Pete Townshend: “I Was Told to Give Up Music”
Pete Townshend’s frank autobiography, Who I Am, is out 11 October. And speaking to The Sun newspaper he says his father told him he’d never make it. Why? Because he couldn’t read music.
'”Around the time of my [school exam] ’11-Plus’ my father didn't think I would ever be a musician because I couldn't read music,” says Townshend. “Although I was strumming around on my guitar, he felt I was hopeless and was encouraging me to write instead.”
Townshend’s father, also a musician, wanted Pete to become a journalist instead. After 100 million albums sold, Townshend thinks it is now much harder for aspiring musicians.
''Today, we see kids who can't afford to leave home. When my flatmate, Barney, and I got thrown out of our flat, we didn't know how to wash up or pay the rent, but it wasn't that we didn't have the money. We were never there when the landlord came so we just didn't bother to pay. One day the locks were changed. Now, many young people can't even get on the [property] ladder.”
Who I Am is very frank. The Who mastermind talks about music, his relationships with Who bandmates, “fancying” Mick Jagger, his Monterey “face-off” with Jimi Hendrix and his own spiritual quests.
Townshend writes, "My spiritual longings were constantly under siege by all-too-worldly ambitions, undermined by scepticism and ambivalence, and challenged by my sexual yearnings… I could also behave, frankly, like a complete axxxhole."