Taylor Swift and Pete Townshend
by Regis Boff
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.