Pete's Blog

John Entwistle

John Entwistle. It’s ten years since his shocking death in Las Vegas. I have to say that this is not a particularly special time for me because I remember John every day. There is always something to trigger a fond memory. What does make the time just after John’s death in 2002 worth remembering and processing were the massive changes that happened because – suddenly – he was gone, and we had a tour to do, or perhaps not to do. Musically I knew everything would be different on stage. Not better, just different.


Let me speak first then about John the musician.


John’s sound was harmonically rich and filled an enormous part of the audio spectrum. There really is no one who can do what he did. Other bass players can copy his sound, and try to emulate his fingering, but at the heart of John’s playing was a contradiction. His laid back character disguised a powerful musical ego, supported by immense musical talent. His playing was complex and fast, but there are few players alive who could combine such speed and eloquence on the bass with such good taste musically speaking. Like Keith Moon, he really is irreplaceable. His sound can be emulated, and I sometimes hear players who can approach John’s musicianship, but John really was unique, a complete one-off, an innovator who never stopped experimenting.


As a person, as an old friend from my school days, I think my side of the street is reasonably clean. I always felt a strong sense of loving friendship from John, and I think I will cling on to that memory even though Queenie, his late mother, once got angry with me for being angry with John about the way he died and told me that John had never loved me at all. In fact a couple of times John had actually told me he loved me. We were usually alone, and he might have been a bit drunk, but sometimes when we’re drunk we tell the truth. I accept that sometimes we stretch it, so I reserve the right to stretch it and believe that John was not stretching it.


When we speak about loving someone, there is always something unsaid. We love people we do not like. We like people we can never love. We might even marry or go into business with someone we neither like nor love and have a wonderful life or career with them. This is especially true for bands. It isn’t always easy to know what is the truth, and of course – if Queenie is to be believed – feelings between two friends can be intense but not necessarily equal. For me, with John, the situation is clear cut. There are no difficulties, no blurred images. I loved John, I liked him, I respected him, and I miss him. I don’t think he ever put a foot wrong in our relationship. He never said or did anything that I can look back on and fan embers of even the smallest resentment towards him.


On stage with the Who I often look across and expect to see John standing there scratching the side of his nose and take a resigned deep breath in that characteristically thoughtful way that often presaged a funny story or a blistering bass passage. There has always been talk about how loud we all were, and in particular how John’s massive sound caused problems for us on stage. John was louder than most bass players, there is no question of that. If there were problems it was because both John and Keith competed with Roger for the role of vocalist. I don’t mean that they wanted to be the singer, but rather that they performed like members of an anarchic choir, a street corner singing group, rather than accompanists.


Over on my side of the stage, when Keith was alive, my musical relationship with John was straightforward. I accompanied him. I accompanied (or rather provided a solid rhythmic backbone) for Keith. I hope I accompanied Roger sometimes. It was only when suddenly, ten years ago, John was gone, that I realised that I had inherited a new job on stage with the Who: to play decorative passages, to fill the gaps, to make long sequences of so-called ‘solos’ musically interesting – because that is what John had done for years, so I had never had to bother. So despite the fact that Pino Palladino is one of my favourite musicians on the planet, and I don’t want John’s sound to return so that I am re-graded again to a mere rhythm guitar player who gets to play an occasional lead line, when I am on stage playing Who music, and Roger is with me, I am always aware of how different our ‘band’ is today. It sounds different, and it feels different. Not better or worse, but very different. We just happen to play the same songs.


Some people are utterly without peer. When they are gone they leave an immense vacuum. So it is with John: When he died he left a void that can only be filled with good memories, affectionate recollections, and some healthy and critical review of his occasionally crazy behaviour and extraordinary sense of humour. We met at school, but although we were only twelve years old, John was almost a man by then, while I would remain a little boy for many years to come; we’ve all known such friendships in our school days. I sometimes say that when we met I was eleven years old because that’s how it felt; John was like a fifteen or sixteen year old to me. What is extraordinary is that John took me under his wing so kindly when we first met, and was always a supporter of mine even when I goofed. He was never patronising. I never felt he had to work at it, his support came naturally, and didn’t seem to be a part of any agenda. By the way, Queenie was always kind to me too when I was a teenager.


I could go on for pages and pages. But I’m not the only one to be in a position to speak for John. He was the one of us who stayed closest to our most obsessively loyal fans, propping up the bar before and after shows, and enjoying their affection and interest. I’m sure there a hundred stories out there. It would be good to hear some of them.

