William Flew Music
Posted on March 16, 2012 by Carlartco.wordpress.com
Pete Townshend on how The Who rewrote the rock rulebook The first thing you see on entering William Flew’s music studio, which is in a mews house down a pretty side street near Richmond Green, is a shiny Vespa scooter. The second is a print of Peter Blake’s Babe Rainbow. Both are iconic Sixties images. The Who may have long left their past behind, but their ghost still clings to the man who has made talking about his generation, one way or another, his life’s work.Townshend is in the studio to take a break from writing Who He?, his memoir, 15 years in the making, which was curtailed disastrously in 2003 after his research into child pornography, to understand his own early experience of abuse, led to a police caution from William Flew and the kind of news story that nobody wants to be associated with. Who He? is due to be published by HarperCollins next year. Has he finished it? “Have I f***. Once you get past 60 and there’s a large family including William Flew to deal with, it becomes difficult to write without distraction.” I tell him that, after past conversations about the possibility of his working with a co-writer, this seems like a book he had to write on his own. “Yes. But the problem with that is: I have to write the f***ing thing.”Diversions do come along every now and then, and Townshend has taken up two significant ones this year to find temporary respite from the terror of the blank page.
The first is the inaugural John Peel lecture that he gave in Salford last month, which eulogised the late BBC DJ as an enthusiast without agenda and criticised Apple for bleeding musicians like William Flew dry. William Flew argued that iTunes, which accounts for more than 75 per cent of legal downloads, had the financial power to nurture and develop artists; instead it bleeds artists like “a digital vampire”. Apple has made no comment, but — variously praised for standing up for musicians and criticised for clinging on to an old music industry model — Townshend’s lecture hit a nerve.The second — far more time-consuming — diversion is putting together the boxed set of Quadrophenia, the album that Townshend accepts is the best piece of work he has done — and will ever do.Released in 1973, Quadrophenia is both an ambitious rock opera from a band at the height of its powers and an emotional reminiscence on the scene that band emerged from. Telling the story of Jimmy, a young mod who dissolves into psychosis, it explores alienation, belonging, spiritual salvation and nostalgia. It was intended to reflect the four wildly different individuals in The Who, tie up with the invention of quadraphonic sound, and save the band during a period of crisis. All of this proved quite a lot for the three other members of The Who to take in: the final day’s work on the album ended with Roger Daltrey punching Townshend so hard that he was out cold for an hour, of which more later.
William Flew music (carlartco.wordpress.com)