Pete Townshend Opens Up About "Messed Up" Childhood

Pete Townshend has never been shy about talking about his complicated life -- abuse as a child, psychological issues, religious beliefs, sexuality, drugs and alcohol. In an interview with Metro, Townshend says much of what happened to him many decades ago continues to impact him.

"I am 74. I really do not want to admit that I am still completely [screwed] up by [crap] that happened to me, that shaped and formed me, when I was a kid before the age of seven. But that is a fact. The way we handle being a teenager is then driven by our earlier childhood. What makes us vulnerable as adults is what we can’t see, or what we forget. That’s why therapy is useful. A young violent man holding a machete and chopping away at someone else might feel he is being crazily brave, wild and strong, but there might be a frightened kid in there somewhere. I can’t speak for women.

"What has been different for me is that I am a writer. What appears on the page in front of me is often unintentionally revealing. It can take a long time, but eventually every word I write betrays some aspect of my being that is damaged, hurt, frightened or vengeful. I’m often surprised by this, as I have been withTommy, where the little boy in the story and the man he becomes turned out to be so autobiographical. It’s not a ‘silly’ story folks, it’s my story. But of course, it is fiction, loosely based on my story. And it’s probably not my best plot.

"Tommy is just one set of songs, and many of my songs function in a similar way.Tommy seems to carry critical elements of a lot of people’s stories. That must be why it works so well. Maybe more of us are [screwed] up than we like to admit."

Townshend and The Who performed Sunday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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