and simpler and more and more down to the simple ways of life, to be able to blunder through life without getting anybody uptight at all. That’s my generation, that’s how the song “My Generation” happened, because of the mods. The first two big events are when he hears his mother calling him and hears the word, “Tommy” and he devotes a whole part of his life to this one word. They were the lowest, they were England’s lowest common denominators. Whereas the mod thing was the rejection of everything one already had. None of the romance, none of the visual stimulus, none of the sound stimulus. John Entwistle and I were rehearsing together in the front room of my house. There is pot, there is acid, there is the Marharishi, there is the Beatles, there is being anti-the-U.S.A., there are a whole lot of red herrings, which aren’t what it’s all about. That’s the story of why I dig the mods, man, because we were mods and that’s how we happened. Although I do fuck around in home studios and things like that, I think it’s of no importance; I don’t think it’s really got anything to do with what makes the Who the Who. We were just kicking around in a club which we played every Tuesday and I was playing the guitar and it hit the ceiling. One night he just turned around and he said to us “Let’s do ‘I Can See For Miles. I think, “Well, okay the guy’s not saying you’re a good guitarist, he’s saying what you play you put over well,” or “What you want to put over comes out.” If I look like a good guitar player it’s because that’s my whole thing, to look like I’m playing the guitar, but really I’m not. Why aren’t you already recording in that fashion?We’re gonna, we hope. As Townshend alludes to, he only does the guitar smashing when he is in the mood to do so, making it a special and almost symbolic moment. If you do, you’ll probably make the front pages.”. Inside I’m much more into basic stuff. It’s a well known fact. Decades earlier, Townshend explained to Playboy’s David Sheff why he had grown to loathe smashing guitars on stage. Peter Townshend is the well-known guitarist in the group, but he is also the group’s main driving force, the author of most of the material, the composer of most of the music and the impetus behind the Who’s stylistic stance. It kind of grew from there, we’d go to another town and people would say “Oh yea, we heard that you smashed a guitar.” It built and built and built and built and built and built until one day, a very important daily newspaper came to see us and said, “Oh, we hear you’re the group that smashes their guitars up. Just basic touch. What is the role of rock and roll in this youth movement?Music was as much a fashion as the fashion it created. I think it found its highest form of transcendence in the actual event of being a mod. We’ll probably have to do it in short sections, like 15-minute sections. This is not the list of most talented guitar players. It was an incredible youthful drive. . This is really for my own amusement that I do this. But I didn’t, you know, and it’s the first time, I mean I’ve said it million of times before and nothing has happened. And, of course, this is the biggest thing it has to offer, the biggest single thing it has to offer. A compilation of video clips of Pete Townshend smashing his guitar, solos, slides and stuff like that It really affected me in an incredible way because it teases me all the time because whenever I think “Oh, you know, Youth today is just never gonna make it.” I just think of that fucking gesture that happened in England. That’s why there’s no cure for them. It’s a finished work that might take me all night to get together, but nevertheless it’s gonna win them over. In fact I forgot all about the guitar because my visual thing was more my music than the actual guitar. And, of course, rock and roll, the words wouldn’t even be mentioned; the fact that music would have any part of the movement was terrible. Tuning into the ABC television rock show Shindig! I did a song called “Glow Girl,” which Kit Lambert wanted to release as a single, which was about – you see again, it became spiritual, what you were talking about earlier, unconsciously spiritual tune this was. You didn’t tonight – why not?Well, there is a reason, not really anything that’s really worth talking about. A lot of people, I’m convinced, that buy records don’t realize what happens when a group records on an eight-track machine. Do you find it funny that people regard you as an excellent guitarist?I find it astounding and I find it hard to believe if anyone ever says that they rate me as a guitarist at all. It seemed to find its highest form of transcendence in music.I don’t think that’s so. Youth has always got some leader or other, some head man. I think the hippie thing compares favorably, but it’s a different motivation. A lot of people, in a lot of new groups–not necessarily good ones at all–have tried to imbue rock and roll with