Who are you?
Who, who, who, who?
I woke up in a Soho doorway
A policeman knew my name
He said you can go sleep at home tonight
If you can get up and walk away
I staggered back to the underground
And the breeze blew back my hair
I remember throwin’ punches around
And preachin’ from my chair.
Songwriter: Pete Townshend (1978)
Today is a rock ‘n roll kind of day – I feel summer comin’ on .. and this song just popped into my head.
Pete Townshend is a true artist. One of my favorite. A member of the legendary Who, his own solo releases, author — and soul-searching deep individual. He was also a serious boozer. Drink nearly killed him. (It did kill Who drummer Keith Moon in 1978, three weeks after Who Are You? was released.)
Pete says the lyrics to Who Are You? are based on a true event – and was a couple of years before he hit bottom with alcohol – and cleaned up. He was sober from 1981 until 1992, eleven years — and fell off the wagon when he took a drink in a pub. Pete got sober again in 1994 – and has been ever since. If someone who has money, minders and lots of ability to keep alcohol at bay can’t do it – how about us plebs???
In my past life I’ve worked with a lot of rock bands – and the sheer loneliness and drudgery of the road, the long haul trips, coming down after the highs of performances, etc, produces a lot of alcoholics. In Pete’s autobiography ‘Who I Am’ he wrote “As rock performers, it’s a lonely job, and there are times when it’s a ridiculous job . . . And that can cause a tremendous feeling of being . . . isolated, even neglected. So you can be in front of a huge audience and . . . you find yourself saying, ‘Would they really like the real me?’”
And I feel just the same – Who am I? And will people like the real sober me?
Tell me – who are you??????