Sometimes you just have to wait for all the elements to fall into place, including the possibility that what you do best will come back into style," says Pete Townshend, reflecting on how – twenty-four years after the Who's last studio album, It's Hard – he and Roger Daltrey reignited their creative spark. The guitarist describes the new songs as a mixture of "sonic experiments with complex techniques behind them" and "basic home-studio recordings – a few that are just acoustic guitar and vocals." Thematically, tracks such as "Fragments" and "God Speaks" connect with the Who's recent Wire and Glass "mini-opera" and were likewise inspired by Townshend's online novella, The Boy Who Heard Music. Elsewhere on Endless Wire, the guitarist metaphorically addresses the 2003 accusation that he viewed child pornography on the Internet: "'A Man in a Purple Dress' questions the right of any man to judge another when he is dressed like a drag queen," Townshend says. Ultimately, though, he promises Endless Wire is mostly about the topics that have always fascinated him. "I am stuck with a single vision, I'm afraid: to address childhood rage and disenfranchisement through music, as the Who's early work did."
This story is from the September 7th, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone.