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R.I.P. John Entwhistle

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by georgeev1, Jun 28, 2002.

  1. georgeev1

    georgeev1 Guest

    Sep 11, 2001
    john entwhistle died at age 54 from natural causes in the hard rock hotel in las vegas. he was the bassist from the who and one of my role models as a bassist. i once heard watt say that he was a big fan of the who (entwhistle sometimes used the same model of the non-reversed thunderbird that watt has)so i'm sure he knows what i mean when i say he will be greatly missed. he was one of the best bassists i know of.

    R.I.P. John Entwhistle
  2. Blackbird

    Blackbird Moderator Supporting Member

    Mar 18, 2000
    Uh, George, did you want to ask Mike a question?

    Please don't litter the pro forums with duplicates.

    Oh, and you're welcome to post in the regular forums where a thread like this should go. Come on, we won't bite...
  3. georgeev1

    georgeev1 Guest

    Sep 11, 2001
    yeah, i was just trying to find out if he did respect/admire him or whatever

    p.s. thanks for the tip
  4. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    thanks for the question. john entwistle had an incredible effect and influence on me. he was one of the few bassists (besides james jamerson, larry graham and jack bruce) I could actually hear and tell what was going on bass-wise when I was a teenager (early 70s). there's tons of john in my playing, no doubt about it. pete townshend had a huge effect on d. boon too.

    here's an email I flowed to my peeps when I heard about john's passing. it's got some old who lyrics, a poem I wrote for john and the l.a. times obiturary piece:

    Date: 6/28/02, 10:52 AM -0700
    Subject: rest easy, ox

    so sad this morning,

    pedalin', I thought of some old
    who songs me and d. boon loved. over
    and over they went in my head:

    so sad about us
    so sad about us
    sad - never meant to break up
    sad - suppose we'll never make up
    sad about us

    so bad about us
    so bad about us
    bad - let the music stop now
    bad - suppose we can't turn back now
    bad about us

    apologies mean nothing when the damage is done
    but you can't switch off my loving
    like you can't switch off the sun

    and this one:

    separates and lingerie, seven pairs of shoes
    lots of woolworths makeup, a pair of black watch trews
    your out of tune piano, sentimental photographs
    a million little memories, a million little laughs

    the wing of the aeroplane has just caught on fire
    I say without reservation, we ain't getting no higher
    all you wanted from me, all I had to give.
    nothing matters you'll see, when in paradise you'll live

    the plane is diving faster, we're getting near the ground
    nobody is screaming, no one makes a sound

    it's a girl, mrs. walker, it's a girl
    it's a girl, mrs. walker, it's a girl
    it's a girl, mrs. walker, it's a girl

    dearly will miss your thunderfingers
    rest easy, ox
    always part of you
    in the bassist part of me
    on that ed sullivan show
    when you did "my generation" right
    w/that bass solo
    the cameraman
    focused on townshend
    stupid ****
    (the cameraman, not pete)
    wow how he wowed me
    taught me
    don't be afraid, watt
    charge hard
    let your bass
    your young man blues

    as boys, me and d. boon would pretend: he was townshend and I was entwistle. we loved it. when we first heard punk, we thought it was like old who. we said, "we can do this - we grew up on this!"

    - watt

    so, that's what was on my mind that day. I think of john now when I do gigs. in fact, the last few banyan gigs, we'eve been doing a crazy version of "sparks" in honor of him. no spiel or anything, just wailing to high heaven.

    on bass, watt

  5. watt

    watt the man in the van w/a bass in his hand Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2001
    san pedro, california

    the obit piece didn't fit. here it is:


    Friday, June 28, 2002

    John Entwistle, 57; Innovative Bass Player
    Co-Founded the Who

    By GEOFF BOUCHER, L.A. Times Staff Writer

    John Entwistle, a founding member of the Who
    hailed by musicians as an innovative bassist
    but often overshadowed onstage by his fiery
    bandmates, died Thursday in Las Vegas on the
    eve of the band's reunion tour. He was 57.

    A statement from the Clark County coroner's
    office described the preliminary cause of
    death as a heart attack.

    The tour, which had been scheduled to begin
    tonight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and
    included a stop Saturday in Irvine and Monday
    at the Hollywood Bowl, has been canceled,
    promoter Andy Hewitt said Thursday.

    There was no immediate comment about
    Entwistle's death from the members of the
    band, who were said to be in shock.

    "Everybody is devastated; you have to
    remember that [Roger] Daltrey and [Pete]
    Townshend have known this guy forever,"
    Hewitt said.

    Entwistle's passing, coupled with the 1978
    overdose death of drummer Keith Moon, leaves
    the Who's original membership reduced by
    half: guitarist Townshend and frontman
    Daltrey are the lone surviving members of the
    British Invasion powerhouse that for a time
    rivaled the Beatles, Bob Dylan and the
    Rolling Stones as the most vital rock voice
    of youth.

