A lengthy interview with Mr. Thunderfingers.
Affectionately known as "The Ox," the Who’s John Entwistle was indisputably the foundation of the Who’s sound. Acclaimed as one of rock’s premiere bass players, Entwistle played his instrument like a man possessed. In effect, he was the group’s real lead guitarist, providing supple and mind-blowing bass runs, the superb "The Real Me" and "Heaven and Hell" being particular highlights. Throw Entwistle’s dynamic bass work into a melting pot with Pete Townshend’s meaty power chords, Keith Moon’s rollercoaster-out-of-control drum work and Roger Daltrey’s steel-lunged vocalizing, and you have the essential ingredients that made up the Who. Entwistle was the band’s muso, proficient on myriad instruments, including keyboards and French horn, which he played on many Who tunes.
Entwistle’s songs existed in their own peculiar "Twilight Zone" colony. His songs were the polar opposites of Townshend’s; they dabbled in the realm of the macabre, offering up an unnerving blend of twisted and sinister lyrics. Witness such joyously demented songs as "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," "Whiskey Man" and "Fiddle About," and you’ll know this isn’t a man you’d want to encounter in a dark alley. Despite his dark and often bizarre lyrical excursions, Entwistle’s song catalog was rock solid, with "My Wife," "Success Story," "The Quiet One," "Trick Of The Light" and the eternal favorite "Boris The Spider" standing proudly next to Townshend’s impeccable canon of songs.
Out of all the members of the Who, it was Entwistle who thrived the most on being on the road. His profound love of live performance hasn’t diminished over time. In fact, in the past several years, Entwistle has toured the world as a solo artist and as part of Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band. He was also a special guest on the "Daltrey Sings Townshend" tour. Most recently, Entwistle is set to participate in a live performance of Quadrophenia on June 29th in London’s Hyde Park, where he’ll be reunited with former band mates Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. Rumors abound about a possible series of shows in New York’s Madison Square Garden in July.
In between touring, Entwistle has lent his distinctive bass playing to albums by the likes of Ringo Starr, Joe Walsh and Susanna Hoffs. On the recording front, Entwistle has just issued a new solo LP, The Rock, and Rhino Records plans to release all of his solo albums; including Smash Your Head Against The Wall, Whistle Rymes, John Entwistle’s Rigor Mortis Sets In, John Entwistle’s Ox: Mad Dog and Too Late The Hero on CD for the first time later this year. No longer "The Quiet One," Entwistle continues to be a vital musical and creative force.
GOLDMINE: Did a competition exist between the Who and bands like the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Kinks?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I guess there was more of a friendly camaraderie. It depended on where you were on the ladder of fame. The only really sort of rivals you have is if you’re underneath. It was the Beatles, the Stones and the Who. And then Led Zeppelin came along. There was rivalry and we were also friends. I mean, the Beatles were always up there and no one was going to knock them off anyway because they were the Beatles. The Stones, yes, we had some rivalry.
GOLDMINE: You’ve just issued some of your artwork
JOHN ENTWISTLE: The first release is the Who By Numbers cover, which I never got paid for, so now I’m going to get paid. (laughs) We were taking it in turns to do the covers. It was Pete’s turn before me and we did the Quadrophenia cover, which cost about the same as a small house back then, about 16,000 pounds. My cover cost 32 pounds. I’m releasing it in the original size; there are nine new ones after that. I’ve done ones of the individual members of the Who. Then I’ve done some of the Stones, Bill Wyman, Ronnie Wood, Elton John and Rod Stewart.
GOLDMINE: What are your thoughts on the Who boxed set 30 Years Of Maximum R&B?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I like some of the box. I don’t like other bits of it. I prefer the video that came out at the same time. I think it’s a much better item. Parts of the boxed set are interesting because it’s stuff that hasn’t been heard before or stuff that hasn’t been heard before off of bootlegs.
GOLDMINE: Pete Townshend’s liner notes in the box and commentary in the compilation video are very cynical. Why is he so bitter about the Who? He seems to love the band and then hate it at the same time.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Probably because he can’t make his mind up whether the band was any good. It’s a problem we’ve had for the last few years.
GOLDMINE: What’s your involvement with the repackaging of the Who catalog on CD?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Nothing, really, except for the right to veto. It’s all sort of MCA’s idea. It’s more MCA’s project than the Who’s.
