Who tour goes on in tribute to Entwistle

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The Independent Online

The Who will begin their planned US tour tomorrow night with a tribute concert to their former bass player John Entwistle, who died suddenly on Thursday.

The band will kick off at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, with the two surviving original members insisting that the show must go on as a tribute to their friend.

Entwistle's son Christopher said of his father: "He lived for music and will always live within the Who's music.

"This is what he would have wished and our love goes out to the remaining band members and the entourage that makes up the Who family."

The Who had been due to open its three month-tour in Las Vegas last Friday night at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino's concert venue, called The Joint.

But the event was cancelled after the 57-year-old bassist was found dead in his room at the Hard Rock Hotel on the eve of the concert.

Tributes from fellow musicians began pouring in when the death of the singer, affectionately known as the Ox, or Thunderfingers, was announced.

The former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman said: "He was a great friend for many years – the quietest man in private but the loudest on stage. He was unique and irreplaceable and I am shocked and devastated."

Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher said: "John was one of the great bass players of all time in one of the greatest rock'n'roll bands of all time. They don't make 'em like him any more, and he will be sadly missed."

Pete Townshend, 57, and Roger Daltrey, 58, the two surviving members of the band, were said to be too upset to comment.

Entwistle, born in 1944, once referred to himself as the Quiet One. But at a time when just about every other bassist on the planet was trying their best to emulate the smooth bottom-heavy sound of the Motown bassist James Jamerson, Entwistle chose instead to turn his amp up way too loud.

He would hit the strings of his guitar with the tips of his fingers, causing them to rattle against the frets. This gave him his trademark biting, distorted tone, recognisable in the now legendary eight-bar bass solo in "My Generation".

The bass guitar had been invented just a decade earlier and up to that point it was viewed as a mutant instrument, reserved for those guitarists who couldn't get a "proper" gig.

But in 1965 Entwistle widened the goal posts between Townshend's clanging guitar and Keith Moon's erratic drumming, forging a role for himself that rewrote the book on bass. Experimenting with distortion and idiosyncratic hammering techniques, he helped raise the profile of bassists.

Although the Who had split up by 1982, when Moon's death signalled the end of one of the world's great rhythm sections, their era-defining Live At Leeds album remained compulsory listening, with Entwistle's bass at times louder than the vocals, driving the band forward while always holding it together.

His influence went beyond his extraordinary playing to the design of instruments, amps and even strings. The Buzzard bass, currently built by Status, was Entwistle's own, completely original design.

Entwistle's influence is still acknowledged wherever bass is played, and his passing will be mourned not only by those who knew him but also by the thousands inspired by him to take up the instrument.