Rock ‘n’ roll legend Pete Townshend is set to release a new Audible Original, Somebody Saved Me, on May 6.
The new Audible Project is the 27th in Audible’s “Words + Music” series that has also featured Eddie Vedder, Billie Joe Armstrong, Tom Morello, James Taylor, and many more.
Townshend, of the seminal British rock band The Who, has been wowing audiences now for decades. As such there are many stories from which to draw for the new Audible Project.
In the upcoming release, Townshend talks about the period between the 1978 death of the band’s drummer Keith Moon and the 2002 loss of bassist John Entwistle. During these two-and-a-half decades, the popular band enjoyed success and dissolved.
For fans of The Who, which is currently on tour in North America through May 29, the new work is a must-listen. Below are two excerpts from the Audible Original.
For more on the series, fans can click HERE.
In the first, Townshend talks about challenging times for the band (LISTEN HERE).
Says Townshend, “I also loved something else, which was that I felt I didn’t need to pretend anymore. And what I had been pretending was that The Who was a great band to be in and that when I went on the stage I would throw myself into it physically and it would be joyful…and full of showmanship. And it had sort of gone sour for me many years before and the beginning with The Who, the first three or four years was really difficult. I think Roger would agree, it wasn’t much fun. And then the Tommy years were pretty great, actually. But then after that, it got really, really hard, everything seemed to be tough. Technically, it was tough, tough in the recording studio. And everybody in the band seemed to have a different agenda—both in their lives and in their music, and in the way that they wanted to spend their money and live their lives.
“You look at The Who, you take a helicopter shot of The Who, and you see four of the most difficult, eccentric, strange characters that have ever been in the music business until Led Zeppelin came on a bit later and sort of replaced us for eccentricity. But what I liked about the second phase of The Who was that it felt to me like I didn’t have to pretend anymore. If I felt bad I would just be bad, you know, if I felt good, I would be good if I would look good, you know, if I didn’t feel like I wanted to work on the stage, I wouldn’t work. I just concentrated on the music and I didn’t bother with showmanship and I didn’t bother with any fancy guitar stuff. I just played the chords and ‘wanged’ away. And yeah, I enjoyed it. It was a good change for me.”
In the second excerpt, Townshend talks about Entwistle’s passing (LISTEN HERE).
Says Townshend, “What happened to me was I’d accepted, ‘Hey, this is not so bad, you know, it’s just not so bad. This is a good place to be.’ I’m with two old school friends. We’ve got Ringo’s son Zak on the drums. You know, he ain’t Keith Moon, but he was certainly Keith Moon’s understudy. And then suddenly this tour was upon us. And it started in Las Vegas. And that was a big leap for us because I’d always said I never wanted to play there. And the reason we’d started to play there was not because we had a particularly wonderful offer, but because I think we were playing in an interesting venue. I don’t know if it was the first Hard Rock or something. But anyway, it was considered to be a warm-up. And I flew to LA, and my girlfriend at the time, Rachel, came with me. Roger was there as well. I hung out for a while with a few actors that I knew.
“I met Mo Austin, for example, who had been the head of Warner in The Who’s heyday. We had dinner. I met a few other people, we hung out, Robbie Robertson. And back one evening watching TV and get this phone call that John had died and the Vegas show was the following day. And he’d gone to Vegas, and he died in Vegas. And the circumstances are pretty well known. You know, he’d been there, he’d been having fun, hanging out, doing a bit of cocaine. He was with a lady of the night. And what nobody knew, what we didn’t know, what the insurance company didn’t know, was that he had a very, very serious heart condition. He was on extreme medication.
“So all the way through this period when we’ve been trying to get together to work creatively together he’d been hiding the fact that he could barely breathe, he could barely walk, he could just about play, but he certainly wasn’t particularly capable of having a coherent conversation. He wasn’t just on heart medication, he was also on tranquilizer-style drugs as well. And so it was kind of inevitable that at some point he was going to go pop.”