Pete Townshend who?

This question has been asked each and every time I share my recent brush with someone who is rock royalty. He is Queen Elizabeth’s rock and roll equivalent, just a smidge younger, with more facial hair and an appetite for illegal drugs. Wait, we’re still talking about Pete, right?

I met him briefly yet the experience was one of the many highlights of my life. I was at a party of ill repute which I cannot specifically disclose but, if I can name drop, Hugh Hefner was heavily associated with it. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. I was standing in line for free drinks and if you’re a fan of free things, you know, that those lines are always endlessly long. I’ve been standing there for 20 minutes, when I hear people around me utter this name. Pete Townshend. Light bulb moment. Pete Townshend of The Who? It couldn’t be. I turn, and here he comes, looking 100 years old, despite only being 63. And what does he do?

He cuts right in front of me. Part of me wants to tell him to get his limey butt to the back of the line but, it’s Pete Townsend. He is The Who. They are not my favorite band, by far, but, come on, he is the first guy to break his fancy guitar unto expensive speakers and not care! He is the reason so many skinny boys break their guitar in a fit of musical bliss that comes with the end of an intensely rocking song. Pete looks over at me, hands me a drink, and smiles. Wait, what just happened? Pete Townshend gave me a drink and tried to pay for it even though they were free? Now, I’m sure the awesomeness of this story is lost on most of you. Oh, youth! I’m sure my professors would agree that my awesomeness factor went up at least a decimal point. They might even secretly favor me more than other students, but you, my age group, could care less.

You still have no idea who I’m talking about, right? That’s your homework, find out who he is. And remember, before there was a Katy Perry innocently singing about kissing a girl with cherry chap stick lips, there was a middle-aged Patti Smith who sang about essentially the same thing, just not in a so, um, mainstream friendly way. Let’s just say, Patti was a bit more experimental in her conquests. Even before the feminine boys of Fall Out Boy and Panic at the Disco! were thinking of being born there was a better and badder version of them. His name was Johnny Thunders, the teased hair, tough talking, eyeliner wearing guy who could play the heck out of a Gibson guitar. The Ramones are probably the reason your parents bought a Go Phone for your siblings. They probably sang the famous verse, “Hey ho, let’s go!” to themselves while they were buying it.

Do you catch my drift?

So, if someone asks you, “Pete Townshend, who?” you say, “Pete Townshend of The Who, that’s who.”

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