#54 Pete Townshend (The Who) 1996 Interview

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In this episode, we have a founding member of The Who, Pete Townshend. At the time of this interview in 1996, Townshend was 51 years old and was promoting his greatest hits record. In the interview, Townshend talks about his plan to no longer make records, the remixing process of Quadrophenia, what’s now important to him, and finding a Jimi Hendrix master in his warehouse.


The interview is conducted by Steve Harris. To learn more about Steve please check out our podcast-only interview with him, which is out now.


Full transcript


00:00 - Intro

01:00 - Start of Pete Townshend interview

01:38 - His non-defined image of himself

04:19 - His ability to write story-oriented albums

05:41 - Why it’s very hard to write songs

06:51 - His plan to no longer make records

08:26 - Why he is releasing a compilation album

09:33 - The notion that he hates the Japanese

11:30 - Developing Quadrophenia for a concert theater piece

12:57 - Which album he thinks is The Who’s best

15:08 - The backstory of when The Who revived ‘Quadrophenia’ for Prince’s Trust Concert

18:58 - Remastering old Who albums

20:23 - Writing chamber plays

21:32 - The difficulty of working in movies

22:26 - His lack of enjoyment for music theater

23:28 - What connects music from the ’50s and animation

24:37 - What’s important to him now

26:12 - The remixing process of Quadrophenia

26:57 - The previous poor mastering process of Who records

28:36 - Finding a Jimi Hendrix master in his warehouse

29:38 - The unfinished rock opera “Lifehouse”

32:04 - The mods 30 years later

33:35 - What he found hypocritical playing Black music

37:39 - Chapter 25

39:01 - The songwriting that went into “My Generation”

41:32 - Kurt Cobain and the song “My Generation”

43:18 - Seeing Jimi Hendrix a couple of weeks before he died



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