Blackie Lawless Recalls Pete Townshend’s Compliment About His The Who Cover
Rockers might pay homage to other acts by covering their tracks, but there’s always the worry of not doing justice to the song. W.A.S.P.’s Blackie Lawless worried about this when the band covered The Who’s ‘The Real Me,’ but while chatting with Metal Edge, the frontman disclosed how Pete Townshend eased his worries with a compliment.
W.A.S.P. covered ‘The Real Me’ in their 1989 record, ‘The Headless Children.’ Lawless discussed the time when the Who visited the U.S. while producing their fourth studio album, ‘Tommy,’ as he got the chance to meet Pete and hear his views on their cover.
“In ’89, after the record came out, the Who came back to America and were doing ‘Tommy’ and it was the first time they’ve done it in many, many years,” recalled Lawless and revealed how he encountered Townshend. “They were playing in New York, and I was going to be in New York at the time, and so we did a thing where I presented Townshend with a gold record, after the show. And we talked for, I don’t know, 20, 30 minutes.”
He continued, “We talked mostly about songwriting. He paid me what I think is a pretty high compliment. He says, ‘A lot of people have covered my songs, but no one has ever done to one of my songs what you’ve done.’ And he had this look in his eye when he was saying it, and then he followed it up. He said, ‘Must have taken a lot of courage to do that'”.
“Now, I knew exactly what he meant when he said that,” emphasized Blackie and appreciated the Who’s musical talent. “That band, when you listen to ‘Live At Leeds,’ was a freight train out of control, musician-wise. I mean, these guys were unreal. So for another band to come along and think that they could do that justice, you’ve either got to be able to do it or you’re totally insane and you’re gonna embarrass the hell out of yourself.”
It seems like Townshend truly appreciated W.A.S.P.’s cover of ‘The Real Me.’ Even though Lawless knew it would be tough to perform it properly and worried they hadn’t done the song justice, Pete’s compliment made them proud. However, W.A.S.P. wasn’t the only band that covered an iconic track. Check out the Led Zeppelin cover for which both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page gave a standing ovation.
You can watch the music video for W.A.S.P.’s cover of ‘The Real Me’ below.