Pete Townshend Can Explain
The Who’s guitarist planning a one-year “sabbatical”
By Gary Graff
September 21, 2017
It looks like we won’t have Pete Townshend to kick around for a year or so. The Who guitarist has posted a Facebook message from Brazil — where the Who will play its last scheduled 2017 show Thursday (Sept. 21) — stating his intention to take a year’s sabbatical and also acknowledging that he and longtime girlfriend Rachel Fuller, who orchestrated his Classic Quadrophenia project, married last December.
In the lengthy post accompanied by a photo of sunset in Sao Paulo, Townshend writes that: “This has been a varied year for me. A lot of the usual things happening, and there are many news things a fairly long way in the future for me. I am preparing to take a one-year ‘sabbatical’ from all the things I normally do in my career…I doubt I will get paid as much as I do when I work with The Who, but this is really necessary for me. I so desperately need to do something new and different — and yet I don’t really have a plan for what I might do. It will emerge I suppose. The obvious problem for me working in The Who is that I am constantly playing music I wrote a long time ago — most of it over 35 years ago. I’m lucky in many ways, but there is a little piece of me that has an unusually loud voice. When I’m on stage it sometimes says ‘…you were so brilliant young Pete’…At other times it say ‘…when are we going to play something difficult…?’ Don’t worry. I know I’m lucky.”
As for Fuller, Townshend writes that: “It’s time to make an announcement that she and I were married in December last year. This seems like a good time to tell everyone who doesn’t yet know. This is a very, very happy thing for both of us. We have been together for more than twenty years, meeting at a rehearsal studio back in October 1996 where The Who were preparing for their own first revival Quadrophenia tour starting in New York. Do the sum! That’s 21 years. We first worked together (on the Lifehouse Chronicles orchestral project) but started dating a little later in December 1997. We married nearly a year ago and did keep it as quiet as we could, telling only close family. Why did we keep it quiet? Really, we were being selfish. We were married at the local Register Office in Twickenham, with just two witnesses — my security man Mark Squires and my longtime P.A. Nicola Joss. The Registrar is an old friend, he actually bought my old Magic Bus bookshop in Richmond. It’s now The Open Book. I have been away on tour so much in recent years, we just wanted to be together, and savour the moment. The shows in the U.S. have felt like a kind of wedding blessing for us both. The response has been great, and of course it is Rachel’s moment as much as it is mine. A few times I have mentioned on stage that Rachel Fuller is my wife. I am incredibly proud of her, and if there is any element of her being any kind of trophy, it’s mainly because she is a fucking genius. But she’s also beautiful and smart. We have so much fun together.”
The Who recently released a box set of its singles, while Townshend reissued his three Scoop collections of demo recordings.