SXSW 2007 Keynote Interview: Pete Townshend Page 4

SXSW 2007 Keynote Interview: Pete Townshend

So, yes, it's a very different time. And I just think that the Who are an anomaly, like the Stones, like any band that appeals to baby boomers. If you're a new band, don't go there, don't even bother with it. If you go to a record company and say, we've got a great record here, we've got a fan base of 100,000, and we're willing to tour the world, the company will kinda go, "Well, are you gonna give us a hit?"

The other thing the CEO said to me was, "Where are the stars?" Well [if you're a musician], you have to wait for the stuff, you have to build. You don't just wake up one morning and go, "Bing! I'm Christina Aguilera!" You work for Disney from when you're 8 years old; you become that star. That star system is something I'm very familiar with, because I started playing in a band when I was 14 years old - 14 years old.

I've got a foot in the old, established camp, touring with the Who, and a foot in the new camp with the small concerts I do with my partner Rachel [Fuller]. And I think, where I feel the foot is most firmly embedded is ... Lou Reed and I onstage at Joe's Pub [in New York City] recently, looking into each other's eyes, and at one point Lou saying, "Is it okay to sit down?" And I said, "Sure." And he went, "Wow. You mean we can sit down and play?" And I said, "Sure, if you want to sit down, then sit down." You don't know how f---ing huge that was to Lou Reed! Y'know, he's a couple of years older than me!

But the main thing was, when Lou and I started to play together, his eyes lit up and he flashed to me that this is gonna work. And what it felt like was ... it matters, in that pub, at that moment, what is music but the dividing of time, bringing yourself into the present, what is meditation, what is Zen, what is nirvana, what is truth, what is God, what is love, what are these things but things that happen in the f---ing moment. But what do we do with the Internet? We delay them. "You can have it later! You can have all this stuff when you want it, when it fits into your workday." F--- it! I want it live.

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