Pete Townshend Interviewed by the University of West London

The Winter 2021 issue of University of West London’s (UWL)  “Your University” magazine posted a special interview with ex-alumni Pete Townshend of The Who. 

Core Ealing Club followers will not be surprised about headline references to the Ealing Club, the West London 60’s Rhythm & Blues scene & figures such as Cyril Davies. Thankfully, Pete also reminded readers that the Rolling Stones started in Ealing at a venue that would later host his own band, The Who. 


Although, PT states he never saw the The Stones perform in Ealing, he remembers spotting the group crossing the road from Ealing Broadway station as they headed towards the original Ealing Club venue. In awe of their “beauty” that would be dismissed by others, he would later realise they were quite a good band as well.

The UWL “Your University” magazine interview highlights Ealing Art School’s influence on Pete’s graphic design studies that would help shape iconic “Who” designs: target t-shirts, Union Jack jackets & the arrow over the “O” in the name of The Who. 


Early 60’s Ealing art school life influenced 60’s counter culture way beyond music. Professor Roy Ascott, mentioned in this article, facilitated visits from figures such a Gustav Metzger who conveyed ideas of “auto-destructive” art to Townshend and others.

It goes without saying that all those iconic pictures of The Who destroying guitars & Marshall stacks are directly connected with these lectures while time spent by Pete Townshend by the the Pinball Machine in Sid’s cafe (Ealing) led to other legendary “Who” soundscapes.

Hopefully, UWL’s film, music, tourism, business students and West London’s Cultural ‘movers & shakers” will sift through the significance of blues-rock scene and harness the worldwide interest that exists. In Nov 2022 the independent film “Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of The Ealing Club” arrived in Japan where it screened in > 40 cinemas. Meanwhile, in West London many musicians are yet to catch the story.


Proper consideration of Roy Ascott et al and the influence of “Cybernetics” on the likes of Pete Townshend, Brian Eno, David Bowie might long be overdue. Maybe it is time for contemporary students to revisit some of those “maverick” Cybernetic theories that helped shape a few of the greatest Rock ‘n’ Roll albums ever made and much more besides.

For Suburban Steps To Rockland – The Story of The Ealing Club go here.