inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #76 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 5 Jul 11 09:32
    
In what respect did you find "Quadrophenia" a follow on to "Who's
Next"? In its operatic ambition and rather convoluted story, the two
works shared similar traits. They both reflected some of his spiritual
concerns and admiration of Meher Baba, perhaps more subtly in
"Quadrophenia."

The actual subject matter and production/musical tone, however, seem
fairly different to me. In "Who's Next," Townshend was taking on a lot
of almost science-fiction like ideas speculating on the future of our
environment, technology, communication, and government, as well as the
possibility of using music to transform human experience. In
"Quadrophenia," he was very much addressing his and his audience's own
(fairly recent) past. As Ed Ward noted earlier, "Quadrophenia" had a
rather dense and less radio-ready production than "Who's Next," which
was state-of-the-art (for 1971) hi-tech hard rock.

I think the photo booklet and short story in the inner gatefold of
"Quadrophenia" clarify the album's plot in a way that wouldn't be as
apparent from the music itself (even with printed lyrics, which were
included in the booklet). Maybe Townshend learned a little lesson from
how hard it had been to explain "Lifehouse" to the band and many
others, and wanted to make sure his concept was explicated to at least
some extent in the packaging.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #77 of 110: David Julian Gray (djg) Tue 5 Jul 11 10:18
    
I find it musically a logical progression from Who's Next -
Regarding the accompanying booklet - I have the great advantage of your book
and this discussion to guide me through the music of quadraphenia - but the
disadvantage of not haveing the original packaging ... (just the music from
various compilations - and not all of it either ... have to see what to do
about that ...
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #78 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 5 Jul 11 10:55
    
David, you should probably get a CD version of "Quadrophenia" to start
with as it's easily available and won't have the wear of a used vinyl
copy of the double LP. But for both you and other readers, I'd suggest
that if you really like the album and get into it, you track down a
cheap used vinyl double album copy for the packaging alone. The inner
booklet/gatefold really benefits from being at the 12X12 size, rather
than the relatively puny size of CD artwork.

There is one way, upon further reflection, that I find "Quadrophenia"
a logical progression from "Who's Next." That's in the use of
synthesizer, which really flowers on "Quadrophenia." Though synthesizer
is a big part of "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" on "Who's
Next," it's used relatively sparingly elsewhere. But on
"Quadrophenia," Townshend really went to town on the instrument, and
it's a very big part of the sound. Yet purposefully so -- I don't think
there's any other rock album on which the synthesizer is so
prominently that it's used so melodically, symphonically, and
tastefully.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #79 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Tue 5 Jul 11 10:58
    
Here seems to be an appropriate place to note some news that broke too
late (just about a month ago) to cover in the book. Townshend is
working on a deluxe box set of "Quadrophenia." Details at
http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/pete-townshend-announces-quadrophenia-b
ox-set-20110602,
highlighted by this quote from a Townshend blog on June 1:

"I am shut away in my home studio at the moment working to restore the
demos of Quadrophenia. Bob Pridden is doing surround-sound mixes of
selected tracks. Jon Astley is remastering the original vinyl mix, and
evaluating his own 1996 remix (the one where you can properly hear
Roger's astonishing vocals). I am sitting in a pile of notes, desk
diaries, photos (I took a lot of my own between 1971-1973 when
Quadrophenia emerged), original lyrics and writing liner notes. 

I am really enjoying this work. Bob's mixes are mind-blowing. My demos
are among the best I've ever done, and include some real quirky tracks
that didn't make it onto the final album. I still find studio work
strange – I have to have the speakers very low in volume, not what I'm
used to. This package, due in October if all goes well, is another Live
at Leeds and Hull – or even another Lifehouse Chronicles – in the
making. You are going to love it. I hope so, because I am missing this
summer sunshine to get it completed on time. 

In my recent interview with my friend Simon Garfield for INTELLIGENT
LIFE, I professed some difficulty in my interaction with fans as I grow
older. What is so wonderful about working on Quadrophenia is that back
in 1970, all the way through to the recording in 1973, the primary
challenge for me was to tell the story of the Who's fans and at the
same time address the wayward creative needs of the band as individuals
and artists. The Who, and Jimmy as a kind of model for one or all of
our fans, really had developed a powerful symbiosis that deserved a
project like Quadrophenia both to honour the mechanism and address why
it started to fail almost a soon as it had begun. 

