‘ ‘The Who adds up to more than thefour solo projects put together.’
Entwistle alone and loose,
Who still to record
Editor’s note: Sta]! writer George Mesa
traveled awaylrom the beach for his spring
break‘and heard John Hitwistle and his
Mid. 0X. perform at the Academy ofMusic
in New York. After the concert. Bacso was
given an interview with Entwistle, bass
playerjor The Who, now on tour with 0x.
lt been more than ten years since a
group four mod mop-topped raucous
rockers started their rise towards rock ‘n’ roll
fame as The Who.
After strings of hit AM singles The Who
put out Tommy, the ﬁrst polished rock
Opera. Then, after offering Quadrophenia to
their millions of adoring fans, the group set
out on solo projects. Handsome lead singer
Roger Daltrey began a promising acting'
career, playing the lead in Ken Russell's ﬁlm
version of mmy. guitar genius - Pete
Townshend acted as a musical advisor for
the ﬁlm and madman drummer Keith Moon
recorded a solo album. That left bass.
bashing John Entwistle the opportunity to'
further his solo mreer with his fourth LP,
Mad Dog, and even a tour with his backup
group Ox, a first for a Who member.
John Entwistle is a quiet man surrounded
by lunaties. The guiding force of The Who
on stage and a fight controller off, Entwistle
adopts a sinisterly solemn attitude during a
performance, content to lay back, out of the -
spotlight, almost immobile, as his Who-
mates twirl mikes, leap about and break
guitars. So it came as some surprise when he
announced plans for his solo tour.
Blinking his blue eyes, aecentuating his
remarks with a wave of a cigarette and
twisting his two, massive gold rings,
Entwistle relaxed in his top-ﬂoor suite of
New York's Navarro Hotel and talked in his
infectious British accent to this Daily Tar
Heel reporter about The Who, his band Ox
and himself. Dressed in traditional black, .
with snakeskin clogs, Entwistle immediately
called to mind his affectionate nickname.
SKY 4 DIVING
“the 0:.” but moved about the room and
01'“: You’ve been recordingon your own
[or some time. Why exactly have you gotten
into touring separately from The Who with
your own band?
and Quadrophenia. The test of the band
got enough time to go into the studio and
record solo albums.
DTH: When you do record. the resultsof
Entwistle: I decided to tour when 1 did the your solo ventures sound almost loose. a: a
Rigor Morris (Sets In) album, when I ﬁrst your: really enjoying yourself-
started to get into the old ‘50: stuff. I had
enough time to tour, but not to rehearse, so I
couldn’t manage it. But I’ve been free since
Christmas and so I‘ve had enough time to
rehearse the band, whereas before 1 was
DTH: How do you feel about playing to
American audiences as compared with
Entwistle: The audiences are much better
here. English audiences are very staid. They
don‘t come to a concert to really enjoy
themselves unless it’s a festival or a really big
concert. They‘re getting better, but they’re: ,
generally really staid. '
DTH: What is the reason for your solo!
career outside The Who?
Entwistle: Well, I started writing with'
“Boris the Spider” and “Whiskey Man.” 1
had a string of “B” sides (on singles) and l
was getting a couple of songs on each album,
but I had about 20 songs left over. There was
. no real outlet for me, so I got so frustrated as
a writer that it was either leave The Who or
form my own band and play my own tune. I
didn‘t stand a chance of being promotedE
(within The Who) in any way, so I did it the
hard way and started making solo albums. A '
lot of people who bought the solo albums
were asking why The Who were not playing
my songs and why I didn‘t tour, so the idea of
getting a band of my own developed.
DTH: Did that idea create any tensions
within The Who? _
Entwistle: No. The ﬁrst two albums really
didn‘t interfere with The Who at all, because
they were done in months of non-
involvement with The Who. Then The Who
started getting a lot of time when they:
weren’t doing anything, during Who's Next
Entwistle: Oh yes. The booze bill for this
latest album was about $5,000.
DTH: What do you drink?
