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Pete Townshend apologizes after remarks about deceased Who bandmates

The Who’s Pete Townshend apologizes for harsh words he used against former bandmates
The Who’s Pete Townshend apologizes for harsh words he used against former bandmates

UPDATE: Nov. 28, 2019, 9:30 a.m. ET — After claiming he was happy he no longer had to deal with his “f–king difficult” deceased bandmates — Keith Moon and John Entwistle — during a Rolling Stone interview earlier this week, Pete Townshend of The Who has issued a lengthy statement on Facebook apologizing for his remarks.

“I understand that a lot of longtime Who fans will be hurt by the way it comes across as a headline. I only hope that they know me well enough that I tell the truth as much as I can, but I also tell both sides and the upside is missing in the headlines,” he wrote.

Townshend, 74, explained his harsh comments, saying: “I was being ironic in my own English way by suggesting it is something I am glad about.”

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The guitarist continued: “No one can ever know how much I miss Keith and John, as people, as friends and as musicians. The alchemy we used to share in the studio is missing from the new album, and it always feels wrong to try to summon it up without them, but I suppose we will always be tempted to try.”

Pete Townshend of The Who performs during the 2017 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on Aug. 13, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif.
Pete Townshend of The Who performs during the 2017 Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival at Golden Gate Park on Aug. 13, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif. Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

“I can be grateful to be free as a player and writer but sad about losing old friends. It does feel ironic, and it also makes me angry,” he said.

“To this day, I am angry at Keith and John for dying. Sometimes it shows. It’s selfish, but it’s how I feel.”

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The musician later apologized to the children of his former bandmates.

“To those family members of Keith and John, especially Chris Entwistle and Mandy Moon, I apologize for the headlines and for carelessly providing the words that were used… I loved their dads and still do.”

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Townshend proceeded to commend the deceased drummer and bassist.

“John and Keith were so eccentric and individual as musicians,” he said. “They literally did take up so much musical and sonic space. As a guitar player, I never learned to shred because there was never any space for it.”

Though Townshend admitted “playing with [his bandmates] was hard,” he said: “The upside with Keith and John was that on tour and in the studio, we had so much fun.

“It was a riot.”

“It’s really poignantly painful to imagine how things would have turned out had John and Keith had [sic] also been allowed to become older, kinder and wiser.”

On that possibility, Townshend said: “The Who might have grown musically, or possibly just gone around in circles, but I assure you we would have deepened our love for each other as human beings and colleagues.”

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Townshend’s statement can be read in full on his official Facebook page.

ORIGINAL STORY: Pete Townshend of The Who had some choice words to say about the late Keith Moon and John Entwistle in a recent interview.

During a chat with Rolling Stone on Monday, the 74-year-old guitarist claimed he was happy he no longer had to deal with his former bandmates, whom he called “f–king difficult.”

“Thank God they’re gone,” Townshend told the interviewer after being asked if he ever gets nostalgic looking at old pictures of Moon and Entwistle.

Though he acknowledged that his comments would “not make Who fans very happy,” Townshend proceeded to criticize the deceased musicians.

The Who: (L-R) Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle.
The Who: (L-R) Pete Townshend, Keith Moon, Roger Daltrey and John Entwistle. Spitfire Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection
“They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline [and] my musical efficiency as a rhythm player held the band together,” he said.
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“With Keith, my job was keeping time because he didn’t do that… So when he passed away, it was like, ‘Oh, I don’t have to keep time anymore.'”

On The Who, Townshend continued: “We’re not a band anymore. There’s a lot of people who don’t like it when I say it, but we’re just not a f–king band. Even when we were, I used to sit there thinking, ‘This is a f–king waste of time.”

Townshend later blamed that feeling on Moon’s addiction.

“Take 26, because Keith Moon has had one glass of brandy too many,” he said in the interview.

On Entwistle, however, Townshend admitted that he contributed a massive sound to The Who.

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“John’s bass sound was like a Messiaen organ. Every note, every harmonic in the sky.

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“When he passed away and I did the first few shows without him, with Pino [Palladino] on bass, he was playing without all that stuff… and I said, ‘Wow, I have a job.’'”

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Along with Townshend and longtime frontman Roger Daltrey, Entwistle co-founded The Who in London, England in 1964.

Later that year, the trio enlisted Moon as their drummer. The much-loved four-piece completed what is best known as The Who’s classic lineup.

Moon passed away on Sept. 7, 1978 at the age of 32. Previously, the drummer was prescribed Heminevrin, a U.K. brand of clomethiazole, to help alleviate alcohol-withdrawal symptoms.

He was found dead by his girlfriend Annette Walter-Lax the next day in their shared apartment. The death was ruled an overdose after Moon took 32 of the clomethiazole pills.

Entwistle, on the other hand, died much later, on June 27, 2002 — only a day before The Who was set to embark on a U.S. tour.

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The bassist was discovered unresponsive that morning. His death was determined the result of a heart attack induced by a cocaine overdose.

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Over the course of five and a half decades, Townshend and Daltrey, 75, have continued performing together as The Who, whether it’s for one of many “farewell” tours or a “comeback” trek.

The pair, along with a massive orchestra and their multitalented backing band, has spent the majority of 2019 on the critically acclaimed Moving On! tour, which hit dozens of cities across the U.S. and Canada.

During the extensive Rolling Stone interview, Townshend revealed that he now likes Daltrey.

“I like all his eccentricities, his foibles, his self-obsession and his singer thing. Everything about him,” he said.

“I used to say that I love him, but with my fingers crossed.”

Singer Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of the band The Who perform at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, England in 2015.
Singer Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of the band The Who perform at the Glastonbury music festival at Worthy Farm, Glastonbury, England in 2015. Jim Ross/Invision/AP, File

Daltrey reflected this sentiment, saying: “I hope he realizes I care about him. I think my actions through our career have shown that.

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“I’ve always kind of known Pete cares for me.”

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The Who will hit the road next year for a short U.K. tour, with a handful of U.S. dates set to take place later in the spring.

Tour dates, updates and additional information can be found through The Who’s official website.

Who, the group’s long-awaited 12th studio album — and its first in 13 years — is set to be released on Dec. 6.

The Who’s latest single, I Don’t Wanna Get Wise, dropped on Tuesday. It is now available through all major streaming platforms.

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adam.wallis@globalnews.ca