The Who guitarist Pete Townshend has revealed that his first choice to play the lead role of Jimmy in the 1979 cult classic ‘Quadrophenia,’ was notorious Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten. You can watch the full interview below.
Based on the Who’s 1973 album of the same name; ‘Quadrophenia,’ was directed by Franc Roddam and starred Phil Daniels as the troubled young mod, though as Townshend explains, Daniels wasn’t his first choice.
Speaking with Music-News, the legendary guitarist conceded that it would have been a gamble to cast Rotten, but it was one that he would have been willing to take. However, Rotten was not onboard. “…I think he decided not to do it I don’t think it was us. I really wanted him. I don’t know how good he would have been, but he’s very very intense. He could have been good.”
Townshend explained how he and Rotten came to get to know each other in the first place, “I knew him as he’d been using my studio in Soho, what a f**king diamond…Johnny Rotten liked to drink and so did I, and we went out and got pissed and I drove my car the wrong way around a roundabout. We went to Camden Palais together and I got stopped by the police and they hauled us out.”
Do you think Johnny Rotten would have made a good Jimmy?