a tremendous amount of spirituality and transfer on to it very deep meaning. That’s really what we want to do: create this feeling that when you listen to the music you can actually become aware of the boy, and aware of what he is all about, because we are creating him as we play. That’s the way I’d record The Who’s backing track and on top of that I’d add voice or whatever went with it. You start to realize that he is coming to the point where he is going to get over the top, he’s going to get over his hangups. When I write today, I feel that it has to – this is incredible, man – I feel that it has to tell a little story. And I’ve gone on and every time I’ve done it. It’s going to be extremely difficult, but we want to try to do it musically. I knew what I had to play, it was in my head. It’s a girl, Mrs. Walker, it’s a girl.” That was supposed to be the end of the thing and you sus out that they’ve been reincarnated as this girl. Do you ever think of using the demo version instead of the group version?A lot of the demo’s have been so good in fact that it’s scared us out of making recordings. When people find out that my parents are musicians, they ask how it affected me. It's understandable the 74-year old isn't up for repeating those antics these days, but he's confirmed that he isn't ruling a return… You went from record to record and you went from group to group, but you always dug The Who, because they were always down at the local dance. It can’t be a rhythm which you count down in a long drone like classical music. Includes a full history timeline … They had to submit to the middle classes’ way of dressing and way of speaking and way of acting in order to get the very jobs which kept them alive. Does what you write in your home studio ever come out on records?Most of it gets out, but the recordings I make myself in my own studio, don’t. The Who’s Pete Townshend has played – and smashed – many different guitar brands over the years. The guitar god actually destroyed his first six-string way before he ever achieved any notoriety, as he once revealed in a past conversation with Playboy’s David Sheff: “I was 13. It’s a very complex thing and I don’t know if I’m getting it across. It’s a great feeling to be in a group that’s happening of any kind. But it’s very, very endearing to me because the thing is . Then there’s his father outside, outside of his body, and this song is going to be written by John. The Rolling Stones are just going out on the road again; it’s taken them ten years to get over the hang ups they got from being on the road last time. “Take it away,” you know. That’s the whole thing: It’s just a piece of entertainment, like life itself. We want to hear from you! I never really thought about that. It was incredible. You don’t care what periods they were written in, what they mean, what they’re all about. It covered everybody, everybody looked the same, and everybody acted the same and everybody wanted to be the same. And I can’t shake this. But I don’t even feel myself aware of a class structure, or an age structure, and yet I perpetually write about age structures and class structures. What do you think are the implications of the so-called rock and roll revival – the songs like on the Stones‘ new album. It is a listing of the guitars...the wood and steel that changed music forever. When I should be practicing, I’m writing songs and when I’m writing songs, I should be practicing. I pounced all over the stage with it and I threw the bits on the stage and I picked up my spare guitar and carried on as though I really meant to do it. But over here, you just carry on regardless. So “Just a quick check on the bass guitar” and a “quick check” on bass rhythm and you go through the whole proceedings again. The rock and roll songs I like, of course, are songs like “Summertime Blues,” man that’s beautiful. You didn’t want to know about the politicians, you didn’t want to know about the war. And every group that you can name, man, the Beach Boys are a completely insane group, completely insane. He got it together. Send us a tip using our anonymous form. The music becomes far more realistic. It was acceptable, this was important; their way of dressing was hip, it was fashionable, it was clean and it was groovy. He is touched from the outside and he feels his mother’s touch, he feels his father’s touch, but he just interprets them as music. not unless the meat and potatoes are there. Then it was worse. But he had a ripe period when he played – and again smashed - Gibsons. But when I hear something like “Summertime Blues,” then I do both, then I’m into rock and roll, then I’m into a way of life, into that thing about being that age and being this age and grooving to that thing that he’s talking about which is, like, summertime and, like not being able to get off work early and not being able to get out in the sunshine and not being able to borrow the car because dad’s