Monday, November 8, 2010

Roger That, For Pete's Sake

Over on Facebook, a St. John's buddy, Jim Leach, thinking about the just-concluded silly season, posted this stunning performance (from the 1979 documentary "The Kids Are Alright") of Pete Townshend's ambiguous political anthem, "Won't Get Fooled Again," which famously ends, "Meet the new boss/Same as the old boss." To hear Townshend tell it, he wasn't decrying political change as mush as warning us not to put too much faith in its agents -- advice which, as I age, I find I have less and less difficulty heeding.

No three-piece (not counting Roger Daltrey's powerful vocals) has ever rocked like the Who. I regret not introducing myself to bassist John Entwistle when we were both having a drink with colleagues (his were musicians from his tour, mine were tacticians from the Nixon Center, who were helping me gird for a brewing assault by Nixon family members) in the bar of the Four Seasons Hotel in Georgetown in 1996. His thundering, peripatetic runs (listen especially to what he plays during the chorus) and Keith Moon's exquisitely musical drumming have been quieted. What would I have said to the bassist forever known as the Bear? Probably the only thing you can say to an artist who's given you years of joy: Thanks.

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