Pete Townshend Dishes on Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix in New Memoir - Rolling Stone
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Pete Townshend Dishes on Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix in New Memoir

Highlights from Rolling Stone’s excerpt of the blunt and fearless ‘Who I Am’

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Pete Townshend at his flat in London

Photoshot/Getty Images

The new issue of Rolling Stone, on newsstands Friday, September 28th, features an exclusive excerpt from Pete Townshend’s new memoir, Who I Am, which traces his life from the formation of the Who in 1962 through their historic headlining slot at Woodstock seven years later. In addition to many other revelations, Townshend writes that he was concerned his co-manager Kit Lambert was having an affair with Mick Jagger. “I felt a little jealous,” Townshend writes. “Mick is the only man I’ve ever seriously wanted to fuck. He was wearing loose pajama-style pants without underwear; as he leaned back I couldn’t help noticing the outline of his ample cock lying against the inside of his leg. From then on, I encouraged the band to arrange our ‘equipment’ for maximum effect, especially onstage or in photographs.”

Other highlights from the excerpt:

Townshend writes about the first time he met Keith Moon:
“As soon as he began to play we knew we’d found our missing link. Roger tried to befriend Keith, but Keith kept his distance. He also seemed to see Roger’s success pulling girls at our gigs as a challenge. They sometimes chased the same girls in these early days, and it was never clear to me who was winning . . . Keith’s main pal in the band became John [Entwistle]. They were hysterically funny together and shared an apartment for a while. Roger and I got the impression they did almost everything together, including having sex with girls. It must have been mayhem.”

“My Generation” was written while the Who were on tour in Holland and Scandinavia in 1965.
“I produced several sets of lyrics and three very different demos,” Townshend writes. “The feeling that began to settle in me was not so much resentment towards those Establishment types all around my flat in Belgravia, but fear that their disease might be contagious. What was their disease? It was actually more a matter of class than age. Most of the rich kids around me were striving to be corporate executives of the future – not rebelling against anything. I associated their values with stasis, and therefore with death.” 

Backstage at the Monterey Pop Festival, Jimi Hendrix and Townshend couldn’t agree on which act should close out the show. Hendrix eventually got the slot after a coin toss. At the airport the next day Townshend ripped into the Who’s publicist over the matter.
“Jimi got wind of our little spat in the airport lobby and started giving me the evil eye,” writes Townshend. “I walked over to him and explained that there were no personal issues involved. He just rolled his head around – he seemed pretty high. Wanting to keep the peace, I said I had watched his performance and loved it, and when we got home, would he let me have a piece of the guitar he had broken? He leaned back and looked at me sarcastically: ‘What, and do you want me to autograph it for you?'”


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