Pete Townshend Biography
Last updated: 02/12/2011 11:00:00 AM
Pete Townshend (born May 19, 1945) is a guitarist and songwriter of UK rock band The Who. He was known for his eccentric stage style, often interrupting concerts with lengthy introductions of songs, and sometimes smashing his guitar on stage. He currently resides in Richmond, UK. He is married to Karen Astley, daughter of composer Ted Astley, and has three children.
He was born in Ealing, London.
In 1962, Townshend and his art school friend John Entwistle founded their first band, The Confederates, a Dixieland duet featuring Townshend on banjo and Entwistle on horn. From this beginning they moved on to The Detours, a skiffle band fronted by then sheet-metal welder Roger Daltrey, which, under Townshend's leadership, would metamorphosize into The Who. Townshend was the primary songwriter for the group, writing over 100 songs which appeared on the band's 10 studio albums.
A follower of the Indian religious guru Meher Baba, Townshend's faith, which blended elements of Buddhist and Sufist mysticism with conventional Christianity, was a major source of inspiration for many of his works, including the rock operas Tommy, Quadrophenia, and Lifehouse.
In addition to his work with the Who, Townshend was active as a solo artist. Beginning in 1969, he recorded 8 studio albums, as well as a trio of religious albums and a collaboration with Faces bassist and fellow Meher Baba devotee Ronnie Lane. He has also recorded eight live albums, including one featuring the short-lived supergroup Deep End. In 1984 Townshend published an anthology of short stories entitled Horse's Neck, and he is rumored to be writing an autobiography. In 1993 he and Des MacAnuff wrote and directed the Broadway adaptation of the Who album Tommy, as well as a less-succesful musical based on his solo album The Iron Man. MacAnuff would later adapt this musical into the animated film The Iron Giant.
In early January 2003, Townshend admitted having provided his credit card details to a commercial child pornography website, which he claimed to have done for research purposes. He made the admission in response to Operation Ore, a large child pornography operation which apparently had tracked Townshend's use of the website. He was cleared of all charges in May 2003, although he was placed on a national registry of sex offenders as a cautionary measure.
His research claims were bolstered by a document written by him, dating to January 2002 and once posted on his official website. In it, he describes the child pornography market on the Internet and police attempts to regulate possession, which he characterizes as a "witch hunt" that also catches innocent vigilantes.