So I am enjoying working with the music, but I'm enjoying writing
about it too."
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #80 of 110: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Tue 5 Jul 11 11:12
    
The pictures from the original LP.  Even one with the famous(more by
Pink Floyd) Battersea power station.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yI3SyaqZwpE
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #81 of 110: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Tue 5 Jul 11 11:20
    
And here is the opening of the film.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzLky4U-xCg&NR=1
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #82 of 110: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Tue 5 Jul 11 11:23
    
And here seems to be a tolerably complete package for viewing:

http://www.quadrophenia.net/album/album.html
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #83 of 110: David Julian Gray (djg) Wed 6 Jul 11 07:52
    
Thank you, Kevin - that's a great resource ... and thank you
Richie for the book, the report of the forthcoming reissue (sounds like the
one to wait for) and this discussion so-far .
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #84 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 6 Jul 11 10:08
    
Since we're almost at the end of the time for this discussion, I hope
it's okay to note some of the most interesting things I found out about
"Quadrophenia" that haven't yet come up in the chat.

I asked a couple of Townshend's good longtime friends about the
possible inspirations for the main character of "Quadrophenia." One of
them was Irish Jack Lyons, who was perhaps their most fanatical fan
from the time they were just a club band in the Shepherd's Bush
neighborhood of London. Lyons told me "Pete took my character and
placed it in the embodiment of Jimmy...as Pete said in the Quadrophenia
song 'I'm One,' Jimmy was really no more than one in the crowd. That
was very much how I was as a mod, besides being a personal friend of
Pete Townshend."

Townshend himself told Hit Parader in 1974 that “one guy who I used to
think about a lot when I was writing Quadrophenia, [was] a friend of
mine who is a very sort of uneducated guy ... he’s Irish actually, but
probably because he was Irish was always sort of lyrical and could
always explain himself incredibly well." Five years later, he described
Irish Jack New Musical Express as “one of the original mods who I’d
left behind and who, I’d discovered, was in pretty bad shape, and so I
sat down and wrote about three days in his life."

Richard Barnes, a close friend of Townshend's since they were both in
art school in the early 1960s, thought "Quadrophenia" might have been
"about someone like Pete Meaden, who was their manager (in 1964) when
they were The High Numbers, who was a top mod. Meaden was really
obsessed and spouting about it...[he] was flawed, and toward the end of
his life [which ended in July 1978], he had mental problems." Meaden
himself told writer Steve Turner in 1975, "I identified with
["Quadrophenia"] entirely. ... He’s talking about a mod, well, I am a
mod, the mod who made mods out of The Who.” Turner told New Musical
Express in 1979: “He had listened to [Quadrophenia] and thought: ‘I am
Jimmy. Townshend’s writing about me!'"

Another candiate is Barry Prior, a 17-year-old trainee accountant who
in May 1964 somehow fell to his death off a cliff near Brighton, where
much of the action in "Quadrophenia" (including the scene where "Jimmy"
is stranded in the ocean with his life flashing before his eyes) takes
place. Quadrophenia film director Franc Roddam says in the DVD
commentary, "Some mod drove off there and killed himself. That moved
Pete Townshend enough to come up with the original concept." Jack
Lyons, however, told me "I certainly don’t recall ever talking to Pete
about Barry Prior. It was a very sad death but nobody knows for
sure what really happened to him. It may not have been suicide."
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #85 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 6 Jul 11 10:11
    
There's also the possibility that Jimmy is partially modeled on
Townshend himself. In his intro to the song "I'm One" at the Spectrum
in Philadelphia on December 4, 1973 (you can hear much of the concert
online at the Wolfgang's Vault site), he said, "It’s all about the way
I felt. When I was a nipper I always used to feel that the guitar was
all I had. ... I wasn’t tough enough to be a member of the gang, not
good looking enough to be in with the birds, not clever enough to make
it at school, not good enough with the feet to make a good football
player. I was a fucking loser. I think everybody feels that way at
some point. And somehow being a mod – even though I was too old to be a
mod really – I wrote this song with that in mind. Jimmy, the hero of
the story, is kind of thinking he hasn’t got much going for himself but
at least he’s one."

But he also said Jimmy wasn't a front for Pete Townshend. "I identify
very strongly with Jimmy in several ways, but certainly not all," he
told Cameron Crowe in Penthouse in 1974. "He’s a workshop figure. An
invention. And while he may seem a lot more real than Tommy, he isn’t.
Tommy was set in fantasy, but there was something very real about its
structure. Jimmy, on the surface, looks like a simple kid with
straightforward hang-ups, but he’s far more surrealistic. I don’t fully
identify with Jimmy’s early experiences ... his romanticism, his
neurosis, his craziness. I never went through a tormented childhood."

