Pete Townshend on Obama

Pete Townshend, third from the left, eerily near “the old boss” at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2008

This was a cool little gig at the Troubadour in November 2008, three days after the election of Barack Obama. I wonder what Pete thinks of the Obama administration, and its espionage tricks. You were right the first time, Pete, “Meet the new boss, it’s the same as the old boss.”

Pete Townshend is so impressed with President-elect Barack Obama that he has had to rethink the sentiment of his archly anti-political song “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”

The Who guitarist performed a solo acoustic version of the 37-year-old anthem in front of a few hundred fans at the Troubadour in West Hollywood on Friday.

Before playing it, Townshend said Obama’s decisive election victory on Tuesday was “the most wonderful result,” a comment that earned the loudest cheers of the evening.

And afterwards, he mused over the song’s cynical parting shot, “meet the new boss, it’s the same as the old boss,” and suggested, “Maybe not.”

Townshend was the main attraction at an all-star jam session organized by his girlfriend, Rachel Fuller, who described him as “adorable.” It was taped for a DVD and CD, the latest installment of her In the Attic series, which she has webcast for the last few years.

Guests such as Jakob Dylan, Ben Gibbard from Death Cab For Cutie, She & Him (Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward), and E from Eels each played brief acoustic sets. And then Townshend performed “The Kids Are Alright” with Dylan, “Let My Love Open the Door” with E and Gibbard, and “Blue, Red and Grey” with Deschanel. Townshend wrapped the evening out in the spotlight on his own, armed only with his acoustic guitar, singing “The Acid Queen,” “Drowned” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again.”


NOTE: Unrelated to the above story, my gossipy rock bio Strange Days: The Adventures of a Grumpy Rock ‘n’ Roll Journalist in Los Angeles, is available here. For more info, go to

Copyright © 2008, 2014 by Dean Goodman. (Originally published in longer form as a Reuters blog.) PLEASE DO NOT CUT AND PASTE THE WHOLE THING.

Dean Goodman