Eddie Vedder Says Pete Townshend May Edge Out Keith Richards As Rock Royalty’s Ultimate Survivor


Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder discussed The Who and Pete Townshend in a new Rolling Stone article.

“A few years ago in Chicago, I saw Pete wring notes out of his guitar like a mechanic squeezing oil from a rag. I watched as the guitar became a living being, one getting its body bashed and its neck strangled. As Pete set it down, I swear I sensed relief coming from that guitar. A Stratocaster with sweat on it. The guitar’s sweat.

John and Keith made the Who what they were. Roger was the rock. And at this point, Pete has been through and survived more than anyone in rock royalty. Perhaps even beyond Keith Richards, who was actually guilty of most things he was accused of.

The songwriter-listener relationship grows deeper after all the years. Pete saw that a celebrity in rock is charged by the audience with a function, like, ‘You stand there and we will know ourselves.’ Not ‘You stand there and we will pay you loads of money to keep us entertained as we eat our oysters.’ He saw the connection could be profound. He also realized the audience may say, ‘When we’re finished with you, we’ll replace you with somebody else.’ For myself and so many others (including shopkeepers, foremen, professionals, bellboys, gravediggers, directors, musicians), they won’t be replaced. Yes, Pete, it’s true, music can change you.”

  • Felonious Punk

    No surprise that Eddie would say something like this; he’s been on Pete’s nuts for years, right down to his band trying to be a modern-day version of The Who

    Townsend couldn’t carry Keith’s heroin kit, let alone hold a candle to his legacy.

    • Pink Taco

      Eddie has frequent flyer miles flying on Keith’s nuts. I like your analogy. I feel Pete T. is vastly overrated. Keith is definitely the better player. The windmill thing is totally irrelevant to me. Tons of guys in the UK are better players than Pete.

      • Felonious Punk

        I’ve long thought that UK band The Darkness always made for a pretty righteous hybrid of Queen and The Who.

  • P G

    Keith Richards and Pete Townshend are both amazing, but there’s no question who has survived more (and who invented that windmill slashing style of playing)

  • dakotablue

    “John and Keith made the Who what they were”? Huh?
    Shouldn’t that be John and Pete? Confusion.

  • sifting .

    keith won’t die
    his cigs keep him alive