By: Catherine Mitchell
Pete Townshend of The Who recently stuck his foot in his mouth when he had choice words for seven year old Janey Costello and her father, Eric Michael Costello during a concert in Ontario.
“Don’t wave that sign. Just don’t wave it at me. Don’t bring your children, use them. I want to tell you two words, but I can’t, because you have a child on you,” Townshend yelled into the crowd on Tuesday (February 27th) at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum.
Unfortunately for Townshend, he was caught on camera mouthing the two words he said he could not say – “F--- Off.”
Janey, a self-described Who superfan, was reportedly heartbroken by the events, having worked on her sign that read “Smash Your Guitar Pete” before the show.
Now, according to the Toronto Sun, Townshend has penned a haphazard attempt at an apology letter, which he sent via his friend Mike Tyler, to send to the Costellos:
Hi Michael and your daughter (I’m so sorry I can’t find her name), Love your email address! We’ve had our drummer troubles on this tour and your services may have come in handy had we met before.
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 sympathize with you both, and your daughter’s mother, and that I am most certainly not angry. I was not angry on stage either. I was in rock star mode...... the big mouth......
Please don’t worry about me, I thought your placard was fun. I had a job to do (to announce our musicians) and I didn’t want to lengthen the show by trying to deal with you directly and in detail. I was also worried that your daughter looked a little frightened as the crowd started to follow you down the aisle. The ushers should not have let you leave your seats and walk forward.
All that said, you did nothing wrong, ......but I don’t think I did either – however, I could have handled it differently. I thought of sending someone to find you both and telling you I was not upset, but we were flying to New York straight after the show, and had no time to spare. I wish things had been different. It would have saved you from all this furor.
For your daughter’s sake, I hope you can both come and meet me at Stratford Shakespeare Festival in more agreeable and safer circumstances. This spring and summer they are putting on the Broadway version of TOMMY from 1993, with Des McAnuff directing. I am involved. You could enjoy the show and maybe even a music rehearsal before that. Maybe some of your class would like to attend as well at some point. We can meet, and be friends, and put this behind us. The Toronto Sun and Mike Tyler would both help ease this story BUT ONLY IF YOU WANTED THAT. I’d be happy just to meet privately and get your daughter back to where she started with the Who’s music.
I’m not exactly certain when the music rehearsals begin, but I will know in a few days. If you and your daughter would like to attend, and meet, I’d be happy to organize it. My first trip will probably be in early-to-mid-April.
Of course your wife would be very welcome too, and tell her that I swear I will not swear.
I also promise you that no one on my side will try to make any kind of PR collateral out of this. If you prefer, we can just leave this alone now.
It’s up to you and your wife. I am about to fly home on Friday, and my PA Nicola Joss will contact you from London about speaking on the phone if you would like that.
Please try to put this behind you now. As we say in show business, today’s newspapers are tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping. We also sometimes say they are what we put down when we have a naughty puppy!
Apologies and condolences from my side, and very best wishes to you and your family,
With Townshend's inability to remember Janey’s name, and his refusal to admit he was in the wrong for yelling and swearing at a seven year old fan, we’re not sure what to make of his letter.
What do you think? Tell us below!