GOLDMINE: Have you recommended any bonus tracks?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah, I mean they consult me from time to time, but basically they send me the mixes and if I don’t like them I phone them. That’s what happened with some of the stuff that’s on the boxed set from Live at Leeds. I phoned up and ranted and raved for awhile and they got remixed.
GOLDMINE: I heard that the bass and vocals on "Heaven and Hell" were re-recorded.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: There was one chorus where I obviously walked away from the mike to turn up my bass or something and it just didn’t come out. In order to release it I just overdubbed it. I didn’t re-sing anything.
GOLDMINE: How do you regard the Live at Leeds album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I’m happy about the record now. Before when I heard the mixes on the boxed set I was very cautious.
GOLDMINE: What don’t you like about the mixes?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: You don’t tamper that much with a holy live album. Live at Leeds is my favorite like album by the Who and it’s the only Who album I still play. I didn’t like it being messed around with. For a start the bass was in the middle, which is stupid.
GOLDMINE: Your bass playing was always very adventurous. Which bassists inspired you to play that way?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: It wasn’t really bass players that inspired me. An early influence was Duane Eddy because I always considered his stuff as sounding like bass solos. Plus, we were a three-piece band with a singer, so we had a lot of ground to cover. I always went to play that way and it helped my sound cut through all the rest of the stuff that was happening. I eventually became a lead bass player.
GOLDMINE: The sound of your bass changed quite a bit from the beginning to a song like "The Real Me."
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Whenever I get stuck in a rut I change my playing style. At that point I changed my playing style be using equipment that didn’t have any treble on it and Thunderbird basses. So that became the sound.
GOLDMINE: What other 60’s rock bass players do you rate highly?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I’d say one of my favorite bass players was Pete Quaife because he literally drove the Kinks along. McCartney I always admired because I liked the way he constructed bass parts and to be able to sing and play bass at the same time you have to write the bass parts around what you’re singing. I tried it with my solo albums and I thought, I’m going to perform this one onstage. How in the hell do I sing and play what I played at the same time? It’s impossible.
GOLDMINE: Do you consider "The Real Me" one of your best bass parts?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah, "The Real Me" was the first take. I was joking when I did that bass part. The band said, "Wow, that’s great, that’s great!" And I was just messing around. They just loved the song. I was sitting on top of my speaker cabinet playing a silly bass part and that’s the one they liked. I would say any live version of "Won’t Get Fooled Again," (laughs) but you’d have to use your imagination in most of the mixes for them. The live version of "Won’t Get Fooled Again" on The Kids Are Alright soundtrack, because I mixed that.
GOLDMINE: Tell us about "A Quick One," Townshend’s mini-opera [on the Happy Jack album in the U.S. and A Quick One in the U.K.]. It was a suite comprising several songs. Did that take the band aback because of its innovative song structure?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We had 12 minutes of time left to make up on the album. Kit Lambert had the idea. He said to Pete, "Why don’t you write a mini-opera and squeeze a bunch of songs into it?" And that’s basically what happened. He wrote a lot of short songs and it became the mini-opera but it didn’t take us aback because we were expecting it.
GOLDMINE: Didn’t each member have to come up with two songs for the album? Keith Moon even came up with two songs for the record.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Moon didn’t come through with two, actually. "Cobwebs and Strange" was me. (laughs) Basically, I made the brass part up and it just went on from there.
GOLDMINE: Keith wrote a very Beatlesque song for the album called "I Need You."
JOHN ENTWISTLE: That was a song about the Beatles. Keith had gone through an experience with the Beatles where they were talking their own language. He had gone through all this paranoia thinking that the Who could speak the language as well. Everything you said, "What does that mean, what does that mean?" He was on these little yellow pills at the time. Yellow paranoia pills.
GOLDMINE: "Man With The Money," the Everly Brothers’ song, is a bonus cut on the A Quick One CD.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Oh, yeah, that was a stage song we used to do. The Everly Brothers had an album called Blues and there wasn’t any blues on it. [ed note: the actually title of the album was Rock ‘n’ Soul.] There was that one song on it. We copped a lot of Everly Brothers. Going back to that other question where everybody had to come up with two songs, I only had come up with one after we started rehearsals. I really made "Boris The Spider" up on the spot. I had to run home from rehearsals and demo it before I forgot it. Pete asked me whether I’d written the second song and I said, "It’s about a spider called Boris." I’d been drinking with the Stones the night before and we got to the stage where we were making up silly names for animals. I thought of this name for a spider, Boris, after Boris Karloff.
