Pete Townshend

Who's gay
*special introductory paragraph!
*Who Came First
*Rough Mix (with Ronnie Lane)
*Empty Glass
*All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes
*White City - A Novel
*Deep End Live!
*Another Scoop
*The Iron Man: A Musical
*Live: A Benefit for Maryville Academy
*Lifehouse Elements
*Scoop 3

Pete Townshend was the lead guitarist and songwriter for a British band called The Who. He wrote many delightful hits for the band, but soon began feeling an urge to break away - do something for himself. And MAN, the things he did, you know? Specifically, he recorded "Let My Love Open The Door" for himself and left crap like "I've Known No War" for The Who to uncomfortably waddle their way through on the last couple of (lousy) Who albums. Many people consider Mr. Townshend to be a genius. I am still fairly certain that no rock musician has particularly proven himself to be a "genius," a word that in my mind is generally reserved for a great scientist or inventor. Somebody who thinks out of the box and brings something to the world that wasn't there before. The phonograph, for example. Or the camera. The smallpox vaccine. Not "The Kids Are Alright." I mean, I love the song but come on. Windmilling a guitar doesn't qualify somebody for the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Who Came First - MCA 1972
Rating = 6

Aaaaaah, I'll never forget the first album I recorded for my Maharishi. Luckily, my Maharishi was a huge DRI fan so my album "kicked ""as""""s. """""""" Oooo! I've never written a bunch of quotation marks in a row like that! This is quickly becoming the greatest day of my life!

Pete's first solo album was, in fact, an album for his stupid Maharishi, guru of some dumbass religion he was into at the time (for more on dumbass religions, see Adam Yauch and Creed). Pictures of the mustachioed freak are all over the record and every song is a Maharishi favorite, especially the bland, instantly forgettable "Parvardigar" in which Pete adapts his Maharishi's Universal Prayer into a limp-wristed Townshend-by-the-numbers non-classic. You may note that I'm not calling his Maharishi by his actual name. This is because he hasn't earned that honor. "Look at me! I ride a donkey and preach bullshit to stupid drugged-up rock and rollers!"

As for the music, it is the understated cousin to Who's Next overblown pomposity. Pete dwells mostly on acoustic guitars, giving the songs a folky, even country-western feel pulled over the top by his quavering stuffed-nose vocals. The mix is very raw, as if the tunes are demos for a project to be completed later. Three of the nine tracks are total cover tunes and only FOUR of the nine tracks feature Townshend- penned lyrics! All very light, pleasant, boring, what-have-you. My problem with much of Pete's songwriting is that the chord changes often take so long in the chorus. Like he says three words and stops but the chord keeps going, and the song just seems to get stuck in the quicksand of society's ear. Think of the "I sing my song to the wide open spaces" part of The Who's "Song Is Over." It draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags. And repeats. And draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags. A lot of these songs do the same (I actively loathe the Who outtake "Let's See Action" and the song he played for the Maharishi's mandali (whatever - make up some more words, you religious liar!) and dumbass hippy loser followers, "Time Is Passing"!). But some are good; come on now, I can't go into details; we'll be hear all day. Suffice it to say that the first three songs rule, "Content" is very pretty and the rest don't and aren't. I can't go into any further detail. Not now. Not in this forum.

I was totally just kidding about all that antagonistic anti- religion stuff. I could give a shit about the stupid guy with a mustache. But you gotta admit he looks like a retard.

Reader Comments
Too funny...For some fucked up reason, I got this album when I was 8 or something. Even then, I knew the guy on the donkey was just the latest in a series of rock star decadent symbolism. The only difference is that I thought symbolism what something that Keith Moon hit with a drumstick. The album sounds like demos, and for a perfectionist like Townshend, that means not as polished. The "Gibson" song is kinda cool, and I actually liked the version of "Action." The album is out of print (again) but don't let that upset you. Essential only for Who/Townshend completists and fans of mustache man. 6/10
I have and love the remastered Who Came First. It has a few more tracks than the original vinyl. It must be noted that Pete himself made a self-depreciating reference on the liner notes when he stated the whole project was a "gynormouse ego trip". Sheraton Gibson is a gem, the fact it came out of a hotel room jam session with Joe Walsh while The Who and the James Gang were on tour makes one wonder what other gems that session may have inspired. Probably a bunch of f'd up noodling, off notes and ramblings......but isn't that how some classics are formed? Observe the first 2 Zep albums as an example of that. But I digress, this album was a vehicle to vent some crap that was kicking around Pete's head so he could concentrate on producing Thunderclap Newman and writing Quadrophenia. The latter is enough to be a bit more forgiving to Pete for Who Came First.

I am really surprised by the tone of the language about this album. Coming from India and having lived in NYC for the last 15 years I was influenced by Pete's devotion to MEHER BABA. who actually quote the famous song DON'T WORRY BE HAPPY

Meher Baba didn't speak for 45 years and performed numerous humanitarian activities without speaking but by real action. He set an example for all mankind. I would suggest that the writer should know in detail Baba's life and it will personally change his attitude towards all things in life.

I personally was able to bridge the gap between science & spirituality due to Baba's writings which he dictated using sign language.

Meher Baba believed in LOVE & SELFLESS SERVICE [LASS]

Best regards

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Rough Mix (with Ronnie Lane) - Atlantic 1977.
Rating = 5

Those damned country-western people have ruined music for everybody. This album is a porch-sitting, moonshine-drinking salute to the American Appalachias. Banjos, harmonicas, acoustic guitars, fiddles, dobros, twangy Clapton leads and all sorts of one country blues lick are displayed throughout, made all the more authentic sounding by Ronnie Lane's scraggly George Harrison-style voice. Plus Peat Moss isn't submitting the most creative melodies of his career, mostly handing in traditionally countryish folk, chord sequences he'd already used in the Who and underwritten slacker rock like Pavement. Finally near the end of a brutally Clapton-influenced redneck experience, he pops "straight outta Compton" with two classics -- the strange, string-heavy "Street In The City" and dark arpeggiated "Heart To Hold Onto" featuring John Entwistle on brass and BOZ BURRELL (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) of BAD COMPANY (!!!!!!!!!!) on BASS GUITAR!!!!!!!!!!(!!!!!!!!!!)!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you like The Band or "Lay Down Sally," this album is right up your bad-taste-having alley. Otherwise it's up your nose with a rubber, ho's.

