How I Met Pete Townshend (part I)

The Set-up

It is 1993. I have just moved from New York City to San Francisco. I’ve found a nice little studio apartment on the second story of a nondescript beige/pink building on Jackson Street – between Nob Hill and Chinatown – a steal at $550. There are parrots in the tree branches outside the large bay window. They are loud. There is a very strange large, bald man who lives upstairs and tells me about his experiments with acid in the 60’s. They involve lying naked in bed for a week in a fetal position. His exaggerated speech, gestures and facial expressions remind me of the father of the voodoo woman who helps Johnny Angel find the “Dark Prince” in the movie “Angel Heart”.

I don’t have a job, the girl I chased halfway across the country doesn’t seem that interested anymore and I’m desperately looking for something to latch onto. I’ve come to realize that every long term friend I’ve ever had is three thousand miles away. I exist in a world full of acquaintances.

I seem to have time for many things. I do useless temp work for Charles Schwab. There, I make a lot of long distance phone calls, steal computer diskettes, pens and everything else that isn’t nailed down. My car gets many parking tickets. I now take buses and walk a lot. I peruse bookstores. In one such place, I find a used copy of Anthony RobbinsPersonal Power. How many times have I seen those late night 30 minute info-documentaries with this charismatic gent emphatically pitching his way for everyone to get their shit together? Well, I ain’t paying 300 bucks for the tapes, but I will pay $6 for the book.

I read the first three chapters. It basically says, “decide what you are going to do today and then go out and do it – especially if you have no idea how to.” Fair enough.


* * *

In 1993, Pete Townshend put out the reco
rd Psychoderelict and was doing his first ever solo tour to support it. The night before in Berkeley I had attended the first of two sold out shows and was happy to have been able to see him in the relatively intimate 3000 seat Berkeley Community Theater. It was a very good show. I go to bed feeling inspired. I awake the next morning and the Personal Power question stares me in the face:

“What are you going to do today?” Hmmm….I am going to meet Pete Townshend!

I’ll thank him for his work, let him know how big an inspiration he has been and have him sign my favorite guitar.

Pretty tall order. So, how to go about it? -> part ii