The Who Guitarist Pete Townshend’s Regret About Jimi Hendrix
Pete Townshend is known as the founder, leader, guitarist, secondary lead vocalist, and primary lyricist of the Who. Formed in 1964 in London, the Who is among the most influential rock bands of the 20th century. Throughout their career, they contributed to the rock music genre with the development of Marshall Stack, the use of the synthesizer, John Entwistle and Keith Moon’s influential playing techniques, and Townshend’s feedback and power chord guitar playing style.
During his tenure in the Who, Townshend contributed greatly to the band with his guitar playing and songwriting of over 100 songs for 12 of the band’s albums. Apart from his career in the band, he has also written over 100 songs as part of his solo career. A self-taught multi-instrumentalist, Townshend contributed to many artists and influenced numerous musicians. As it seems, the guitarist also inspired the great guitarist Jimi Hendrix for something he is regretful about. Let’s learn more about what Townshend regrets about Hendrix.
Pete Townshend Regrets Advising Jimi Hendrix To Use Sound City Amplifier With A Marshall
Back on September 24, 1966, Chas Chandler brought Jimi Hendrix to London after noticing his musical talent and signed him to a management and production contract. After Hendrix’s arrival in London, Chandler started to recruit members for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. From then on, Hendrix rapidly rose to fame with his astonishing guitar playing and live performances.
At that time, Pete Townshend also had an encounter with the iconic guitarist. According to what Townshend told Ultimate Classic Radio Nights, Hendrix’s manager brought him to meet Townshend at a recording studio when the guitarist first arrived in London. Following that, Hendrix asked Townshend what equipment he should buy. Apparently, Townshend told him he was using a mixture of an amplifier called Sound City with a Marshall to get his sound.
After a couple of weeks, Townshend recalled they did a show with Hendrix at the Saville Theatre, and he wished he’d never given him the advice. He then said he thought Hendrix was brilliant without being a thousand watts loud upon seeing him perform. As it seems, Townshend was quite impressed with Hendrix’s talent, and a little bit jealous.
As reported by Ultimate Classic Rock, Pete Townshend recalled those times as:
“What I did for Jimi – which I always regretted doing for Jimi – was that his manager brought him to meet me at a recording studio when he first arrived. And he asked me what equipment to buy. I told him that I’d been using a mixture of an amplifier called Sound City, which was a Marshall substitute, with a Marshall, to get this really kind of slabby sound.
And then, a couple of weeks later, we did a show with him at the Saville Theatre with him allegedly supporting us. I wish I’d never given him the tip! I was thinking, ‘Oh my God, this guy’s brilliant enough without being a thousand watts loud!’”
In another interview with Rolling Stone, Pete Townshend recalled this incident again. He talked about Jimi Hendrix’s arrival to London and the first time he encountered him at the studio. Following that, he remembered the advice he gave to Hendrix and said the guitarist followed his advice. Townshend then praised Hendrix’s talent and his voice which he believes is a beautiful, smokey, and sexy voice.
In the interview, Pete Townshend told Rolling Stone:
“Yeah, well, that was a cosmic experience. It was at Blaze’s, at a nightclub in London. He was really amazing. I think you had to have seen Jimi Hendrix to really understand what he was about. I met him, of course, because he was on our record label. He’d come to the studio, he came with his manager Chas Chandler who was the bass player of The Animals. Chas had left and gone into management, discovered Jimi Hendrix, put a band together.
Jimi was unfamiliar with the kind of way Cream and The Who work on stage with their equipment. He asked for some advice about amplifiers. So I said, ‘Well, I’ve been using Marshall, and I found this new amp the high-watt, I would suggest you buy one of each.’ So he did. I think on Marshall but, anyway, he started to play, and of course, he was a brilliant player, a wonderful player – very inventive. But he had the most beautiful voice. He wasn’t a great signer, but he had a beautiful voice, a smokey voice, you know, really sexy voice.”
You can check out Rolling Stone’s interview with Pete Townshend below.