The Guitarist Pete Townshend Picked To Take His Place In The Who

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The life of a rock star can be entertaining, fun, but painful and tragic at the same time because of their mindsets, conditions, and perspectives toward living. Behind the shining lights of the music industry, many artists suffered a lot while fighting with each other, drug and alcohol addictions, and pain after losing beloved ones for years. These situations changed their lives and careers irrecoverably and made them try different things.

For the iconic rock band, The Who, their drummer Keith Moon’s death from a drug overdose on September 7, 1978, was a milestone moment in which they questioned their musical journeys. Pete Townshend was done with touring and live performances, and he only wanted to write songs for the band in a studio. However, other members disagreed with him, and the famous guitarist needed to find a solution.

The Musician That Pete Townshend Wanted To Replace Him In The Who

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Peter Frampton became famous and successful for his solo career and various projects with Ringo Starr, John Entwistle, and David Bowie. However, musicians’ careers are full of ups and downs due to various reasons and incidents. The ’80s were challenging for Frampton, especially after a near-fatal car accident in the Bahamas which he mentioned in his book.

Frampton’s autobiographical book entitled ‘Do You Feel Like I Do?: A Memoir,’ released on October 20, 2020, reflected many moments from his life and career. One of them was a phone call from The Who guitarist Pete Townshend. Even though he didn’t give the exact date, understanding from his words about his career, Townshend called him in the ’80s.

The musician stated that he didn’t want to perform live shows with The Who; instead, he decided to write or compose songs. Thus, Townshend wished Frampton to replace him for touring, which surprised the guitarist. He was freaking out and didn’t know what to say, considering the band’s legacy and playing after Townshend. Frampton started to wait for another call from the Who icon, which lasted for weeks.

An excerpt from Frampton’s memoir read:

“My career was in the toilet. I can’t afford the mortgage; it’s not looking good. I was in the kitchen one day, and I got a phone call from Pete Townshend. I love Pete. We’ve known each other for a long time. I wouldn’t say we’re close friends, but we have mutual respect. So I get this call from England. ‘Hey, Pete, it’s Townshend here, Pete Townshend.’ Oh, blimey, how are you? Long time. He said, ‘Yeah, so I’ve made this decision that I’m not going to tour with the Who anymore.

‘I’ll still write the songs, but I want you to take my place.’ Wait, what? I remember the first thing that I said when he paused, I said, ‘That’s an enormous pair of shoes to fill! I can’t do that.’ He said, ‘Yes, you can. I’ll be there with you.’ I said, ‘Wait for a second, Pete. Have you spoken to Roger or the others about this?’ He said, ‘Not yet; I’m going down to talk to them tomorrow.’ I said, ‘Okay, why don’t you call me back when you’ve had a chat with them about this. They don’t know you’re not going to tour anymore?’ ‘No, not yet; they’ll know tomorrow.'”

What started as an intimidating and exciting offer later turned into an endless waiting for Frampton since he didn’t hear from his fellow musician for weeks after this call. Though he initially planned to wait until Townshend reached out to him, plans changed when he realized the rocker had forgotten about him.

What Did Pete Townshend Say To Peter Frampton After Weeks?

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During the time of waiting, Frampton was thinking about it all the time, again and again, then he couldn’t be patient anymore. After his then-wife, Barbara advised him to call Townshend back, Frampton could reach Townshend after calling him four or five times, and the Who icon ended this waiting with his words. In the beginning, the guitarist was angry at Townshend because of leaving him in a cliff-hanger situation, but the musician solved this problem.

He added:

“So a week goes by, nothing. Two weeks go by, and I’m losing it. I knew he must have thought about the offer he made to me, but I wasn’t going to let him off the hook. Three weeks went by, and my wife said, ‘For Christ’s sake, call him!’ Because I was total hell to live with at that point.

I find him in a studio somewhere in London; it took me four or five calls to get him, and all I let him get out was, ‘Oh, hi, Pete.’ I said, ‘You haven’t called me back in three weeks! I got nothing going on in my career, and the inventor of the Who, the songwriter and the major player in the Who, calls me up and offers me his position in the band and then doesn’t call me back! You’ve left me hanging.’

He said, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry.’ I’ve never heard Townshend like that before. I had to make him understand, ‘Hey, you f*cked me up for three weeks here; it’s not been a good three weeks for me.’ He apologized profusely, saying, ‘I’m so sorry, I should never have done that.’

As a result, Townshend apologized to him for his words and the offer that he made without thinking and said he shouldn’t have done that in the first place. Most probably, the famous musician decided to talk with Frampton, but he couldn’t understand the consequences of it initially. So, Townshend continued touring with The Who until leaving while the singer focused on his solo career and his other collaboration with famous musicians.