Reader Comments (Christopher)
I feel that Rough Mix is an excellent album! Great lyrics, good music, and great musicians (Entwistle, Clapton, Burell, Bundrick, etc.). Ronnie Lane and Pete Tonshend were like the founding fathers of mod-rock. What better team to have collaborate on an album than them? Best Songs: "My Baby Gives It Away", "Annie", "Misunderstood", "Street In The City", "Heart To Hang Onto", and, "Till The Rivers All Run Dry". Catchy tunes, great sound, good production. A classic in every sense. Enough said. (Tony Souza)
Actually, this album seems like an extension of the Who by Numbers to me. By that I mean in terms of the personal songwriting and the rustic, wooden-sounding production. Using the Band as an example was spot-on. There's not a Who-sounding song on here, but that isn't surprising because Ronnie Lane writes half the songs on here (all of them excellent) and also because Townshend wanted to help Lane out by lending his name and talents to this record. There is a definite American feel to this album but it's balanced out by English folk influences on many songs. Townshend and Lane brought the best in each other as there is not a bad song on here. An easy 10.
Keep Me Turning. I wish the Who had done it so there would be more light shone on it. One of Pete's best, the only reason I bought the CD.

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Empty Glass - Atco 1980
Rating = 8

Pete Townshend strikes gold with synth/guitar pop rock as his muse! The production is slick with lots of clean guitar tones (distortion only for "POWER" parts!) speckled with delay (notes that echo) and those corny synths he so enjoyed back in the day. The hits were the brilliant spice of infection "Let My Love Open The Door" and the fruity pebble anthem "Rough Boys" (incidentally the dopiest track on the record), but almost all of these songs could have been hits - especially "Jools And Jim," which features the exact same melody as "Let My Love Open The Door" but played in a different key!

Speaking of keys, you know in that Madonna song "Open Your Heart" where she says "I hold the lock and you turn the key"? Do you think she's using "lock" as a metaphor for "woman's private area"? And if so, do you think she's using "key" as a metaphor for "huge selection of lit fireworks"? Cuz aww MAN that would be a sight to gaze upon!

But back to the man-loving diva at hand, Mr. Peter Townshend. He sounds uberconfident (California! Uberconfident Caaaaliiiiforniaaaaaa!) and the songs are very pretty, anthemic and true. There's some pianos and harmonica, great dynamics displayed in each track - quite frankly, this is the work of a skilled songwriter who seems to have spent a lot of time developing his work. I understand and agree that the synths and production make it sound a little dated, but I would still rate this up there with almost any Who album in terms of consistent enjoyability. I mean, I simply CANNOT get "A Little Is Enough" out of my head! It's gorgeous! And Pete, as stuffed-nosey as he sounds on vocals, makes it work because he sings from the heart and his voice is always touched with emotion. This stands in stark contrast to Roger Daltrey, who, having not written the songs, generally sang the words from the ego and libido. And that's fantastic for overblown anthems like "Won't Get Fooled Again," but his scraggly torn-to-shreds voice would have ruined most of these gentle poppy tunes. See the last two Who albums for proof - Maybe I'm alone here but I think stuff like "Athena" and "Another Tricky Day" would have sounded much better with Gentle Pete at the mic. But what do I know - I've never been a famous short sexist rock and roll singer and I don't know the stressors that the situation can inflict upon a man.

"So keep your eyes open! My spirit ain't broken! Your love's so incredible! Your body's so edible! You give me an overdose of loooooooooooooooooooooooooooove - AND JUST A LITTLE IS ENOUGH!" (beautiful echoey keyboard part)

Reader Comments (James Welton)
Easily Pete's finest solo work. The songs are solid, melodic pop-a-rock 'n roll. I just made that sub-genre up. It's like pop-punk, only played by old farts.... or older farts, if you're considering Dr. Frank and Joe Queer, who are about my age and therefore old farts. This was before it became known that Pete was at least bi if not completely in love with hairy, pimply butts. By the way, what is the official status on that? Not that it matters, but I'm curious. Is he bi? Is he gay? Is he Morrisey? Anyway, not knowing which side of the plate he was hitting from, the songs "Rough Boys" and "And I Moved" kind of made me think, in an adolescent, close-minded, homophobic kind of way, "Criminy. Townshend sounds like he's gay!" Which rememberances invoke in me a hardy "Duh." And an unqualified "So?" Aside from all of that, a damn fine album. (Eric Sweenor)
Mark - you're right. "A Little Is Enough" may be one of the single catchiest songs in the history of pop music. I adore this song. It should've been huge. Almost makes you forget the Who - almost. The rest of the album? Stellar. Second best Townshend solo album. I don't much dig "Keep On Working", but even the fakey-blustery stuff like "Gonna Get Ya" is cool. The sound dates it as early 1980's synthed-up pop/rock, but the songs easily transcend it. Maybe Pete was saving the best for his solo albums. 9/10, easy.

Right on about your idea that Pete should've sung on a lot of post-Moonie Who stuff. It was too personal for macho Roger to handle effectively - "Don't Let Go the Coat" is one of the only effective examples of Roger's handling of a later Pete song.
empty glass....OF CUM!!

