Quadrophenia: Can You See the Real Me?

Genre: Documentary
59 min


The Who started as a band with four

very different individuals

with very, very different needs.

Got a few hits,

managed to pull off Tommy,

managed to pull off some

kind of amazing live stage energy.

'A special TUC conference in London

has voted...'

'New challenges and burdens

created by the oil crisis...'

'As the gas situation gets worse...'

'The miners need some inducement to

come to talks...'

'I think the three-day week should

be called off at once.'

'Ten years on from The Who's

first successes comes the release

'this weekend of a new double album

that could be a step on,

'even from Tommy, Quadrophenia.'

When we got to Quadrophenia,

talking 1973,

something strange was happening to

the internal politics of the band.

It was quite clear that Keith Moon

was certifiably insane

and that if he hadn't had a drum kit

to play with, he probably would have

ended up in jail.

John Entwistle simply wasn't happy

because he was a songwriter,

and it seemed as though for him,

the band had come all about me

and my ideas.

Roger wanted something which meant

he could swing his hair

and looked glamorous

and take his chest off

and be a superstar.

I had difficulties as well.

Lifehouse, which followed Tommy,


The accusation was, "You failed

with your big idea

"because you're an arty-farty

pretentious twat."

It felt, to me,

as though we were drifting apart.

So my first mission,

my first part of the brief that

I gave myself was replace Tommy as

a performing vehicle, that was it.

So my story was, I'd bought this

riverside property out...

It's actually in a place

called Cleeve on the River Thames.

One day I got this call

about Eric who was wallowing

down in his house in the country,

and would I go down and see Eric?

Eric had done an album

and ended up as a heroin user.

I remember going down and seeing

him. He was very courteous, very

kind, very dignified, very loving,

very friendly

as he always was to me.

But I was affected by it.

I start to think about how we can...

Not rescue Eric,

but just to kind of stimulate him.

I turned to a couple of my mates,

Ronnie Wood, Stevie Winwood

I was nodding off and Rick the bass

player said, "Try this." I said,

"What is it?"

He said it is

a kind of a popper thing,

he said, it wakes you up,

and it was amyl nitrate.

And I took it and I went, "Oh,

that's fun, a bit of a buzz,"

and then played. I did not get stuck

on it but I used it quite a bit.

Once the concert with Eric

in January 1973 was over, I suppose

I must have had some sort of come

down from the lack of amyl nitrate.

On a dark, wet winter

weekend at the cottage at Cleeve,

with the river running

faster than usual,

I had a flashback to

when I was 19 years old.

The Who had just played this

amazing gig at the Aquarium Ballroom

in Brighton and I was

with my art school friend Des Reed.

After the gig

we missed the train home.

So we hung out

and we went down under the pier

and there were all these boys

in parkas

with the fucking tide

coming up around their feet.

They didn't seem to understand

that they were going to drown!

Under the pier, I was coming

down from taking purple hearts,

the fashionable uppers

of the period.

Sitting there at Cleeve,

that day nine years later,

that same feeling came flooding back

of feeling depressed,

lost and hopeless

and I grabbed a notebook.

Quickly when I was still in this

sad and lonely mood,

I scribbled out the story that is

on the inside sleeve of the original

album of Quadrophenia.

This was the story of a mod

called Jimmy.

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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