55 thoughts on “John Entwistle”

  1. Bill Behan says:

    Bill from USA here! I love you Pete! Quick story – I met John on his last solo tour & he couldn’t have been nicer!!! I told him seeing Quadrophenia live was a dream come true & I’d seen it 5 times!!!! He moved his head back & said with wide eyes “oh dear!”. I knew he was joking, somehow. I then told him I saw him w/Roger on the “Daltry sings Townsend” tour & when Roger introduced him & he came out “w/that big, shiney, red bass, the crowd went NUTS!!!!” After posing for a picture w/me he turned to me & said – “Roger wasn’t very happy about that!!” Once again, I knew he was joking…somehow!!!! P.S. Pete, I’ve seen The Who every tour since ’89 – keep it going, mate!!! & thanks for everything!!!!!!!

    1. pete says:

      John, as the only member of the Who actually, took the time and patience to talk to us and sign some autographs for a short while after a particulary rowdy and wild concert in Düsseldorf in 1975, the best concert in any category I ever witnessed, even though or because the whole equipment got destroyed in the end. While he was being friendly and relaxed to us exited teenagers for a coupla minutes (I was fifteen and had been front row, totally smashed) you could hear the sounds of Keith smashing up the dressing rooms and laughing like crazy in the background. Can this really have been true?
      John, such a decent character, and still he did everything rock and roll. Strange. It must have been his huge talent, like the old crossroads story

    2. harry geng says:

      I was born to be a WHO FAN, they just simply came to my rescue in life and still today.
      I was fortunate to see John and his band at the LE BAT Bar in ny city a month after my Dad passed away about March 1996. Funny enough
      his guitarist last name was Townsend. He and the band Kicked Ass, playing all Johns solo,
      I Mean even 905 of who are you and Who titles I was in Awe of the Ox he played thunder in a small setting. I knew that night I witnessed Hands Down People! The Greatest Bass Player
      to ever play the instrument, he can do it all.Furthermore the Quiet one was a great friend to the fans. after the show the band
      came off the stage and John just hung out like he was a patron of the bar. signing autographs and taking pictures. Really impressed with his personality.He wore his traditional Boris around his neck, Jeans,
      Denim washed out Jacket.I have pictures with him and I having a blast like teenagers.
      Then all were invted to the China club Limos and everything and the night went on with electricity. My girlfriend at the time asked John to dance. Johns answer I am not a Dancer.
      so i offered him a drink and will never forget his request Irish Whiskey in a Wine Glass, costed me $29.00. When I came back to deliver it to him, he cordially ask me did you tell Bartender its for Mr. Entwhistle?
      and is on the House? I said forget about it!
      the best $29.00 I ever spent on a Drink,
      so we shared it Whooly Mooly what a intense hardcore Liqour I still remember to this day the scent of it. A night never to be forgotten! That following April still greiving over the loss of my Dad, Pete plays the supper club ny city. Awesome Solo Show and of course announces The Who reunion for the Quadrophenia tour 1996. Pete opened with Let my love open the Door, “WHEN TRAGEDY BEFALLS YOU , DON’T LET it DRAG YOU DOWN, “LOVE CAN CURE YOUR PROBLEM, YOUR SO LUCK I’M AROUND. Yes I am a FAN.

  2. David Aplin says:

    Thanks Pete for the lovely remembrances of John. A pleasure to read your writing. I’m a long time Who fan with too many emotions wrapped up in the songs to make a relevant comment. I hope the tour goes well.
    Dave Aplin

  3. JOEL says:

    I met John a few times,by accident and saw him one time in concert.In the mid-ninetys,I did see him in at a club called Synergy in West Chicago Il. What a show. Very very very loud though.

    In the early 1990-1991 era,met him and had a drink with him at Buddy Guys Legends in Chicago. A true gentleman,just being a regular guy. And the other was in the French Quarter, around summer 2001. As i was walking down the street, I saw him walking towards me. He stopped,tipped the street musicians that were playing and kept walking towards me. As i tried to talk to him, his entourage said he cant hear very well and i noticed from the side he had hearing aids and then i understood. But he greeted me and shook my hand anyway,and what a gentle guy he was. Miss him a lot myself.

  4. Dale Bagby says:

    I met John Entwistle at one of those record store autogragh sessions in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He and his band were in town to play at Cain’s Ballroom,(The home of Bob Wills) I extended my hand, and when he shook it, I was surprised at how soft the skin on his hands was. The nickname “Thunderfingers” was in the back of my mind enough to provide a contrast. Being a living room musician myself, I had taken the leather strap from my bass for him to sign in hopes he would lend some sort of “mojo” to the strap that would sit on my shoulder. (I know, it’s silly) He looked at it and said “I have signed a lot of guitars before, but I don’t remember signing a strap”. I said “well, I would’nt let you write on my guitar!”. (I would have) The only other person I have allowed to sign that strap has been Stanley Clarke. He said he was honored to be on it also. Just listening to John Enwistle provides the “mojo”. We’ll miss the thrill. I still have that strap and the fond memory.

