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.”