GOLDMINE: Why did your lyrics, especially back then, touch on such weird and perverse topics?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I wanted the songs to be like no one else was writing. And no one was writing that sort of black kind of stuff. And also, the idea for me to write "Silas Stingy" and "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," they were all meant to go on a kids’ rock album. Young kinds love "Boris the Spider" and a lot of the other songs I’d written. So we were gonna release a children’s album with all these snakes and spiders and creepy things. So they all ended up being used for B-sides on albums that came afterwards. And I just got this black image but the song was written for a children’s album, a project that Kit Lambert thought of.
GOLDMINE: How do you view The Who Sell Out album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: It was fun to record. I mean, we did most of the commercials in one day. Me and Keith went out to a pub and we got a few commercials thought up like "Rotosound Strings" and "Premier Drums."
GOLDMINE: Who came up with the concept of including the commercials in the album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: The jingles were added later. I had an idea for a couple of tribute jingles to the pirate stations that had just been deposed. We owed a lot to the pirate stations because the BBC wasn’t very good to us at all. And then we decided to put other little bits of commercials in.
GOLDMINE: How did the Who come to record "Armenia City In The Sky?"
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Everyone always thought it was "I’m An Ear Sitting In The Sky." That’s Speedy Keene. He was a friend of Pete’s and he had written the song and we liked it so we did it. Sell Out had a lot more melody in the album. We had to think about melody a lot more. I did "Silas Stingy" for the album. When we started recording it Pete thought it was all in a minor key. And I was saying it was all major and he was playing minor chords and it sounded really peculiar.
GOLDMINE: Did you pick out your costume to wear on the cover?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: [Laughs] Actually, for that cover I was supposed to be in the beans and I rang up and said I was going to be a bit late and they said, "You’re going to have to hurry up because the baked beans are drying up." And I said, "What baked beans?" And they said, "The baked beans you’re going to be sitting in." So I figured if I left a little bit longer someone else would arrive and have to sit in the beans. So I got there real late and I got the girl and Roger got the beans. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: Even today the Who are much more popular in America than Britain. Why?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Because America likes to hold on to heroes and the media in England will create a hero like the Police and Sting and then once they become inaccessible they decide to make up another one.
GOLDMINE: The Who appeared on many classic TV shows in the 60’s. Why didn’t the group appear on The Ed Sullivan Show?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I’m trying to think of why that was. We were due to appear on the show but we canceled out. I think it had something to do with having to use someone else’s equipment. They wouldn’t let us use our own equipment so we said no.
GOLDMINE: What are your recollections about the band’s appearance on The Smothers Brothers Show, which showcased Keith’s exploding drums?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: He actually arranged to put twice as much powder in it because the first one just blew a hole in the bass drum. It was a little bit more that expected. There were people in the back of the audience with bits of bass drum on them.
GOLDMINE: The Who had a reputation for destroying hotel rooms – mainly Keith, not you.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Oh, no. I just didn’t take the blame for it. I shared, the smashing of the rooms with Keith. I trashed a few rooms in my time but I let him take the blame. He wanted to take the blame anyway. It helped his image. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: When did you begin making money with The Who?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Tommy. Up to then we were on 50 pounds a week. The whole deal about writing two songs for the Quick One album was to get a publishing advance from the publisher. It was for 500 pounds, which enabled me to buy my first house, put the deposit on it.
GOLDMINE: I spoke to Roger and he said; unlike the legend, there was no argument between Pete and Jimi Hendrix at the Monterey Pop Festival about who should close the show.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: How does he know? He was under the stage listening to someone jam. I didn’t even remember the jam session that he was talking about. He doesn’t remember.
GOLDMINE: Was there an argument between Pete and Jimi?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Definitely. The gut that was doing road management for Hendrix used to be our road manager and he told us about the plot where Hendrix was going to go on first and steal our act. We were pretty pissed off about that. I know Keith was and Pete was. I mean, Pete will now look back – he looks back favorably on Hendrix but at the time Hendrix was being an asshole and so was his manager, Chas Chandler.
GOLDMINE: Did you ever play with Jimi?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Oh, yeah. I played with him the first night he got into England. He was just a blues guitarist then. He wasn’t Jimi Hendrix. Just a straight blues player. I was impressed with him as a blues player. But then I used to go to lots of people’s shows and he was always there with Chas Chandler. I went to see Page and Beck with the Yardbirds and he was there and Chas Chandler was like pointing and suddenly Hendrix became JIMI HENDRIX. He was using a rack of equipment exactly the same as ours and a wah-wah pedal.
