The Who’s seminal concept album Quadrophenia will be played live at Horsham’s Capitol on Friday, July 19 by eight-piece band The Goldhawks.
Released in October 1973, The Who’s second rock opera (Tommy being the first) was Pete Townshend’s homage to a pivotal moment in British youth culture. The album tells the story of Jimmy, a Mod, by chronicling his dissatisfaction with life, work, love, home and family life. It served as an ode to teenage angst and counterculture rebellion as well as a criticism of the British class, economic and educational systems…
But as the band will make abundantly clear, you can also enjoy it simply for the awesome music.
“I remember getting it when I was young and listening to it again and again and again.” says the band’s Doug Freeman. “I would listen to it when I wanted to wake up and I would listen to it when I wanted to go to sleep. It is just a fantastic album. The music itself is so immersive. It is not just straight-ahead rock. There is a lot of orchestration and keyboards and sound effects. It is just totally immersive. You get enveloped in the music. It just takes you over. There are a few Who albums that do that for me. The Who are just the best.
“I saw The Who when I was about 14. Some older girls at school took me to see them. I was very short. I was always being mothered by the girls at school. I didn’t get girlfriends. I just got mothered all the time! It would have been about 75 or 76, before Keith Moon went. And to be honest, it is a little bit of a blur because it just so totally changed my life. You are an early teenager and you don’t know what you are going to do in life or what is expected of you. People are telling you what to do and how to behave, and I saw this band and I just thought ‘No one is going to tell me what to do anymore!’ They were a licence to behave how I wanted to behave, to behave according to my own principles. The Who just affected me inside. They grabbed hold of my soul with a bang. I just thought this is what being is. It was a real epiphany to the extent that I just don’t remember very clearly about the music. I just remember the visceral power of it all and the way it changed me.
“Tommy and Quadrophenia are very different things. Tommy was ground-breaking in its day It felt a more raw album. There was not so much orchestration. I think Townshend had developed a lot by the time Quadrophenia came out. They are quite different, but it is hard to describe. They are the same kind of thing, but there is different production going on. I think in 1969, things were still a lot more raw, but they had changed by the time Quadrophenia came out.
“But I suppose if I had to choose one, I would go for Quadrophenia because it was about youth. It was about growing up. It was about expectations in life. It was about teenage angst.
“We have been getting a great reaction to the show. We must have done about 60 dates, and the response has been unbelievable. We set off to play the music of The Who and wanting to do it the best we can. We had no expectations whatsoever, but from the first show we have been getting standing ovations.”