Who’s Biggest…

It’s been Paul Weller‘s week in the UK, we know that. And there’s been no shortage of his old interviews dug up, rehashed and requoted to make the most of it. (Hey, there are two of them in the iJamming! archives. This one from 1978. And this one from 1979.) But getting back to the man who perfected the rock interview as public forum, I notice that Rolling Stone magazine uploaded its infamous interview with Pete Townshend from 1968, in which he talked to publisher Jann Wenner about … well, about everything. This is the type of quote that gave me confidence to pick up the guitar myself:

I find it astounding and I find it hard to believe if anyone ever says that they rate me as a guitarist at all. Although I dig my guitar playing, I think it’s kind of an obvious situation, I play what I want to play within my own restrictions.

Pete Townshend: Big Nose, Big Interview

This is the type of quote that made me long to have been a teen in the Sixties:

One of the things which has impressed me most in life was the Mod movement in England, which was an incredible youthful thing. It was a movement of young people, much bigger than the hippie thing, the underground and all these things. It was an army, a powerful, aggressive army of teenagers with transport. Man, with these scooters and with their own way of dressing. It was acceptable, this was important; their way of dressing was hip, it was fashionable, it was clean and it was groovy.

And this was one of the aspects I loved about Pete in the years before his interviews became mostly fictitious. He’s talking about his nose.

It was huge. At that time, it was the reason I did everything. It’s the reason I played the guitar — because of my nose. The reason I wrote songs was because of my nose, everything, so much. I eventually admitted something in an article where I summed it up far more logically in terms of what I do today. I said that what I wanted to do was distract attention away from my nose to my body and make people look at my body instead of at my face — turn my body into a machine.

You can read the full interview here.

And watch this space for the full, unabridged, unedited interview I conducted with Pete Townshend for Jamming! back in 1985.

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October 2021