The Who’s Pete Townshend: ‘My lyrics made me realise I needed therapy’

Guitarist says penning songs made him see he'd had 'trouble as a kid'

Pete Townshend has said that writing lyrics for The Who made him realise he needed to undergo therapy.

The guitarist, who publishes his long-awaited memoir Who I Am on October 11, told US TV show Today that some of the dark songs he’d written for the band had helped him come to terms with the abuse he suffered as a child.

Speaking about the childhood abuse he’d suffered, he said: “It didn’t define my music but it definitely came out in it. I could see evidence of it in my music that actually did lead me to get therapy to look at just that, because I could see it in the lyrics, you know, that I’d had trouble as a kid.”

The rocker also said that although he explores the topic in his autobiography he decided against examining it in too much detail, adding: “I don’t want to delve too deeply. I don’t know how much I would gain from going into it.”

Last month, Townshend broke his silence on the child pornography scandal that engulfed him in 2003. He said his his decision to investigate child pornography was a product of “white knight syndrome, an attempt to be seen to be the one that’s helping”, adding: “I had experienced something creepy as a child, so you imagine: what if I was a girl of nine or 10 and my uncle had raped me every week? I felt I had an understanding and I could help.”

Townshend – who is the founder of sexual abuse charity Double O – paid a £7 charge to a child pornography site, which he cancelled straight away, to expose the financial chain of child abuse from Russian orphanages. When police discovered the files, he was cautioned and placed on the sex offenders register for five years after he admitted to breaking the law.