Pete Townshend on ‘Positive Assistance Vibration’ (1968)

“The breed of people that I like the most – ignoring the people I don’t like the most – people I like the most around me, in music, are the ones from whom I get what I would call – I know this is a weird thing but I’ve had it before – what I would call a ‘Positive Assistance Vibration,’ as though you were getting some kind of positive buzz from somebody. It’s a very negative concept, but it is the difference between someone having a role in what you’re doing and being there as an ornament or as an object of the performance or as a result of an engagement or something, rather than people who have a purpose. There’s got to be a purpose behind everything. In pop, the purpose is the whole thing, the whole thing with the people, people in the industry and everything unified and coming together and working together in one form towards one direction and everything. It’s got to eliminate all the shit. What I’m trying to avoid saying is the fact that the whole problem with the groupies is that they’re supposed to be playing a part in the role of pop music. But they’re not. It’s not just the group they’re riding along with, they’re riding along with pop itself. The audience out there, on the other hand, is playing a part. And we’re playing a part because we’re the fucking group and you’re playing a part because you’re writing an article about it. But they seem to have no role at all and I can never understand it. How can anyone be content to just act as the parasities of the glory, parasites of the booze, parasites of the grass, parasites of the lust, you know and everything. They’re just total parasites and I couldn’t dig it. I couldn’t get into it. I could never understand them. They’re a breed apart from me. Once a fucking groupie gets together and does something constructive, then I’m back with ’em again.