Pete Townshend's exploratory raps and rants in articles and interviews are legendary. You may already know that his insightful fury and gut-spills are taken to a whole new level on the Internet via his diary entries on his personal website, PeteTownshend.com.
His entries for August 26th (titled "Why Should I Care") and continued in the August 28 entry, were classic Townshend at his stream-of-consciousness best (or worse, depending on how you feel about it),
In these entries, he is quite pre-occupied with capturing the WHO digitally (audio and visual) so a lot of the talk is about his frustrations with the technology; his offerings of free downloads of the group in action, and some insights to the way his detailed mind works in a studio-like setting.
However, most of the time, he just loves to spill his guts about what it's like to be Mr. Townshend. One moment, he's a lunatic rock guitarist on stage that loves his work (or hates it, depending on his mood); the next, he's a wealthy middle-aged gentleman discussing boating, travel, his children and intimate dinners with friends and family.
But more significantly, these entries - particularly on August 26th - tries to explore the very reason why he is on tour; why he still associates with his fellow Who alumni; why he loves them; why he loathes them; why he even bothers with them; why he needs to be an artist not a rock star; and why some of his fans and critics just don't GET him.
According to the piece, some resourceful fans secretly scotch taped a recommended set list of Who songs on his hotel room door. This just set him off, not so much about the evasion of his personal privacy (which he did mention), but more about how these fans have crossed a line that he cannot reconcile by simply dismissing it as Who fanaticism. What's funny is that after multiple soul-searching paragraphs about the list, he later admits to "forgetting" to even read the list at all!
It is alternately a fascinating, hysterical and often contradictory rant that gets to the heart of how complex a man and artist Pete is. He's either an amazingly smart and shrewd sham, or just an outright confused, deep and complex artist continuing his life-long passion of self-expression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but reading some of this stuff just cracks me up: he can't be serious, I think.
Then, he comes up with an amazingly accurate observation about his music, or his fans, or the press, or some other element that effects him, and then I realize how real and important these writings are to him. He even explores the writings themselves and why he is doing it!
Many years ago, journalist Dave Marsh wrote the definitive Who biography titled "Before I Get Old". One of the central themes of the book was that Townshend, despite his creative genius, is essentially a habitual liar. I don't agree with Marsh's thesis. I think Mr. Townshend is more a 'man-of-the-moment' that is challenged at every turn at finding the truth inside his heart.
With these e-entries, he now has the vehicle to reveal more truths then any other major artist of our generation has ever dared to share with his broad fan base. Whether you're a fan or a casual observer of the Who, you gotta check it out. But do it soon. He has already removed the above-mentioned entries to make room for more verbiage as the band readies to embark on the third leg of their current tour.