It’s a well-known fact that The Who’s famed guitarist Pete Townshend has never been one to back down from an altercation, but this time, he may have taken it a bit too far.
Townshend reportedly exchanged words with Janey Costello and her father Eric Michael Costello during a concert at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum in Ontario, CA on Tuesday (February 19th), after the pair made a special request that apparently angered him.
The problem? Janey is seven years old.
The Toronto Sun reports that, in preparation for the show, Janey, a Who super-fan, painted a sign that read “Smash Your Guitar, Pete.” After seeing the young Rock and Roll lover waiving the sign as she and her dad approached the stage, Townshend launched into an angry diatribe:
“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 directed into the crowd.
Despite his words though, video footage captures him mouthing those exact two words he said he couldn’t say: “F--- off.”
The 15th row tickets, which set special-education teacher Eric Costello back $300, were purchased as a birthday present for Janey, who fell in love with the band after the father-daughter duo watched the documentary “The Kids Are Alright.”
Costello told the Toronto Sun that he was not trying to use his daughter and her sign to get up closer to the stage, and Townshend’s words basically ruined what should’ve been a memorable (and positive) experience:
“I'd like him to know in some small way he broke a little girl's heart. Both she and I were huge fans of the band and now I'm left trying to explain to her that heroes are not infallible. Instead of being this joyous, momentous occasion, it turned into a sad, regrettable kind of incident,” Costello said.
No apologies have been made from Townshend or his camp, though Costello says he’s not holding his breath.