Bruce Springsteen to Present Pete Townshend With Award for Addiction Charity Work

By Zachary Siegel 04/29/15

The Who guitarist has been an addiction-recovery activist since the 1980s.

Pete Townshend

Pete Townshend will be presented with the Stevie Ray Vaughan Award by Bruce Springsteen for his continued support of the MusiCares MAP Fund—a charity that benefits musicians with addiction—at a special concert on May 28 at the Best Buy Theater in New York.

Townshend and fellow Who members John Corey (grand piano), Loren Gold (keys), Pino Palladino (bass), Frank Simes (keyboard), and Zak Starkey (drums), will perform alongside Joan Jett, Billy Idol, and Foreigner’s Mick Jones. More artists are to be announced in the coming weeks.

Through the MusiCares MAP Fund, a non-profit organization, The Recording Academy has provided substance abuse treatment to the music community for over a decade. Last year, Ozzy Osbourne received the same award for his contributions to the charity.

Osbourne said about the charity, "I know firsthand about the ravages of addiction and I also know that the MusiCares MAP Fund is a vital safety net for people in the music industry who need help with substance abuse." Lastly, he noted, “This organization literally saves lives."

In his 2012 memoir, Who I Am, Townshend wrote extensively about his descent into drug abuse and later on his recovery. He writes of his ongoing dilemma between his introspective, spiritual composer side versus the rock and roller, hellraising side:

"My spiritual longings were constantly under siege by all-too-worldly ambitions, undermined by scepticism and ambivalence, and challenged by my sexual yearnings ... I could also behave, frankly, like a complete arsehole."

Amidst news of the upcoming benefit concert, it is rumored that Townshend wants the group to record a new album. The Who’s last album, Endless Wire, was released in 2006.

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Zachary Siegel is a freelance journalist specializing in science, health and drug policy. His reporting has also appeared in Slate, The Daily Beast, Salon, Huffington Post, among others. He writes often about addiction, sometimes drawing from his own experience. You can find out more about Zachary on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.