Pete Townshend says he thought about quitting The Who from “pretty much day one”

The guitarist looks back on his life in a new video interview.

Pete Townshend performing with Roger Daltrey as The Who.

Image: Kevin Mazur / Getty

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In a new interview, Pete Townshend has revealed his initial lack of enthusiasm at being in The Who, saying he thought about quitting the band from “pretty much day one.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Townshend explained how he disagreed with certain aspects of the band and touring life. “Immediately I started to realise it wasn’t a job that I like. I didn’t like the traveling. I didn’t like being on stage,” he said. “I didn’t like the fact that it all seemed like all the other guys in the band just wanted to get girls. It didn’t seem like art to me and I’d been to art school.” 

It wasn’t until The Who started touring in America that Townshend started to develop an appreciation for the band. “It may have been around the time we first started to work in the United States playing places like the Fillmore and the Electric Factory and the Boston Tea Party where we were allowed to stretch out and explore.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Townshend recalled the first time he saw Jimi Hendrix, which he described as “a cosmic experience.” He added, “You had to have seen Jimi Hendrix to really understand… what he was about. He was a brilliant player. A wonderful player – very inventive. He wasn’t a great singer but he had a beautiful voice – a smoky voice.”

Townshend also revealed his top Beatles songs: “The one [Beatles song] that really blew me away… was Day Tripper and [its B-side] Paperback Writer. They weren’t about falling in love; they were about jobs and creativity.” He said, “They were interesting songs and I suddenly realised that [the Beatles] were going to do great things.”

The Who will tour the UK in March and April 2020 before returning to North America for a slate of shows, including a historic return to Cincinnati, Ohio. Last Friday, the band released Who, their first studio album since 2006’s Endless Wire.

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