He was more emphatic on the In the Studio radio special about
"Quadrophenia." “Jimmy is very much the composite of a bunch of kids
that I know by name, that I grew up with in my neighborhood,” he said.
“That I know, and [are] not me, and are not like me. I am not like
Jimmy in the story of 'Quadrophenia.' I am very clear about my role
here as a writer, as someone that has observed the rite of passage that
a group of young people went through."

My own stance is that ITownshend might not have been writing about any
mod in particular, or himself, but about all of them and everyone. As
he emphasized in his introduction to 'I’m One' in Philadelphia, "I
think everyone feels that way at some point." And as he said when he
outlined his idea in Sounds back in the summer of 1972, “When you write
about somebody that has EVERYTHING happening to them you somehow
realize how everything does affect everybody.” So "Quadrophenia"'s  not
just the story of Jimmy, The Who, and the mods. I think it endures as
a classic statement of youthful quest for identity because it’s about
all of us.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #86 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 6 Jul 11 10:51
    
It was also interesting to trace how Townshend's plans for
"Quadrophenia" evolved and changed over time. One idea was to use the
album to actually document the Who's history, charting their first
decade in song. A related one was to record the music in the styles
they had used in their earlier work, especially mid-'60s mod rock. 

Ultimately, of course, the sound was very much 1973 Who with a lot of
hard rock and progressive rock influences (especially in the
synthesizer), and not a conscious re-creation of the mid-'60s mod rock
with which the Who had established themselves. Irish Jack Lyons told me
he felt "the album would have been a disaster if any other music
idiom, say like covers or typical 60s music, had been used. People
forget that the whole point of 'Quadrophenia,' written in ’71 and ’72,
is that it’s a look back, a retrospective. And to arrive at where you
were at, you need a vehicle. Pete Townshend’s choice of music to
journey in that vehicle was spectacular."

Also, while "Quadrophenia" is the only Who album on which Townshend
wrote every song, "originally, it was a very ambitious cooperative
project," he told Modern Hi-Fi & Stereo Guide. "I wanted everybody in
the group to write their own songs and stuff. Everybody was supposed to
engineer their own image, as it were...As always, the band kind of
looked at me like I was crazy and walked away. I’ve explained it to a
lot of people and everybody seems to be able to understand it but
them."

He also briefly considered having just three sides of the four-sided
double LP devoted to "Quadrophenia," with the fourth side consisting of
unrelated songs that they had recorded in spring 1972. Thankfully,
that idea was abandoned. He made so much of "Quadrophenia" being about
four different sides of a personality, represented by four different
personalities in the Who, that it would have been very odd indeed to
have such a "fourcentric" album cover only three album sides.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #87 of 110: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Wed 6 Jul 11 11:02
    
I am almost finished reading and may have a few more things to add
before the discussion moves on, but I want to thank Richie for the
book.  I really appreciate a serious discussion of Quadrophenia.  As I
said at the beginning, I knew a lot of people who never owned the
record but saw the movie.  In particular, I recall a number of friends
in Austin who openly disregarded Quadrophenia and so I didn't really
talk about it much for years.  These were punk rockers who really had
no truck with anything smacking of sentimentality.

I also wanted to point out that there are scooter cliques around,
especially in San Francisco.  Their fashion style is strict but it
reflects the late fifties R&R of the US, ie Rockabilly, rather than
modern pop.  I still ride a motorcycle(a 20 year old BMW k-bike) so I
can say that American motorcycle culture is more tied to pop
sensibilities for the crotch rocket kids and some nebulous bluesy thing
for the middle-aged harley riders that descend on some cities. 
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #88 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 6 Jul 11 11:08
    
I find it odd that anyone would consider "Quadrophenia" sentimental.
It's about a mod whose life is falling apart, and it's fairly
unflinching in its detail. There's a lot of humanity in its portrayal,
and some empathy/sympathy, but it's hardly done in an overly
melodramatic or saccharine fashion.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #89 of 110: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Wed 6 Jul 11 11:23
    
I couldn't agree more, but to some coming out of the disco culture and
arena rock of the mid 70s it may have seemed sentimental since it
wasn't overtly about fighting or dancing or politics *now*. It was more
subtle than that.  As Ed noted above, it may have involved more
thought than the tons of pop or punk more easily accessible.  Maybe
many around me just didn't see themselves in the character(s). 
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #90 of 110: Scott Underwood (esau) Wed 6 Jul 11 16:39
    
Sounds like there's a whole story in the finding and meeting of Irish
Jack Lyons.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #91 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Wed 6 Jul 11 16:43
    
