Pete Townshend Performs With Tommy Cast, Says The Who May Do Farewell World Tour “Then Crawl Off To Die”

Pete Townshend Performs With Tommy Cast, Says The Who May Do Farewell World Tour “Then Crawl Off To Die”

Last year, the Who’s Roger Daltrey said that the long-running UK rock legends, who’d just toured North America in 2022, might not ever tour America again, citing the difficulties of mounting grand-scale rock shows in a post-COVID world. Fortunately, the Who have other streams of income available to them. For one thing, they have to be doing pretty well with that CSI sync money. Pete Townsend, Daltrey’s only surviving bandmate, recently released “Can’t Outrun The Truth,” his first solo single in 30 years. And now Tommy, the musical based on the Who’s 1969 rock opera, is back on Broadway.

Last night, Pete Townsend went on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show to promote Tommy. Townsend can be a famously cantankerous interview, but Fallon must’ve caught him in a good mood. In their interview, Townsend said nice things about Fallon, and he also talked about the Who’e early days, the genesis of Tommy, and the economics of smashing guitars. (In the Who’e early days, Townsend says that he’d smash and repair his only guitar four times a day.)

In the interview, Pete Townsend gushed about the cast of the current Tommy revival. After the interview, he joined the cast to perform a medley of the Tommy songs “Pinball Wizard,” “See Me, Feel Me,” and “Listening To You.” Townsend isn’t the focal point of that performance, but it’s fun to see him help turn these old songs that he wrote into such a production. Below, watch the performance and the interview.

Townsend may have been feeling a little less content when he sat for a recent New York Times interview with writer Rob Tannenbaum. In that interview, Townsend said, “It feels to me like there’s one thing the Who can do, and that’s a final tour where we play every territory in the world and then crawl off to die. I don’t get much of a buzz from performing with the Who. If I’m really honest, I’ve been touring for the money. My idea of an ordinary lifestyle is pretty elevated.” What an incredibly baller thing to say.

Townsend also says that he has hundreds of unreleased songs, mostly unfinished demos, that he’d like to put out there: “I’ve got about 500 titles I might release online, mostly unfinished stuff. We’re not making Coca-Cola, where every can has to taste the same. And it’s turned out, surprise, surprise, that rock ’n’ roll is really good at dealing with the difficulties of aging.” Read the Times interview here.

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