Pete Townshend ruminates on going to war with the Who (metaphorically speaking), the band’s impact, and starting to find peace and contentment in an excerpt from his new Audible Original, Somebody Saved Me.
The clip opens with Townshend describing his work with the Who in grand terms: “Blood and guts — it’s been the stuff of adventure, of excitement.” He goes on to compare it to being a “war hero,” not that they’re doing combat, but in that the band was always celebrated for the bad things they did, as much as the good.
“We’re just celebrated because we’ve managed to survive,” he says.
Townshend goes on to reflect on what it means to still be performing alongside Roger Daltrey as the Who now that the pair are pushing 80. While there’s a little quip that suggests it may not always be fun, he admits, “It looks like fun, it looks like celebration, it looks like life at its best. It looks like they’re living their best life. And they may only have five more years on the planet! Is this not a celebration of what being alive is in the West?”
Despite it all, Townshend insists, when you see him on stage now, “You’ll see somebody who has, at last, made peace with his audience, with his work, with his past, and with his history. And with life — with everyday life… The spiritual journey as we call it, is literally a waiting game. It’s waiting to get to the point where we’ve got a clear enough vision of who we are, where we are, what the world is, in order to wake up and just accept that we kind of knew it all along. Life is good, ultimately.”
Townshend’s Somebody Saved Me — which is part of the long-running Words + Music series — is out in full Friday, May 6, via Audible. The project specifically focuses on the period between the 1978 death of Who drummer Keith Moon and the death of bassist John Entwistle in 2002. Along with sharing details and stories from that period, Townshend performs some of the biggest songs he wrote during that time, including “Let My Love Open the Door” and “You Better You Bet.”
Additionally, those looking to see Townshend at peace with himself while living wildly on stage can catch the Who on the final few dates of their North American tour. The band’s next show is scheduled for May 8 outside Houston, Texas, and the run wraps on May 18 in Boston.