There are so many. Literally hundreds. The
guitar is now available to everyone. If you
have the aptitude, the chances are you start
developing it really young. I know and counsel guitar players in their teens who can shred
so fast they lose consciousness.
give us some information about it? Will it be
a return to a guitar-based sound again? What
is the theme and when will it be released?
This brings us to the subject of hearing loss.
You and I are both longtime working musicians who suffer from this problem. Mine is
pretty severe, not only as a result of gigging
for over 40 years, but as a result of genetic
factors. What is the state of your hearing
right now? Do you wear hearing aids, and
assuming you use in-ears onstage, how are
you protecting your hearing?
Floss is not a new Who album. It is a musical
play. Some of the music might work for Roger
and me; I am still working on it. I reckon I
have another year to go writing.
What was it like to tour right after John
Entwistle’s death? That must have been
extremely hard on you and Roger.
It was hard, but we had no option.
Do you plan on touring with The Who again
at any time in the future, and if so, when?
I don’t use in-ears on stage. Not yet. I have
just been introduced to a new microproces-
sor-controlled system with three transducers
in each ear. They sound amazing. But the
Chinese might hack into my gig…
There are no plans to tour at the moment.
I have started wearing hearing aids in the
past months. The new ones are incredible.
Tiny. The only way to protect my hearing
would be to stop playing music. I get the
most problems from long periods of studio
work, which is how I compose. So I am nervous about the future right now.
After almost 47 years with The Who, are
there any regrets? Would you change anything if you could? Do you still get a rush, a
thrill, performing live with the band?
You’ve been heavily involved in the
recording process for decades. Has the
art of recording changed for the better or
worse in that time, and how are you using
I’ve never gotten a rush or thrill from performing. I’m good at it, and I find it easy and
natural. No regrets. I fell into this business, the
family business, out of art school. It’s given me
the chance to combine popular music (which is
so natural for me) with ambitious creativity, so
I’ve been really lucky. I’ve had great support,
too, from The Who band and managers over
the years. Lots of crazy ideas.
I mix old and new. I have pro analogue tape
machines running alongside a computer running
Digital Performer or Ableton Live. Things have
got better. The emergence of digital was tricky.
The sound was poor at first. I was lucky because
I used Synclavier as my digital medium. That was
sampling at 100KHz in mono and 50KHz in stereo back in 1984, with fabulous integrity. Now a
laptop can deliver that if you wish.
Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, think
The Who would last as long as it has, and
are you satisfied with your musical legacy
and the body of work you have created?
The gap from 1982 to 2006 in recording is a
great shame. I made some good solo records,
but the break was necessary, I think. I’m satisfied so far. I hope there is more to come.
You’ve always been a proponent of the
internet, and have used it to your benefit
for many years. When you conceptualized
Psychoderelict, were you at all aware that you
might have been predicting the rise of the
internet with the album’s theme of a “grid?”
What words of wisdom or
advice would you like to pass
on to PG readers as a guitarist?
The guitar is such a great friend,
easy to carry from room to room,
from house to house. If you play
guitar, you are already blessed.
I predicted the internet back in 1971 with
Lifehouse. I can’t take all the credit—I was
taught at art school in 1961 that computers
would change the way artists worked and communicated, and the way society functioned.
I have read you are writing material for a new
Who album tentatively titled Floss. Can you
[The author would like to thank Pete’s personal
assistant, Nicola Joss, for her help and diligence
in arranging and coordinating this interview.]