With fond memory and appreciation for our friend John Entwistle, rock virtuoso bass player for The Who. 1944-2002

We knew and respected John Entwistle as one of the greatest rock and roll bassists. Through the years, John frequently visited West L.A. Music. A few years ago, John was an honored judge for the West L.A. Music Southern California Guitarist of the Year Contest, a huge event that drew hundreds of people.

As a tribute to John, West L.A. Music cordially invites you to come see his original 1963 Gibson Thunderbird bass which he used on tour, currently featured as part of our vintage instrument collection at our West Los Angeles store.

John co-founded The Who in the early 1960s. The Who become one of the most dynamic and successful rock bands in history. The Who retired in 1982 but reunited and toured frequently. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

John revolutionized the role of rock bassists. Instead of merely acting as part of the rhythm section, he played complex lines that provided melodic counterpoint to Pete Townshend's power chords. John was famous for playing bass like a lead instrument. He also was among the first in rock to experiment with the six- and eight-string bass.

"A lot of my playing is improvising," John explained to Bass Frontiers magazine in 1996. "I will just discover different little patterns or riffs in any key at any time. Somewhere in my brain I have a list of things I can play. It's a matter of putting them in the right order."

As the only band member with formal musical training, it is ironic that John did not pen many songs for The Who, with the exception of a few tunes like "Boris the Spider," "Heaven and Hell," and "My Wife." However, John -- affectionately called "Ox" by his peers -- managed to find the time to release nine solo albums and lead his own band (aptly named "The John Entwistle Band").

"As a musician, he did for the bass guitar what Jimi Hendrix did for the lead guitar," said Steve Luongo, who played drums in The John Entwistle Band for the last 15 years. John, in many instances, improvised as much as guitarist Pete Townshend, who once said that John provided more lead material than he did.

Pete Townshend left a parting farewell to John on his website: "The Ox has left the building -- we've lost another great friend. Thanks for your support and love. Pete and Roger." We will miss you, John.

-- From your friends at West L.A. Music