THE WHO's PETE TOWNSHEND Is Working On Musical Score For His 2019 Novel 'The Age Of Anxiety'

October 23, 2023

According to The Sun, THE WHO guitarist Pete Townshend is working on the musical score for his hit 2019 novel "The Age Of Anxiety".

"I am still developing the score and recording the music," Pete said. "I am also working on a documentary about the project, from its inception in 2007 until today. I'm probably two years off completing it, at which time I hope to perform it with a full opera and a cast of guest singers."

"The Age Of Anxiety" was released in November 2019. The book was published by Coronet/Hachette Books and is available in hardcover and audio read by British actor Michael Jayston.

In "The Age Of Anxiety", Pete explores the anxiety of modern life and madness in a story that stretches across two generations of a London family, their lovers, collaborators, and friends. The editor, Coronet publisher Mark Booth, said: "'The Age Of Anxiety' is a great rock novel, but that is one of the less important things about it. The narrator is a brilliant creation — cultured, witty, and unreliable. The novel captures the craziness of the music business and displays Pete Townshend's sly sense of humor and sharp ear for dialogue. First conceived as an opera, 'The Age Of Anxiety' deals with mythic and operatic themes including a maze, divine madness, and long-lost children. Hallucinations and soundscapes haunt this novel, which on one level is an extended meditation on manic genius and the dark art of creativity."

The narrator of the story is Louis Doxtader, a dealer of outsider art in Richmond. He is the art agent for Paul Jackson, a 1960s rock star and founder of the band HERO GROUND ZERO, who went mad and disappeared for years on the Cumberland moors, where he painted his apocalyptic visions of angels. The main protagonist of the story is Louis's godson Walter Watts, a young rock musician who connects psychically to his audience and begins to hear soundscapes of their anxieties, which he describes in essays that are presented throughout the book. There are strong female characters interwoven throughout the story, including a woman named Floss, which was Pete's early working title for the book. The story plot has many strands and a lot of twists and turns which all come together at a big concert performance of Walter's soundscapes.

When starting work on the story in 2008, Townshend drew inspiration from talking to people in his neighborhood around Richmond and found that there was a great deal of anxiety and fear on everyone's mind, something that is especially true in 2020. What could be a more apt description of the time we are currently living in than the Age Of Anxiety? Like so much of Pete's work over his career, he wanted to reflect his audience's thoughts and feelings. Many of the characters in the story are based on people he knows, and he sticks to subject matter he is very familiar with, such as the music business and art world. Readers familiar with Pete's work and life will recognize autobiographical elements throughout the book.

When the book was released, Pete went on a promotional tour for it, appearing at book events around London and Brighton, and giving dozens of interviews to media outlets around the world. His discussions about the book were insightful and fascinating.

Photo credit: Rick Guest (courtesy of Penny Guyon / Firefly Media and Live Nation)

Find more on The who
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).