Damn! I cant believe no one has pointed out how blatantly gay this album is, I mean sure, old Pete cleverly disguises the albums gay content with his lyrics, but damn dude! the song titles speak for themselves! .It's the essential fag album for homosexual people, who have sex with other homosexual people, who by strange coincidence also happen to be gay, and of course for pedophiles that play with small objects like my cock...If I had a dick of course!! hahah

Look at the song titles!! They all literally spout with gay, kiddy fondling, sexual innuendo; "Rough Boys" this is supposed to be about the friggin Sex Pistols?? Yea and "Edge of the World" by Faith No More is about the fucking Rolling Stones, and how Mick Jagger is really a black man, inside a butt fuck, ugly, wrinkled 250 yr old white mans body trying to be black, coz his lips are about as large as Madonna's wrinkled Penn infested fucked up lips!!! Oh yea, and she has a pretty big mouth too!!! "Little is Enough"??? Yea in Townsend's case, the smaller the better (as in nose size, of course!) "Let My Love Open the Door" Townshend using his penis as a tool to open locked doors, "Jools and Jim" this one is pretty self explanatory, he could've called it "My Tool in Jim" and yea..You guys work it out for yourselves. But seriously! Gay, homo, cum guzzling, kiddy banging, pre mature wiener grabbing, penis craving, coughing up 11 yr olds sperm, catholic priests, prison anul shower gang rape and Fred Durst aside, this is a good album with good melodies. Good stuff 8
My review is, this is in my top 10 of all time favourite albums- I just listened to my 26 year old cassette a few minutes ago, because it sorta popped up out of a drawer, and I wanted so badly to hear that magical, emotion-evoking, memory evoking tape again...BUT (as in BUTT)- way back when I too was a youngster listening to that "I Moved Toward Him" tune, I thought, "Wow, Pete really must've idolised his big strong dad, huh?" thinking this song was an ode to his dad..."His big head nearly filled...the space" (standing in the doorway), and then the "icey thrill" of his dads hand, um, because you know he thought his dad was cool-

Well DUH at me a few years later- Too bad! I so liked my "son admiring his dad" theory (and the fact that I was ever that innocent to grab a connotation like that- SNORT!!!)

But now that I know that Pete was busted with Child porn on his computer...("uhhhh Just doing research for a book, officer, because I was molested as a kid" he says..) anyway, "A little is enough" now has a COMPLETELY different connotation for me- in fact, beyond gayness, if you listen to the album and apply "Paedophile" to the context...EEEUUUUWW....!

It's still a bloody masterpiece- you just have to try and replace how you want the song to be to you with his, "I sure do like little boys....and I just can't HELP it!" deal, you'll be right-
Believe it or not, I don't think this is Pete's best album, as many critics would like to con us into believing....
I've read somwhere that Pete saved his best songs for his solo albums instead of the Who albums of the early 80's. If that's the case, I'm not even going near It's Hard with a ten foot pole... (*stifling laughter*) What a funny title! Ha!
Okay, Okay, so i've only heard 3 albums (All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, White City, guessed it.... this album). But I think it just barely scrapes below the rating of White City with a rating of 4/10 (W.C. got a 5/10 in my books).
Best cuts: "Rough Boys", " And I Moved", "Let My Love Open the Door", "Keep on Working".
(hey! one star for each best cut! funny how that worked out!....)
[did you imagine the letter "n" in the word after "Best"? Neither did I.....]
P.S. Petey looks either totally sh*tfaced or doped out of his mind on the back cover....either that or just pleasantly happy.... (John Saviano)
When I was I kid (I am now 42) the first Album I ever bought was Who’s Next and I have been a member of the Townshend faithful since the day I heard it. While you certainly have to respect people’s opinions, every artist has their share of shit to go with the classics. While Pete certainly can be grandiose, obvious, pompous, and whiney he is also amazing at communicating emotional shades of all kinds in so many songs that I can pass over the aforementioned blather and play the real deals again and again. This album has all of this (as do all his solo works and post Moon death Who albums) in spades. What’s good is REALLY good and what isn’t is pretty bad. It’s hard to be the poet laureate to a generation of rock fans because they expect an awful lot, but then again Pete wrote about that too. This will sound amazing, but it speaks to my point somewhat, when I first heard these songs the only one I questioned was “And I Moved” which made think Pete was – (gasp) gay? How could that be? Well it couldn’t, could it? Very confusing to a 12 year old mind. The rest of the songs I liked because they rocked and the music made me move and feel and connected with some inner mojo I didn’t know I had. And Pete does that really well. So now as an adult I filter these songs through a different lens but it is still clear to me anyway that Pete Townshend has made so much more great music then not that I still remain in the faithful. He can choose to do whatever he wants in his own life, but when he shares his life with me through the songs he writes he is on the mountain with the greatest of all time. This album in retrospect is to me a minor work for him since it IS so uneven. And all of you who want to tear it down, try writing a song yourself that tells a story, works on several levels uses metaphors, rocks like a freight train, or runs like river and when you can then you can know what it must be like to live in Pete’s shoes. I’d love to take that walk.

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All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes - Atco 1982
Rating = 6

I know little about what makes people tick, so I can't tell you why it is that this record is so popular. Personally I bought it, hated it, sold it, later decided I wanted to review Pete Townshend, rebought it, listened to it drunk, hated it, listened to it months later, hated it, listened to it again and finally found at least SOME passable music in it. But corny synths rule the world and like most Pete Townshend albums, it's full of overdone emotionalism a la Andrew Lloyd Weber. I took some notes while I was listening to it last time, so let me give you a few of these - "Stop Hurting People" - Pete Townshend TALKING over corny sci-fi kids music keyboard sentimental shit `ET meets The Last Starfighter.' "Face Dances Pt. Two" - corny synths but catchy in its lameness 5/4 time! "Stardom In Acton" - bouncy, uncatchy these synth noises are getting lame - generic riff `sokay I guess. "North Country Girl" - `go to the mirro boy' music to lyrics of old folk song - into middle part of `you better you bet' is it a joke? "Somebody Saved Me" - ballad so dull you can imagine Phil Collins singing it. "The Sea Refuses No River" - harmonica, nice Townshend style emotional guitar line (with one corny Springsteen part) - nice chorus - Quadrophenia, lazy tempo. "Slit Skirts" - piano, really good song - the only one on here that sounds like time went into it.

There are a few more notes but I think you've heard enough. I calculate four good songs, five okay songs and two really suckjob songs. There is no overriding mood except dated keyboard noises and songs that simply aren't that memorable or interesting. "Slit Skirts" rules though! (as does the dark "Exquisitely Bored."). The rest - BOUNCY NEW WAVE!

