Pete Townshend: ‘Modern music is gentle’

Today's rockers are quieter than The Who says guitarist

The Who’s Pete Townshend has said that rock music is becoming more gentle.

Posting on his website Petetownshend.co.uk, the guitarist said that modern bands demanded a new closeness with their audience.

He wrote: “I think rock music is about to throw off some of its testosterone-driven defiance… wherever I look today I see younger musicians demanding a new level of intimacy from their audience.

“This is not entirely about protest, rather about music performed gently that expresses a single idea… even anger is delivered gently.”

Townshend said that band’s “gentleness” was due to the political climate society finds itself in. He said: “I’m not certain where this new powerful gentleness has come from.

“Perhaps the invasion of Iraq, the horrible mess that we now face on top of the horrible mess we made when we created the country in the first place, is sifting down through the current generation of songwriters and producing a quieter voice.”

The guitarist added that this contrasted with his, post-war, generation who found their voices in the 1960s.

“(The) 60s loud and aggressive rock rose from the unique post-war mood of denial in the older generation,” he suggested. “They had seen too much horror, found an uneasy peace, and could engage the subject no more. It is clear that such a silence might lead the teenager I was to write ‘My Generation’ and turn up my guitar to emulate the sound of bombers.”

Meanwhile, The Who are set to kick off their next series of gigs on February 23 at Reno Events Center in Nevada.