Friday, December 21, 2012

the last book I ever read (Pete Townshend's Who I Am, excerpt seven)

from Who I Am: A Memoir by Pete Townshend:

Tommy, for all its spiritual roots, is full of violence. It begins with bombs dropping, a young RAP pilot lost in battle (possibly captured as a prisoner of war), a domestic murder, bullying, sexual abuse, extreme drug use by a back-street quack, the incompetent medical treatment of a disabled child, and finally rioting by an aggrieved populace that has been promised nirvana but delivered boring day-job medication instead. When performing Tommy I often seemed to lost consciousness at some level. I wasn’t high, at least not on drugs. I kept very focused. I was buzzed on my own endogenous chemicals – endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and epinephrine flooded through my body.

For New York we had three shows planned at Fillmore East. On the opening night I was more excited than usual, and we were bullish that we’d have a good show. In the middle of a storming set a man appeared centre stage, tore the mike from Roger’s hands and started speaking to the audience. He didn’t ask us to stop performing. In fact he didn’t address us at all. One minute we were at work, and the next minute he was there, speaking to the audience – my audience.

Roger tried to get his microphone back, but the man pushed him away. In the middle of a heavy guitar solo, I ran over to boost his arse with a flying double-kick but as I approached he turned to face me and my Doc Martens connected with his balls. He doubled up, and a couple of Bill Graham’s men ran on stage and walked him off. We continued to play. Only later did I discover I had kicked an off-duty officer in the Tactical Police Force, who was trying to clear the theatre calmly because a fire had broken out in the store next door.

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