The Who's Pete Townshend: 'Lady Gaga Is Like A Space Oddity'

The Who's Pete Townshend has revealed that he is a fan of Lady Gaga, after comparing the singer to a "space oddity".

Ultimate Guitar

Speaking to the Sun, the guitarist said: "The machinery of making music means more people can do it now. The technology has made it easier to make music without being profoundly gifted."

He added: "What Lady Gaga has done is created an iconic figure who is someone we can get inside. She's a story and it's fascinating to watch - she's like a space oddity."

Townshend also gave his opinion on TV talent shows, stating: "You don't listen to TV any more. You sit there and spend your whole time shouting, 'What a c-nt, he's a c-nt, she's a c-nt, she's useless, she's great vote for her'. It has created a different way of watching television. Reality TV is about what goes on in the room when you're watching it."

The Who recently announced details of a UK and Ireland arena tour during which they will perform their classic album "Quadrophenia" in full.

The band will also play a selection of their other classics during the 10-date tour, which kicks off in Dublin on June 8 and wraps up in Liverpool on June 30. Tickets go on sale this Friday (February 1) at 9am. Directed by Roger Daltrey, the show features a full performance of their 1973 double album "Quadrophenia" accompanied by "powerful imagery projected on an array of massive screens".

According to the band, this imagery is "designed to support, complement and propel the musical content of the work by setting it in the context of the history of the band".

The Who will play:

06/08 - Dublin - The O2 06/10 - Belfast - Odyssey 06/12 - Glasgow - SECC 06/15 - London - The O2 06/18 - Sheffield - Motorpoint Arena 06/20 - Newcastle - Metro Arena 06/23 - Manchester - Arena 06/25 - Cardiff - Motorpoint Arena 06/28 - Birmingham - LG Arena 06/30 - Liverpool - Echo Arena

Thanks to NME for the report.

