The Reason Pete Townshend Hated Performing With The Who

Pete Townshend has been working with the iconic rock band the Who since the band’s formation in 1964. Throughout his music career in the band, he contributed to their reputation with his talented guitar playing, songwriting, and vocals. Thirteen years after the release of their 2006 album, ‘Endless Wire,’ Townshend’s latest effort with the band was the album ‘Who,’ which was released in 2019 with Roger Daltrey as a duo album.

A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Townshend has written over 100 songs for 12 of the Who’s albums. During his tenure in the band, which covers so many years, the musician has appeared on the stage with the band a great number of times to this day. However, it seems like the musician now hates performing with the Who. Let’s learn the reason Townshend admitted such a thing.

Pete Townshend Stated Performing Live Means Nothing To Him

As the Who has been active in the rock scene since 1964, they have performed on stage several times. Considering that they currently have only 12 records, and the time gap between their last three albums is lengthy, the band had to perform the same songs repeatedly. For that reason, Roger Daltrey once stated that he hates performing ‘We Won’t Get Fooled Again’ as it has appeared on the band’s setlist since 1971.

In a 2014 interview with British magazine Event, Pete Townshend also made a similar remark concerning this issue. At that time, the Who were celebrating their 50th anniversary with a tour named ‘The Who Hits 50!’ and thought it would be their last. During the interview, the journalist from Event asked Townshend why he agreed to a farewell tour. The musician then said he asks himself the same question as he hates performing, the Who, and touring.

As reported by Toronto Sun, Townshend told Event’s journalist the following:

“I’m sort of asking myself the same question. It seemed like a good idea about six months ago, but I hate performing and The Who and touring. But I’m innately good at it. I don’t find it hard.”

After the ‘The Who Hits 50!’ tour, the band embarked on the ‘Back To The Who Tour 51!’ in 2016 to continue touring. After 13 concerts, the tour concluded with a performance at the Desert Trip festival in Indio, California, on October 16. A week later, Pete Townshend gave an interview to the Times and yet again stated he is tired of performing with the Who. He said that he is a boring person, and playing live means nothing to him.

Moreover, Pete Townshend said he would be a liar if he said he had fun at a gig, as the performances only felt like he performed and got paid. Townshend then admitted he doesn’t like performing, but he is good at it. As the rocker said, he doesn’t get high on the stage, but he only looks in the mirror and tells himself, ‘they pulled off another scam’ after their live performances.

The Guardian reported that Pete Townshend told the Times the following:

“I’m such a boring f*cker. It means nothing to me. I would be a liar if I said, ‘It was really fun, man. It was great!’ It wasn’t great, it was a gig. I did it, and I got paid.”

He then continued:

“The fact is, I don’t really like performing. But I’m good at it. I’m lucky to be good at something, I could have worked in an abattoir.

I don’t get high on stage. I might come off stage and look in the mirror and go, ‘Hee hee,’ but it’s mischievous. It’s, ‘What a load of crap. We pulled off another scam.'”

Following the ‘Back To The Who Tour 51!’ tour in 2016, the Who also scheduled a five-date tour named ‘2017 Tommy & More.’ On May 7, 2019, the band embarked on their ‘Moving On! Tour,’ but later on, had to put it on hold due to the pandemic. So, after the interview in 2016, Pete Townshend has continued to perform with the Who on various occasions, but it remains unknown whether he still hated those performances or not.