Someone needs to explain the term “shock jock” to rock god Pete Townshend. The legendary Who guitarist was booked on Howard Stern‘s radio show yesterday, but pulled out at the last second after realizing just maybe there was a chance Stern might ask him about that infamous 2003 arrest for child porn possession. (Townshend was later cleared but was ordered to register as a sex offender in the U.K.)
Slated to join the show from a studio in London, Townshend invited his girlfriend, Rachel Fuller, and fellow bandmate Roger Daltrey to sit in on the interview.
As the three awaited his segment, they could hear the show in progress. “What’s the thing you always wanted to know about Pete Townshend?” Stern asked his on-air team. Co-host Robin Quivers suggested asking him about his arrest, while producer Gary Dell’Abate noted, “He’s admitted to his wife that he may have had sexual encounters with men.” Stern assured his listeners Townshend’s “way into broads,” then jokingly referred to Fuller as Yoko Ono.
Moments later, Dell’Abate informed the crew that Townshend had stormed out of the studio. “What do you mean? What did he hear? What did we do?” pleaded Stern.
Daltrey and Fuller stayed on the line, taking Stern to task for bringing up the child porn episode: “How often do you want to keep on sniffing dirty underpants?” Daltrey asked. “To us, it feels like that. The guy was found not guilty of anything, but you keep bringing this shit up.”
When Stern insisted he wasn’t actually going to ask him about his arrest, Fuller shot back, “Yeah, but you know what? You called me fucking Yoko as well!” Fuller then promised to try to persuade Townshend to return to the studio, but after leaving to phone him, never returned.
UPDATE: Townshend makes nice on his blog, albeit cryptically.