I guess, anyway. According to my notes. Look, to be honest, I don't even know if these are my notes. I found them when I was rummaging through the back of a toilet in Lincoln Square.

Reader Comments (Eric Sweenor)
Pete Townshend's best solo album. The liner notes are pretentious, to say the least, and some of the synth noises are obnoxious. But this is some of Pete's strongest songwriting! Kind of a concept album, a miserable one at that, about Pete's recovery from various self-abuse. "The Sea Refuses No River" is elegant and gorgeous, and "Slit Skirts" is one of Pete's best songs, impassioned, and actually kinda rocking and inventive, same with "Communication" and "Uniforms", weird, catchy and completely off-kilter! Killer stuff, the one I go back to the most. 10/10
I was wondering if you could lend some assistance.

On the website, you had a few people do reviews on Pete Townshend.

I'm looking for a "MTV" early 80's version of Slit Skirts, the version that was seen on MTV, the difference being the harmonica, versus the "non harmonica" that made its way in the studios.

Any idea where i can find it? I've been searching everywhere....

This Follow up to "Empty Glass Of Cum", didn't exactly set the world on fire when it was released in the good old 80s. Its really just awfully done early 80s cheesy shit rock album, ala any early 80s band that sucked. Townshend the poor guy, has a history of releasing bad albums starting way back in 1972 with his debut "Who's Gay Shirt?", continuing five years later his follow up "Tough Dicks"(with Shoddy Lay) didn't exactly scream "pussy grabbing hard rock" like a Van Halen or AC/DC..He was just an old confused man by this point trying to latch onto the punk scene, by unsuccessfully trying to screw various members of "Cheap Dick" which Townshend understandably thought the band literally meant there cocks were cheap, so he could become a groupie and stop making fucking shit music. Well at least he did a few decent songs with the Who I guess. "Behind New Guys", "The Peeper", "My Generator", "I Can Pee Four Miles" "Sappy Jack-Off", "The Kids Are All Tight".
I liked this recording in 1982, still enjoy it in 2005. The lack of Who influences is a positive. Particually delighted by "North Country Girl", a lovely Dylan rewrite.
I personally think that this is Pete's best solo record (that i've heard so far).

The lyrics are some of his best since Quadrophenia. And the music, though sometimes 80's synthified, is still pretty damn good in places. Interesting liner notes...some sort of story....

1. Stop Hurting People 9.5/10
2. The Sea Refuses No River 9/10
3. Prelude 7/10
4. Face Dances Part Two 8/10
5. Exquisitely Bored 7/10
6. Communicate 2/10
7. Stardom in Acton 7/10
8. Uniforms 7.5/10
9. North Country Girl 7.5
10. Somebody Saved Me 8/10
11. Slit Skirts 9.5/10
Total (averaged) 7.5/10
(total: 82/110)

As you, dear reader, can probably tell, I really like "Stop Hurting People", "The Sea Refuses No River" and "Slit Skirts". I think the former and latter are two of the very best songs Pete has ever done solo-wise. And, if i dare say so, they just might compete with the best stuff he's ever done with the Who.
I like this one. I know a lot of people, even those who are fans of pete townsend dislike it. I think the music on it is killer. It just couldn't be better.I like on it how the words don't really make much sense, but then again in a way they actually do.I like the way they are open to interpret in different ways. I think this has his best writing yet, except for maybe the one he made right after this one. I think it's obvious why so many people like this one, even though just as many don't.

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Scoop - Atco 1983
Rating = 8

This is a double album of Pete Townshend demos, rarities and the like, all in short, carefree segments with little pretension. HEAR! The bouncy disco style "Squeeze Box" demo. SEE! "Behind Blue Eyes" through the mouth of The Nose. TASTE! Some unused piano from Quadrophenia. DICK! A bunch of rarities from country/western, silly funtime synth, jazz guitar and even "You Came Back," a song I don't like at all! Listening to a bunch of great songs all shoved together like this most of them sounding as great in homemade demo form as they did in final Who form, it's quite easy to understand why so many people think Pete is a genius.

Speaking of genius, last night was my bachelor party at Scores Breast Club on 60th between 1st and 2nd. I drank aplenty and got lap dances aplentier. Then at about 11:45 when we were about to leave, I woke up moaning on my brother's toilet at 6:15 in the morning. Apparently between those hours, I fell down a small flight of stairs at Scores, jumped out of a car and ran up the street while my brother and friend were getting some money out of a bank (don't worry! They found me safe and sound in a deli a few blocks up, resting and trying not to vomit on an ATM machine), went to some party downtown and tried to pick fights with people and I guess ended up eventually moaning on my brother's toilet where I'm 90% sure I used his toothbrush to induce vomiting. Then I borrowed 20 bucks, came home, vomited some more and slept til 4 PM. I'm still feeling pretty ill and I have a large cut under my right eye, origins unknown.


Reader Comments
Man, this is turning into a bitch to find domestically. It's funny how almost twenty years ago, people were excited about the prospects of a Townshend "demo & rarieties" album and now nobody could give a shit about his original material. It's true: think about all those copies of late model Townshend records you see in the used bin and remember: there's a reason they've ended up there. But if you stumble upon this one, snag it up. One could, and I will, make the argument that this (and the companion Another Scoop) represent Townshend's best recorded solo output; certainly considering everything he did '84 onward. Scoop is a great character study of one of rock's most frustrating groundbreakers.

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White City-A Novel - Atco 1985
Rating = 8

Imagine my lack of positive emotions when I sat down on a nine hundred pillion mile airplane trip and opened this up only to find that it's not a novel at all, but a record album! In retrospect, I should have been clued in by the skinniness and album-like shape of the package, but with paper getting thinner and thinner each year, I guess I fancied that it was a nice novella for people on the go. As it is, I was at least happily overjoyed with goodness at the delight of wonderfully experiencing that the album is really good! I played it over the airplane's PA system and immediately started shaking my fist angrily at the hard rockin' "Give Blood" and stewardess. Then the harmony-inflected chorus of the upbeat pop tune "Brilliant Blues" made me swoon all over California with thoughts of how effectively Roger Daltrey's scraggly ego could have ruined the song. And then OH! The OH! Hold on. (deep breaths). The next song is "Face The Face" - OH LORDY BUY ME A TUPELO!