GOLDMINE: Any chance that the Who’s set at the Monterey Pop Festival will come out on video?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I don’t know. Monterey was kind of a non-event for me. I hated every minute of it once we were onstage because I was using borrowed equipment. I was using Vox stuff and they didn’t even have any bottom end equipment for me so it was very sort of clangy, a distorted wooden sound.
GOLDMINE: The Who played at two of the most famous festivals of all time, Monterey and Woodstock, and hated both.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Woodstock was okay, but we had to wait 14 hours to get on the stage. I walked around the outside with the audience, had a few drinks.
GOLDMINE: Were you spiked with LSD?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Oh, yeah, but not until the last minute, though. I had my own bottle of bourbon, my own bottle of Grand Dad, and I walked around the audience and I met this friend of mine who was at this big tent that was pitched up and I went in there and had the bourbon and he had some Coca-Cola. Poured one out and I drank it and went, "This is great, where’d you get the ice?" And he said, "Oh we stole it from backstage." And I went, "Aw, fuck.!" And that’s what the acid was in. I felt an acid trip coming on so I went back to the dressing room, drank the rest of the bourbon, and passed out. When I came around I was almost okay. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: Who’s Next is one of the classic Who albums. I understand that the material for that record was rehearsed for quite a while.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah, that was the second recording of it. We did it once before but we weren’t satisfied with it.
GOLDMINE: Was that the time Leslie West recorded some tracks with the group?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: He did play some guitar. All I can remember was we recorded a different version of "Rael." I know Al Kooper played keyboards on that. Part of that the engineer accidentally erased.
GOLDMINE: When Pete brought the band the Lifehouse concept [the aborted Who album], did the group embrace it or feel the concept was too ahead of its time?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We actually sort of tried inviting an audience in off the street at the Young Vic a couple of times and it just didn’t work. We figured if that didn’t work, I don’t think Lifehouse is going to work. The whole idea of living with the audience; we were wondering if we would be allowed home at night to visit our wives. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: Should Who’s Next have been a double record?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We didn’t really have enough material for a double album at the end. A couple of the songs came out on Odds and Sods.
GOLDMINE: Did you like a lot of those songs meant for Lifehouse, like "Pure and Easy" and "Naked Eye?"
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah. They were very melodic and I liked Pete’s writing at that time, but it was very restricting in some ways. A lot of key changes to worry about.
GOLDMINE: One of the best set-openers for The Who was your song "Heaven and Hell." Tell us about writing that song.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I basically wanted to write a song with a big subject, an important subject rather than spiders or drunks. The original version of "Heaven and Hell" had a different chorus. It was basically I’d much rather stay in the middle with my friends because I don’t like the sound of either of them. I still don’t. I don’t fancy hell or heaven. I said before maybe there is an in-between place.
GOLDMINE: What was the reaction of your wife Alison to the song "My Wife?"
JOHN ENTWISTLE: She always thought it was very funny. She always had the ambition to come on and hit me over the head with a rolling pin halfway through it when I was doing it onstage.
GOLDMINE: Whose idea was it to put out the collection Odds and Sods?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: It became my project. I think the idea was to try and release everything possible, to stop the bootlegs. We were probably one of the worst bootlegged acts of all time. I mean, in 1975 there were about 250.
GOLDMINE: "Postcard" was your first A-side with the Who.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Was it an A-side? It was probably the last single to be released from the album. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: "Little Billy" sounds like a song you would have written, because of its strange lyrics.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: [Laughs] Maybe he was being influenced by me.
GOLDMINE: What was a typical Who recording session like?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Songs were usually presented to the band in finished demo form. There wouldn’t be any guitar on mine and sometimes Pete wouldn’t even bother to put any bass on. But if he had a definite bass riff in mind he’d put it on and if I liked it I’d play it. Or my version of it.
GOLDMINE: Would Roger sing a rough vocal with the band?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: No. We’d just do the backing track and then Roger would put on a lead vocal.
