Peter Townshend of The Who doesn’t know what the future holds for the guitar

By mbrooks on September 28, 2019
LAS VEGAS, NV – JULY 29: (L-R) Singer Roger Daltrey, touring drummer Zak Starkey and guitarist Pete Townshend of The Who perform on the first night of the band’s residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace on July 29, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

By Matthew Brooks

Peter Townshend was a pioneer of guitar rock. The Who broke ground on the rock opera. It pushed the limits of the power chord. Now, Townshend doesn’t know what the future holds for the guitar.

Are the days of doing something new on the guitar all in the past? The Who singer seems to think the best musicians have “exhausted the possibilities” of the guitar.

“The guitar may be losing ground, but in part, that’s because if you spend an hour on Instagram or YouTube, you will quickly discover unknown people playing the guitar the way a great orchestral violinist like Yehudi Menuhin once might have played his instrument,” Townshend says in an interview with The Dallas Morning News.

With some self-deprecation, he is not completely sure about the direction of The Who.

“Today, still, there is a difficulty trying to speak about an entity calling itself ‘The Who’, which is two old guys dragging around a suitcase full of songs written and recorded before they were even close to middle-aged,” he tells the Dallas newspaper.

In the interview he covers a variety of topics.

What is Townshend doing lately?

“I try to write real operas, and want my stage work to be like art installations.”

Other musical interests?

“Hip-hop is rock to my ears: music for the neighborhood, the street, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the young, the ignored,” he says.

His relationship with The Who bandmember Robert Daltrey:

“Growing old includes growing up. Even in the rock business. I listen now to what Roger says, attend to what he needs as an artist and try to be a supportive colleague on stage. I also try to sincerely demonstrate that I love him.”

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