A Memoir : Who Am I?
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Who I Am: A Memoir: Pete Townshend: irogyrikewyx.tk: Books
I really enjoyed this book and had trouble getting it out of my head after reading it. Being a big Who and Townshend music fan for decades, I never spent time researching much about Pete's life. It was honest and revealing. He admits his failures as a father while his children were young and he was off living the life of a rock star while his wife Karen had to do everything at home. He included a heartbreaking letter from his then young daughter asking him to please move back home so she could have a daddy like her friends. How many guys would say in retrospect that an ex deserved her generous divorce settlement?
He was very open about his addictions mostly alcohol , sexuality, tough upbringing, relationships, failures, and how all of this affected his life and the band. He pisses away money on houses, boats, and rock star life to the point of being nearly broke until well past when he should have been a wealthy man. As a detached observer, not having lived through what he did good and bad , it would be easy to not like the guy. But give him credit for being willing to lay it out there. Of course, while his personal life was messy like many artists, his contribution to rock history is epic.
It is stunning to think through everything he wrote and recorded from the late 60's to the early 80's. Who's Next and Quadrophenia are both top 10 all time rock albums in my book. His solo work, particularly Empty Glass, was excellent. He wrote books, plays, worked as an editor at a major London publishing company, brought Tommy to Broadway and won a Tony, etc.
The book could have spent more time on the creative process he went through to write and create the songs for those major albums -- it is a little breezy in that respect. There is a lot of name dropping, and it is hard at times to keep track of everyone he's talking about.
But as a true fan it touched me with its breadth and honesty. I wish him well and hope he never stops producing whatever interests him. Then I broke out several Who albums that I hadn't listened to in a long while and enjoyed that thoroughly. Audible Audiobook Verified Purchase. Well written and fairly detailed memoir. Townshend comes clean and shares more details about his personal hardships and flaws than of his musical genius in my opinion.
Is he too humble? Does he seek forgiveness? Perhaps this book is a cathartic exercise. Still, as a big fan, I enjoyed reading every word. This book is a page turner.
Am I worthy of a memoir?
Good descriptions of behind-the-scenes managerial and financial transactions. Even the band relationships had various levels of complexity. I would have found this book a little more rewarding if Townshend shared song inception and studio recording minutiae with the same detailed candor he writes about his mistakes and regrets. For me, it is disappointing that Quadrophenia earned so little ink. A reader can only assume he forgot details from the summer of , which was when the Who recorded that epic album.
I did smile, however, when I read Townshend's description of the band's attitude while recording Quadrophenia: In that respect it is a masterpiece. No doubt that Townshend is a complex and creative force who has inspired many. This book is among the best rock memoirs. This book is a case study of bad editing. It would have been interesting, for instance, to know about the studio sessions that created the first album, produced by Shel Talmy; but they aren't even mentioned.
Likewise production of the early single, Anywhere, Anyhow, Anywhere, is not mentioned, along with many other details. A good editor might also have encouraged Townshend to write less about his endless love affairs, and more about his creative work. But Townshend also seems to have chosen to omit information. There is no better connection than when we find a connection in small details. Details have always fed my own writing and I want to continue down that path.
But details that bring nothing to a story are nothing. They can become self-indulgent and I fear falling into that trap. That easily transitions me to the next question. While it scares me, it is an absolute must here. I need to share these stories here on Medium and I need to get constructive feedback. I need to step outside of this and be ready to accept criticism. I need to cut out entire chapters even if they are memories I hold dear to my heart. I may even need to halt production all together. You may now offer up advice because I am all ears. Sign in Get started. I also cringed when I wrote that.
That screams memoir, right? Who are you, an editor? OK here we go. But can that sustain an entire book? Who is the audience? Is that too broad? This is no super hero origin story. Do I write it chronologically?