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Creating "Cousin Kevin"
Pete Townshend on "Cousin Kevin": "With "Cousin Kevin", I knew all the kids I grew up with had experienced bullying. They were either the bully or his victum. Bullying was a currency that was very much in vouge. After WWII,everyone felt lucky just to be alive and people did as they were told. Big people bossed around smaller people. If you were big and strong you beat the weak.

So, I wanted to make bullying a part of young Tommy's life no matter how sick he was. In fact, I remember as a child, we picked on the misfits. We particulary loved picking on the kid with a funny voice, or a lisps, or who only had one leg; we loved that. So, I knew Tommy would be bullied and it would be quite extreme. But, when I sat down to write the song, I couldn't do it. Because I'd been bullied, I felt to close to it and it was too emotional. So, I said to John[Entwistle] (bass player for The Who), "Could you write a song about this?" and he just said, "Yep"."

John Entwitle: "Pete asked me to write it because he flet he couldn't. The idea was to create a bully for a series of traumatic encounters that would rock any senses that Tommy had left.

As a child I was never the bully - I was one of the bullied. And I actually based Cousin Kevin on a boy who lived across the street. Our parents thought we should play together, but he was completely sadistic! I was much smaller and he played tricks on me and threatened to stick pins in my fingers. But it had a happy ending. I suddenly grew larger and kicked the shit out of him.

Musicly, I wanted the piece to sound both sinister and childish, so I came up with this kind of "Chopsticks" theme on the piano to make it sound like a simple children's song - but the words he sings are nasty and over the top. I got a lot of flak in the 60's about writing such a sick song!"

Pete Townshend: "So John wrote "Cousin Kevin" and the lyrics were hard and brutal, but the music was beautiful! I was stunned by it's beauty. And it really hit the spot about this young, unthinking charater who, later in life, would deeply regret what he'd done.

And, all Tommy knows is that he is getting physical contact. Someone is touching him, and pushing him, and pulling him. So, from his point of view, it's not all bad because even bad experience is better than no experience at all for this kid. John really hit the spot."

Broadway's Cousin Kevin 1993