In those days I did not much care for them. They were much too “hard” for my taste back then. I was a Beatles girl, then later on I got into all the psychedelic stuff like Pink Floyd and somehow, one way or another “The Who” completely passed me by. So, I owe a huge big “thank you” to whoever it is that is the big “Who” buff on all those CSI series. I immediately peeled back my ears and listened to the music when I heard it for the first time 6 or 7 years ago. Next thing I was online frantically searching for MP3’s. And next thing after that, I was in amazon buying up the CD’s. The music has been with me ever since.
I have it on my MP3 player running pretty much on a loop. I walk through crowds, sit on commuter ferries and campus shuttle buses listening and listening, over and over again. And I sit on my exercise bike and listen. Of course, I listen to other things too: Queen and Santana I really like for instance. Blood Sweat and Tears too. Some music I bought in Brazil 2 years ago. Sometimes I really like to listen to Michael Jackson (especially when I am walking). Recently I ripped all the post 1967 Beatles albums, so they get a hearing too sometimes. Michel Petrucciani. But I keep coming back to the Who.
I have the operatic albums like Tommy and Quadrophenia and I love them. But the stuff that really gets me are the individual track albums and especially the later dated ones. “Who are you?” and “Who’s next?” are my two favorites. I am actually not very surprised that as a teenage girl I never got beyond “My Generation”: This music is really very hard core. It is raw, straight from the gut, and then conversely there are high levels of musical refinement. At this point I must know pretty much every note in these songs by heart and I still never stop being amazed by the orchestration, the way the vocals and the instruments come together and then break apart, and the utter melodiousness that they manage to combine with the harshest of hard rock. The silence bits between the crashing phrases. I especially like the ones that have keyboards. Vicious keyboards. Everything about these songs is hard and relentless, including the lyrics. They have a bitter edge. But, bitter or not, there is also a huge amount of hope in them somehow. Or for me it is like that anyway.
I am glad I discovered The Who so recently. This music belongs to me alone. I have no memories whatsoever associated with it. It is very much about the now and a possible future. When I walk along or pedal along, I tend to feel empowered, like as if there was nothing that I would not be able to pull off, if I set my mind to it. There is an awful lot of energy in there and it feels like as if that energy gets transmitted directly into my system. The hope of rebellion. Hard to explain.
There was also a surprise for me more recently: Pete Townshend turned out to be an alumnus of the Groundcourse, the art educational strategy I am reinterpreting for Second Life. Made me very happy that. Validates my claim.
I have to figure out a way of streaming “The Who” at Syncretia. Maybe not the individual tracks (might be too much, that) but Quadrophenia. Would I need to get permission for that I wonder? Probably…