Pete Townshend Talks About How Dual Career Led To The Who’s Demise
Out now is Pete Townshend‘s new two-hour Audible Original mini-biography, titled Somebody Saved Me. The Townshend confessional is named after his 1982 solo favorite featured on All The Beat Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes.
Townshend explained how the project took shape, telling The Los Angeles Times, “When the idea was presented to me, it was to cover the period when I was under the most difficulty as an artist, which was after Keith Moon‘s death and after (11 Who fans died at a 1979 concert in) Cincinnati. . . That period was jam-packed with stuff, some of it incredibly intense, including the beginning of the breakdown of my marriage to Karen, my first wife, whom I met when we were kids.”
Townshend ultimately agreed to take part in the series and donate the money to the Who’s patron charity, the Teenage Cancer Trust: “Audible was offering big money — half a million dollars. That made me think twice about it, but I just didn’t want to do it, so I turned it down. . . I thought, f*** it, I could get Audible to give the money directly to Teen Cancer America, which during the lockdown had suffered hugely through lack of funds.”
In Somebody Saved Me, Townshend pinpointed the moment where the pressuere of his career led to the collapse of his marriage and the Who. It was during this period that Townshend inked his first solo recording deal with Atco Records — a subsidiary of Atlantic: “Closely after that, (the Who’s manager) Bill Curbishly walks in and announced that Mo Ostin at Warner Bros. has offered the Who $30 million (to sign with the label). I just thought, ‘Wow! All I have to do is (laughs) write some songs’ — which I love to do. But, of course there was no way that I could write the songs, demo the songs, record the songs with the artist or with the producers and then go out on the road and plug the songs, talk about the songs, maintain a marriage — it was an impossible task. But, I was blinded by the money, I think.”