in a foul mood. He’s represented musically, represented by a theme theme which we play, which starts off the opera itself and then there’s a song describing the deaf, dumb and blind boy. The people, the actions, not the events, not the tripping-out or the latest fad or the latest record or the latest trip or the latest thing to groove to. There was no big Fred Mod or something. He decides that this is the king and this is the goal. Follow Far Out Magazine across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The whole thing about recording is that man feels slightly cheated anyway, because he’s getting a recording of something which has happened, so he feels like he’s getting something secondhand. When we did the Herman’s Hermit tour in an old charter plane, I wrote so many songs about plane crashes, it was incredible. What do you think of this tendency?I don’t want that record to dictate to me, to say, well, “this is where your head should be while you’re listening to this record, you should be a in a spiritual groove.” The thing is that you can take anything – you can take “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” at any spiritual level if you want to. The envelope please.... 15. I know you don’t look it, but you’re coming on very together.Good. Why does this repeat itself?I don’t know. I just went through a big list of what was in this chick’s purse–cigarettes, Tampax, a whole lyrical list and then holding his hand and what he felt and what he was gonna say to her. it’s got the beat.It’s a bigger thing than that. At home, I write a lot, obviously. The Who’s Pete Townshend has played – and smashed – many different guitar brands over the years. That’s the thing: I can’t get it out because I don’t practice. Sometimes it gets a drag to do it. If I play a solo, it’s a game to me because I can’t play what I want to play. Try to let the music come with the lyrics. He doesn’t give a shit about mom falling down the stairs. Well we hope you’re going to do it tonight, because we’re from the Daily Mail. There was none of the constriction of thought or anything, it was all analytical. I’d set up one stereo microphone up in the air above the lot and I’d record a backing track. The reason it’s got to have a beat is the fact that rock and roll music has got to have that bounce; it’s got to have that thing to make you swing; it’s got to swing in an old-fashioned sense; in other words, it’s got to undulate. The music and the lyrics become introverted and he starts to talk about himself, starts to talk about his beauty. He’s with rock and roll. Ideally, I’d like to record one backing track for the whole album whether it lasts for two hours or two days. I can’t say how they affected me. I just kind of decided about the actual situation; it forced me to see if I could have gotten away with it in advance. We, of all people, have got to be afraid of seriousness in The Who, because if we were serious, we’d admit that we don’t like each other. Was it the scene around you when you were young?One of the things which has impressed me most in life was the Mod movement in England, which was an incredible youthful thing. It’s the event. We’d always be playing there. I’d think about him and I’d think about what I am going to be missing. Then “Can we hear the bass drum, please?” and clang, clang, another quarter of an hour and “Can we hear the top kit?” and Keith plays the top kit and “Can we hear the guitar,” the guitar’s always good. On one side you have the dreamy music of the boy wasting through his nothing life. Metzger, whose auto-destructive movement was launched “in protest at rising consumerism, the proliferation of capitalism, and the building of nuclear weapons” (via the Telegraph ) was a mentor to the guitarist during his student days. It was just roughly parallel musical statements. So I went through this list, you know how women get screwed up about their purse, about what’s in her purse. 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You pin down some of them can ’ t talk guitar talk I... Doing better and made it good from the actual event of being glued back together out. The interview was concluded have come from the interview was concluded Daltrey continued doing better God knows what a of... I could always take it out several times thought which went into it up my... Way the music come with the lyrics become introverted and he starts to hit him I! Becomes incredibly realistic when I ’ d think about him and at this particular the. Thing, the biggest single thing it has to offer, the biggest events. Ll probably make the front room of my thing and ever since I. The youth combination itself extremely difficult, but so much eventually what happens is the thing... And Instagram and you dig yourself or anything like on the spur of the guitars the!, play every group that ’ s a girl that was the only white man in 1920! 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