See Me, Hear Me? Hopefully this is the Rolls Royce Wraith that The Who's Frontman Roger Daltrey customized in 2017 for Charity, featuring The Who's Tommy's album cover on its hood, Err Bloody Bonnet! (Image source: teamspeed.com)
So what does a Blind Word Butcher do when he’s Ah-waitin’ the arrival of his new Confuzer’, prior to the un-anticipated vast learning curve he knows he’ll be Painfully Forced to suffer thru? Especially when taking an eleven days sabbatical away from spending far too much time upon Zed Confuzer?
Yeah, your humble No Fenders Scribe Tomaso reverted to the far easier & enjoyable recreation of listening to The Who’s "Guiding Light" Pete Townsend’s Autobiography that only took him a mere 17yrs to complete; CRIKEYS!
Although now I’ve learned its actually speeled Townshend, Righto? Which Lucy', my veritable Screen Reader enjoys pro-nouncin' as Towns Shend, Ack! Especially when Yuhs live in thoust world 'O FauxNetics' - Yuck-Yuck-Yuck...
As I'm tryin' to poond' out Ye foundations for this No Fenders story before it All Slips Away, having finished this most excellante Book Wayback on February 29th, a day after Mario Andretti's 80th Birthday; But I Digress...
The book quite thoroughly chronicles Pete's entire life up to the date of publishing, now eight years ago. Beginning with his fraught childhood of being sent away by his parents following World War II, along with his musical talent apparently coming from his Pops', who played in a Royal Air Force (RAF) Band.
But for Mwah, the book doesn't really start until he meets later Band-mates John Entwistle at school, since I believe Pete mentions John taking him underneath his protective Wing' at age 12, while latter Frontman and Singer Roger Daltrey is a menacing competitor with his own Band.
For when Pete nervously goes to see about playing in Roger's band, is confronted by a stunning Blonde crying on her way out, and tells Pete to tell Roger it's either Her or his Band!
And the rest as they say is History, as Pete soon became the lead guitar player for Roger's Band, with Daltrey becoming the singer, although I think per Tipicali, a la Neil Peart joining RUSh', the Band really didn't go anywheres' until the addition of Keith Moon...
As I simply devoured this CD Audiobook which is appropriately read by Pete Townshend himself, largely part of what made it so enjoyable! With his never ending self induced chuckles. Weighing in at 15-Discs and some 19hrs long, I finished it in a week's duration since I simply couldn't wait to find out what happens next!
And while I totally enjoyed Townshend's self-effacing prose over how the Band and his life progress over the years, I was most taken with a few Nuggets gleamed from his tales.
The first bit should be obvious why I've enjoyed it so much, along with the fact of learning about a totally unknown musician, albeit he passed away way too soon at the age of 42 Wayback in 1977!
The narrative begins with Pete describing how he and his then wife Karen attend a Jazz Club in London I believe, circa 1968 to hear this Fantastic Musician named Roland Kirk, who amazingly played multiple instruments at a time, primarily a trio of personally modified saxophones, albeit equally adept on the piano.
near the front whispered in his wife's ear I wish he would quit playing the piano - and go back to playing saxophones with his (Jazz) Band.
Which Pete then claims Roland menacingly looked at him and dually when back to playing with the Band while sending several sneering glances afterwards his direction to which Pete hollered Sorry Row-land' in typical British sardonic wit. Swearing somehow Kirk heard his whisper!
A year later in Boston Me Thinks? Ironically the very same Roland Kirk would be The Who's Opening Act at the Funky Boston Tea Market concert venue, which reportedly had a very short lifespan between 1967-70, albeit it's latter location now reputedly is the sight of a House of The Blues concert venue.
But back to those three nights in Boston, where Kirk opened on the first leg of The Who's Tommy Concert Tour of 1969-70, for which these concerts took place in early May of '69, prior to Woodstock...
Pete regales us by saying after the first night's show, Kirk came storming into the Dressing Room and Growled where's the Skinny White Mother Fucker who sang about me being Deaf Dumb and Blind! To which Townshend said he stayed totally quiet and didn't say anything, but apparently Kirk heard him breathing and grabbed Him, to which Pete said Sorry Row-land.
Kirk than exploded once again and Yelled Damn, you're that Skinny White Mother Fucker who Didn't like my Piano Playing a year ago! To which Pete then tells us how Roland stuck around to listen to the entire Tommy Concert All three Nights.
Oh yeah, Did I forget to tells Yuhs what makes this so memorable to Mwah? In case you didn't know, the late Roland Kirk, who later went by the name Rahsann Roland Kirk was totally Blind! And had been so since he was two years old. As Pete also mentions how Kirk assails him with his Quip of I may be Blind, but I sure Ain't Deaf or Dumb!