Fuck you, America with your rules.

Even as a childman, I was enamored with "Face The Face" - the groovy novelty swingin' bebop jazz just wowed my feet and made my fingers snap all up and down the towndown. And this was Norcross, Georgia! So you KNOW that town was hoppin' between my constantly snapping fingers and the national headquarters of Waffle House Restaurant. But enough of this name dropping, my good heavenly dog. I could talk about every song on here all night (except "Hiding Out," a lame Caribbean ballad thingy that brings back fond memories of the last couple Beach Boys albums featuring John Stamos) but life, unlike my male sexual organ, is short so let me get to the point. The point is that this album is composed of great, catchy, pretty, upbeat wonderful pop songs that just happened to be performed with outrageously dated mid-80s synthesizers. Oh, you'll laugh. You'll say, "Ha! The Mid-80s! Cyndi Lauper, anyone?" But the songs are like wow! Just so upbeat and shiny, loud, silly, fun - never overbearing, ugly or dedicated to a Maharishi.

As for the "film written by Pete Townshend, directed and adapted for longform video by Richard Lowenstein and based on this record," your guess is as good as (land) mine.

Reader Comments

Daniel Rosenberg
Great Album. The highlights are "Give Blood," "Brilliant Blues" and "Crashing By Design." All are catchy and have a great beat. The sound is very mid-80's, but not in a bad way except on "Face the Face," which has that annoying 80's drum sound, which I can't quite describe but you know it when you hear it. Listening to this album, you never miss Roger Daltrey at all. (Simon B.)
I'm gonna try and make this as short as possible, just for fun:

Here goes:

I got this on cassette a few days ago (yes, cassette --- I really wished I'd picked up the vinyl when I had the chance, this previous winter. it's in basically mint condition, though).

Anyway, I listened to the whole thing and I think "Give Blood" is the best song on here. There's a few other good ones, namely "Brilliant blues", "Crahing by Design" and "I Am Secure".

The worst songs are "Face the Face", 'White City Fighting" and "Come to Mama". I forget about the rest.

BTW, i think that "Come to Mama" is Pete's most anti-climactic ending-song to a solo or Who album ever!

(Some climactic, great album-enders are, IMO, "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Love Reign O'er Me".)

5/10 stars.

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Deep End Live! - Atlantic 1986.
Rating = 5

Recorded live on the White City tour, this record nevertheless doesn't feature any White City songs. Why does he feel the need to stick a needle in the boobie of my trust? Did I REQUEST a sax-heavy boringass cover called "Barefootin'"? Did I send him an EMAIL asking that he perform a happy-go-lucky goodtime version of "Eyesight To The Blind"? Did he perceive a Prindle SMOKE SIGNAL implying that he should do a non-screamin' version of Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put A Spell On You"? Did I drive a cab up to his British home and leave a note on the TELLY saying, "Cheerio mate! 'Ello ello ello! How's about a warbling out-of-tune solo version of "Pinball Wizard," then?" Did I spend eight months taking a sign language course so that I could shine a flashlight into his window and spend a month of sundays signing, "Oh please Mr. Townshend, won't you consider performing a live version of that shittyass 'Stop Hurting People' piece of shit song?"

As a matter of fact, yes. I did all of these things and more. And I don't regret a single moment! You only go around this crazy go-cart track called life once, and it would be a shame to miss out on some of the worst music that America's Peteheart has ever released.

The rest of the album is great though, once you get past the odious fretless bass, sickening (synth?) horns and stench-laden loud-reverbed-drums '80s mix. Pete performs his own version of the Roger Daltrey solo hit "After The Fire" (which I didn't even KNOW was written by Pete! Wasn't I the fool!), a cover of a really pretty song called "Save It For Later," the only non-bombastic song on Quadrophenia ("I'm One"), a passable version of "Behind Blue Eyes," and a cornily performed version of the impossible-to-make-non-great song "A Little Is Enough."

If you think that I just listed every song on the album, you'd be dead wrong.

If you put it on the turntable sideways, there's an extra 52 songs on there.

Reader Comments
To paraphrase the Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpson's: BEST REVIEW EVER!!

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Another Scoop - Atco 1987
Rating = 8

Yeah, another scoop of Breyer's SHIT Cream, if you ask me!

Let me rephrase: This is another double album of Who-era demos, oddities, outtakes and rarities. But unlike the last one, which presented a loose, talented happy Pete doing nifty things with musical instruments, a surprisingly large portion of this one is devoted to overserious, heavily orchestrated classical-type music. Lots of violins and drama. Most of those songs are none too good. Look no further than "The Ferryman," "Never Ask Me," "The Right To Write" and "Football Fugue" for songs that no Who fan need ever hear.

However, on the up side, the OTHER songs (and honestly, even some of the pompous ones) are as fantastic as fantastic can be (Colin Powell with a boner). Early demos of "You Better You Bet" (one of my all-time favorite Who songs), "Happy Jack," "Substitute," etc etc - "Christmas" with Pete completely failing to hit all those high notes he wrote into the song, acoustic blues, spacesy synth stuff, pretty acoustic rarities like "The Shout". the list could and may some day go on and on.

I can sum up the album in one word: "All Music Guide."

Go there if you want an actual description of the album.

