The Who legend Pete Townshend described his past alcohol abuse and how the “ridiculous job” of being a rock star fuels addiction before a starry crowd including Joan Jett and Bruce Springsteen at the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit.
“I didn’t do drugs for a long, long time,” British guitarist and frontman Townshend told the audience, which also included his bandmate Roger Daltrey, Billy Idol and Willie Nile.
“When I was at art school, I smoked a bit of grass . . . I realized — and I don’t want to offend any pot smokers in the audience because I know it’s the great new thing — but it felt to me like every time I listened to a record, I went back to the same place . . . Then LSD came along, and I had two or three trips that weren’t particularly good. I saw those funny colors,” Townshend said.
“So for the next 15 years, I just drank a lot. And anybody that did a lot of drugs, I used to feel a bit superior to them. Filthy drug addicts. At one time I was doing about three bottles of brandy a day . . . I didn’t drink any water, I didn’t drink any tea, I didn’t drink Coca-Cola. I don’t think I ate. I just lived on cognac.”
The now-sober Townshend — who was honored with manager Bill Curbishby told The New York Post, “I think . . . people that are famous often have other s - - t going on. If you look at Hollywood, if you look at Robin Williams . . . it’s like you have to accept that possibly there was something he was carrying in him that had never ever been dealt with, and maybe that’s what made him so funny . . . As rock performers, it’s a lonely job, and there are times when it’s a ridiculous job . . . And that can cause a tremendous feeling of being . . . isolated, even neglected. So you can be in front of a huge audience and . . . you find yourself saying, ‘Would they really like the real me?’”