Pete Townshend says 2012 memoir a "rite of passage"

Tue May 17, 2011 6:16pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A long-awaited memoir by British rock guitarist and the Who songwriter Pete Townshend will be finished and published by next year, book publisher Harper Collins said on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old musician, idolized since rising to prominence with The Who in the 1960s, said in a statement released by the book publisher the autobiography is "not a vanity for me. It is an essential rite of passage."

Townshend, who Rolling Stone magazine said has been writing a memoir since the 1990s, has forged a reputation not only as the main songwriter for one of Britain's most influential bands, but a rock commentator who has also published works of fiction and essays in the past.

"Rock 'n' Roll is a tough career, however cynically or comically it is portrayed by its detractors," Townshend said in the statement. "I am lucky to be alive and to have such a crazy story to tell, full of wild adventures and creative machinations. I am happy that I am able to write my book myself, in my own 'voice'."

Harper Collins, which said it has acquired the world English-language rights to the memoir, said in a news release the book would "at long last tell his dramatic story in a full and frank autobiography," and include the history of the band's roots to its rock opera "Tommy."

The publisher did not say if Townshend would address being cautioned by the British police in 2003 for accessing child pornography on the Internet.

At that time Townshend blamed the book, saying he was researching material for a childhood autobiography after believing he had been sexually abused between the ages of five and six and a half while in the care of his maternal grandmother.

In the statement issued Tuesday on Townshend said that while "I am not my favorite subject", he was looking forward to learning while finishing his writing.

"So the year ahead spent writing will also trigger the last vital bit of 'growing up' required by the now pensionable fellow who once wrote 'I hope I die before I get old'. I want to write a book that is enjoyable to read, but above all, I want it to be honest."

Last week it was announced that Townshend gave Roger Daltrey, the only other surviving members of The Who, his blessing to take the 1969 rock opera "Tommy" on a six-week North American tour beginning in September.

(Reporting by Christine Kearney, editing by Jill Serjeant)

<p>Pete Townshend of British rock band 'The Who' performs during the halftime show for the NFL's Super Bowl XLIV football game between the New Orleans Saints and the Indianapolis Colts in Miami, Florida February 7, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes</p>