  5. Ron Cianciaruso says:

    Fortunately, the music you wrote gives all of us a medium for John to be remembered every day. There once was a note pure and easy, but in essence, it’s a note thats pure and needed.

    Thank you Pete

  6. Beth Radtke says:

    I met John twice, both very important moments in my life. But I’ll just tell of the first one, and keep the second one in my heart. I had a huge crush on John (and you Pete — dueling beards, too much for a teenage girl!), John’s crush starting with the “Who Are You” video. I don’t know what it was exactly — perhaps his restraint, standing there, looking completely cool with his black hair, but he killed me! So when he did a solo tour in 1987, my plan was in place. I went to, I think, the Aragon where he was playing in Chicago, and brought my Too Late the Hero poster to be signed. He walked out after the sound check and signed some autographs. I was so nervous, I didn’t say anything. But I had brought extra pens, and found one didn’t work. So when he went to grab the pen, I pulled it back and he just quizzically put his hands up like, “Ok, what are you doing?” He signed my poster and as he moved along, I kept standing there, with the poster rolled up, apparently staring at him. Not dumb-struck, but just watching him. I didn’t realize that of course, he was completely aware of this — I don’t think much got past John. So when he got in the taxi, he looked back out the window and lowered his sunglasses and looked right back at me. I just smiled this huge smile at him and he kept looking. It was an incredibly cool moment from an incredibly cool man who is genuinely missed with true, heartfelt affection. The same affection that I have for you too Pete. Thanks for all the music and memories. Be well — Love, Beth R.

  7. Mark J Bram says:

    The Who have been part of my life since I was nine years old (I’m 54 now) and my father took me to the Rhode Island Arena to see Herman’s Hermits and The Who was the opening act. I wasn’t ready for it…it blew me away. I saw them again in 1975 (and many times since then). When they were banned from playing Providence, after what happened in Ohio, my band, Ruby Topaz (, played a Who tribute to a packed house. We did most of Tommy, Quadraphenia, Who’s Next and some early stuff. In the late 80’s (or thereabout) Ruby Topaz opened for John’s solo band when they played in Providence. My guitar rig was setup in front of John’s Trace Elliot wall of amps. After we did our soundcheck, his guitar player came over to talk to me and asked who did my rack (he was very nice and complimentary). I told him that I did it myself and he seemed to be impressed and told me he had his done in LA. I finally got the nerve to go and talk to John. I didn’t want to gush or bother him and hoped that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself. I told him how much The Who meant to me. He smiled and nodded. I told him that I actually started out, at 11 years old, playing bass and switched to guitar a year later and that his playing had a great influence on both my guitar and bass playing (like Pete’s songwriting has spoken to me and influenced my songwriting greatly). He smiled warmly and nodded. I asked if he wouldn’t mind giving me an autograph. He smiled, nodded and wrote “Cheers, John Entwhistle” and handed it to me. It’s something that I will never forget.

  8. Ken Cast says:

    I was lucky enough to hear John play bass with Ringo Starr and the All Star Band in the 90’s at the now gone Warwick Musical Tent in Rhode Island. He was incredible and played some Who songs including Boris the Spider. Although I’ve never had the chance to see The Who live, I did see 1/4th the original band – and glad I did! I’m a big Who fan from my younger days. Hope to see John and Roger this time around in Rhode Island.
    Best Regards & “Long Live Rock!”

  9. Jan Knapik says:

    Just watched “An Ox’s Tale”. Wonderful documentary about John. Poking around, looking at John and Who related stuff, ran across this. Thanks for reminiscing Pete. I always cherish the memories of having seen him play.

  10. Bob H. says:

    Well said Pete…..As a long time fan, I will miss John playing My Wife in concert…I can relate to that song…I will never forget when I saw you guys in concert in Philadelphia in 1989, John sang and played Trick of the Light, John blew the doors off that stadium……My wife and I just bought tickets to The Who in Atlantic City on Feb. 22, 2013. See you then..Good luck with the Quad. Tour…

  11. Bill Blatt says:

    Thank you for sharing so openly about how you remember John. I remember my deceased spouse the same way – multiple times every day, always in warm, good way. It is hard to know this kind of feeling unless you have lost someone both close and dear.

