THERE was no excuse for Simon Townshend not to become a professional musician.
His name, for starters, gives some of the sensitive singer-songwriter’s musical heritage away. He is, of course, the baby brother of guitar-thrashing The Who guitarist Pete Townshend.
His father was a professional brass player and his mother a singer. In the Townshend household, music wasn’t quite in the water, but it was certainly in the air.
So at the age of 10 he succumbed and started taking piano lessons, a move which quickly catapulted him into that same lifestyle so familiar to the rest of the household.
“I was offered my first record deal at the age of 10,” he says. “It was for a track called When I’m a Man but nothing came of it and I’m pleased it didn’t.”
Instead, Townshend – 15 years Pete’s junior – came around to music in his own time, starting his own record label and music company, Stir Music, and joining The Who for its Quadrophenia tour in the mid Nineties. Since then he’s released six albums, his latest being Something New.
But it’s been a challenge to write. Townshend Jr has been playing for The Who during their tour last year.
“I think I need to be in the right place to write music and when you’re on tour playing Who stuff it’s great but hard to think outside that. I come off stage singing all The Who songs. I need a blank canvas to create something.”
His songs come from ideas or emotions he has. “That often comes in tandem with a melody and they tend to be the best songs. Some of the best material is written in a snap shot – All the Young Dudes took about half an hour to write, apparently.”
Something New took about two years to produce. “We’re pressing the ‘go’ button in about two weeks’ time and it is really exciting right now,” he says. “I think people will really like the record.”
Simon Townshend will be playing material from Something New at the Greystones on Sunday.