“When we first came to New York, we'd play four times a day. I only had one guitar, so I'd have to break it and fix it four times a day”: Pete Townshend talks guitar smashing, and what he had to do to keep his gear functioning

Pete Townshend smashes a Fender Telecaster onstage at the Oberrheinhalle in Offenburg, Germany on April 17, 1967
(Image credit: Chris Moprhet/Redferns)

Peanut butter and jelly, Simon and Garfunkel, Pete Townshend and smashing guitars; some things are just meant to go together. 

During a recent appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the Who guitarist discussed his affinity for breaking guitars during the band’s live shows, and why he’s never felt a deep bond with any of the instruments he's reduced to splinters. 

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Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to Prog, Guitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.