Pete Townshend fans are gearing up for tomorrow's (November 5th) publication of the Who leader's first novel, titled The Age Of Anxiety. During a chat with The Sydney Morning Herald he explained why he decided to write the book in the first place, admitting, "I think mainly the feeling that probably I could do it and if I could do it, then I should. It's a bit like someone of my age deciding to run the marathon. . . I just wanted to start this book with anything goes, y'know, but also then to really look at what happens, having lived through some very dark times."

With the Who having just wrapped its 2019 dates and releasing its 12th album, titled WHO, on December 6th, Townshend was asked how he feels to be in the Who at age 74: "Although I don't regret it, it does make me feel less of a man, less of an artist, to just kind of think, 'Oh well, I'll go back and do the old s*** because it pays well.' But for me, the electric guitar gets in my way, y'know. Yagadang, yagadang, it's all anyone wants me to do."

Townshend touched upon being, arguably, the spokesman for rock fans globally: "I was not their mouthpiece, but I could actually give them a way to express themselves. So the first three or four Who songs and my subsequent big projects were presented as, 'Here it is; do what you like with it.' But if I don't enjoy going on stage -- and I don't -- what is it I enjoy about this? I enjoy writing songs because that craft is not automatically landed in cliche."

Townshend, clearly one of rock's most revered elder statesmen, went on to say, "So I can only speak for myself when I say I think I'm happier now than I've ever been. And probably because I'm running out of time, nothing matters any more." He laughed as he recalled looking at his passport recently and it's marked to last another 13 years -- when the guitarist will be 87: "And I'm looking at this little brown thing thinking: will I win, or will you?"

Pete Townshend explained that the connection between him, the Who and its audience goes far between album sales and tickets: "We have to have an emphatic, in-the-moment exchange with the people that want our music. What maters is that we know that, that we've been able to allow our audience to find themselves in what we do -- and that's our validation. That people kinda go -- not just 'That's just me!,' but 'This band, this group, this collective is where I am. This is where -- one of the places, the only places that I can feel that I'm complete.'"

AUDIO: PETE TOWNSHEND ON CONNECTING WITH HIS AUDIENCE