To anyone who knows The Who’s Pete Townshend, it’s well-known that to Pete, the stage is an inviolate sanctum, and any invaders should be prepared to talk to the guitar. Even if you’re taking the stage to raise awareness for a cause that even Pete wholeheartedly supports. Just ask Abbie Hoffman. But it appears that at a recent concert in Toronto, Pete crossed the line.
Apparently, Jenny Costello – who was accompanied by her father Eric – was holding a sign which said ‘Smash your guitar, Pete!’. When the guitarist spotted it, he said: “Go away with that sign please, just go away with it, just go away with it. Don’t bring your children, use them. I want to tell you two words but I can’t because you’ve got a child there.” He then mouthed the swear words,”Fuck off.”
However, shortly afterwards, Townshend penned a letter of apology to Jenny and her family.
I can’t find a full copy of said apology, but I can find that it says that: “Apologies and condolences from my side, and very best wishes to you and your family.” He also hopes they could potentially “meet and be friends and put this behind us”. He also says he’s “sorry the story blew up the way it did” and that he sympathises “with you both, and your daughter’s mother, and that I am most certainly not angry. I was not angry on stage either. I was in rock star mode, the big mouth. I could have handled it differently. I thought of sending someone to find you both and telling you I was not upset, but we were flying to New York straight after the show, and had no time to spare. I wish things had been different. It would have saved you from all this furor. I thought your placard was fun. I had a job to do and I didn’t want to lengthen the show by trying to deal with you directly and in detail. I was also worried that your daughter looked a little frightened as the crowd started to follow you down the aisle. The ushers should not have let you leave your seats and walk forward. All that said, you did nothing wrong.”
For the record, The Who were on their Quadrophenia world tour, wherein the band plays their rock opera “Quadrophenia” in its entirety. The Who are set to bring their ‘Quadrophenia’ tour to the UK and Ireland this June.
For those of you Brits who don’t feel like looking it up on Wikipedia, here are the dates for the tour:
Dublin The O2 (June 8)
Belfast Odyssey (10)
Glasgow SECC (12)
London The O2 (15)
Sheffield Motorpoint Arena (18)
Newcastle Metro Arena (20)
Manchester Arena (23)
Cardiff Motorpoint Arena (25)
Birmingham LG Arena (28)
Liverpool Echo Arena (30)
Well, at least Jenny didn’t actually go on stage; knowing what happened with Abbie Hoffman, it could have been worse:
Also, if memory serves, in The Kids are Alright, there’s footage of him ranting on stage, saying: “There’s a guitar up here if any big mouth little git wants to come up and fucking take it off me.” I can’t find it on Youtube, but here’s another bit of Pete getting mad at an intrusive roadie:
And that’s all I have to say about that.