    Anyway, thank you, and I look forward to the tour. I am sheepish to admit that I blew a big wad of money to get front row center at Pittsburgh, it’s been a fantasy for 40 years and now it will be real!

  12. Tom Hurley says:

    I read your entire article about John and was struck by the end where
    You mentioned how gracious he was to the fans. I have one such story
    He had been doing a solo tour in 1999-2000 and had come to play at
    The lucky dog music hall in Worcester Ma. As was his routine he aliased the sound check to be open to the public. I waited and listened with all the other fans to his band play without him. A local guy filled in on his bass rig on stage. As I’m a singer I asked the guitarist also named Townshend if I might sing a song. He said okay and we did “Can’t explain”. The band took a break and this guitarist came and found me and asked “would you like to sing ‘The Real Me’ when John arrives?”. I was dumbfounded and a short while later found myself on stage with the greatest Rock bassist in history performing one of the best Who songs ever written. I shook hands with him when we done and I remember before leaving the stage saying ” you ruined my life “. Ha! What a stupid thing to say!! Of course I meant that because of The Who and his influence I had spent my life chasing that rock n roll dream. I was trying to be “funny” I guess. Later I sanded the black paint off my 1982 Schecter telecaster and he autographed it along with a ton of other stuff. When the crowd was asked to leave so the band could relax before the show later that night John said I could stay!! He told me I had a “lovely voice”!! Ha ha! Far and away this was a great moment in my life and it happened because of his simplicity and kindness. Thank you Thundercingers! You didn’t ruin my life at all you made it special!

  13. Bill Reid says:

    Pete. You and the Band have been a part of my life since I can remember. Back in the days of am radio. Always, my first show was one year to the day of Keiths Last show before he departed. Dec 15th in New Haven CT. I am sorry I never was old enough to catch the crazy days of the Moon. But I was blessed to hear John presence in every live preformance since then. I lost track of how many shows. But what I miss the most as I am sure we all do is some of Johns music live. Please Please play something of Johns on the upcoming tour. I believe the Bands best live preformace and song was Johns after all. My Wife live is what The Who Is. If you had just one song to play for someone who has never heard any Music,, Rock N Roll, The Who. To me it would be an easy choice. MY WIFE LIVE at Shepperton Studios Dec 15 1978 Done and Ditto Love Ya and Blessing Bill and Renae Hi Simon…..

  14. jugoslavija says:

    Thank you for the good writeup. It in truth was once a entertainment account it. Look complex to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  15. I was privileged to hear John on a solo tour in Ventura CA. I spent the show leaning on the stage, inside the house PA, so I could hear HIS tone, and watch his right hand. After the show, he signed a bass neck for me. While I was stammering and stuttering, what does one say after all to ones’ hero, I thanked him for learning more right hand techinique in that night than in thirty plus years of playing bass. He smiled gently, shook my hand, and said, “no, thank You…”

    One of the reasons my first son is named John.

  16. California kid says:

    Thanks Pete, that was lovely.

    I hope I get to tell some of my long lost friends I love them.

  17. Gessy Ladd says:

    Gessy From Richmond Hill Queens,NY,
    I started listening to The who when I was a senior in High School back in ’90-91, and played you on our radio station which I D.Jayed, name was “Guess Who” after you guys. Despite such a generation gap I related to what you had to say in your lyrics, Behind Blue Eyes, I have brown eyes, but I feel you!
    Now I’m a mom of a two, but whenever I hear your music on 104.3 in NY, I crank it up and ROCK! Many Blessings to ALL of you and eventhough I won’t be able to see a concert due to circumstances beyond my control I will fantasize about it!
    #1 WHO fan from the NYC!

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  19. John Devlin says:

    Great memories, not only from Pete but from everyone. Theres not many bands like the Who who feature 4 lead musicians. To lose one changes the sound somewhat, to lose two changes it massively. Fair play to you and Roger for keeping on going Pete. The Who are so special to so many people and although I never met John I always had huge admiration for him as a player and a VITAL part of the Who sound.

  20. Ripper T Johnson says:

    Pete, it’s always tough for parents when their child dies, and sometimes the hurt turns to anger directed at the person’s best friends. In life we cannot choose our blood, but we can choose our friends. To think John did not love you is like thinking the sky is not blue. The way you handled Queenie‘s comments; I sense you were a bit hurt when it first went down. Still you reacted with class, and that’s why we love you man. There’s no lying in you Tony :<) Bottom line, you were one of his best friends, and he would want you to joke around a bit, and be real. Plus even though three billion people know your name, you are still just Pete, a human like all of us, with the same need for love and friendship we all have.

