The Who's Pete Townshend: Playing live means nothing to me

Pete Townshend
Pete Townshend (Image credit: Getty)

The Who’s Pete Townshend says playing live “means nothing” to him.

The guitarist and his veteran bandmates recently performed alongside acts such as The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan at the star-studded Desert Trip festival in California – but he admits he gets no real buzz from hitting the stage.

He tells The Times (via The Guardian): “I’m such a boring fucker. 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.

“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.’”

It’s not the first time Townshend has voiced his dislike of performing live. In 2014, he said he regretted signing up for The Who’s year-long farewell tour.

He said: “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.”

The Who tour the UK next spring – including two London shows which will see them play a new acoustic presentation of Tommy in support of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

The Who tour dates 2017

Mar 30: London Royal Albert Hall
Apr 01: London Royal Albert Hall
Apr 03: Liverpool Echo Arena
Apr 05: Manchester Arena
Apr 07: Glasgow SSE Hydro
Apr 10: Sheffield Arena
Apr 12: Birmingham Barclaycard Arena

The Who Quiz: The Who By Numbers

Former TeamRock news desk member Christina joined our team in late 2015, and although her time working on online rock news was fairly brief, she made a huge impact by contributing close to 1500 stories. Christina also interviewed artists including Deftones frontman Chino Moreno and worked at the Download festival. In late 2016, Christina left rock journalism to pursue a career in current affairs. In 2021, she was named Local Weekly Feature Writer of the Year at the Scottish Press Awards.