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Did the who smash their bass at shows?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by TheFenderBender, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. TheFenderBender


    Jun 27, 2012
    I've seen their guitarists do it all the time, and I was wondering, did John ever smash one of his basses? Or does anyone else ever do that?
  2. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Never seen Entwistle to that. He wasn't known for even moving much on stage. Does anyone else? Check the cover of the Clash's "London Calling" album.

    Most of the musicians who've done this sort of thing are better than I, but still, I think it's a childish, horrible thing to do.
  3. hdracer


    Feb 15, 2009
    Elk River, MN.
    John Entwistle never smashed his gear
    Pete Townshend smashed his guitars and amps
    Keith Moon smashed his drums
    Roger Daltrey wrecked some mic's and stands

    Pete did break one of Johns Thunderbirds once by mistake. John was PO'ed

    Oh, "The Who" didnt play bass, John Entwistle played bass in The Who
  4. Liv3rman


    Dec 28, 2012
    People that purposefully smash instruments should be castrated.
  5. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Quote from April 1994 Bassist interview (John Entwistle)
    Which sound was responsible for that amazing sound on Won’t Get Fooled Again?
    “That was Frankenstein, which I made from dead parts. I had a day off in San Francisco once and spent it screwing a bass together from five smashed Precisions including a couple of slab ones of which they only made about 20. I took the pickup and scratch plate from one of the slab Precisions, the neck from another, machineheads from a Jazz Bass, the body off a sunburst Precision and the tailpiece from another. The slab Precisions were like white, squared-off Telecasters, with a split pickup, a maple neck, black scratch plate and what looked like blue veins coming through the white paintwork. I don’t know what they used on them but those basses had a sound of their own, really raunchy with more of a growl than a regular Precision. I have about 35 Precisions, all with different colours and from different eras, but I always go back to Frankenstein.

    “I used Frankenstein through Hiwatts for the whole of ‘Tommy’, ‘Live At Leeds’ and ‘Who’s Next’ but by ‘Quadrophenia’ and Who By Numbers I was playing Gibson Thunderbirds. I felt I was getting stuck in a rut, using all the treble.

  6. TheFenderBender


    Jun 27, 2012
    I completely forgot about London callings Album cover
    The clash happens to be one of my favorite bands too. I'm really out of it today :p
  7. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    he smashed at least one buzzard, a warwick one. if i remember right, the story was before he had the graphite necks the particular bass didnt stay in tune and he smashed it to bits. theres a picture of it in his Bass Culture book on pages 142-143. Bob Priden had it mounted and framed for John one christmas
  8. HeavyJazz

    HeavyJazz Supporting Member

    Jan 26, 2013
    The Who have long since earned their place surely, but... Men smash gear. Women strip. It's what happens when inspiration either ends or the talent wasn't their in the first place. In The Who's case I'm guessing it stemmed from an emotionally unstable drummer combinned with a guitarist who couldn't figure out why he wasn't worshipped as Jimmy Page was.
  9. Bassmanbob

    Bassmanbob Supporting Member

    In the movie, "The Kids Are Alright" Keith Moon trashes his drums, Pete destroys his guitar and John is cowering in the corner with his bass, making sure it is not damaged. Then The Smothers Brothers come over to interview them and Tom Smothers asks them, "Which one of you plays the sloppy drums?"
  10. In the documentary 'An Ox's Tale' (http://youtu.be/-YN6JzFLhI4) he mentions he once smashed an Alembic on stage and walked off after some nasty ribbing from Roger Daltrey.
  11. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I smashed this bass on stage ...

  12. alec


    Feb 13, 2000
    Perth, Australia
    I saw an interview (on Conan O'Brien?) in which he said that if he needed to let off steam, he would wait until he got back to the hotel before he started smashing guitars.
  13. bigchiefbc

    bigchiefbc Supporting Member

    Oct 9, 2006
    Rhode Island, USA
    Krist Novoselic smashed quite a few of his basses over the years during Nirvana's famed episodes of completely destroying all their gear on stage. They even show his bass in pieces at the end of the "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video
  14. TheFenderBender


    Jun 27, 2012
    I know cobain has probably smashed like 40 guitars or something.
    I didn't know Krist did that though. Thanks you guys.
  15. LowNotes1


    Jun 8, 2008
    The story I heard was that Townshend and the band were playing a gig in their early days at a place with a low ceiling over the stage, and Pete accidentally put his guitar neck through it. He got pissed at the damage to the axe, so he just finished trashing it. The audience loved it, and guitars everywhere began to tremble in fear.

    Entwistle was a collector, not a destroyer. In other words, he would have made a great TB'er.
  16. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    Townsend said that the guitar smashing started when a Rickenbacker he was playing fell apart during a song & he just followed up as the crowd got into it.

    Word got around, and into the press, some folks thought it cool turned out at their shows expecting to see it happen and it became a self-fulfilling thing for them. Townsend mentions in the movie; The Kids Are Alright that "Moon even got into it...".
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  18. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    Someone (probably Chuck Klosterman) has done an extensive analysis of the meaning of smashed guitars over the years. In short lots of people have done it but for very different reasons.
  19. Bryan R. Tyler

    Bryan R. Tyler TalkBass: Usurping My Practice Time Since 2002 Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2002
    He's more renowned for smashing his head with his bass when he threw it in the air and failed to catch it on a live MTV event.


    Dec 13, 2009
    Chicago, IL
    On Conan, he said he smashed them, but in the hotel room. It takes a while.