WHEN The Who were achieving worldwide fame with their debut album My Generation in 1965, Simon Townshend was just starting school.
His big brother, Pete, was lead guitarist for one of the biggest rock band on the planet in the 1960s and Simon had already lent backing vocals to the hit album Tommy in 1969 at the age of just nine.
But the Londoner was determined to forge his own career in the music industry, and since the mid-1990s he has done just that with six self-produced solo albums before forming The Casbah Club with The Jam’s Bruce Foxton in 2005.
Since then, he has become a regular touring member of The Who and has played on some of the world’s biggest stages, from Glastonbury to the Super Bowl.
And now he is about to embark on a nationwide tour that will see him play a mix of tracks from across his varied career.
“I will play a couple of Casbah Club tunes and I want to play a few obscure Who tracks which I don’t usually do,” Simon told the Gazette.
“I have been in The Who for a while now and I did a tour with Roger Daltrey when we played a few songs and really enjoyed it. I’ve been playing Going Mobile, from [the album] Who’s Next, which is hardly ever played live.
“But the tour is to promote my album Looking Out Looking In, and I’ll be playing the new songs from that as well.”
Simon lives in Ealing with his family and, as such, the gig in Ruislip is almost a homecoming.
“There’s a chance a few guests will join me, maybe some old friends,” he said.
“I can imagine some people get bored playing old music all the time but this is such good music, it is timeless and that is what The Who have got on their side.
“My father was a musician and my mother was a singer. My dad [Cliff Townshend] was phenomenal, absolutely extraordinary, he was voted by the BBC as the best reed player in the country.
“So music ran through the family. I don’t know if I have ever got out of the shadow of my brother but I am just very proud of his success and of my own success. It is part of the same thing, it is our family’s success.
“Playing the Super Bowl was incredible, although Glastonbury was terrible because the weather was so bad. I had to be carried over the mud by some roadies.
“But when you come down to a club like Tropic, it is hot and sweaty and you feel the connection to the sound through the amplifiers and the equipment.
“To be on a big stage you have to turn that switch on yourself, you have no physical connection to the audience. Some people can do it and some people can’t.
“Coming down to small clubs, it reminds you what it is to be a real musician.”
* Simon Townshend plays Tropic at Ruislip, in Grosvenor Vale, on Saturday, March 17. Tickets are £10 in advance.