THE WHO guitarist Pete Townshend has clarified his comments about the deaths of bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwistle, claiming that he was "being ironic" in his "own English way by suggesting it is something" he is "glad about."
In a recently published Rolling Stone interview, Townshend stated about Moon and Entwistle: "Thank God they're gone. Because they were fucking difficult to play with. They never, ever managed to create bands for themselves. I think my musical discipline, my musical efficiency as a rhythm player, held the band together."
In a lengthy statement on Facebook, Pete attempted to explain the controversial comment, saying: "No one can ever know how much I miss Keith and John, as people, as friends and as musicians. The alchemy we used to share in the studio is missing from the new album, and it always feels wrong to try to summon it up without them, but I suppose we will always be tempted to try. To this day I am angry at Keith and John for dying. Sometimes it shows. It's selfish, but it's how I feel."
Townshend added that he is "sincerely grateful" to have had the opportunity to carry on with THE WHO following the deaths of Moon and Entwistle. "I do thank God for this, but I was being ironic in my own English way by suggesting it is something I am glad about," he said. "I can be grateful to be free as a player and writer, but sad about losing old friends. It does feel ironic, and it also makes me angry. Towards the end of my mother Betty's life she drove me barmy, and there was a huge sense of relief when she finally passed, but I miss her very much. Love has so many facets."
The guitarist that said he understood that a lot of THE WHO fans would be "hurt by the way" his comments come across "as a headline," but added that he hoped they knew him well enough to understand that "the upside is missing in the headlines."
"The upside with Keith and John was that on tour and in the studio we had so much fun," he wrote. "Playing with them was hard, but both Roger [Daltrey, vocals] and I spent a lot of time doubled up in joy and laughter even though we could have benefitted from a quieter life sometimes. It was a riot."
He went on to apologize to Moon's and Entwistle's family members, saying that he "carelessly" provided the words that were used in the headlines. He added: "In the past three months, I have done so many interviews I am losing focus and patience. I forgive myself. I hope they can forgive me too. I loved their dads and still do.
"It's really poignantly painful to imagine how things would have turned out had John and Keith had also been allowed to become older, kinder and wiser," Townshend said. "THE WHO might have grown musically, or possibly just gone around in circles, but I assure you we would have deepened our love for each other as human beings and colleagues."
Moon was 32 years old when he died in 1978 from an overdose of clomethiazole, while while Entwistle passed away at 57 from a cocaine-induced heart attack in 2002.
THE WHO will release a new album, simply called "Who", on December 6.