Monday, December 19, 2016

Who I Am

Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend  538 pp.

I've been a fan of The Who literally since childhood and remember being a very angry 13 year old because my older brother got a ticket (Under the Tent!) to see them at the Mississippi River Festival in 1971 and didn't get one for me. But I'm not bitter (much) and I finally got to see them live in 1980.
All venting aside, this book is a detailed and extensive memoir (the original manuscript was over 700 pages) by Who guitarist Pete Townshend. He begins with his childhood in Chiswick with his musician parents. Later Townshend attended art school but later joined a band with Roger Daltrey which would ultimately become The Who. Townshend writes a lot about his work developing major musical events such as the rock opera "Tommy" among others. He was the first to use guitar feedback as a tool in his compositions among other innovations. He speaks briefly about various mystical experiences he had beginning in childhood which led him to write some of his music. His penchant to mysticism led him to the teachings of spiritual teacher, Meher Baba, who had a lifelong influence on Townshend's creative life but not on his abuse of drugs and alcohol. Townshend presents his life and work in this book, warts and all. I listened to the audio version read by the author and other than the occasional odd laugh, it is well done.

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