Who guitarist shouts down deafness claims, explains absence from Tommy tour and promises band will take Quadrophenia on the road

Staying around: Townshend

Pete Townshend has shouted down claims he’s been forced into semi-retirement through deafness – and says the only reason he’s not on Roger Daltrey’s current Tommy tour is that he doesn’t belong there.

Fear had been mounting that the Who guitarist would never take to the stage again after he complained about severe tinnitus and worried a new in-ear monitor system was failing to deal with the issue.

Bandmate Daltrey recently added fuel to the fire when he described Townsend as “almost stone deaf”.

But now the guitarist has spoken out – and says his hearing is fine.

“It’s actually better than ever, because after a feedback scare in 2008 I am taking good care of it.

“I have computer systems in my studio that help me do my engineering work on the forthcoming Quadrophenia release.

“The same computer systems work wonderfully well on stage. They were perfect for me when the Who performed at the Super Bowl and at the Royal Albert Hall in 2010.

“I’ve had assistant from younger forensic engineers and mastering engineers to help me clean up the high frequencies that are out of my range.

“I’m 66. I don’t have perfect hearing, and if I listen to loud music or go to gigs I tend to get tinnitus. Don’t we all?”

Daltrey is on tour with a reinterpretation of the band’s landmark Tommy rock opera, of which Townsend says: “The reason I’m not there is it’s entirely Roger’s adventure, one which is bringing him great joy. I don’t belong on this Tommy tour.

“I wish him well, sincerely, and I look forward to playing with him again when we do Quadrophenia next year.”

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