    The spotlight on the band often did not
    extend to Entwistle, who was easy for casual
    fans to miss when put beside the whirling
    guitar wizardry of Townshend, the war-cry
    vocals of bronzed singer Daltrey and the
    bombast of drummer Moon. Daltrey would twirl
    his microphone like a reckless lariat above
    his head, Townshend would slash at his guitar
    with a windmill arm movement, and they would
    sometimes destroy their instruments at the
    end of the show in anarchic delight--all
    while the bearded, sly Entwistle stood like a
    ramrod-straight commuter awaiting a morning

    Songs such as "My Generation," "I Can't
    Explain," "Pinball Wizard," "Won't Get Fooled
    Again" and "Long Live Rock," along with
    ambitious concept pieces such as "Tommy,"
    made Townshend and Daltrey into icons, and
    Moon was popular as a cheerful decadent. But
    Entwistle was nicknamed "the Ox," which spoke
    to his steady habit of lugging the band's
    load. "John doesn't demand attention,"
    Townshend was known to say, "For years,
    nobody even noticed John was there."

    Still, at the height of the band's powers,
    Entwistle was hailed in music circles as the
    best bass player in rock, and in niche music
    communities he was seen as capitalizing on
    the unconventional styles of Townshend and
    Moon to broaden the role of bass player.
    Total Guitar magazine, for example, named him
    "bassist of the millennium."

    Ray Manzarek, the Doors' keyboard player,
    said Thursday that Entwistle was "one of the
    great, great rock 'n' roll bassists of all
    time. A real genius."

    His contributions to the Who songbook were
    lesser known songs, including "Boris the
    Spider," "My Wife," "Doctor Doctor" and
    "Someone's Coming," but he was hailed as a
    bedrock contributor whose signature work on
    "Won't Get Fooled Again," "Bargain" and
    dozens of other songs influenced generations
    of bass players to follow.

    "He was an inspiration to all of us," said
    Mike Watt, the bass player in seminal Los
    Angeles alt-rock bands Minutemen and
    Firehose. "You felt [as a bass player] like
    you were kind of picked last when they were
    picking teams. That guy was a monster. His
    sound was such a signature. He was someone
    who showed you did not have to kowtow, you
    could be an important part of the band."

    Despite a somewhat aristocratic mien,
    Entwistle and his bandmates grew up in
    London's working-class Shepard's Bush
    district. John Alec Entwistle, born Oct. 4,
    1944, was the son of Herbert and Maude
    Entwistle of Chiswick, a trumpet player and
    piano player, respectively. When their
    marriage failed, the young John went to live
    with his grandparents. His grandfather had a
    penchant for letting the youngster sing in
    local clubhouses.

    The boy trained on a variety of instruments
    (including the French horn, which he would
    later use distinctively on several Who songs,
    notably "Overture" from "Tommy") and showed an
    interest in jazz until rock guitarist Duane
    Eddy caught his ear. He played in a number of
    local bands and crossed paths with Daltrey
    when they played together in a group called
    the Detours. Entwistle recommended another
    local for membership: Townshend, the gangly
    lad who would become the most powerful
    creative compass for the band that eventually
    added Moon and took the name the Who.

    The Who were known as brawny, volatile
    performers in the Mod scene, and they moved
    from club sensation to a force on the charts
    with their first major single, "I Can't
    Explain," a Top 10 hit in England. A string
    of hits followed that built their credentials
    at home and in the United States, and
    performances at the Monterey Pop Festival in
    1967 and Woodstock in 1969, along with the
    release of "Tommy" in 1969, cemented their
    U.S. stardom.

    A year after "Tommy," Entwistle released his
    first solo album, "Smash your Head Against
    the Wall." Three more of his own albums would
    follow in the next four years. He would later
    tour with the John Entwistle Band. Like
    George Harrison, the late Beatle who chafed
    as his bandmates got the majority of
    attention and artistic freedom, Entwistle
    longed for his due both in the band and

    "I'm not quiet, everyone else is too loud,"
    he sang in "The Quiet One" on the Who's "Face
    Dances" album. In 1981, he told The Times that
    he was subtle, not shy: "I just tiptoe away
    instead of getting arrested. A lot of times
    when Keith was blowing up toilets I was
    standing behind him with the matches."

    The internal forces pulling the band in
    different directions led to the band's
    breakup by the 1980s, but they set aside
    their squabbles to mount several "farewell"
    and reunion tours. The latest one was
    supposed to lead back to a long abandoned
    path: the studio. Daltrey had said in recent
    months that the band would reunite to record
    new material for the first time since 1982.

    On Wednesday, Entwistle arrived in the desert
    city a day earlier than his bandmates for an
    exhibit at Aladdin Hotel and Casino of his
    artwork, one of his passions. One of his
    drawings, a playful sketch of the band
    members' feet and hands framing a jumble of
    "connect-the-dots," was used for the band's
    aptly titled "The Who by Numbers" album.
    Entwistle's body was found in his room at the
    Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, the resort that
    also houses the Joint, the venue that had
    been tabbed as the opening night spot on the
    band's three-month U.S. tour.

    A Who film festival already scheduled for
    Sunday afternoon at Grauman's Egyptian
    Theatre has been converted to a memorial for
    the bassist.

    Times staff writer Mike Boehm contributed to
    this story.


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