Townshend ducks out before interview


NEW YORK -- Howard Stern's radio guests expect him to air their dirty laundry and play along. Pete Townshend isn't one of them.

The legendary Who guitarist-songwriter ducked out of his scheduled interview on Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio show on Wednesday upon hearing Stern talk about a touchy subject for him -- his 2003 arrest in London on suspicion of possessing child pornography. Townshend was cleared of the charges.

Townshend, along with girlfriend Rachel Fuller and Who bandmate Roger Daltrey, was listening to Stern's New York-based broadcast as he waited in a London studio for his interview to begin. Co-host Robin Quivers brought up the "child pornography stuff" and Townshend's claims that he was abused as a child. "Oh yeah, we could ask him about that," Stern said. Townshend stormed out, leaving Daltrey and Fuller to talk to Stern.

During that conversation, Quivers said that Townshend would have walked out of the interview even "if we didn't bring that up. He's a real testy guy."

Daltrey weighed in on Townshend's behalf, accusing Stern of "sniffing dirty underpants."

"Can you imagine you're accused of this stuff and then you're found not guilty? If you had to defend yourself through this stuff? The wounds are so deep on the man, and it's just tragic because he's got so much to offer," he said.

Stern, who jokingly referred to Fuller as "Yoko" after it was mentioned that Fuller had co-written a song on the new Who album, wound up apologizing to Townshend.

"Tell Pete I am very sorry," he said. "We would have had a great interview with him. I really wish he'd reconsider this. We adore him."

The Who is in the midst of a 15-month concert tour all around the world, its largest ever. The band's first album in 24 years, "Endless Wire," is set for release at the end of this month.