    Life is too short, just cause The Beatles seem to be the first pop phenomenon to push Love as the answer, certainly the Who, The Dead, The Stones, etc. all did in their music. Yup friendship and humor, all constructed from love; that‘s the majority of the answer. Without humor, there is NO love. The Who defined/define both.

    Thanks Pete; Quad is going to be sick, and a great way to bring John out of the ether…

  21. Ripper T Johnson says:

    ps When we speak about loving someone, there is always something unsaid. We love people we do not like. We like people we can never love. We might even marry or go into business with someone we neither like nor love and have a wonderful life or career with them.

    Greatest two sentences I have EVER read. Seriously, this belongs at the end of a great novel. better copyright it :<)

  22. Carla says:

    That was beautiful Pete. I am probably one of the few “youngins” responding, but, I have been a fan of The Who for almost 20 years and I am 31. Your music has always been a part of my life. So, when John passed away I was very sad and worried about you and Roger. It’s so awesome that you two had that love relationship. There’s nothing quite like it. He will surely be missed and there will never be another musician quite like him. He was unique just like you, Roger and Keith. The memories and support that he gave you will always be remembered.

    This coming Novemeber in Pittsburgh will be the first time I have got my hands on Who tickets. I have been waiting for this moment forever! Your fans love you and the members that have passed on.

    Keep rocking and can’t wait to see you in Pittsburgh! <3

  23. sam heiser says:

    Thank you Pete. Death is so final. We have all lost good friends who have occupied a huge segment of our lives, leaving us bewildered, sad, and unable to ever stop missing them as we look across the stage, the office, or sit down to dinner of an evening. Thank you for articulating so well such feelings. Someone earlier turned the phrase “pure and easy” to “pure and needed.” Indeed. We faithful folks will be out there once again for the tour, like moths to the flame, immersing ourselves in the force of The Who.

  24. Alex Reid says:

    What an amazing reflection on a truly unique artist Pete. I have seen the band several times and had the honor of meeting John after a show at the House of Blues in Hollywood and it is a moment I cherish to this day.
    A talent like his comes along once in a lifetime. I am grateful to have experienced his magic.

  25. Esoth says:

    Thanks so much for this inside look at John and The Who, who have been on my mind lately. I am near 53 now, and one of my daughter is 13 and has moved from Bieber, to an even greater obsession with all things Beatles, with the Stones beginning to encroach. And she keeps asking me what she’s missing and I held fire and allowed her to wait for it. And she comes across an online video of “A Quick One” and is floored and then captivated by “cello cello cello cello” and suddenly wanting to know what’s this all about. . . . and so now I begin to talk and think about The Who and the ways they were always so different (and always so much preferred by myself), the spectacle and the raw, elemental power, so much of which emanated from John Entwistle. . . .I find it hard to put into words, and tonight I come across this from Pete who was always so good with words. . . . there was something studied and market driven in their contemporaries, that maybe lends them better right now to an online virtual simulacrum of what it was like then. . . . but with The Who, where words and images fail there is those songs, that sound and that enduring energy which has lost none of its urgency over the decades.

  26. jozef van zadel says:

    As a long time Who fan it is sometimes difficult to give objective opinions about the who and the members of the who. When I met John in 1987 in Holland solo het pissed off Jan Akkerman off the stage. But then Jan Akkerman isn’t the easiest guy to play with i suppose. Although very talented as a guitarist. I bought John his whiskey and sipped the last drops myself. My brother and me stayed with him for abt 3 hours backstage and he was down to eart and very kind to us and all of who fans around. I consider John to be the greatest bass palyer ever! RIP and we love you John

  27. Gary says:

    I was lucky enough to see the ’69 Coliseum show, Trentham Gardens (with the James Gang) and the Leeds ‘Thank You’ concert in 1970 (all 3 different, all three incredible). I remember with affection the last one of these as you were all so at ease on stage. At one point Roger got tangled up and fell over and John looked at you, shrugged his shoulders and aimed his bass at him as if it was a machine gun. It was about as much movement as I’d ever seen from him and said so much.
    Seeing the Coliseum concert rather spoilt me as no other concert has ever come close to the brilliance of that night. But I’m glad you’re doing Quadrophenia: I actually thought the Saturday night show at the Edmonton Sundown in 1973 was a terrific performance. Never understood why people knocked it: you certainly nailed it that night.

