Pete Townshend delivers SXSW keynote

The Who man announces launch of 'The Method'

The Who‘s Pete Townshend received a standing ovation tonight (March 14) from hundreds of South by Southwest-goers as he took the stage at the Austin Hilton ballroom to deliver the music festival’s keynote address.

Townshend waxed poetic about The Who‘s chemistry, the nature of the music business, and the influence of the internet on music today.

The Who‘s music did something to fill the gap of lack of information from the past and asked, ‘How do we go on and avoid making the same mistakes?'” he told the packed audience.

“I think The Who are an anomaly like the (Rolling) Stones. Bands today shouldn’t even go there. It takes time to build something like that, but now record companies just ask, ‘Where’s the hit?'”

The Who‘s chemistry evolved and changed as its line-up rotated, the legendary guitarist explained. “The chemistry we have today is completely different but just as effective,” he said.

The Who have resumed recording and performing, and recently released the critically acclaimed album ‘Endless Wire’.

Townshend also announced the launch of a new project entitled ‘The Method’. Complete details will be revealed at a press conference in London on April 25, but in the meantime a flyer offered these hints:

The Method – designed by Lawrence Ball – offers subscribers the opportunity to create their own unique musical composition by ‘sitting’ for the Method software composer, just as you would sit for a painter making your portrait.

The first example of this process can be heard, elaborated into a song by Pete, on ‘Fragments’, the opening track of The Who‘s latest album ‘Endless Wire’.”

Townshend explained that he came up with the idea of The Method 30 years ago, but had to wait until now to launch it because computers were not powerful enough and there wasn’t an internet to allow the idea to be realised.

Although he has embraced recent technology, Townshend emphasised his preference for live events happening in “real time” as opposed to the internet that delivers things “on-demand”.

“During live shows you bring yourself more into the present moment,” he said. “Music is about congregation, gathering and sharing. Fuck the internet – I want it live!”

Stay tuned to NME.COM for more coverage of this year’s SXSW direct from Austin.