Much as there is joy in playing bass, sometimes it is also nice to indulge in a bit of bass culture. With many thanks Steve Lawson, I am sitting down reading “Bass Culture – The John Entwistle Bass Collection” (on Amazon US and UK).
John Entwistle, for the uninitiated, was best known as the bassist in legendary rock band The Who. By the accounts of those I have spoken to who met him, he was quite a remarkable man. Affectionately known as “The Ox”, he was a british-born musician with a passion for collecting things. This book documents the very extensive bass collection he had amassed by the time he passed away in 2002.
When I say “collection”, the word doesn’t really do the book or his stable justice. There were some of the rarest basses to grace the planet, and not just one of each, but sometimes two, or three, or four… Different colours, different modifications… All there. Some instruments specially made for him, others that are vintage collectors items.
Although he had a reputation for smashing up instruments in his early days, most of the basses on these pages are in amazing condition. From one of the first fender basses made, through to custom electric guitars hand made for him. The pages are covered in his (often hand-written) notes.
There are not many words in this book, but it is a gripping read, with uncomplicated photography showing the instruments in their native habitat of John’s home. I’ll leave you with a quote from his fellow musician, Roger Daltrey, who writes in the book’s forward:
John’s written comments give just a glimpse of his legendary humour. A rock ‘n’ roll character through and through, unfortunately for us there was only one John Entwistle. I miss him.