Peter Townshend Bruce Malamut - Essay

Bruce Malamut

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Stones paved the way for the Who so it's natural that Stones take less chances—they were the founders, they had to secure the foundation of the cosmology. The Who are their bastard child. Breathing the life of r & b which their father set in motion as the viable medium option, the Who are liberated to experiment away, outside the boundaries of the animus which birthed them. They take the blues less seriously, seem to enjoy to rock a little harder and accept the ultimate truth that purists are copyists. This is what sets the Who apart—not, just from their generation of musicians; from the history of rock 'n roll itself! The Who laugh as much at their roots as they love them. More specifically, require rock as a medium of energy. I believe that the Who, with basically the same message they now communicate, could have been an avant-garde jazz band. Townshend, Entwistle, Moon & Daltrey have concurred rock is the medium, however, & so be it. (& as the medium's the message, then "rock" is all that "music" has to say.) The world—rock. Period. Finis. Like a Warhol soupcan for & of itself. Not related to something academic & contrived for the sake of decadent snot-nosed appreciation, but … of itself. Pop art. Which brings us to "My Generation" and no longer containing our aggression. So rock is no longer merely light entertainment. It shows more than one face—like art should; like theater does. It is not ironic that the Who, therefore, are theatrical. Not always for your pleasure, but certainly for shock.

Bruce Malamut, "Capsule Reviews: 'My Generation'," in Crawdaddy (copyright © 1976 by Crawdaddy Publishing Co., Inc.; all rights reserved; reprinted by permission), March, 1976, p. 76.