October 22, 2020

1986-03-22 – The Signal

1986 03 22 The_Signal_Fri__Mar_22__1996_


Escape Who Editor ,

hen ~ Who
bassist John
E n t w i s tl e
began gearing
up earlier this
year for a tour of the United
States with his new band, his
motivation was simple.

“Playing live — that’s what
I do best," he said. “I've got a
new solo album coming out
and Rhino Records is going to
be releasing an anthology of
five other solo albums I. did
before. i wanted to boost a lit-
tle interest in Entwistling.”

As it turns out, he needn’t
have worried. Because the tour
has drawn packed houses at
virtually every performance
theband has played. Crammed
into confines decidedly smaller
than the stadiums The Who
once occupied. conCert-goers
have welcomed the chance to
see a member of the legendary
British band'up close and per-

He was. after all, a member

of the band that brought us the
rock opera. “Tommy” as well
as scores of classic rock songs
including “My Generation,"
“Happy Jack," “I Can See For
Miles” and “Magic Bus."

The underlying foundation
for those songs was Entwistle‘s
cutting bass lines. delivered
with seemingly effortless pre-
cision (witness the bass solo on
“My Generation")

“1 always experiment a lot
when I practice," he said. “And
I used to play piano and trum-
pet. so I didn't see any reason
why I couldn‘t adapt those
techniques to the bass."

Smaller venues bring with
them their own unique set of
problems. such as inadequate
power and stages that are
sometimes barely big enough.
But downsizing also brings the
band closer to its audience.
Entwistle said.

“It's more intimate. he said.
“I get to meet people and shake
their hands. They're just glad
to see me playing. They‘re glad
to come and hear the stuff

The new band includes gui—
tarist Godrey Townsend (no
relation to Pete). drummer
Steve Luongo (Mountain. Rat
Race Choir) and keyboardist
Alan St. John (Michael Bolton.
Billy Squire).

“I‘ve known Steve for quite
a few years.“ he said. “I toured
with him in Rat Race Choir
(1987). I met Townsend in
New York where we jammed.

andnl met Alan through the oth-

The band‘s set list includes
several Entwistle gems once
perfomied by The Who includ-
ing “My Wife.“ “Boris the

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Photo courtesy of John Entwistle

John Entwistle, former bassist for The Who, Is glad to be tour-
Ing and calling the shots. “I'm tlred of someone else being
the boss,” he said. “The tour has been going pretty wel. I'm
not losing and I'm not maklng a fortune.”

Spider" and “Successful," as
well as songs from his newest,
unreleased solo album, “The

Favorite songs?

“I like them all." he says
with a laugh. “1 have to like
them — they’re mine! The
ones I get a kick out of are the
ones i can play a bass solo on
and get my rocks off."

But even Entwistle acknowl-
edges that the specter of The
Who is hard to shake — partic-
ularly that of drummer Keith
Moon. whose tragic death by a
drug overdose forever altered
the band’s optimism and focus.

“I miss Keith more than any-
one else.“ Entwistle said wist-
fully. “He was the one I played
with the most. Every time we
did an album he‘ d have to go
into the studio and relearn his
parts. He would go for months
without ever touching his drum
kit. He had his own technique.
He may have molded my bass
style a bit. but I think it was
also vice versa because I‘m
pretty difficult to play with."

The Who crafted some of the
premier albums in rock includ-
ing “Who's Next.“ “Tommy"
and “Quadrophenia.” But the
band‘s true strength was on
stage. said Entwistle.

“It would have to be our abil-
ity to play live." he said.
“Because we never sold any


records until we played every-
where three times. My favorite
Who albums are parts of
‘Quadrophenia' and ‘Live at
Leeds.’ That album captures
The Who.

“Fortunately, we had the sta-
mina and ability to stay togeth-
er. But it was rough at times
with no money around," he
continued. “It seems that once
we achieved the success we

did. we didn’t have to work as ‘

Entwistle handily dismissed

any chance of another Who-

album or tour.

“Not a chance in hell," he
said simply. “Pete wants The
Who to cease to exist. But that
band measures the” lives of
myself and Roger.’

Entwistle was a part of
Daltry‘ s “Daltry Sings
Townshend" tour in 1994 and
also traveled as a member of
Ringo Starr‘s All Star Band
last year. But the new band has
proven to be the most reward-
ing. he said.

“I‘m tired of someone else
being the boss,” he joked. “The
tour has been going pretty
well. I'm not losing and I‘m
not making a fortune. lt‘s dif-
ferent from state to state and
from club to club. If the audi-
ence is having a good time and
we get a reaction — that‘s all
that matters."

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