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The must-read book of the fall for serious students of rock performance and craftsmanship has to be Pete Townshend’s autobiography Who I Am: A Memoir, due out in North America Oct. 8.


“This book is not a vanity for me. It is an essential rite of passage,” the Who leader said in a recent press release. “I know I am good at what I do as a performer and composer, but since my early teens, I have been happiest when writing. Writing is my principal daily occupation.”


“Rock ‘n’ Roll is a tough career, however cynically or comically it is portrayed by its detractors,” Townshend said. “I am lucky to be alive and to have such a crazy story to tell, full of wild adventures and creative machinations. I am happy that I am able to write my book myself, in my own ‘voice’ that many readers will be hearing for the first time.”


“I am not my favourite subject, that will always be art and music, but whenever I write about my life and work, I learn something,” he said. “So, the year ahead spent writing will also trigger the last vital bit of ‘growing up’ required by the now pensionable fellow who once wrote I hope I die before I get old. I want to write a book that is enjoyable to read, but above all, I want it to be honest.”


Here’s Townshend talking about the book:



Prediction? It will not be like Keith Richards’s casual and anecdotal autobiography Life, which went heavy on the sex, drugs and rock n’ roll mythology. The Richards book was a bestseller, setting a new sales benchmark for rock autobiographies (although personally, I would have preferred more on the recording of 12 X 5 or Between the Buttons, for example, than, let’s say, several pages on the glories of Moroccan hash.)


If Townshend’s words and writings over the years are any indication, Who I Am will adopt a more literary, analytical and sociological approach. That could be a blessing or a curse, but we’re also told that the craziness and conflicts will be in there.


One thing’s for certain: I can’t wait to read it.


Pre-order the book from Amazon here.


(The Who perform Nov. 20 at the Bell Centre. Tickets cost $52.50 to $144.25. Phone 514-790-2525 or go to www.evenko.ca)


Bernard Perusse

 

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