Born into a musical family in London at the end of the Second World War, Townshend quickly found himself at the forefront of the British musical boom of the 1960's, as a member of one of the most rebellious, outspoken groups ever to emerge; The Who. As guitarist and composer of the band, Townshend was the driving force behind one of the most powerful, inventive and articulate bodies of work in rock and roll. From early classic three-minute singles, such as 'My Generation' and 'Substitute' through to complete song cycles in the shape of 'Tommy', 'Lifehouse' and 'Quadrophenia', Townshend has always been at the forefront of his profession.
Away from the band Pete Townshend has concentrated on his solo career, producing several successful solo albums as well as branching off into a career in musical theatre. His first venture on the stage were the award winning productions of 'Tommy', directed by La Jolla's Des McAnuff, followed by the musical adaptation of Ted Hughes 'The Iron Man'. At present he is working on a new stage treatment for 'Quadrophenia'.
Acknowledged as one of the most articulate and innovative rock performers around Townshend has turned his attention to the Internet - his regular and often frank journals and essays providing essential reading. Pete Townshend is no stranger to the Internet. Back in 1970 / 71 he wrote 'Lifehouse', a project which included ideas such as the 'Grid', a national communications network, and 'experience suits' where life programs were fed to individuals via the Grid. At the time most people couldn't grasp these science 'fiction' ideas but with hindsight it's easy to see that his ideas were not too far removed from the web and virtual reality that we know today. The technology wasn't available then for the project to be completed and it took him almost 30 years to see that happen. It was only fitting that when he did get to perform the music in it's entirety then it was available to a global audience via a webcast.
Townshend runs two successful websites and takes a very hands on approach with both. The first site at www.petetownshend.com allows him the opportunity to use the net as a creative tool. As well as his diary entries, he often makes available free mp3's of rare tracks and 'work in progress' materials, video diaries and 'pdf' downloads of short essays. The site has been nominated for a number of awards. The second site is his e-commerce site at www.eelpie.com. Here you can purchase exclusive material, such as his live 'signature' series of CD's as well as the traditional back catalogue. The site has also been used for charity auctions and in 2000 it raised in excess $250,000 for Oxfam's relief effort in Mozambique when Townshend auctioned off many of his personal effects.
Townshend has ambitious plans for his artistic endeavours using the Internet. They include continuing to distribute free music, sell CDs and DVDs. But most important he is still looking at ways of using the Internet to present musico-dramatic works (musicals, light-operas etc) with a degree of audience interactivity akin to that enjoyed at live concerts.