The Problems Pete Townshend Found In Keith Moon And John Entwistle’s Playing

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There are so many essential bands in rock and roll history. Some bands are known to be prominent in their performances, their band members, and ultimately with their music. Bands responsible for emerging and gaining prominence through their music usually contribute to the music world by inventing new sounds that nobody had heard before.

The Who is one of the most notable bands in bringing a unique approach to rock and roll. The band also played an important role in conquering the United States with British rock music during the British Invasion. Their iconic lineup consists of Keith Moon, John Entwistle, Pete Townshend, and Roger Daltrey. However, some had less time in this world than others, and Pete Townshend once criticized his late members.

The Death Of Keith Moon And John Entwistle

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The first band member to pass away was Keith Moon in 1972, during the band’s peak. He was and still is considered one of the most influential drummers. His short career with the band gave Moon fame and fortune that is still going on after decades. He died due to an overdose of a drug he took to treat alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

The band continued after the death of Moon and had a few short hiatuses. In 2002, when they had reunited for the last time, John Entwistle passed away from a heart attack caused by cocaine. The who continued with two original members and are continuing to perform. In a 2019 Rolling Stone interview, Pete Townshend talked about how he got affected by the two members’ death, and his words were surprising.

Pete Townshend Criticized His Late Bandmates

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In the interview, Pete Townshend made a shocking statement by thanking God that Keith Moon and John Entwistle are gone. He stated that their presence made it difficult to play and wasn’t efficient as band members. The rocker praised himself by saying that his rhythm playing kept the band together. After their death, he felt freer to play his instrument, and nothing kept him from showing his talents and doing his job. Townshend said Entwistle’s bass sound was like ‘a Messiaen organ,’ while Moon couldn’t keep time with his drumming.

His statements about his bandmates’ death follow:

“It’s not going to make Who fans very happy, but thank God they’re gone. Because they were f*cking difficult to play with, they never managed to create bands for themselves. My musical discipline and my musical efficiency as a rhythm player held the band together. John’s bass sound was like a Messiaen organ. Every note, every harmonic in the sky.

When he passed away, and I did the first few shows without him, with Pino Palladino on bass, he was playing without all that stuff. I said, ‘Wow, I have a job.’ With Keith, my job was keeping time because he didn’t do that. So when he passed away, it was like, ‘Oh, I don’t have to keep time anymore.'”

These words received a lot of backlash from fans and possibly offended the late musicians’ families greatly. Hence, Townshend released an apologetic post on Facebook to explain his intention. He revealed how much he missed his old friends but still criticized how they played when they were in the band.

He later apologized by explaining:

“I am sincerely grateful to have had these second and third incarnations as a member of what we still dare to call The Who, once after Keith passed, then again after John passed. I do thank God for this, but I was being ironic in my English way by suggesting it is something I am glad about.

I can be grateful to be free as a player and writer but sad about losing old friends. It does feel ironic, and it also makes me angry. Towards the end of my mother Betty’s life, she drove me barmy, and there was a huge sense of relief when she finally passed, but I miss her very much. Love has so many facets.”

His explanation didn’t satisfy the fans because it still consisted of something good happening to Townshend following the deaths of two notable musicians. After all, his beloved bandmates died. Many people considered his words selfish, but the musician still showed his love and said he missed his friends in the Facebook post.