41 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "What Lady Gaga has done is created an iconic figure who is someone we can get inside." Ah, I see why he likes her so much.
    'What a ****, he's a ****, she's a ****, she's useless, she's great vote for her' I say we start a campaign to get Pete on the American Idol judging panel.
    Diony x
    Mr. Townshend, I really do appreciate you, but don't ever compare Space Oddity to GaGa!
    What is with all these rock gods giving that manufactured Trollup credit? It's generic technopop, she's a buttereverything, and she can't sing!
    Floyd Phoenix
    Does that mean she's going to have a technological failure in space and die in a depressing yet ultimately brilliant song?
    Note that he says "The technology has made it easier to make music without being profoundly gifted", which is an understatement in Lady Gaga's case...
    I't not exactly a compliment, but she is one of the most "gifted" pop musicians out there. Still hardly compares to real talented musicians though.
    I'd say she compares well enough up there. Pop isn't as technical as some other styles but creating catchy and accessible music can be more challenging than people give credit for and she seems to be quite good at it.
    i guess, unless she has a whole production team doing it for her... i mean she already stole half of madonnas act, so IDK how much creative room there still is
    She actually does write everything herself. She also has some really generally good piano music released under her real name.
    Pick three to four consonant or semi-consonant chords. Base your vocal melodies around a home note and stick to the home not a lot but not all the time. Divide each section of the song into sub-sections, and have 2 to 4 mini-melodies within each section. Then repeat the crap out of everything I just said. You just wrote a successful pop album. Now suddenly become physically attractive and autotune the crap out of your voice, or in the case of Lady Gaga, just have a decent vocal ability. It's actually really easy to write a pop song. Meanwhile, let's see a pop act write something like this -
    And that's actually from a band that's poppy enough to chart on the rock singles. I could easily go much further.
    First of all Lady Gaga can at least hold a note without autotune. It's used in the studio because it's pop, and the standard is it needs to be perfect (lo-fi wouldn't do well on the radio). Second, you described the process of making music that a lot of people have done, both underground and mainstream. If it's so easy try it yourself and see how well you get. Making catchy hooks on a regular basis that are loved by millions isn't so easy. It's like if I said all you had to do was draw out songs past 10 minutes, put as many complicated rhythms as possible, and inject some Spanish influence, and I'd have a Mars Volta song. Clearly that's BS (inb4 someone says I'm right). Also judging music purely on complexity is narrow-minded.
    You forgot about being catchy (the single most important thing to popular music and something that 13 minutes of The Mars Volta is certainly not).
    Do you respect her just because it's difficult to write catchy and accessible songs? It's still shit. That basically means she's a good businesswoman/marketer. I don't really see the value that she supposedly brings either. Her image is literally lifted from people like Madonna and Marilyn Manson. I don't see what she has added to or developed in the image. She's basically a famous fan... or a youtube mash up video.
    It's very easy to write catchy and accessible pop songs - when someone else has already written 80% of your song before. That's what Lady Gaga does - add she flourishes onto ideas and melodies she has appropriated from elsewhere and that fits them to an image that she has appropriated from elsewhere.
    She does have talent as a singer, and it does take talent to create music on a computer that many people don't understand. If Pete wants to make a song, he doesn't need to figure out the bass parts for the song, create drum parts, sing, or play keyboards/piano on a song. He's a rock musician, which means he's dependent on other musicians to help him create songs, so all he has to do is play guitar and hope that the other musicians are capable of following his playing. An electronic musician on the other hand has to figure out all of the stuff by his/herself. An electronic musician has to layer all the instruments together so that they sound good, has to have a knowledge of musical theory to use to harmonize the various instruments use (keyboards/midi) and has to have a knowledge of how to produce music. The thing is, most people on this site 'slam' electronic music and dubstep music, and call the people who create it 'talentless'. I'm betting that most of the people who make these claims are unable to create the music that these people are able to create.
    Pete is not really the best example here, as he did a lot of experimenting with synthesizers, layering and other fun stuff, because he likes to create sounds, not just play guitar. He partly was an 'electronic musician'/producer. This is definitely true for some though. I personally just don't enjoy electronic music that much, but going around slamming it... I have better things to do with that time than just spread negativity; Wish more people thought that way though!
    I agree, especially in Lady Gaga's case, but there are plenty of pop musicians that have production teams. . .so it varies from artist to artist.
    @GhostPlayground - Pete Townshend did much more than Lady Gaga will ever do in her life. As for electronic people having to "figure out all of the stuff by themselves" - sure, but it's really easy to do. In fact, electronic music might be the laziest writers ever, just throw a sample over a beat, and throw in some sort of melody. There isn't much to it if you have the programs already. Meanwhile, I posted a video up there of The Mars Volta (I'll miss them so much!). That album is a whopping 90 minutes long (if you include the 14 minute deleted title track). The entire 90 minutes? Written by just the guitarist. The only thing he didn't write was the lyrics. He wrote every instrument, in their entirety, minus a few improv sections. This is the list of what he had to write - layers upon layers of vocals Two separate, interweaving rhythm guitar parts Lead guitar parts that just about never stop synthesizers ambient noises keyboards bass drums more keyboards additional percussion trumpet piano clavinet even more percussion tenor sax flute tuba more piano trombone bass trombone string accompaniment brass accompaniment EVEN MORE piano EVEN MORE additional percussion two cellos 9 violins. The guy did it all by himself. 90 minutes of that. The point is, electronic music may seem mega talented but for the most part it's fairly simple. And people thinking that Lady Gaga is like this magic "I wrote everything person" - she's not. Out of all of the songs she's had released of the 2 albums and 1 EP, she wrote only TWO SONGS by herself. The rest of it was co-written by anywhere from one to 3 other people. And there's still 8 billion production credits. So Lady Gaga, at most, probably wrote some piano chords, the vocal melodies, and the lyrics. And not even all of them.
    Some of the best songs I've ever heard have been with a guy singing with an acoustic guitar. More layers =/= quality.
    How does the accomplishment of one musician/band something decrease the quality of another musician's accomplishment? By your logic, every rock/metal/progressive song/band in the world is suddenly worthless because classical composers/jazz composers are more technical, possess more musical knowledge, and make their songs longer. Also, you need to keep in mind that a 90-minute track isn't really as special as people make it out to be. If I wanted to create a 90-minute track, I could simply do what Soft Machine (probably the first progressive rock band) did and merely combine multiple 4-5 minute songs to create a single incredibly long song. Also, your view of what electronic music is, is almost laughably close-minded. Listen to a couple songs by Foetus/Skinny Puppy/Coil/Nine inch Nails/Brian Eno/and Cabaret Voltaire. Yes, they do use tape loops, but they also have created some pretty amazing compositions. Foetus even uses many of the instruments you mentioned that the Mars Volta uses in many of his songs, and uses quite a few time changes as well.
    GaGa went to the Juilliard School for piano, so I'm willing to bet she can play the keys better than most, if not all the people on this forum calling her talentless. However, her personality is so odd, hence the Space Oddity comment, its easy to overlook that talent. But, just because she distracts from her own talent with her antics does not mean she is talentless. I can't believe Pete Townsend's gratuitous use of the word '****'. Wow.
    Ya, the dreaded 'C' word. It's much more common in Brit swearing/slang than in the US. I remember the 1st time I heard it was in the LedZep 'Song Remains the Same' film. Peter Grant was ripping this guy at Madison Square Garden who allowed LedZep shirts to be sold without his permission. He freely used the 'C' word...
    Right? That was pretty terrible how much he used that word. And yes to your info on Gaga.
    I will defitnetly give you that saying "creating electronic music requires no talent" is completely untrue as in it's own right takes time and talent. However I disagree with one, that sa rock musician, and especially in Pete's case, he does have to account for the other parts and has been responsible for writing the great deal of them in songs. Second, though he needs them(other musicians that is) to play them, the fact that another electronic musician can start a drum beat or a synth loop in time isn't neccesarily hard, especially with a single button, at least in most pop today (the bad ones like Lady gaga). In the case of Phantogram (great electonic band), it requires deifitnetly some creative skill espically since they create the sound in real time. Believe me, them, Brian Eno, Steven Wilson, Robert Frip, Black Dog Productions are insanely talented, far more so than Lady Gaga. YES, it requires talent to that stuff on your own, but not really with Lady Gaga.
    As I said above, Gaga does actually write everything herself, and as far as I know, puts it all together herself. Some will assume otherwise just because she's popular.
    Cool they're performing my favorite Who album, but who's gonna be the "Bell Boy"? A Keith Moon hologram?
    "...powerful imagery projected on an array of screens"....hopefully will distract the purchaser of an over-priced ticket from the dreadful vocal and sloppy guitar performances of Daltrey and Townsend. Watching these guys is like watching the Ali-Holmes fight---former champion desperate to hold on to greatness continues on despite degrading skills, getting beaten senseless by the younger, more talented contender
    I wish The Who would perform Who's Next in it's entirety! The best Who album ever and one of the great Rock albums in history!
    Lady Gaga is awesome, and Pete, besides not playing shit, is a pedophile. Plus, if anything, techonology just made things harder for everyone when it's about becoming famous, since there are more and more people that are mediocre being able to sound cool.