I have followed and watched the Who and Townshend for many years and am constantly astounded and amazed by Pete Townshend. He is filled with a mental and physical power, and his fire and aggression ,mixed with humour and dazzling intelligence, when he is on stage his energy and presence is awe inspiring and i defy anybody to take their eyes off him . Everything about him is pure Pete Townshend ,he is quite frankly a total 'one off'. From his totally distinctive physique and look; His syle of performing and playing and his creative output as a whole. He is now in his middle 60's ,but still powering away ,in fact i think he's enjoying himself more than he has in a long time. He still has the distinctive Townshend look, but he's grown into it and being a cartoonist and caricaturist ,i think he's got a fantastic face ,from the nose to those amazing blue eyes ,energy and character burst from every pore.
As i said Pete is a total 'one off' and when he was younger ,felt left out and a bit of a freak with his gangly build and big nose. Went to art school to try and impress the girls and joined a band to 'keep them coming'. Townshend adopted an aggressive ,know it all ,trendy ,arty character that evolved into a not particualy pleasant character over time, mainly as a defence mechanism, attack being the best form of defence. In the book he is described sometimes as a vicious bastard who can say really nasty hurtful things in an arguement, although he was a friendly bloke who was humourous and liked to go to the pub with Moon and Entwhistle mainly, as well as the crew .When the Who were 'up and running', it was left to Pete to write their stuff. He has always been a loner and the book tells how even today he has problems working with others, thats why his home recorded new tracks are totally complete recordings ,every instrument played and recorded by Pete himself ,much to Roger Daltry's continuing wonderment and amazement. The book goes into Townshend creative plans ,starting with 'A quick one'. Moving onto Tommy ,Quadrophenia and the total confusion of the Lifehouse concept. Townshend thinks so much ,so long and hard and combined with his ,as he sees it ,Total honesty ,he is constantly 'shooting himself in the foot 'and talking himself in loops and circles, which adds to the confusion of those around a confused man.
Pete has a lot to say and the book has a lot of what he says which can have the reader a little confused. There isnt a lot of interviews with other people ,but there are plenty of comments that have been made in reference to various episodes in Townshends amazing journey. I for one enjoyed the descriptions of the shows ,early and later ,as from time to time Townshend will ,depending on his mood still do these crazy things that other much younger men of rock wouldnt dream of. Townshend is still a force of nature.
The book is a hefty read ,but i enjoyed it, on occassions ,the eyes may glaze over when Townshend is holding forth ,i have to admit i struggled to get the long convuluted Lifehouse explanations ,although i think i've finally understand it ,i think! Townshend comes over as a truly decent caring humourous fellah ,but he does have this vicous self destructive streak which has caused himself and his family ,friends and bandmates pain and anguish over the years, but he does admit to it and feels the guilt for much of the pain hes caused others ,but at the end of the day he hasnt come out unscathed ,his problems addictions and various much publicized problms are explored. A good book ,i dont think there'll be a better one about this fellah.