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Entwistle obituary

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  • Carl Zimring
    In case anyone hadn t seen this. Carl Z. *** John Entwistle, Bass Player for The Who, Dies at 57 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Filed at 8:36 p.m. ET LAS VEGAS (AP)
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 27, 2002
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      In case anyone hadn't seen this.

      Carl Z.


      John Entwistle, Bass Player for The Who, Dies at 57

      Filed at 8:36 p.m. ET

      LAS VEGAS (AP) -- John Entwistle, the quiet, efficient bass player who
      co-founded The Who and helped it become one of the most dynamic and
      successful rock bands in history, was found dead of a heart attack Thursday
      in his Las Vegas hotel room. He was 57.

      Entwistle was on medication for a heart condition, according to Steve
      Luongo, a member of Entwistle's band.

      An autopsy was scheduled for Friday, but Clark County fire officials said
      there was nothing suspicious about the death, which comes nearly a
      quarter-century after the band's original drummer, Keith Moon, died of an
      overdose at the age of 31.

      The Who was scheduled to play at the Hard Rock Hotel-Casino on Friday, the
      first date of a three-month, nationwide tour. The show was canceled but the
      rest of the tour was undecided, said Beckye Levin of promoter Clear Channel

      ``I was told he passed away in his sleep last night,'' Levin said, breaking
      into sobs during a telephone interview.

      The group, founded in London in the early 1960s, was part of the British
      rock invasion along with the Rolling Stones, the Beatles and others. They
      were the voice of a new breed, with a parade of guitar-driven hits that
      included ``My Generation,'' ``I Can See For Miles,'' ``I Can't Explain,''
      ``Substitute,'' ``Pinball Wizard,'' ``Won't Get Fooled Again'' and ``Who
      Are You.''

      Their concerts were literally explosive -- a fusion of audacious
      acrobatics, martial precision and high octane rock 'n' roll that blew away
      audiences and left the stage and their instruments a smoldering wreck. The
      group was one of the premier rock bands in the world throughout the 1970s
      and sold millions of albums.

      ``A lot of our fans liked us because we made mistakes. It made us look more
      human. And then the fact that we could actually sort of burst out laughing
      on stage when we made a real bad blunder,'' Entwistle told The Associated
      Press in a 1995 radio interview.

      Entwistle allowed his fingers to literally race over his instrument, but he
      stood silently on stage -- a stark contrast to the antics of guitarist Pete
      Townshend and lead singer Roger Daltrey.

      Ray Manzarek, keyboardist for the Doors, called Entwistle ``one of the
      great, great rock 'n' roll bassists of all time. A real genius.''

      ``He just was the most humble rock star I have ever met, besides having the
      best hands of any bass player in the history of rock and roll,'' added
      rocker Sammy Hagar.

      Entwistle's song writing contributions to the band were minimal compared
      with the prolific Townshend. The bass player penned ``Boris the Spider''
      and ``My Wife,'' among others -- none of them big hits. Yet he was the only
      member of the band with formal musical training.

      He was among the first in rock to experiment with the six- and eight-string
      bass and he also played the French horn.

      ``As a musician, he did for the bass guitar what Jimi Hendrix did for the
      guitar,'' said Luongo, 49, who played drums in The John Entwistle Band for
      the last 15 years.

      Entwistle was born Oct. 9, 1944 in London, and played piano and trumpet in
      his early years. He met Townshend and Daltrey in his high school years and
      by 1964 the band was born.

      The Who rivaled the Rolling Stones for wild, high-energy shows that
      included Townshend's slashing, windmill-like guitar licks, Moon's frenetic
      drumming and Daltrey's use of a microphone cord as though it were a lariat.

      During a concert at the Rikki Tik Club in England in May 1966, Townshend
      smacked Entwistle in the head with his guitar; a year later, Moon, at the
      close of the band's performance on ``The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,''
      detonated a flash bomb that destroyed his drum set, stunned guests and
      damaged Townshend's ears.

      The Who played at the first Woodstock, opening with Entwistle's ``Heaven
      and Hell,'' and churned out a succession of albums, including ``My
      Generation,'' ``Happy Jack,'' ``The Who Sell Out,'' ``Who's Next,''
      ``Quadrophenia,'' ``Who Are You'' and ``The Kids Are Alright.''

      They also made 1969's groundbreaking rock opera, ``Tommy,'' about a deaf,
      dumb and blind messiah. The album was turned into a film starring
      Ann-Margret, in 1975 and later into a Broadway show.

      Entwistle in many instances improvised as much as guitarist Townshend, who
      once said the bass player provided more lead material than he did.

      ``A lot of my playing is improvising,'' Entwistle explained to Bass
      Frontiers magazine in 1996. ``I will just discover different little
      patterns or riffs in any key at anytime. Somewhere in my brain I have a
      list of things I can play. It's a matter of putting them in the right

      ``A lot of my best songs were written without instrument at all,'' he
      added. ``For 'My Wife,' the words and the music were basically written in
      my head and I had to transfer them to an instrument afterward so I could
      remember them!''

      He released the first of his nine solo albums in 1971, and later formed his
      own ensemble, Ox, while continuing to play with The Who.

      After Moon's death in 1978, the remaining members of the band retired in
      1982 but reunited and toured frequently in recent years. They gave a
      rousing performance at last year's ``Concert for New York,'' which raised
      funds for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks, and their latest album,
      ``Ultimate Collection,'' entered the Billboard charts two weeks ago at No.

      They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

      Entwistle was also an artist and was in Las Vegas to open a show at
      Grammy's Art of Music Gallery at the Aladdin Hotel-Casino. His work
      included cartoon-type portraits of himself and his fellow band members, and
      a picture featuring rock stars Hendrix and Eric Clapton was going to be
      unveiled at the gallery.

      The image of a quiet artist seemed to fit Entwistle, who often said he
      didn't worry about the wallflower label some applied to him.

      ``John always said that all the other personas in The Who were taken so he
      took that one,'' Luongo said.

      Funeral arrangements were incomplete.
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