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The Iron Man: A Musical - Atco 1989
Rating = 3

In his tour-de-force as a rock and roll visionary, Pete Townshend here refashions the classic Black Sabbath song into a series of sterile adult contemporary modern Broadway show tune garbage with all the warmth and life of a break dancing Tandy computer. The entire CD sounds like it was pre-programmed on early 80s crapthesizers with no live musicians showing up at all. As fake-sounding, hard on the ears and wrongly produced as any other recent Broadway show soundtrack (Rent, Evita, Dude Where's My Car), this refashioning of the classic Ted Hughes metal classic further insults the listener's intellengents by offering up TERRIBLE songs sung by STUPID ASSHOLES like racist Nina Simone, pornography star Chyna and Led Zeppelin wannabe John Lee Hooker. And by terrible, I mean abysmal "tough guy" "I Can See For Miles" riffs played on a "tough guy" faggotyass keyboard, untricate piano jazz with nowhere to go but down (my panties) and acoustic pop/rock in the old timey Townshend tradition but without that man's strength of character and understanding of the primordial rock and roll urge that drives wild-eyed teenaged boys to blast It's Hard on their quadrophonic systems day and night until Old Man McGillicudy sodomizes them with a leaf blower. If you want to hear Pete at his most Effete, this refashioning of the classic computer animation film The Iron Giant Man should be right up your alleyway.

I'm back from my Hawaii honeymoon! We went to Kauiuiuiui and the Big Island and enjoyed volcanic ash, lava and devastation, as well as a helicopter ride over the island, a mule ride over a small portion of the island, snorkeling with fish and sea turtles (SNORKELING RULES!), kayaking and cliff jumping (well. 15 feet. But it was STILL a cliff! Just a small one) and best of all - THREE DAYS ON A NUDE BEACH! And take it from me, Mark Prindle, naked girls are better than clothed ones.

Reader Comments
Surely this is based on on the late Ted Hughes' book of the same name. Hughes was of course published by Faber and Faber, London -based and responsible for, amongst others, TS Eliot's "the Waste Land" and WH Auden (who, I reckon, exerted an influence on Bob Dylan circa 1965-66. See for instance Desolation Row). Townshend spent several years as poetry editor at Faber and Faber, thus solidifying his reputation as literary rock star.

As for the album itself, I've never heard it. I do hit the Pete Townshend website once in a while and he strikes me as a miserable git. I remember him once moaning on about bootleggers. However this is in accordance with the type of poets published by Faber.

I must admit to being attracted at some level to that whole miserablist English scene. Unable to admit simple joy unless narrated through a whole gamut of family-neurosis and memories of the last war (I mean 1939-45), and simultaeneusly both tight-lipped and far more sensual than it is prepared to admit to itself, both Hughes' prose in the Iron Man and Townshends lyrics recognize energy and find it hard to accomodate.

Blah - blah. Bet you think I'm a pretentious old git don't you. Well I am so there.

By the way. White City is a housing estate ("housing project" as you yanks say) over in west London. In the 1900's there was an international exhibition held there and the estate was built on the same site shortly afterwards. Townshend likes to associate himself with that area given that it is pretty tough but in fact Townshend grew up in Ealing, a far more languid and leafy suburb of London.. I imagine him standing at a bus stop in 1965, a younger and weirder Pete Hammill (of Van der Graff Generator - he grew up in the same borough of London, Middlesex boys both of 'em) eying him out. (Mark)
Saw your remark about Chyna. I'm not real versed in WWF or WWA or whatthefuckever, but the one time I saw her ever so briefly in what I thought was a Stacker 2 commercial she seemed pretty hot. So, like Mssr Townshend, I decided to do some internet research on Chyna. And you know what? She's a horse! I thought she was supposed to be some hot thang with bulging arms ala Ms Rachel McLish, but in all the pictures I found she just looks like Rambo with tits!

Also, in regards to nude beaches; the band I was in played a nudist camp for New Years Eve many "moons" ago. There was one hot chick and everyone else was old, overweight, dreadfully average looking, or all three. Not to mention the place smelled like Bunky Kowalski's gym sock at the end of a school year. We as a band, kept our clothes on. Not out of any sense of propriety. I mean if this had been, like Hef's Jacuzzi, that's one thing. But this was like Mayberry meets Kafka so, Hey! no thanks........
I thought the song "Dig" was a good song. It was way too short, like Roger.

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Psychoderelict - Atco 1993
Rating = 5

Another rock opera, with a few major differences - (A) the production on this one is actually really good, kinda timeless - lots of guitars, less programmed `80s embarrassment, (B) dialogue is as much a part of the CD as the songs, so you can actually follow the story for a change and (C) moon. C moon! C moon! Ooo- eee! Awww come on - who here doesn't love a little Wings humor on a sunny post- Thanksgiving aftermorn?

The story revolves around an aging rock star (Ray Davies) who's involved in an extended state of writer's block (Eric Clapton) and is constantly being trashed by young critics as a worthless dinosaur (Ritchie Blackmore). His manager and a young female critic come up with a mean-spirited scheme to get him back in the spotlight to everybody's profit. Though the dialogue is often a bit stupid (as when the female critic explains, "Life's a bitch - and so am I!"), the story itself is actually a lot of fun, with more twists and turns than a glass full of licorice. Unfortunately, the music is fairly uneventful. Careening back and forth between early `70s synth experiments and Townshend-by- numbers (see, that was a clever play on words - I substituted the word "color" with "Townshend" to suggest that Pete is simply going through the motions here, following his pre-established formula without adding anything original to it. Which reminds me - from this point on, I would like all of you to take note of how often you see the phrase "worth the price of admission" in record reviews. For example, "Worth the price of admission for track three alone." Here's a bitchy little clue - YOU DON'T GET ADMITTED TO AN ALBUM, YOU CRITICS-BY-NUMBERS), the record leaves the listener feeling like Pete honestly can no longer tell the difference between an interesting melody and a bland one. "English Boy" has a hip "Face To Face"-style chorus and "Now And Then" has a harrowingly beautiful chorus, but the rest of it can be taken or left, depending on whether you have one of those "Smart" CD players that can delete lousy songs and throw them down the garbage disposal. But that's just me talking. What's your opinion, Pete Townshend?

