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The Who’s Pete Townshend Reveals How He Curated the ‘Quadrophenia’ Box Set

Pete Townshend
Gareth Catermole, Getty Images

The reissue of the Who‘s rock opera ‘Quadrophenia’ has been guided by the careful hand and direction of guitarist Pete Townshend. The new version is remastered and features Townshend’s demos of each song, as well as extensive liner notes. In a pair of videos, the guitarist shares his methodology behind the reissue.

As he tells Spinner, Townshend was already dipping into the archives for his own personal memoirs, so the first stage required about a month of preparation, then a second month to pen the liner notes and yet another to sort the demos. So, it was by no means a short process. He also oversaw the surround sound mixes and had to “assess and make sense of the demos I put together.”

Interestingly enough, Townshend found photos, notes and “sad letters” in the archives. He revealed that the letters reminded him of tough times, saying, “I was having trouble with the guys in the band, particularly (drummer)Keith (Moon).” He also said the letters were not all nice but he needed to “talk honestly about how I felt, whether I was right or wrong.”

Townshend also said that after two years of touring, the band was sick of ‘Tommy’ and he eventually came up with the concept of Jimmy for ‘Quadrophenia.’ He said that the overarching concept for Jimmy was that “as a boy, he looked at the four members of The Who, and saw himself in them.”

Townshend also succinctly summed up what happens when the Who get together in a studio setting. “We catch fire immediately,” he said. He paid compliments to his bandmates, heaping high praise on vocalist Roger Daltrey, saying, “His singing is off the map. He was a giant on that record.”

Watch Spinner’s Pete Townshend Interview (Part I)

Watch Spinner’s Pete Townshend Interview (Part II)

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