Lifehouse's story was inspired by Pete Townshend's experiences on the Tommy tour: "I’ve seen moments in Who gigs where the vibrations were becoming so pure that I thought the whole world was just going to stop, the whole thing was just becoming so unified." He believed that the vibrations could become so pure that the audience would "dance themselves into oblivion".
Their souls would leave their bodies and they would be in a type of heaven; a permanent state of ecstasy. The only reason this did not happen at Who gigs was because there was a knowledge in the listener's mind that the show would end and everyone would wake up and go to work the next morning.
What Townshend was aiming to achieve in Lifehouse was to write music that could be adapted to reflect the personalities of the audience. To do this he wanted to adapt his newly acquired hardware, VCS3 and ARP synthesisers and a quadraphonic PA, to create a machine capable of generating and combining personal music themes written from computerised biographical data. Ultimately, these thematic components would merge to form a "universal chord". To help this process, The Who would encourage individuals to emerge from the audience and find a role in the music.
Lifehouse began as a story written around several songs. Pete Townshend: "The essence of the story-line was a kind a futuristic scene…It’s a fantasy set at a time when rock ’n’ roll didn’t exist. The world was completely collapsing and the only experience that anybody ever had was through test tubes. In a way they lived as if they were in television programs. Everything was programmed.
"The enemies were people who gave us entertainment intravenously, and the heroes were savages who’d kept rock ‘n’ roll as a primitive force and had gone to live with it in the woods. The story was about these two sides coming together and having a brief battle."
Under those circumstances, a very old guru figure emerges and says ‘I remember rock music. It was absolutely amazing—it really did something to people.’ He spoke of a kind of nirvana people reached through listening to this type of music. The old man decides that he’s going to try to set it up so that the effect can be experienced eternally. Everybody would be snapped out of their programmed environment through this rock and roll-induced liberated selflessness. The Lifehouse was where the music was played, and where the young people would collect to discover rock music as a powerful catalyst — a religion as it were. "Then I began to feel ‘Well, why just simulate it? Why not try and make it happen?’"
THE FASCISM I HAVE EXPERIENCED
SIMPLY DENIES THE VALIDITY OF ANY EXPERIENCE BUT THE EXPERIENCE THAT IT INSISTS MATTERS.
I HAVE EXPERIENCED THIS FASCISM IN MY PERSONAL LIFE
IT IS ALWAYS AN ACTIVE ENEMY OF LIFE AND PEACEFUL INITIATIVES
AND OFTEN IT SMILES AND LIES!
the ultimate goal is worth learning to discern the heinous challenge
that the fascistic enemies of peace present...