Friday, August 08, 1997

John Entwistle

Harris: Joining us now on the guest line is the third and last member of the original Who to join us. We've had Pete Townsend on the show, we've had Roger Daltrey on the show, we're still trying to book Keith but I don't think that's going to happen, and here is The Ox, John Entwistle! Hi, John.

Entwistle: Hi there. I'm always third in line.

Harris: We appreciate you taking time to join us. I know in a little while you have to go over to Georgetown where you're having a display of your artwork, and we'll get to that in just a minute. You've been out there on tour with these guys, on and off, for years and years and years. Have you ever been hit in the face by that Roger Daltrey microphone?

Entwistle: My bass has. I've been hit a couple of times in my bass.

Harris: Do you use it kind of a shield when Roger is doing that?

Entwistle: I use it more as a cattle prod.

Harris: The art work that you're displaying tonight, is it pen and ink, or what kind of stuff?

Entwistle: Some of it is pen and ink and some of it is watercolors as well.

Harris: I know that your drawing is becoming a second career for you. In fact, you've sold a TV show to Fox, haven't you?

Entwistle: No, not my cartoons. I supply the music for Vampires, which is a new series that's coming out.

Harris: There won't be any Entwistle drawings in there in the animation?

Entwistle: No, I don't think so.

Harris: Tell us about that. How does it work? Did they come to you or did you go to them? How did that happen?

Entwistle: They kind of found us by mistake. We had some mutual friends and they played some of our stuff and they liked it and asked us to do the cartoon series.

Harris: And what is the series about?

Entwistle: It's about vampires that suck gas and there's a whole bunch of different little sub-plots and stuff like that. But it's basically a bunch of teenagers who turn into vampire hunters and hunt down these rogue gas-sucking punks.

Harris: The stuff that's at the gallery -- a friend of mine went to see it last night and, in fact, bought a piece because he was so impressed with the stuff. There's some money for you! He wanted me to ask you, who is Barney?

Entwistle: Barney is Keith Moon. We gave him that name Barney because he always had a five o'clock shadow like Barney Rubble.

Harris: We've had both Pete and Roger on the show, as I mentioned, and I asked them both this question and we'll see what your answer is. What is your favorite Keith Moon memory?

Entwistle: There are hundreds of them...

Harris: Any one particularly destructive?

Entwistle: We smashed a few hotel rooms together but I let him take the blame. With all these rooms that got smashed, I was actually in the room with him. So I joined in on things.

Harris: You two roomed together?

Entwistle: We had the same driver, we shared the same car because neither of us could drive because we never learned. Keith learned how to crash, but he never learned how to drive.

Harris: Roger told us a story about one day when you were on some hotel floor, several floors up, and Keith decided to see how long the cord on the TV was. He turned it on and let it go over the balcony railing and down, down, down into the pool. I guess with all of the extension cords he could find, it almost made it all the way to the pool. Do you remember that time?

Entwistle: I remember him jumping off balconies into pools occasionally, but I don't remember that one.

Harris: Pete's memory was of the exploding drums on the Smothers Brothers' show, which I think you guys put in the Kids Are Alright documentary.

Entwistle: I think one of my most vivid memories is when we got thrown out -- we were one of the only bands to be thrown out -- of the Gorem Hotel in New York, which was pretty seedy back then. None of us would let Keith into our rooms. We'd put chains on the door because we knew he was on the rampage. He got a bunch of cherry bombs and blew our door knockers off. At five o'clock in the morning we got thrown out of the Gorem Hotel, and they don't throw anyone out of that hotel.

Harris: What do you do at five o'clock in the morning when you get thrown out of a hotel?

Entwistle: A lot of the times we had to drive out of state because the hotel owners had phoned every other hotel and told them not to book us.

Harris: Let me ask a question here about a rumor I've heard about you. That at one point in the '70s, you and the guys in The Who were having problems and that you actually considered joining The Moody Blues. Is there any truth to that?

Entwistle: Yeah.

Harris: Really?

Entwistle: I left the band every two weeks and I was nearly the bass player in the Jimi Hendrix Experience and in The Moody Blues. It was when their bass player was leaving and they were considering me. I had to tell them that I couldn't do it. I used to be friends with them and go around their apartment when they all lived together. I decided to go back to The Who and it never happened.

Harris: You also considered playing with Hendrix?

Entwistle: He asked me and I had to say no because that was a good week with The Who.

Harris: Do you look back on that and wish that you played a few gigs with him? Did you ever play with him?

Entwistle: I played with Jimi a lot of times. I jammed with him the first day he got over. It was kind of a weird story. He kept screaming at me that I was playing in the wrong key. He kept shouting, "A! A!" And I kept shouting, "I'm in f-ing A!" Finally he realized, after the show while we were glaring at each other, he realized that the guitar tech for his band had tuned his guitar down a semi-tone.

Harris: Ah, so he was out of tune! I love that!

Entwistle: He was always breaking strings so he tuned it down a semi-tone so it wouldn't break.

Harris: John, is there ever a point after playing some of these songs for all these years that there's one particular song you don't look forward to playing on any particular night?

Entwistle: Oh yeah! Magic Bus.

Harris: It's been thirty years for that one, hasn't it?

Entwistle: Yeah, thirty years in the key of A going "dunky dunky dunky dunk."

Harris: Is it just boring to you or does it just get old?

Entwistle: People used to accuse me of falling asleep in it. Occasionally I would sort of drop the rhythm. It's pretty much boredom for bass players in that song because it's all in A.

Harris: Is there any one song that you really look forward to playing? I know you did a bass solo in 5:15 last night. Is that one of your favorites?

Entwistle: It's not one of my favorites to solo in. You have to solo out of a certain chord sequence which kind of restricts it.

Harris: Are you guys ever going to do an unplugged album?

Entwistle: Blah! I don't know...I don't think so. It's a bit overdone now because everyone has done one.

Harris: I could get the attitude on that just from the "blah."

Entwistle: You can't do an unplugged - you've got to plug the bass in somewhere!

Harris: John, I'm gonna let you run down to the gallery in Georgetown, but thanks for coming on!

Entwistle: My pleasure. See you next time around!

Copyright 1997, Paul Harris.
Transcript by Danny Guzman.