Rock’s Not Dead Says Pete Townshend, Just Guitar Music

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Press

“If you spend an hour on Instagram or YouTube, you will quickly discover unknown people playing the guitar the way a great orchestral violinist like Yehudi Menuhin once might have played his instrument,” The Who’s Pete Townshend told the Dallas News.

“These are virtuosos of the highest order,” he continued. “They can shred like Eddie Van Halen or play jazz like John McLaughlin. They’ve literally exhausted the possibilities of the guitar.”

having said this Pete doesn’t view this current state of guitar music as heralding the end of rock.

His idea of rock ‘n’ roll, it seems, is to more closely aligned with the idea that rock is an attitude not a sound.

“ – ‘guitar-based rock ‘n’ roll’ that is losing ground,” the 74-year-old asserted, “not rock itself. Hip hop is rock to my ears: music for the neighborhood, the street, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the young, the ignored. That used to be what I focused on.”

True as that may be, Townshend sees his role in rock as being behind him. “Now, I try to write real operas, and want my stage work to be like art installations — and why not?” he asked. “Kanye West has been doing the same thing.”

Before he left off he also reminded readers that music was never about the money. “Some of us, many of us, didn’t get into this business to be millionaires or billionaires,” he lamented, “we just wanted to connect, to raise the bar, make people dance, join together.”

The full interview here.

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