Reader Comments

Pete Townshend
I'm not really Pete Townshend. (Eric Sweenor)
The storyline, which apparently involves a washed up rock star (ooooh, subtle!) and the journalist out to ruin him (paranoid, Pete?) who are secretly screwing or something or other...oh, who cares, really? I can't honestly say I do. Stupidly, they actually talk during and between the songs - bad! But there's some super songs on here, some ultra-catchy shiny upbeat and uptempo pop songs, god dammit! "Don't Try to Make Me Real", "English Boy", and what is either a pop song parody or a great lost single of the 90's, "Flame" are the highlights here.

I think the only one even in print now is the one without the dialogue. Mercy. That version gets 7/10, not enough memorable stuff. With dialogue? 5/10.

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Live: A Benefit for Maryville Academy - Platinum 1999
Rating = 8

I just did a Google search for "Tartles Bilanjimoo" and was horrified to find not a single entry for this hilarious name I made up in the 8th grade. Ditto for "Vippy Zvkotz." What do people think - that I make up hilarious names for my hygiene? No! I do it for YOU! So where are all the Tartles Bilanjimoo Message Boards and Vippy Zvkotz Online Conference Calls? I thought I could never be sickened again after sitting through an entire Black-Eyed Peas song, but you peoples' apathy toward my hilarious names is nauseating.

Hi, I'm Groin McCaskill. You know, when I'm wearing pants, there's nothing I like more than listening to a ripe new Pete Townshend live CD from 1999 from which all artist royalties are donated to Maryville City of Youth, a leader in the treatment of physically, sexually, and emotionally abused children. Here's somebody else with a hilarious name with more information.

Hi, I'm Stinks McGoFuckYourself. You know, when I saw that this CD featured a hearty collection of band-performed Who and solo Townshend classics, I got so excited I could hardly boner. And it starts with a faithful cover of Canned Heat's awesome droning psych-blues classic "On The Road Again"! Here's somebody else with a hilarious name to tell you more. Hi. Aside from "On The Road Again," this disc includes live renditions of 2 tracks each from Quadrophenia and Empty Glass, and one each from All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes, Sing My Generation, Magic Bus, Psychoderelict, Who's Next, Face Dances and Rough Mix. Pete's band includes keyboardist Jon Carin (of Industry), harmonica player Peter Hope-Evans (of Medicine Head), percussionist Jody Linscott (of Kokomo), bassist Chucho Merchan (The Iron Man) and guitarist Tracey Langran (Tommy original cast recording). I've never actually heard of Industry, Medicine Head or Kokomo, but there you go.

The set list is wonderful and most of the songs are played very well - with the correct 70's and 80's synthesizer tones intact. Pete wisely chose the most melodic song on Psychoderelict ("Now And Then," with those beautiful high-voice bits!), as well as such surprising non-hits as "A Little Is Enough," "I'm One" and "North Country Girl." And at a 1999 concert with only 6 Who songs, can you believe that one of them is "You Better You Bet"? I LOVE "You Better You Bet"! It's not quite as fun without Roger's ridiculously gravelly vocals, but still - what a wonderful, poppy, energetic song! And who could write a better lyric than "You welcome me with open arms -- and open legs"? Any multi-cellular organism, sure, but you don't see bacteria churning out such playfully naughty wit!

The only segments on here that fail for me personally are Pete's three attempts to rework (Dylan-style!) three beloved Who songs into entirely different, weaker pieces of music. I've no problem with the interjection of a long modal jam in the middle of "Anyway Anyhow Anywhere" -- in fact, it's pretty hypnotic -- but what is the point of playing an entirely wrong chord sequence during the verse? The original chord sequence wasn't exactly 'a pile of shit,' so I'm not sure what Pete is trying to achieve here. "Won't Get Fooled Again" is even worse, reducing one of rock's most fiery anthems into a laidback bore all sung on one note. The nadir of this approach is reached on a thirteen-and-a-half minute version of "Magic Bus" that replaces the original's nervous energy and itchy shuffle with sluggish, boring, self-indulgent electric blues.

By the way, this release is supposedly available in two forms -- one with a 'bonus disc' and one without. I'm reviewing the one with the bonus disc -- the one without would only get a 7 out of 10. But the bonus disc features Eddie "Pearl Jam" Vedder singing back-up on a stripped-down rendition of "Magic Bus" (that beats HELL out of first-disc version) and taking Ronnie Lane's verses in "Heart To Hang Onto." And if there's anybody that can spruce up a bonus disc, it's Eddie "Van Halen" Van Halen! Unfortunately, he was unavailable.

Pete has also been releasing special live CDs through his web site, but I haven't bought any of those. If you have, could I bother you for reviewable copies?

Nerps McBoi-i-ing!

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Lifehouse Elements - Eel Pie 2000
Rating = 6

All week long I've been thinking about how great it would be to write this review and say "'Pete Townshend'? More like 'Pete DOWN'S SYNDrome' if you ask me!!!" But now that I'm actually doing it, it's not great at all. It's just sad and sorrowful. Because Pete Townshend doesn't have Down's Syndrome. Certainly many of the little kids he'd like to fuck do, but he doesn't. So the whole thing is just depressing.

The word "jit."

Because he's a genius, Pete Townshend decided to put together a 6-disc box set of demos, re-recordings and orchestral pieces called Lifehouse, based on a bad idea he had two decades earlier. This CD is the only part of it that you can buy in a real store that's not called It contains 65 minutes worth of 11 songs, including wild, woolly, unfamiliar, woolly versions of wild, woolly, familiar, woolly , wild w

Including 5 Who's Next and 2 each Who Are You, Odds & Sods, Whatever. Each song features keyboards, fake drums and guitars. Almost all are just Pete by himself, although some feature very pretty double-tracked harmony vocals. And it's kinda neat to hear Pete's stuffed-nose voice in place of Roger's "YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" voice in these songs we know so well. For example, "Won't Get Fooled Again" and "Behind Blue Eyes." Things are a little frigged though, hence the 6. Like "Baba O'Riley" performed by an orchestra is a fine idea, but not for 10 goddamned minute-asses. 8 1/2 minutes of "Pure And Easy" is also a mistake that nobody needed to make. Also, "Who Are You" is performed by a live band with a modern slow-techno fake beat ("Pepper" by Butthole Surfers) and features a throat-retchingly vomitous RAP SECTION in the middle. It may not use a crutch, but it sure is LAME!

