Taylor Swift savages boyfriends who cross her. There is a hazard to getting close to such a girl. In vague comparison, if you fucked over Pete Townshend, it was time to renew your passport and run. I listened to his music long before I knew him. When I was in college, I wouldn’t have been able to name the band individually. It just wasn’t something I was concerned with, and I don’t think this was at all uncommon. They were simply The Who and maybe my favorite band. The hardest band to remember their names were Lynryd Skynyrd. I had to practice so much I got blocks. It is why I only got to know Ronnie well.
“Can I have a word?” Townshend says to me by the hotel phone around midday. Like some rare birds, he was an uncommon sight until late afternoon at sound checks. It was not a settling experience to talk to him one on one before then. For me, at first, it was a reasonable cause for dread. He made me uneasy. It took years to work that shit out. Bill, Jackie, and I were having a laugh in a hotel room working out a logo/poster for the upcoming Canadian leg of a Who tour when his call came. Canada is big and mostly settled by moose. So far, because the shows started in Montreal, we had a drawing of a giant green frog, with a chunk of Canadian bacon in its mouth, hopping on each city they would play. The amphibian was wearing a Royal Canadian Mounted Police uniform, and he had a beaver under each arm. The bacon was my touch because I grew up eating it. I thought of it as an example of my favorite form of art, topical and bursting with ridicule. But that phone call dampened me, so I headed down to his room. He did not look well. He had his tea. He could remind me of a bloodhound waiting for a proctology examination. I expected the worse because I had passed his security guy in the hallway, and he barely recognized me.
” Did you give me money last night?” he said without really looking up. I got the feeling that if I lied, he would be pleased.” Yes,” I said. “How much?” He actually groaned when I told him. “Fuck,” was all he said “Who was here?” I asked. “It doesn’t matter. I must have passed out.” He seemed to sigh, but he might have been still gasping in shock. “Want me to put Jim on it?” I said. “No, it’s gone, thanks.” And I left.
My career incorporated moving each day from one bunch of people to another. The populations of these audiences ranged from 250 to 150,000 individuals. In each instance, almost all of them wished they were me. That never helped.