Friday, March 27, 2009

John Entwistle's Death Saved The Who

The Who would be no more if bass player John Entwistle hadn't died in 2002 - because Pete Townshend only agreed to hit the road to help his pal out of debt.

Band leader Townshend reveals he planned to bow out of performing with the rock group after that year's hits tour, but when Entwistle died in Las Vegas on the eve of the trek, the guitarist was forced to forget his past differences with frontman Roger Daltrey, and get on with the shows. The tour brought the two existing The Who stars closer - and led to bigger plans.

The guitarist tells the Sydney Daily Telegraph newspaper, "John's death in 2002 was a factor in the return to serious touring. That 2002 tour was the last I ever intended to do with the band, and my mission was to make enough money for John so that he could get out of debt. He had some back tax, and a double mortgage to juggle. He died the day before the tour was meant to begin. I felt his mischievous and wonderful sense of irony in that: 'You thought you'd give me a hand-out Pete. Well, now I'm giving you a hand-out. Take my share, and tour without me if you dare.'"

Daltrey and Townshend took on the challenge, replaced Entwistle with accomplished session musician Pino Palladino and performed in Los Angeles to kick off the tour - as planned.

Townshend adds, "It felt like a gracious gift from John, in the best of humor, even though his passing was really tragic. Roger and I were thrown together. We had been respectful, and friendly to each other, but we had never been great friends. We had never managed to find a way to live with how different we are, and how differently we think and work. With John gone, we were on our own, no distractions, no excuses that we were working to help John pay his debts."

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