  28. KILLER says:

    hey pete, never got to meet the ox but seen the who enough times to feel i,ve meet you all. those first shows after kieths death, i remember thinkin how different u all must have felt on stage, and then 20 years later to do shows without john , on eve of that tour…no band in history has been thru that. god bless you and roger for keeping on.watched john do boris the spider in toronto when u first said it was all over 82, what a spot in the show. flash forward to quad show madison square gardens 95 and he does a few solos and has all of new york in his palm. remember them like yesterday along with the other 14 times. see you soon ,keep carryin bloody bagage out….



  29. You couldn’t help but admire John Entwistle. He was the ultimate bassist and so many thing she played are just staggering to the remainder of us bassists who listen in wonbder to his work. You were so lucky to have him, Pete.

    I met him once in 1981 outside Manchester Apollo, when you all (except Roger, whose birthday bash was going on in some hotel) rolled up to do the soundcheck etc. You were in a bit of a hurry to get inside, which is fair enough. Kenney was very gracious and signed a couple of things. I asked John a question about basses and he gave me a 20 minute answer and never once looked at his watch. The we started talking about Slade for 10 more minutes.

    What a lovely man. I miss him onstage with The Who so much. As you say irreplaceable.

  30. francesca martello-whelan says:

    I met John and his wife in 1979 in New York City. He was so interested to meet the fans! He was a just a lovely, calm man. I will never forget that day, or him…He is still sorely missed!!!!!

  31. Donn says:

    I spent an interesting evening in John’s company many years ago at a NAMM show in New Orleans. There were a couple of other “rock stars” in attendance and they were all “on” but John seemed content to have a few drinks and leave the showboating to the walking lifestyles.

    He was a pleasure to be around, very funny and he oozed charisma without acting a fool.

  32. cw says:

    John was a WONDERFUL guy. I remember seeing him play twice in a small summer town club in the Hamptons near my hometown. The first show was planned quickly and didn’t have a great turn out. My friend worked the club and called me last minute to come down for an open soundcheck. I walk in, and John rips into “The Real Me”. They nearly blew the roof off of this little club. Incredible. When the song stops, the owner shouted out,”Can you turn it down a bit?” John looked out and said, “We haven’t even brought in all of our gear yet.” Everyone laughed. Including the owner. The show wasn’t sold out!!! At the end of the show I am milling about, and my buddy asks me to come over. He says,”This guy is a bigger fan than me.” and between a few girls is none other than John. He reaches a hand out and introduced himself. Gracious as could be. A few weeks later, John plays the same club. This time it is PACKED. I had a table right up front. Usually, this venue houses the band upstairs, and when they go on they come down thru a door to the rear of the stage. Well, when the band is introduced, they are sitting at the bar!!! Holding court with people as if they were standing in their neighborhood pub!!! They shake put down their drinks, shake hands, and walk thru the crowd to the stage!!! I couldn’t believe it. After the show, I got to hang out upstairs with my buddy and the band. The band and crew were pouring me drinks and yuking it up like it was a family BBQ. No pretense. No drama. Just really good guys who appreciated the fans and the luck they had in their careers. I got to talk to John about gear. Talking to him was difficult. He didn’t speak clearly and I had to repeat myself a few times. He was a gearhead like no other. His setup was ridiculous. His gear probably cost more than he made on the entire tour!!!

    I have a picture with him on my mantle at home. My kids ask me if that was my DAD!!!

    RIP John.

  33. jim says:

    Ten years gone to his reward, hard to believe.Time just slips bye passing fifty.

    Looking forward to your memoir.I will be a monster seller.

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  35. Steve Susswein says:

    Pete, beautiful words regarding John. I remember a Roger concert in December 1985 at the Palace Theater in Albany, NY. My first rock show. For the last encore, Roger brought John out for “Twist and Shout.” The audience went nuts. (I will always remember Roger’s bass player lending John his bass and then watching intently how John played the song). To finish the show, Roger and John did an a Capella version of the first lines of “We wish you a Merry Christmas.” For the last part — “and I happy New Year” — Roger silenced and let John sing it. But to this day, I don’t know exactly what he sang — “And a happy ______.” Maybe he meant to sing “and a Happy Chanukah” but it came out as “a Happy Gonorrhea” — at least that is the way it sounded to me. I miss John.

  36. Zappa says:

    I must remark that I had the pleasure of enjoying Mr. Entwisle’s bass extravaganza on two separate occasions, notably the 25 anniversary concert in Philadelphia. I was knocked back into my seat, and that’s really all that one can say about that….except for thank you John.

  37. Zappa says:

    Hello Mr. Townsend,

    I hope that you have a chance to view these remarks. I must say that I found your words regarding John to very heartfelt, and I can tell that you truly loved this man. Is it wrong for one man to love another man? I hope not, but in any event, I know what it means to love a brother and lose him, and to miss him every day, as I do my brother, the late, great, insane drummer Buddy Winkelspecht, who reminded me so much of Keith, and who can only be spoken of in the whispered tones of the legendary….

