Who is behind novel The Age Of Anxiety? The Who's Pete Townshend

LONDON (AFP) – After penning best-selling albums such as Tommy and soundtracks like Quadrophenia with legendary rock band The Who, guitarist Pete Townshend has now written his first novel.

At a London launch on Thursday (Nov 7), Townshend, 74, said the book – The Age Of Anxiety – contained “a lot of autobiographical stuff”.

“I observed a lot of things,” he said, evoking his relationship with drugs and abandonment as a child by his parents.

The novel’s characters include a rock star-turned-hermit who paints apocalyptic scenes, and an art dealer with drug-induced demonic visions.

Townshend, The Who’s main songwriter, said he waited until now to become a novelist because “I don’t think I felt qualified”.

But he already has plans to turn the book into a rock opera, which he hopes to stage in 2021.

“I wrote the book just so that I could write a libretto,” he said.

“My dream as an art student was to combine all these fantastic courses that I had.”

With four members – Townshend, singer Roger Daltrey, bass player John Entwistle and drummer Keith Moon, The Who ran up scores of hits in the late 1960s and 1970s, including Pinball Wizard and My Generation.

Moon died of a drug overdose in 1978 and Entwistle from a heart attack in 2002.

The band, still fronted by Daltrey and Townshend, will release its first album in 13 years, entitled simply WHO, on Dec 6.

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