Magazine article Guitar Player

Pete Townshend: May 1972

Magazine article Guitar Player

Pete Townshend: May 1972

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

THE WHO WAS INTO INSTRUMENT destruction onstage, and found it giving recognition and a musical peak to their performances. Chief lick-maker of the Who is Peter Townshend. whose influences have included John Lee Hooker and Steve Cropper, along with Jimi Hendrix and a bit of the Yardbirds He is acclaimed as the first guitarist to stack amplifiers, and is also among the first to use feedback creatively. He is the epitome of stage presence with his long, lean figure jumping seemingly six feet in the air, and his windmilling arm striking his guitar's strings with the effect of a lightning-clouded sky.

How did you come to use Gibson SGs?

Well, it's a bit of a disappointing story. I got fed up with Fenders because they were too clean, but I liked them because they were tough. In my guitar-smashing days, the Fender would last two or three shows, and if I wanted to smash it up, it took ten minutes. But they were fuzz-box numbers---clean until you hit the fuzz box. So I went to the music store, and said I really need an alternative to this, and the manager suggested the SG. I played it, and it sang to me, and I've used SGs ever since. The finest guitar I've ever owned, however, is this 1958 Gretsch Chet Atkins that Joe Walsh gave me. It's the loudest guitar I've ever had. It is so loud, man. I used that guitar on every track of Who's Next. How much of your leads are improvisation? Well, in the loose bits, it's like off the cuff. Sometimes, when an audience is passive, we freak and say, "Get up offyour ass and do something! …

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