PETE TOWNSHEND: Interview Part #1 of 2

Oldawg: Nearly 30 years after its release I find It’s Hard to be very representative (unfortunately) of what is happening in the world today. In particular John’s Dangerous, Eminence Front and Cooks County. How do you feel about It’s Hard today?

P.T.: It's Hard is the only record the Who made where the individual members of the band agreed on a brief beforehand. I was having trouble working out what kind of songs to write for The Who, and asked everyone to give me some guidance. The response was clear – everyone in the band wanted to write about the fact that the post war dream, one that rock had partly helped to promise, hadn't been delivered. I'm really not sure what I think now about It's Hard. When I started work on it in early 1982 I had only just landed on my feet after a month long Ativan detox programme, and when I got home the band were already in the studio without me with Andy Fairweather Low standing in on guitar. I felt forced to get to work immediately, and I felt very rushed especially as I had to finish off my solo album Chinese Eyes at the same time. Both albums seem different from my perspective. To me, they belong together in a sense. They were never perceived this way by critics, fans or even the other members of The Who.

Clashwho: You’ve recently said that you’re having difficulty writing new material, due to feeling uneasy when treading familiar territory. This reminded me of Bono saying of an Edge guitar lick, “We can’t use that, it sounds too much like U2!” The Edge replied, “Fuck it. We ARE U2.” Any chance you’ll have a similar epiphany?

P.T.: I don't think the context of the way I was quoted is quite right. My friend Cynthia Fox, disk jockey with KLOS in L.A. asked me the same question recently. I replied:

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