Pete Townshend Wanted to Quit the Who From ‘Day One’
Pete Townshend said he thought about quitting the Who from almost the very beginning.
The guitarist – who recently surprised fans by saying he was glad late bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle were no longer in the group – also admitted he enjoyed certain moments of their history.
Asked by Rolling Stone when he first considered leaving, Townshend replied, “Pretty much day one. I always wanted it to be as brief as possible, and it hasn’t been. ... This is not a judgment on them. It’s a judgment on me. … Immediately I started to realize it wasn’t a job that I like. I didn’t like the the traveling. I didn’t like being onstage. I didn’t like the fact that it all seemed like all the other guys in the band just wanted to get girls. It didn’t seem like art to me, and I’d been to art school.”
He said he eventually came to believe the Who were past their best years “when the punk movement came along." “I loved the punk movement because that’s what I wanted the Who to be," he explained. "I remember after seeing Generation X and Siouxsie and the Banshees, just thinking, ‘Wow, this is what we used to do. They aren’t doing it quite as well as we did, but they’re doing it really, really well.’”
On the other hand, Townshend recalled that he enjoyed being part of the Who when they began playing in the U.S. “That was probably quite a way down the road,” he said. “It may have been around the time we first started to work in the United States playing places like the Fillmore and the Electric Factory and the Boston Tea Party, where we were allowed to stretch out and explore.”