GOLDMINE: Did any Who songs take a long time to record?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Not until the later albums. The one we did with Bill Szymczyk, Face Dances, we’d do the backing tracks in groups of three. We’d do three and then take a break and then do three more of the same thing. I think that the backing tracks took us ages for that album. Then he’d take a group of three of the best ones and cut them to little pieces and stick them back together again. I mean, the tape would go ’round and it would be stripped, editing bits out. It was kind of a strange way of doing it for the Who. It was Kenney’s first album with us as well. And we were doing stuff like, "I prefer that bit because of the bass and there’s a good drum break there. I want that bit." It just seemed an incomplete way of recording. Those are the only ones that took any length of time. We were usually real fast. Most of the time, with the exception of when we were doing stuff like "Won’t Get Fooled Again" or "Baba O’Riley," we were playing to tapes then. Usually when we went in we’d hear the song for the first time the day we recorded it.
GOLDMINE: There was an extraordinary amount of tension between the band members. The fans always got the impression that the Who never got along. Is that accurate?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We did most of our arguing in person were much shorter. "Fuck you!" Fuck you!" And then it was over. There were struggles over band dominance. I never really sort of joined in that. I let Pete and Roger argue about who was the most important person in the band.
GOLDMINE: Didn’t you hold Pete back after his fight with Roger during the recording of the Quadrophenia album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: No. I usually held Roger back. Pete would say, "Oh, let ’em go!" And Roger would punch Pete and Pete would fall over. [laughs] Oh, no, no.
GOLDMINE: What do you think of the Quadrophenia album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: The best thing Wagner ever wrote. [laughs] I like the album. I like the songs. I like my performance on it. I was playing in a completely different way on Quadrophenia because I’d got stuck in one of my bass ruts and changed equipment and I was finding a new me.
GOLDMINE: Do you regret that the Who never played much of the Quadrophenia album because of its complexity to pull off live?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: It’s not so much that we found it difficult to play onstage. Once we devised a way of keeping the band in time with the tapes that we were playing, the only way we could do that was put it on a four-track and Keith would have a click track in his cans plus his own little voiced instructions, like, "Middle eight coming up, 1-2-3-4." [laughs] It came through the P.A. once. It was quite funny.
GOLDMINE: Do you recall the night Pete went crazy and destroyed the Quadrophenia tapes onstage and violently pulled soundman Bob Pridden out onstage in Newcastle?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: [laughs] He probably did it several times. People always thought Bob Pridden was the keyboard player because he would be bopping away behind the desk and he still does.
GOLDMINE: Any recollections of the Cow Palace gig in San Francisco when Keith Moon passed out and a drummer from the audience replaced him?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: It’s on a video that’s out, with Keith falling over. There are a lot of different stories about that night. But the truth was that someone had spiked a bottle of Remy. Fortunately that night I wouldn’t drink the Remy because they hadn’t supplied any dry ginger. Keith had a couple of swigs out of the bottle and that was that. Someone had done it on purpose.
GOLDMINE: A drummer came up from the audience and played with the band on a few songs.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah, because he wasn’t that good.
GOLDMINE: One of your most underrated songs is "Success Story." Did the Who ever perform it live?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We never actually tried it onstage. I like it. I think we never played it live because it was the whole thing of taking an eight-string bass on the road. I wasn’t using the trebly sound then. I was using the very sort of bassy sound. It had a hard edge to it. If I’d taken the eight-string just for one song it would have meant a whole different bunch of equipment.
GOLDMINE: Do you remember writing "Success Story?"
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I’d just bought a Rickenbacker eight-string and it was one of the first riffs I came up with. I thought it sounded real good and I wrote a song around it.
GOLDMINE: The Who’s set list in the mid-70’s was very predictable. Did you ever try to convince the band to change the set list around and add less familiar material?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We were always changing it around. Basically that set list we were playing so well, it must have been the 1976 tour and that was probably the peak of our playing. Every show we all came off and we were satisfied with the show. Usually, it was one out of 10 shows we’d feel that way. That ’76 tour we were happy with every gig. We didn’t want to change anything because we were playing so well. It was extremely predictable because by that time we had stopped putting unimportant songs in.
GOLDMINE: Were there any songs in retrospect that you wished the Who had performed live?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I think "Heaven and Hell;" it’s a shame we actually dropped it because the solo in that you could go into so many different melodic things. It’s a shame that we lost that chord sequence. It was different from the usual old A-G-D shit that we were playing later.
GOLDMINE: When Keith was given the promo position at Shepperton Studios in 1978, was he being eased out of the band?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Oh, no, no. As far as we were concerned we were waiting for him to get better. I think that was basically to give him something to do other than loon around. It gave him something concrete to hold onto.
