It’s always fun to see titanic figures from rock ‘n’ roll history join forces. Bruce Springsteen and the Who have been superstars for decades, so the wattage was extremely high when the Boss joined Pete Townshend and company for a run through “My Generation” at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit Thursday at the Best Buy Theater in NYC’s Times Square. The event honored Townshend and longtime Who manager Bill Curbishley for their charitable work; Springsteen presented Townshend with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award for his contributions to the MAP Fund, which helps musicians get treatment for their addictions. The Associated Press reports that Springsteen called Townshend “the greatest rhythm guitarist of all-time” and said the Who was his first rock concert. “All I knew was for some reason this music and the demolishing of these perfectly fine instruments filled me with incredible joy,” he remembered, then shared this anecdote about when his high school rock band the Castiles played a school dance in the basement of St. Rose Of Lima Catholic:
I went out and I bought a smoke bomb and I bought a strobe light and I brought them to the gig. … At the end of the night, I lit the smoke bomb in the Catholic school basement, I turned on the strobe light and I climbed on top of my Danelectro amplifier holding a vase of flowers I’d stolen from one of the upstairs classrooms. As the nuns looked on with horror, I reached up and smashed them onto the dance floor.
Townshend also shared stories of tripping on LSD and his old drinking exploits, noting that the Who’s current 50th anniversary tour represents 30 years sober for him. Back in the Who’s early era, “I was doing like three bottles of brandy a day … and I think I don’t look too bad for someone that drank cognac for 15 years.”
Watch Springsteen join Townshend and the Who’s Roger Daltrey for a run through “My Generation” below.
The lyric “I hope I die before I get old” gets more ironic every year, doesn’t it?