  38. doms says:

    Thanks Pete for taking time to honor John on this solemn anniversary. While you and Roger mean the world to me Pete, John is the one member of the Who I suspect – nothing factual to back this up – I would have the most in common with. I had the luck of meeting you, Roger, John, and Kenny in May of 80 when you stopped over in the Twin Cities for a couple of shows. Through a friend of Roger’s we were invited down to the Who’s hotel where I had a nice conversation with John about his songs. He seemed surprised at how deeply I could discuss 905. Anyway, you Roger and Kenny were gracious, but John took a lot of time with me to discuss songs. And, he was so unassuming. I remember it like it was yesterday. Here’s to the greatest bass player ever!

  39. jerry says:

    Was glad to read your sentiments Pete, I was lucky to meet John in RI at a soundcheck he did about 11 yrs ago. Also saw the show in Mansfield MA you did very soon after he passed. I could feel a a lot of emotion during your vocals in The Kids are Alright song that show. I agree he was a good guy and great sense of humor. Thanks for the inspiration also from your music I have been a fan since the early 70s. Wishing you many more yrs- Old School Jerry – Las Vegas

  40. Searley says:

    I don’t think or believe that there will be a more acclomplished Bass Guitarist ExtraOrdinaire than Mr.John EntWhistle.They were on a Chosen Destiny to Fulfill and They Gave with Their Hearts & Souls.They were Genuine Authentic and Essentially Real People.They should have been more looked after,anyway life is life,God Bless John & Kieth.

  41. David C Weaver says:

    I began playing bass long before I knew who John was. (I am about 10 years younger than John) I had also played guitar and developed a very sort of lead style on the bass. A guy I played in a band with said did you ever listen to the Who’s bass player, I said not really. Well you kinda play like that. I listened to John and felt good about how I played with many guitar players saying I needed to always be simple and stick to the root. So I continued to play that way and I am glad I did, John’s playing showed me not to be afraid to be different.

  42. johnm says:

    I think that the one thing Pete and John did so well was that sing song call and echo sequence like in the punk and the godfather where Pete would go dadadadada and John would go boobooboobooboo and Pete would answer back dadadadada da da donte. Like two birds on the phone really. They seemed to talk through their music.

  43. Will says:

    Dear Pete,

    Your lyric, “There once was a note, pure and easy, Playing so free, like a breath rippling by”, is most representative of John Entwistle’s musical essence as he entered into the song, Pinball Wizard with his first sustaining “B” note. It was so pure, easy, and most definately “free” as it entered into our ears straight through to our very souls. I first “saw” it for myself in June, 1970 in Berkley, CA and many times after that.

    Of course his musical talent, superb technique and ability on bass guitar had been first displayed well before that, but it was that single defining moment that sent the tremendous “chill” through me and proved beyond any shadow of doubt that John was a musical force to be reckoned with.

    Thank you Pete, for sharing such honest and heart warming memories of your life-long friendship with John. You speak from what’s true in your heart, both in your written words and in the music you create, and that has been my life-long inspiration. As a fellow guitarist, composer, and human being, I am grateful for all the music you’ve shared with us through recordings and live concerts, and for the generous giving of your time and talents in raising money for a number of worthy causes (Of course this note of “thanks” goes out to Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, and all members of The Who, past and present).

  44. Al Grillo says:

    The first time I met John was after a show in Danbury CT. many years ago. I brought a friend Oscar a fellow bass player who was not that familar wtih John or his work, but during the show whenever I would look over at Oscar he was staring at John with wide eyed amazement. After the show Oscar kept saying he had to have a trick bass that nobody could play like that. As we got ready to go we saw that John was hanging out talking to fans like it was a normal thing, when John came our way Oscar asked John what his secret was; John’s classic response was : volumne mate. After this show I saw John many times and I always stayed after to chat him up. I’ve got to say John was the most unasuming and friendly superstar the world will ever know.

  45. Mary says:

    I waited for Mr. Entwistle after a concert in Toledo, Ohio to ask him to sign a copy of “The Who Sell Out.” Another person waiting said I looked like the woman on the cover. I asked John if he knew the woman. He laughed and said he “never laid a hand on her.” I was happy I made him laugh. I think he was kidding about never laying a hand on her. Anyway, he posed for a picture with me holding the album. I have the picture hanging on my wall. What a great picture (of him not me.) He was really a nice person to take the time to greet his fans and he was such a talented bass player. A few months after that I had tickets to see The Who in Columbus, Ohio but unfortunately he passed away before the show. By the way, I loved the Who concert in Columbus on February 17th. One of the best shows I have seen. Hope to see many more. I loved the video of John playing bass.