GOLDMINE: Did Keith know his drumming had deteriorated?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: His playing hadn’t really deteriorated. I mean, basically, he was overweight. He couldn’t keep up the pace in a proper show. I heard him play some of the best fucking drums I’d ever heard him play when we did the Who Are You thing with Jeff Stein for the movie. We did it in our own studio. He played a drum solo after one of the takes that was absolutely fucking phenomenal.
GOLDMINE: Some of your strongest material is on Who Are You. Wasn’t your song "905" supposed to be on a concept album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah, I had started a concept album along the same lines as Lifehouse. My story was a little different. It was set in the future. I put it on the shelf for a long time. When that album came along I took them off the shelf and changed them around a little bit. But "905" was actually one of the songs from that. The hero’s name was "905" and he lives with this guy named "503" and they’re absolutely identical. There aren’t any women around because that’s what they’re eating. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: I love a lot of your tracks from the Face Dances album, particularly "You."
JOHN ENTWISTLE: When I took my own band out called the Rock, we did a tour and we played a couple of the eight-string songs like "You."
GOLDMINE: How do you view the film The Kids Are Alright today?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: The version that I did the dubbing to was great and then the director decided, after Keith died, to stick an extra 15 minutes of Keith in the movie, and it kind of unbalanced the whole thing. Every time I argued with the director he’d cut another of my scenes out. I figured, God, I’m not going to be in the movie if I argue anymore. For the English version I went in the studio and actually cut out a lot of the bits of Keith. They cut the mini-opera in half and put some stuff in there of Keith being real nasty. The bit about, "You couldn’t afford me," and all that sort of stuff. I cut that out in the English version. I didn’t want him to be remembered like that.
GOLDMINE: What do you miss most about Keith Moon?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Oh, God. His company, his sense of humor. He was my best friend in the band. It meant we were the balance of power in the band as well. When he went, I guess Roger and Pete took the whole damn thing over.
GOLDMINE: Pete said he regretted that the Who didn’t break up when "Moonie" died. Do you feel that way?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: No, because we probably wouldn’t have made any damn money at all. I mean, the only tour that we made a large profit on was the last one we did.
GOLDMINE: Would you do another tour with Pete and Roger?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I think I’d rather do five Ringo tours and one Who tour at the moment. I’m not getting on very well with the other two. They don’t know it yet. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: Was there any attempt for you to write songs with Pete?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I think we both find it very difficult to write with other people. I’ve written stuff with other people, like Jeff Baxter and a singer named Jack James, but it ends up not like one of my songs. I tend to write much more complicated chord structures.
GOLDMINE: Weren’t you working on a book about your days with the Who?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah, I’m still working on it but I keep getting sidetracked. It would have been finished if I hadn’t done the Daltrey tour. [laughs] I’ve got six chapters so far.
GOLDMINE: Any news on the forthcoming live Who compilation album?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Not very much. I’ve been working on a solo album. Not a new solo album but I’ve been mixing stuff from my five albums. It’s never come out on CD. It’s already mixed and done.
GOLDMINE: You’ve sold a lot of your instruments and Who memorabilia through Sotheby’s. Do you still have much left?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I still have a pretty good collection of stuff. I kept the best stuff. I just wanted to get the Who out of my hair. I got to the stage where I needed some money for my studio and I thought, well, I have all this stuff hanging around, I might as well sell it. I can’t think of a better way of getting rid of flared trousers than selling them for a couple of grand. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: Roger told me he though "Rough Boys" could have been recorded by the Who.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I don’t think Roger really knew what the song "Rough Boys" was about. Otherwise, I don’t think he would have said it would have made a good Who song. [laughs]
GOLDMINE: Tell us one of your favorite songs Townshend wrote for the Who.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: One of my favorites was "Our Love Was."
GOLDMINE: Any memories of Lynyrd Skynyrd, your opening act on the Quadrophenia tour?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: No wild stories. I think they kept away from us on purpose. Don’t put them in the same hotel! [laughs]
GOLDMINE: What else are in the Who’s plans in terms of archival releases?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: We’re talking about putting out as Isle of Wight album and video. It was a good performance. We’ve been trying to track it down for years and now know the guy who owns the tapes
GOLDMINE: Did you enjoy being a part of the "Daltrey Sings Townshend" tour?
JOHN ENTWISTLE: I enjoyed the shows. The rest of it I didn’t. [laughs] I don’t like having Roger as a boss; he’s not a very good one.
GOLDMINE: Better as a band mate.
JOHN ENTWISTLE: Yeah.