Pete Townshend reveals he is too traumatised to perform The Who’s ‘Tommy’ again because of childhood memories of sexual abuse
- Townshend said certain songs on the 1969 album are too difficult for him to play
- He ‘practically had a nervous breakdown’ at a charity rock opera concert in 2017
- The musician previously spoke about being abused by his maternal grandmother
Pete Townshend has said he will never perform the hit album Tommy again because he is too traumatised by childhood memories of sexual abuse
Pete Townshend has said he will never perform the hit album Tommy again because he is too traumatised by childhood memories of sexual abuse.
The Who guitarist said the songs Fiddle About and Cousin Kevin on the band’s 1969 album are now too difficult for him to play.
Townshend, 74, said he ‘practically had a nervous breakdown’ at a concert called ‘Tommy And More’ when he played the rock opera in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust in April 2017.
In Cousin Kevin, protagonist Tommy is abused by his sadistic cousin, and is then molested by his uncle Ernie in Fiddle About.
He revealed he had to leave the stage at the Royal Albert Hall where he was performing with lead singer Roger Daltrey and told his manager he could not perform the album.
‘I got halfway through Cousin Kevin and Fiddle About and had to leave the building,’ he told The Times.
‘One of the people I talked to most about this stuff had been abducted by a predatory paedophile when he was six. He was kept for six weeks before being returned to his parents, totally brutalised.
‘At the Albert Hall he was right there, sitting next to the stage. After that I said to our manager, Bill Curbishley, “I’m not doing Tommy again. If I can write songs and record them this summer, then we can talk about touring”.’
The Who guitarist (right) said the songs Fiddle About and Cousin Kevin on the band’s 1969 album are now too difficult for him to play
The musician has previously spoken about how he was abused between the ages of five and six and a half by his maternal grandmother who he lived with.
In his autobiography, Who I Am, he also revealed he was sexually abused during an initiation into the Sea Scouts when he was ten.
In 2003 Townshend was placed on the sex offenders register for accessing a website advertising ‘child porn’.
The musician (second from right) has previously spoken about how he was abused between the ages of five and six and a half by his maternal grandmother
He was cleared of possessing indecent images after he admitted he clicked on the link out of ‘White Knight Syndrome’ and a desire to help the children being abused.
In November, Townshend and Daltrey will release a new album simply titled Who, but their relationship is not without its issues.
They record music in separate studios and have their own backstage areas at concerts.
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