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July 01, 2002 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2002-07-01

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A RTS The Michigan Daily - Monday, July 1, 2002 -11
THE WHo's JOHN ENTWISTLE: 1944-2002

By Scott Serilla
Daily Arts Writer
It is tempting to say John Entwistle was the
George Harrison of The Who. The quiet reserved
one, with an understated streak of dark humor.
The secret, but essential musical foundation,
who always let the others take credit for the
genius of his band. The occasional songwriter,
who proved he. could be out there on his own,
but instead devoted himself most often to the
songs of others, to the idea of the band as better
than the sum of its parts.
Yet comparing Entwistle to anyone else, even
the late great Beatle falls hopeless short of
describing just how good the Mighty Ox wasand
just how important he was to his band, his instru-
ment, to Rock 'n Roll and to us.
John Alec Entwistle, bass player, arranger,
sometime songwriter and vocalist for the land-
mark British rock band The Who died early
Thursday morning in his sleep in Las Vegas,
apparently of a heart attack. Tragically, the very
next night was to be the opening of a 27-date
North American tour, the band's first in several
years.
Born Oct. 9, 1944 in Chiswick, England,
Entwistle began playing in bands with guitarist
Pete Townsend while the two were classmates at
Acton Grammar School in the late '50s. In
'62 the pair hooked up with vocalist Roger Dal-
trey, who had formed his own Skiffle band, The
Detours. Changing their name to the Who, then
to High Numbers, then back to the Who, the
young musicians eventually lured away the
eccentric drummer of the Beachcombers, a local
surf band. With Keith Moon on board, the leg-
endary lineup of one of the most seminal bands

of all time was complete.
At first heavily associated with the London
Mod scene, the band built a name on their
astounding and furious live sets, literally unlike
anything ever seen before. On stage as Daltrey
strutted, Townsend windmilled and Moon
exploded, Entwistle stood perfectly still, the
same look of heavy concentration on his face for
almost 40-years and countless shows. Some mis-
took this as a pose of aloof boredom, but this
incredible focus was essential to balancing of
The Who.
Entwistle was the calm center of the act's bril-
liantly chaotic storm, but he was also the rhyth-
mic thunder. Few bass players ever played as
loud and distinctly as the Ox, as Moon dubbed
him. It was an aggressive booming, but always
intricate and complex musi-
cal style, which pushed the
bass past a mere supporting
role to the forefront of t
Rock. You could always
hear Entwistle not just
thumbing along, but carry-
ing his share of the melodic
weight if not down right
taking the lead like his clas-
sic solo in "My Generation"
to the comically ominous
tones of his own "Boris the Vote
Spider".
As critic Dave Marsh
pointed out, it wasn't audac-
ity that made Entwistle play
out but necessity and the
extreme manifestation of a
exceedingly practical per-"
sonality. The Ox "learned

to anchor the band both physically and rhythmi-
cally because, in this group, those traditional
drummer's chores would otherwise have gone
otherwise unfulfilled."
The now long-departed Moon is canonized as
the greatest rock drummer of all time, but his
unconventional pummeling of his kit and noted
bad habits off-stage didn't always make for a
steady beat. The workhorse-like 'Thuderfingers'
always picked up the slack.
Like Daltrey, who taught himself to sing at a
near scream just to make sure he could be heard,
Entwistle played louder than any other bassist at
the time, just to hold his band together, though.
Ultimately, though it was an inspirational move
that paved the way for the likes of Cream's Jack
Bruce, Led Zepplin's John Paul Jones and literally

all other rock bassist who refuse to be lost in the
mix. Other bass players have come along with
more flash, and perhaps more technique, but the
Ox played not for his own advancement but solely
for the betterment of his band and the music.
There was a selflessness about Entwistle's con-
tribution to the Who and Rock, that is hard to
imagine in today's musical landscape, where those
with simply the most ego too often reap the largest
rewards. He played to make everyone else look
good, to make Pete's songs sound better. For that
he was vretchedly unsung before his departing.
Daltrey and Townsend have announced their
plans to continue with the tour, in memorial of
their friend. Love them or hate them for that -
with his mammoth resolve, the Ox, where ever
he is, probably understands.

m

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Congratulations to
CAROL VAN DYKE
on her retirement from the University of Michigan!
Thank you to Carol for 40 years of service to the University, including
27 years in the Office of Financial Aid, where she has served as the
Administrative Associate to four Office Directors. Carol has also worked
for two University Presidents - President Hatcher and President Fleming,
as well as for the Center for Research and Economical Development,
the Student Affairs Office, and the School of Social Work.
Thank you for your dedication and years of service.
CONGRATULATIONS AND GOOD LUCK TO YOU, CAROL!
- From Pamela Fowler, Director, Office of Financial Aid (your very last boss!)
Carolifriends and associates are invited to join the Office of Financial Aid
at a reception in her honor on Tuesday, July 16, 2002 from 3-5 p.m. in the
Atrium Conference Room of the Student Activities Building.

R ยง s d b c k c . a v r " r 3

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