VIDEO: The Who - Pinball Wizard
As Messer Townshend then laments how musicians listen, Blind People apparently listen Acutely!
Interestingly, and after the fact, since it's not in the book. I learned that some Funnyman Extraordinaire and former Tonight Show Host named Jay Leno was Kirk's Opening Act Wayback in '75 and Roland took pleasure in announcing Here's A Brother Who Knows All 'bout...
Roland's also credited with pioneering the throaty, talk induced breathy Flute playing style that inspired some Bloke by the name Ian Anderson. Who'd go onto great Fame carving out his own musical career as Frontman for the Rock 'n Roll Band Jethro Tull! Arse-sumedly best known for Thar Hit Song Aqualung...
Another interesting tidbit was Pete discussing his looking for inspiration spiritually, which I enjoy knowing isn't the typical Christian Doctrine. As Townshend began his longtime association with the teachings of Indian Spiritual Guru Meher Baba in 1967, and I believe he was planning to visit him in India, but Baba Died before the trip commenced.
Then once again finding myself tying life to racing, I've since mused how Townshend's nearly career ending wrist injury made me think of Robin Miller's Hero Herc', nee Jim Hurtubise. For whom I tend to recall chose to have his hands molded to grip a steering wheel after savagely injured in a Fiery Wreck!
As Pete recalls how he'd sailed one of his sailboats to a remote island to join Karen and was involved in a nasty bicycling accident, for which he'd borrowed to ride across the island.
Yet after hitting a nasty bump and being thrown from said bicycle, which subsequently ended up striking him hard as he laid on the pavement!
The surgeon he'd been rushed to gave him two choices. He could have his wrist permanently set for either strumming a guitar or holding change!
As Townshend notes strumming's vertical and holding change in your palm's horizontal, for which obviously Pete chose to continue being able to play a guitar - Fortunately for us!
While the Book covers various facets of Kieth Moon's Antics, regaling us over his Holding Court with a Harem of Young lasses', with the funniest bit for Mwah being how Keith wasn't scared at all by the Wood-be Punk Rockers acting Tough Guys routine. When Pete mentions how Moon took him for a ride in one of his limos' along with Tough-boy Billy Idol one night.
Whilst John Entwistle basically played like a Statue on Stage, but his fingers were always flying and his Bass rhythm was profoundly solid and seemingly made more with less! For which I'm now quite infatuated by John's standout Bass playing on such Who tracks like The Real Me. For which I can definitely understand a few of his many nicknames, i.e.; The Ox and most certainly thunderfingers!
As it's funny how it took reading; Err listening to the Book to Discern that the One & Only Who album I own is arguably one of their less impressive one's. Having thought for over 30yrs, Huh? That it was a Pete Townshend Solo album I'd purchased, Arse-sumedly since I've always associated the Who with Roger Daltrey's signature vocals.
As I'd say that the Eminence Front song is the 1982 It's Hard album's Biggest Hit Song for an album that Daltrey was not only critical of, but claimed that it was the only song worth releasing on the whole Bloody album; YOUCH!
Ironically It's Hard would be the final Who Studio Album Entwistle played on before his shock Death in 2002 in lost wages' aka Las Vegas at Age 57 the night before the Band was slated to begin its latest Tour of North America.
In another tiny Karmic wafting 'O Serendipity, little did I know that two Decades later, having bought this record specifically in '86 on vinyl since I liked the eminence Front single - so much When I purchased my one and only Stereo System, a Kenwood Rack Stereo system which I know Randall, Thy No Fenders Moniker King coolly called Bitchin' Wayback when...
VIDEO: The Who - Eminence Front
That I'd attend my One 'N Only Who Concert at the Key Arena in Seattle, WA. Although it will forever be The Coliseum to Mwah. When Claudio' and I attended The Who's Endless Wire Tour on Oct 11, 2006, supporting the Band's first Studio Album since It's Hard, 24yrs prior.
It was a great concert with Roger Daltrey, Pete Townshend & his Brother Simon on Rhythm ("Backing") guitar. John Rabbit' Bundrick on Keyboards and Zach Starky on Drums.
Although I tend to mostly just remember as being Blind and trying to climb the stairs to our seats towards the end of the opening act without stepping on too many people's feet, Yikes! Playing Thru...
But we were All their for Thar Greatest Hits, for which I do still remember Teenage Wasteland and Won't Get Fooled Again being played. Along with Pinball Wizard and probably Eminence Front? And may be from the new album A Man in A Purple Dress?
"Meet the New Boss,
Same as the Old Boss,
No-No, We Won't Get Fooled Again!"