During my road trip in July 2014, I listened to quite an interesting autobiography about Pete Townshend of The Who rock band. I downloaded the audio book version of Who I Am from my local library ( free!).
Growing up on The Who songs, it was interesting to learn what went into the songs I heard on the radio that Townshend wrote as well as the stories of how he lived his life during his long career. The book covers the usual sex, drugs and rock & roll stuff but goes on to take a close look at his relationships, contractual problems with record and production companies, the making of Tommy, his band’s skyrocket popularity after Woodstock, his cars, houses and boat plus his current projects in music, theater, art and charities. He sadly talks about the deaths of two of his band mates. He discusses his arrest for child pornography (issued a ‘caution’ by the British law enforcement after he attempted to investigate banks involment in credit card transactions of porn sites) and his own childhood abuse.
Pete himself narrates the book and I found that hearing his actual voice was a wonderful way to listen to the book. It was as if he was personally telling me his story. My biggest surprise from the book was how well Pete told his story and drew me into his successes and his struggles, his blatant honesty regarding affairs, drugs and alcohol abuse as well as his recovery and his relapses as well as some anger issues. The book was very well written (spoken) and I enjoyed discovering what a fine piece of literature this was, not just scraps of journal entries but scenes well painted with perfect descriptions, insights into his creative process and interactions among the people in his life – all of which seemed heart-felt, sincere and touching.
Its amazing how at times I might lust for the glamorous lifestyle of the rich and famous only to find out that frequently they’re financially strapped, in legal trouble, depressed, addicted, compulsive and sometimes self-destructive. I’m thankful that Pete lays it out there for a reminder that sobriety, balance and love are the real elements that make life fulfilling and blessed.
The audio book is almost 18 hours long so…..you’ve got enough time to drive from Houston to Chicago, then listen to The Who songs on the way back.
Plug in and drive on!