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Pete Townshend tells all in new book

The Who’s Pete Townshend has been talking candidly about his new autobiography. Who I Am opens up about his troubled childhood, his career in The Who and his 2003 arrest on child pornography charges.

"The publishers said they wanted a book about sex and drugs and rock'n'roll, and I said I'm not going to write that book," he told The Guardian. "I think I have now. I've written about as much sex and drugs and rock'n'roll as I'm entitled to, and a lot of people have said to me it's quite sad, really – it's almost like the bits of sex and drugs and rock'n'roll that you pulled off, you felt ashamed about."

The book explains in detail the arrest, which occurred after Townshend had been conducting research into child abuse, having been abused himself in his infancy. His explanation asks readers to understand his motivation for exploring the subject. "I had to nail it down – and say, 'Come on, please look at this more closely. Look at the train of events.' My sense is that you can read the book, you'll be able to make a decision."

He has bitter-sweet memories of the 1960s, an era when the band’s success could not quite paper over his depression and disillusionment. "I was quite brilliant on stage," he said, "and I found it incredibly easy. I couldn't work out why I wasn't fulfilled by it."

He told Radio Four he was perfectly content for The Who to be regarded as a "heritage band". He can now enjoy playing the occasional gig without having to worry too much about contemporary relevance.

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