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Pete Townshend says the guitar has no future in Rock music

Pete Townshend 2019

Classic Rock

Pete Townshend says the guitar has no future in Rock music

The legendary The Who guitarist Pete Townshend said in an interview with Dallas News that guitars are not the future of rock music, because musicians “exhausted the possibilities” of the instrument.


Pete Townshend said:

“The guitar may be losing ground, but in part, that’s because if you spend an hour on Instagram or YouTube, you will quickly discover unknown people playing the guitar the way a great orchestral violinist like Yehudi Menuhin once might have played his instrument”.

“These are virtuosos of the highest order. They can shred like Eddie Van Halen or play jazz like John McLaughlin. They’ve literally exhausted the possibilities of the guitar. This kind of virtuosity is already happening with beat box-based rap, and with laptop-supported pop. Everything will change again, maybe faster than it did for guitar music – who knows?”

“It is… ‘guitar-based rock n roll’ that is losing ground, not rock itself. Hip-hop is rock to my ears: music for the neighborhood, the street, the disenfranchised, the downtrodden, the young, the ignored. That used to be what I focused on. Now, I try to write real operas, and want my stage work to be like art installations — and why not? Kanye West has been doing the same thing.”

He also talked about the amount of money that musicians get paid nowadays, much less than before on streaming services:

“I’m not complaining. I had my day when a TV show would pay $350 per replay of a song in a series. (CSI has been my pension fund). Some of us, many of us, didn’t get into this business to be millionaires or billionaires; we just wanted to connect, to raise the bar, make people dance, join together.”

And he also revealed to be addicted to social media:

“I think I am connected today to about 20 or 30 young musicians and artists who I would not have found without Instagram, YouTube and BandCamp. This is living in the moment for me. We will sort this out, we should not panic. There are always good and bad sides to new tech.”

Hear The Who’s new song “Big Cigars”


I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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