respect the classics

Pete Townshend Isn’t Actually Thankful That His Bandmates Are Dead

Photo: Redferns/GAB Archive

When he wasn’t outing himself as a surprise Taylor Swift ally in a Rolling Stone profile from earlier this week, windmill enthusiast Pete Townshend also shared some, well, rather odd musings about his former The Who bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle: Specifically, “thank God” that they’re decomposing in their coffins. Moon the Loon and Thunderfingers? Why say such a thing? “Because they were fucking difficult to play with. They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves,” Townshend explained. “I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together.” He added that Entwistle’s virtuosic bass playing sounded like a messy “Messiaen organ” and that Moon had problems with “keeping time.”

Word got back to Townshend that Who fans weren’t exactly happy he was insulting the time management skills of his dead bandmates (among other legitimate critiques about the duo such as, say, wildly abusing drugs and hiding gunpowder in expensive instruments), and he’s now offering up an apology for his poor choice in words. “No one can ever know how much I miss Keith and John, as people, as friends, and as musicians,” Townshend clarified in a Facebook post. “To this day I am angry at Keith and John for dying. Sometimes it shows. It’s selfish, but it’s how I feel. But I am sincerely grateful to have had these second and third incarnations as a member of what we still dare to call The Who — once after Keith passed, then again after John passed. I do thank God for this, but I was being ironic in my own English way by suggesting it is something I am glad about.” He added that while “playing with them was hard,” he was also frequently “doubled up in joy and laughter even though we could have benefitted from a quieter life.”

The Who, now comprised of original members Townshend, Roger Daltrey, and tenured backing musicians, will be releasing their newest album, Who, on December 6. Please don’t confuse it with 1978’s Who Are You, 1971’s Who’s Next, or any other interrogative pronouns.

Pete Townshend Not Actually Thankful His Bandmates Are Dead