Irish Jack is an interesting fellow, but there wasn't any drama
involved in finding him, to be honest. He's not that low-profile; he's
been interviewed about the Who before, and he even co-authored a pretty
good reference book about the Who's live work about 15 years ago, "The
Who Concert File." I was able to get my interview request to him
fairly easily by finding an interview with him on-line, and getting
contact information from the interviewer. My interview with him was
done by email, which is a little unfortunate, as I have the feeling
he'd be a pretty entertaining raconteur in person.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #92 of 110: no disrespect to our friends the chum (wiggly) Wed 6 Jul 11 19:10
    
Delurking to mention that our guest will be appearing live (I think)
around the San Francisco library network and beyond this month -- I
saw the notice at Park branch for the 20th of July, but the library
calendar says there are many more events.

http://sfpl.org/index.php?pg=1006261901
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #93 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 7 Jul 11 08:28
    
Here are the full details of my next library event:

On Wednesday, July 20 from 7pm-9pm at the Park Branch of the San
Francisco Library on 1833 Page Street, I'll discuss "Won't Get Fooled
Again: The Who from Lifehouse to Quadrophenia." Rare audiovisual
material of the Who from this era will be featured, and signed copies
of the book will be available for purchase. Admission is free.

I've been doing about a few dozen events a year at San Francisco Bay
Area libraries (and sometimes other venues/libraries in other cities).
These feature rare vintage rock film clips, and are sometimes (but
usually not) based around my books. The events are always listed on my
website, at http://www.richieunterberger.com/whatsnew.html. I don't
have any other Who events scheduled yet, but the San Jose Library
system wants to schedule some soon.

I've also started teaching community education classes at the College
of Marin, beginning with a six-week course on the history of the
Beatles this summer (it's already started, but I'll be doing it again
for their September 6-October 11 session). I could easily do a course
on the Who too, but I'm not sure public interest would meet the minimum
enrollment for that. 
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #94 of 110: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 7 Jul 11 11:58
    
Many thanks to Richie, John, Kevin, and others who contributed to this
great conversation about The Who. We're at the end of two weeks, which
means that another Inkwell conversation is starting today, and this
one can end. However you're welcome to continue if you have more to
post.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #95 of 110: Rob Myers (robmyers) Fri 8 Jul 11 11:43
    
Yes, thank you. It's been amazing to follow this conversation.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #96 of 110: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Fri 8 Jul 11 12:34
    
I've got the book on my wish list on Amazon for when it comes out as a
kindle book!

And I fixed the quadrophenia shaped hole in my collection so now ready
to read and listen along....
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #97 of 110: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Wed 20 Jul 11 19:52
    
Just watched Quadrophenia for the first time since college, and I'm
still left wondering whether 












Jimmy died at the end or not.










Also, how realistic is this? Did gang activity like that really happen
around then?
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #98 of 110: Scott Underwood (esau) Wed 20 Jul 11 21:02
    
Second question first: yes, Mods and Rockers was a real occurence, and
riots between rival mobs happened in a few cities, including Brighton
(where Quadropenia is set).

First question, spoiler discussion:
















It's purposefully ambiguous, and the scene is unique to the movie. I
prefer to think he does not, but rather sends the scooter off the
cliff as a symbolic rejection of his former, split lives. But I'm
Pollyanna.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #99 of 110: Kevin Wheeler (krome) Thu 21 Jul 11 00:44
    
I with Scott;  it is intentionally ambiguous.  One can take away
whatever one wishes from it.  At least it represents the end of the era
of which the movie and record speak.
  
inkwell.vue.411 : Richie Unterberger, "Won't Get Fooled Again"
permalink #100 of 110: Richie Unterberger (folkrocks) Thu 21 Jul 11 07:00
    
The ending of the "Quadrophenia" film is ambiguous, but I think it's
fairly clear that Jimmy does *not* go over the cliff with his scooter.
The first shot of the film, even before the core opening sequence of
him riding the scooter in London, shows him looking over a cliff at
sunset, and then walking away from the edge of the cliff. To me, that
probably indicates that he got off the scooter before it went over the
cliff, with the rest of the movie told as a big flashback in a sense.
Interestingly, according to the director's commentary on the DVD, that
shot wasn't in the script, and shot spontaneously.

The film as a whole seems like a fairly accurate re-creation of
1964/1965 mod culture, though there's an infamous faux pas where a
two-LP reissue combining the Who albums "A Quick One/The Who Sell Out"
can be seen in the party scene. That reissue didn't come out until
1973.

It also sticks fairly closely to the story of "Quadrophenia" as laid
out/inferred in the album, Townshend's short story in the inner
gatefold of the album, and the booklet of photos in the album. I'm
generally not a fan of adaptations like this (including the film
version of the Who's own "Tommy"), but found "Quadrophenia" a major
exception.
  

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