' Entwistle: Brandy, Napoleon brandy. and
01'“: Getting into the actual mwic you
have put out on your own — there’s a
definite transition between your first two
albums and your last two to a very basic rock
Entwistle: 1 don’t think it would have
md like that if I had released another-
solo album in between. l‘m halfway through
writing another solo album at the moment,
which I hope to record sometime next year.'
It has a science ﬁction concept, but I’ve been
writing it at the same time as the Ox material.
It’s two completely different types of
material. I think I’ve gotten out of the ’503
thing. I’ve worn that to a frazzle but I’m
really looking forward to writing more of my
own stuff. -
DTH: Many of the songs you wrote
simulating that '50:; period in a tongue—in—
cheek sort of way are about lave, mostly
unrequited or disappointing, just as those
first rock songs were.
Entwistle: Yes, they’re about someone
leaving you or such, but I tend to exaggerate
DTH: You are married, right?
Entwistle: Yes. But the song “My Wife”
was written afterl had an argument with my
wife and is extremely exaggerated. I
wouldn‘t really run away from my wife, as l
‘ do in the song, because she’s only 5’2”.
DTH: Do you have any kids?
Entwistle: Yes, I have a son who is three.
DTH: One question often asked most
fathers. but not rock musicians, is: Do you
want your child to follow in your footsteps.
in your profession?
Entwistle: I’d love it. He looks as though
he’s going in that direction, although my wife
wants him to be a doctor, a famous brain
surgeon. He’s got his own electric bass and a
Gibson Thunderbird that I plug. into a
Pignose (amp) and he plunks away. He‘s
trying to decide if he’s right-handed or left-
handed. I gave him a trumpet for Christmas
that he can play, and he likes playing the
drums and piano and making funny. noises
on the synthesizer. So he's really into music.
DTH: What is your own musiEaI‘
background — when did you start playing
horns and the guitar?
Entwistle: Apparently, when l was a kid,
until the age of seven, my grandfather used
to take me down to the low! pub, stand me
on a table, and tell me to sing. I used to sing
Al Jolson songs, and he would go around
with a hat and collect money.
DTH: Who kept the money?
Entwistle: He did, after giving me some
pocket money. Then when l was seven, my
.mother decided I should be forced to play the
piano. 1 really didn‘t get along with it.
playing melody in F and all that, so I
convinced my mother that I could teach
myself the trumpet. I don‘t think I ever
touched that piano again, I just played
DTH: Your parents were musically
Entwistle: My father played the trumpet
and my mother played the piano.
DTH: When did you pick up your first
Entwistle: When I was 14, I decided the
trumpet wasn’t all I wanted to play, so I'
made myself a bass guitar.
01‘“: About the public image you project
— your albums haven't been h yped, and you
don't come out a “John Entwistle of THE
W H 0. "
Entwistle: Even when I’m trying to get into
a nightclub, I won‘t say I’m J ohn Entwistle
of The Who — my driver usually says it for
DTH: How does this idea ﬁt into your
relationship with the other members of The
Who? You used to act almost like a referee.
keeping order in a band which was always
Entwistle: I used to be a referee. but now]
just let them carry on.
DTl-l: What about your rather silent,
almost stoic stagepersonality? You lay do W):
the guiding rythmic foundation for the
Who's tenacious rock. yet you do it so
Entwistle: I don't think I’ll be laying back
so much as I‘ve done in the past anymore. On
this tour I‘ve gotten used to standing at the
front of the stage.
DTH: Let's finally turn to that inevitable
question about the future of The Who. In
light of everyone's recent solo projects,
where does the group stand as a whole?
Entwistle: We have an album coming out
in mid-April. and we‘ll start rehearsing and
touring as soon after that as possible. We‘ve
spent a lot of time on our own, which has led
people to think that the band is going to
break up. But what we‘ve decided to do is
plan ahead and make sure we all have
enough time to do our solo projects. This‘
helps keep the band together. A lot of bands
break up when they go their own separate
ways. But The Who adds up to more than the
. tour 5910 ‘ptojects put together anyway.