  46. Gene says:

    I saw this article on John that was interesting and thought other fans might enjoy it.

  47. Steve says:

    I was fortunate enough to actually meet my ‘hero’. At a show he did ‘solo’ in Ventura CA. I spent the entire show in front of him,inside the house speakers so that I could attempt to process his ‘tone’. And afterwards, his manager, while lots of folks were standing in line to get autographs, saw me with a fretless bass neck that I was ‘modifying’, and had John sign it for me. I stood in front of him, and in between stuttering, as what does one say to ones’ hero, thanked him for all the music, and for showing me more right hand technique than I had learned in the 30+ years of playing bass up to then.

    And hopefully, my lines that I am creating now, are some small tribute to the best bass player who ever lived.

  48. Paul Bastian says:

    It is no stretch of the imagination to say that being a musician has saved my life on numerous occasions. The music of The Who has provided soundtrack to my entire life, and it is John Entwistle above all others who is the reason why I currently play bass.

    While I only had the good fortune to see the man perform live once, on tour with The Who in 2000, I am incredibly grateful for the music that he created and has inspired.

    It is my hope that one day, hopefully sooner than later and before others have followed John into the hereafter, that a book could be written specifically about his life, his music, his dark humor, and his incredibly idiosyncratic personality. Were I a better man, I would offer to do the job myself – oh, what the hell, I suppose you can take this as my offer. I swear, if I were to hear response from anyone in The Who camp, I would immediately take upon myself the task.

  49. Mark says:

    I found The Who in grade-school the US in the 70’s. I wanted to be a bass player, but sadly, I had guitar playing brothers and you never dare ask for a new guitar. I would de-tune a guitar and play bass. Then I crossed over. My first show was a middle school talend show where I played “Pinball Wizard” with a small band. But I always wrote for bass and still do.
    Years later I was able to indulge myself and buy a bass, and I love to play it. I can’t play the way John did, and noone ever will perhaps, but the form and the melody are there. And whenever I drive, my fingers pluck the steering wheel the same way his did his guitar.

  50. Allen Rubin says:

    John Entwistle’s Art “THE WHO – SPIRIT OF 76″ Hand Signed & Numbered 141/350

    Full Color, framed artwork by John Entwistle (THE WHO’s BASSIST, who is deceased). This is a numbered (141/350) art lithograph which was bought FIRSTHAND by me at John’s art show a few years before he died. This is a full colored amazing print that is limited to only 350 prints in the world. I had him sign CAN YOU SEE THE REAL ME? in front of me when I bought it from him. It’s rare and beautiful in perfect shape. It was custom framed by John as well. The size is 18″ x 24.5″ x 1.25”

  51. Srijan tiwari says:

    The 60s were probably the most wonderful times.. They gave us so talented musicians. When we’re talking about Bass musicianship, two names are unavoidable to us simply.
    1. John Entwistle
    2. (Sir) Paul McCartney
    and The Ox was the emperor of bass and simply the best bass player for me and the rest of the world 😉
    But, when i am listening to Underture (Tommy) Live, I can assault anyone who dare say names of those copycats…
    Respects for you, sir…

  52. Greg says:

    I don’t think people quite understand how great John Entwistle was as a not just a bassist but also as a musician and artist. His drawings were exceptional and he wrote some great songs. I just wish he was still with us. I am always so impressed with his presence on stage and in interviews from past days. When John And Pete played together it was like the ocean, sometimes calm and beautiful, other times fierce and tough but always flowed.

  53. David DiCarlo says:

    I’ve been. A fan of The Who since the early 1980’s, but it would be 1996 before I was able to see the band. First I saw John, in his solo tours. Playing small clubs and venues for we ravenous few. Standing 4 feet from him while he achieved sonic perfection, he was a real rock star to me.
    When I saw him in 1998 in Scottsdale, Arizona he put on a superb show then signed autographs and chatted with fans for hours, even when it started to rain a bit. He signed every album, smiled and answered every question. All I could say was “Thank you so much for doing this.” His manager (I assume) spoke my words into his ear and he simply looked up from signing, made direct eye contact and said,”quite welcome”. What I left there thinking is beyond the great musician, rock star, artist and all the other things he was, what a decent fellow. I imagine John was the kind of person that if he lived next door would rarely miss a party.

    Thanks Pete, for providing the opportunity to share.

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