The Who Vow To Play On As Peers Remember John Entwistle

Band to begin its tour Monday in Los Angeles.

Just one day after Who bassist John Entwistle passed away on the eve of the
band’s U.S. tour, his bandmates Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey have vowed
to continue on with the trek.

Although the tour’s scheduled kickoff Friday (June 28) in Las Vegas has been
postponed, as has Saturday’s show in Irvine, California, the group will
begin the three-month tour Monday in Los Angeles, according to the Who’s
manager. The postponed shows are expected to be rescheduled.

“The Ox has left the building — we’ve lost another great friend. Thanks
for your support and love,” Townshend and Daltrey collectively said in a

Townshend and Daltrey consider the tour a tribute to John Entwistle and have
the full support of the Entwistle family, which views the band’s decision as
what John would have wanted.

“He lived for music and will always live within the Who’s music,”
Entwistle’s son, Christopher, said in a statement. “This is what he would
have wished, and our love goes out to the remaining bandmembers and the
entourage that makes up the Who family.”

Entwistle died in his sleep Thursday morning in his Las Vegas hotel room
(see “John Entwistle, Bassist For The Who,
Dead At 57″
). Session bassist Pino Palladino will fill in for
Entwistle on tour, according to a spokesperson for the Who’s label, MCA

The decision to play on comes as much of the music community is still coming
to terms with the loss of one of rock’s most influential and talented
players (to see what fans have to say about Entwistle’s passing and share
your thoughts, visit You Tell Us).

Entwistle’s style — lines containing peaks and valleys that coalesced
into a solid rhythm — was innovative during a time when bassists were
traditionally known more for their staid dependability than their musical
proficiency. But once Entwistle made his presence felt on early Who songs
like “Legal Matter,” “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” and “The Ox,” the role of
those strapped with the four-string was never the same.

“John Entwistle was a massive force in the bass-playing world just because,
for one thing, he was one of the first guys to really bring the bass to the
forefront of the mix,” said former Primus/current Frog Brigade frontman and
bassist extraordinaire Les Claypool. “As well as his tone and the way he
approached his instrument was pretty unique for its time. There are a lot of
bass players out there who are influenced by Entwistle, whether they know it
or not.”

The slap-happy Claypool’s sentiment was echoed by Rage Against the Machine
bassist Tim Commerford: “Music lovers everywhere will miss John Entwistle,”
he said in a statement, “whether they know it or not. Another unsung hero
that influenced me dies without the respect he deserves.”

Even former P-Funk bassist Bootsy Collins, whose on-the-one style doesn’t
overtly draw from Entwistle’s rolling rock rhythms, acknowledges his
tremendous contribution to the rock pantheon.

“Anytime you lose a person it reflects on the initial family, but when you
lose a legendary part of history it seems to affect all of us,” he wrote in
a statement. “Thank God his part in history was well established. From one
bassist to another, thank you for some really great music and fun! We miss
you already.”

Entwistle’s unique style also demonstrated musical maneuvers never before
thought possible, and he pulled them off without so much as a grimace to
indicate even a strain of difficulty.

“I got the Who’s Live at Leeds when I was 16, and it made me want to
be a bass player,” Rancid’s Matt Freeman said. “He showed me that you could
make the bass into a lead instrument, playing thirds and fifths and all
kinds of harmonies, and not just simple rock basslines that would normally
just follow the root chords. Plus his sound was always aggressive and
sometimes extremely distorted. John Entwistle’s bass playing will always
speak to me.”

Like George Harrison, who died in November (see “Former Beatle George Harrison Dead At 58″ ), Entwistle
was the most reserved member of his animated, charismatic group, with a
heart the size of his far-reaching rhythmic range.

“[He was a] great friend for many years,” former Rolling Stones bassist Bill
Wyman expressed in a statement. “The quietest man in private, but the
loudest onstage! He was unique and irreplaceable. I am shocked and

“He was a giant in the field,” said Gov’t Mule guitarist Warren Haynes, who
performed with Entwistle on his band’s The Deep End, Vol. 1, a forum
for guest bassists to fill in for the late Allen Woody (see “Jerry Cantrell, Bootsy Collins On Star-Studded
Gov’t Mule LP”
). “He influenced every bass player to come after him.
… He was a wonderful, warm, funny human being.”

“John was an innovative player and a fine musician,” said former Led
Zeppelin bassist John Paul Jones. “A backbone of the English rock scene, we
shall miss him.”

Perhaps no song in the Who’s arsenal had such a profound impact on listeners
as the anthem “My Generation,” and more specifically, Entwistle’s tumbling
solo that led to a cymbal-crashing maelstrom.

“When I was in high school,” wrote former Metallica/current Echobrain
bassist Jason Newsted, “I heard ’My Generation’ for the first time. It
opened my eyes and showed me a different approach to the bass guitar.”

“He revolutionized bass playing with his bass solo in ’My Generation,’ ”
wrote Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, “and he brought the bass
technique and bass players to the forefront in rock music.”

Another deft rhythm king who couldn’t help being affected by Entwistle,
former Minutemen and Firehose bassist Mike Watt, expressed his admiration
for the “My Generation” solo with a poem:

Dearly will miss your thunderfingers
Rest easy, Ox
Always part of
In the bassist part of me

On that “Ed Sullivan Show”
When you did “My Generation” right
that bass solo
The cameraman focused on Townshend
Stupid f—
cameraman, not Pete)

Wow how he wowed me
Much taught me much
Don’t be afraid,
Charge hard
Let your bass sing
Your young man blues