A Journal of Musical ThingsPete Townshend Apologizes for Offending Little Girl Through Niagara Radio Dude » A Journal of Musical Things
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Published on March 1st, 2013 | by Alan Cross

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Pete Townshend Apologizes for Offending Little Girl Through Niagara Radio Dude

Mike Tyler worked for me as music director at Y108 in Hamilton.  He’s now doing the afternoon shift at Giant FM in Niagara.  

Earlier this year while on a Caribbean cruise honeymoon, Mike and his wife ran into Pete Townshend at a restaurant in Antigua.  Mike, never the shy one, just went up to Pete and started talking.  Pete was most gracious and offered Mike and his wife special access to The Who’s recent show in Hamilton.

(When Mike got home, there was an email waiting for him that read “Hi, Mike.  It’s Pete.  You might remember we met in Antigua.” How humble is that?)

Fast-forward to the Quadrophenia performance at Copp’s Coliseum in Hamilton earlier this month.  The Toronto Sun made a big deal of Pete’s alleged vulgar snub of a 7 year-old girl who, at the behest of her father, held up a sign that said “SMASH YOUR GUITAR, PETE.”

It was a complete non-story, of course.  I’d met Pete a while ago when I MCed a book signing in Toronto. The man was not only a complete gentlemen, but genuinely sweet.  But the Toronto Sun played the little girl incident up big, making it a front page story.

When Peter heard about this, he knew he had to respond.  So he did.  And to the Sun’s credit, they covered this end of the story, too.

“Apologies and condolences from my side, and very best wishes to you and your family,” Townshend wrote in a personal letter to Costello Thursday, asking if they could “meet and be friends and put this behind us.”

Feeling bad about it, Townshend reached out to a pal in Hamilton for assistance.

“I asked my friend Mike Tyler to find you so I could tell you that I am so sorry the story about us blew up the way it did, but also to tell you that I sympathise with you both, and your daughter’s mother, and that I am most certainly not angry,” wrote Pete. “I was not angry on stage either. I was in rock star mode … the big mouth.”

Good on everyone for their role in settling this like adults.  And yes, Pete is that cool.


About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.



3 Responses to Pete Townshend Apologizes for Offending Little Girl Through Niagara Radio Dude

  1. Mike Moniz says:

    I was at the concert too and it was such a non story. There was no malice in Pete's banter from the stage and was quite obviously in jest. Even the next day CHML hack Scott Thompson made a big deal about it in his self righteous mode, which made it plainly clear that he wasn't at the show. But let's say even if it did play out as some claim it did, so what!! This The Who! One of the original rock bands known for not behaving on stage. The Backstreet Boys they ain't, and you should know better if your taking your kid to a real rock show.

  2. duncanf says:

    dont take a 7 year old to a rock concert. problem solved.

  3. Greggory says:

    Glad to hear even though it was a non story, that Pete took some action and is such a gentleman. Growing up (in the 80's and 90's but nonetheless a Who fan) watching interviews, reading interviews and heresay he would admittedly be disagreeable. I wonder how much of that was "image" or how much was how he really was and then has just mellowed with age?

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