That last sentence may not use a crutch, but it sure was HAVING TROUBLE WALKING!

Welcome to the Turd Museum. Today in the Turd Museum, please welcome a chintzy corny keyboard demo of "Song Is Over." If you have time afterwards,

I don't know. Pete keeps putting stuff out. Every live show or demo he's ever done. Do you need this? Well, let me ask you this: Do you need a job drinking urine samples?

Happy Shamrock Day! I drank because it's Sharmrock Day for the Irish! Happy Shamrock Day, the Irish! Thanks for the sharmrocks and the color green, which we didn't have before you immigrated and delivered it to us! Also, thanks for the leprechauns, the potato famine, and the 'luck of the Irish'! Without you, there was no 'pot of gold' or 'rainbow.'! And thank you for the 'Lucky Charms'! Thank you, the Irish! Without you, there would be no alcoholism or Boston Celtics! And thank you for the buttons that say 'Kiss Me, I'm Irish' because we had never kissed in America before you immigrated and brought those over! Thank you!

Also, thank you for the name "Sersha"! (spelled "Sciorscieouoaeiouy")

Peter Townshend is bald and creepy. Look, here's my impression of him: "The Taliban are trying to get rid of music! They're trying to get rid of ME! I am music! My life is music! It's all I care about! I'm a tard!"

That reminds me of a fantastic palindrome I just made up: "I'm a tard! Drat. Am I?" Thanks everybody, for supporting me and my new palindrome.

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Scoop 3 - Eel Pie 2001
Rating = 5

Peter T. T./Peter T. Peter T./A-Peter Peter T. T./Peter T. Peter T. (to be sung to the tune of "Bucket T.," though not anymore) is at it again, digging up smelly old demos and boring new synclavier compositions for two hours of crap, befuddlement and around 60 minutes of good music. This good shall include terrifically catchy unreleased rock ("Commonwealth Boys," "Lonely Words"), gorgeous acoustic gentleness ("Collings" and alternate run-throughs of "Parvardigar" & "Sea And Sand"), optimistic pianoery ("971104 Arpeggio Piano," "Wired To The Moon Part 2), drastically unfamiliar versions of classic material (a smoky jazz piano rendition of "Eminence Front"; "Athena" when it was about a real woman named "Teresa" and actually meant something to Pete - note his excited shout, "I'm fuckin' ECSTATIC!"; a vacuum fuzz drone run-through of "Rough Boys" that, even without drums, pounds the SHIT out of the sissyass album version), and a standalone neat-ass dark odd skewy synth thing called "Elephants."

Which leaves us with the bad. The synclavier semi-classical crapositions that fish can swim safely around for hours (no hooks), the cliched old time rock n rollers, the bland adult piano pop, the REGGAE SONG (!!!!!!!) - I suppose there's an audience for everything, so Pete might as well release every piece of music he's ever recorded, but surely his already shaky reputation (Iron Man, Psychoderelict, masturbating to naked little kids on the Internet) is not going to be miraculously rescued by the rancid smooth jazz of "Can You Really Dance," a depressing version of (what was later rewritten as) David Gilmour's wonderfully soaring rocker "All Lovers Are Deranged," or early demos of "How Can You Do It Alone" and "However Much I Booze" that lack the very elements that ultimately made the songs ANY GOOD AT ALL in the first place (i.e. the bouncy bass line of "Alone" and that killer post-chorus guitar lick in "Booze").

Oh, Pete Townshend. What happened to Pete Townshend? Even up through the late '80s, he was writing some truly great music. Where has he gone during the past 15 years? Has he just lost interest in creating new music? I know he's constantly working on Tommy, Lifehouse and Quadrophenia revivals (not to mention several Who reunion tours), but surely he must have an urge to create something NEW for a change. What is he doing with this urge? Writing his autobiography? Laying down tracks for a hot new The Who album featuring Roger Daltrey? Concentrating on being treated as a 'serious' songwriter like such contemporaries as classical pianist William Joel and opera composer Roger Waters? And more importantly, will he ever actually FINISH anything again?!

Pete Townshend's last studio album came out TWELVE years ago. In a previous 12-year span, Pete wrote, recorded and released The Who Sings My Generation, A Quick One, The Who Sell Out, Magic Bus, Tommy, Who's Next, Quadrophenia, The Who By Numbers, Who Came First and Rough Mix. I know he keeps artistically busy, but you sure wouldn't know it from his output. I'm not saying that albums are everything, and perhaps he's just sick of the record industry, but it still makes you wonder. Paul McCartney's still a viable recording artist. Neil Young, definitely. Yes, the Moody Blues, Lou Reed - all these aging artists continue to write and record new material, some of it very GOOD material too. Even the Rolling Stones have a new studio album coming out this year. So what is Pete doing? Just living in the past? Not even Jethro Tull is living in the past, and they WROTE "Living In The Past"!

In conclusion, Scoop 3? More like POOP 3!

Also, Scoop 3? More like Scoop PEE!

Also, "Pete Townshend"? More like "Pete DOWN'S SYND(rome)"!

Also, "Pete Townshend"? More like "(Smelly) FEET Townshend"!

I appear to have run out of things to make fun of.

Oh hang on! "Eel Pie Records"? More like "NEIL DI(amond plays) CHECKERS!" HA! UP YOUR ASS, CHECKERS!

I really stuck it to Checkers on that one. Fuckin' board game.

Reader Comments (Tom Ashley)
Scoop 3? More like "Save your money and blow it on the entire Motorhead catalogue" if you ask me! You see, I only have Everything Louder Than Everyone Else and I'm afraid there won't be enough time between now and the next time they go on tour for me to get the rest of their albums. I may just end up settling for Inferno and a couple of the early ones, but don't think for a second that I'll feel good about it.

You're right about Who's Next, by the way.
Your reviews of Townshend's albums are horrible. Know the subject matter before you consider yourself a critic.

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