Pete Townshend would smash a guitar again - but only for charity

(Image credit: Erika Goldring/FilmMagic)

Pete Townshend recently decried that new players had “literally exhausted the possibilities of the guitar”, and now he’s perhaps feeling similarly about some of his own electric and acoustic guitar tricks.

In a recent interview with the UK’s BBC Radio 2, Townshend stated that he will never again do one of his signature live tricks - smashing a guitar onstage - unless it is to raise money for charity.

"I haven't smashed guitars for a long time - for me, it was an expression of youth,” Townshend said. “I smashed a guitar on David Letterman and it auctioned for $168,000. I am prepared to smash a guitar for charity."

Elsewhere in the interview, Townshend discussed what he sees as the incredibly polarized nature of today’s music industry, and how the Who, in their time, were a band able to bridge musical divides. 

"Music seems to have gone into two polarized strands,” he said. “One of which is music that is recorded with synthesizers and what you can do on a computer. The other is from bands like The 1975 using more traditional rock and roll methods.

“Our stuff straddled both; we were one of the first rock artists to use synthesizers."

No word on whether Pete would be up for a good charitable synth smash one of these days.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Richard Bienstock

Rich is the co-author of the best-selling Nöthin' But a Good Time: The Uncensored History of the '80s Hard Rock Explosion. He is also a recording and performing musician, and a former editor of Guitar World magazine and executive editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine. He has authored several additional books, among them Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the companion to the documentary of the same name.