Master Mason John Entwistle is the only member of the rock band The Who with any formal musical training. Entwistle’s parents were both musicians and they made him take trumpet lessons in 6th grade just like my dad did. While still in grade school he switched to French horn one day when there were no trumpets available at school. As a teenager Entwistle tried to learn guitar but his hands were too large so he became a bass guitar legend instead. When Entwistle was six years-old his parents divorced and their separation appears to be the primal wound that created a rock star. The wound is the gift and the hero’s journey is to play it loud and clear like Entwistle blew his horns on the Who’s rock opera’s Tommy and Quadrophenia.
The Wound is the Gift
The Biography Channel referred to Entwistle as the greatest rock bassist in history. He is also the only member of The Who raised to the sublime degree of Master in a duly tiled Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons.
Music Radar – Interview with Pete Townsend of The Who||November 10, 2011 by Terry Staunton
“Although the album (Quadrophenia) has some personal stuff in it from me, I always wanted to portray what the others had gone through, I wanted the album to tell our fans things they didn´t previously know about us – what was it about those guys that I used to like?! John Entwistle, for instance; it wasn´t until the day of his funeral that I discovered that he´d spent most of his life as a freemason.” -Pete Townsend
Entwistle’s first instruments were the trumpet and french horn. His father was a trumpet player. In 1940’s London divorce carried a heavy stigma that allegedly affected Entwistle as a child living primarily with his single mother. Pete Townsend stated in an interview that he didn’t know what John’s pain was but in my opinion the divorce was his wound. Entwistle had one of the largest collections of guitars at that time. He also had a collection of medieval and occult artifacts such as suits of armor.
The Ox aka Thunderfingers
Towering Master Mason Entwistle is an authentic rock star with his muscular musicianship and was nicknamed “The Ox” by Pete Townsend. The Who are legendary for their loudness and spectacular stage performances. The Ox just stood there with his fingers flying as he anchored the group’s sound as the master musician. The Who were incredible live. Thunderfingers pounded away like a locomotive while drummer Keith Moon was a blur of sonic assault. Guitarist Pete Townsend took it over the top with his windmills and constant action and vocalist Roger Daltry transforming himself from sheet metal worker into gyrating rock star.
Legend has it that when other bands were still using 50 watt amplifiers Entwistle was pioneering the use of 200 watt Marshall stacks. Entwistle is an acknowledged master who pushed it to the limit and paid the ultimate price with a fatal heart attack the night before The Who’s 2002 tour began in Las Vegas.
In 2011, he was voted as the greatest bass guitarist of all time in a Rolling Stone magazine reader’s poll, and in its special “100 Greatest Bass Players” issue in 2017, Bass Player magazine named Entwistle at number seven. According to the Biography Channel, Entwistle is considered by many to be the best rock bass guitarist who ever lived, and is considered to have done for the bass what Jimi Hendrix did for the guitar.
Master Mason Heart Attacks at Age 57
John Entwistle and I both had heart attacks in our sleep at age 57. John didn’t wake up from his and he died. I woke up and forced my way to the emergency room where I had triple by-pass surgery.