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Entwistle novel will go unfinished

Only days before his death, Entwistle joked about his epitaph
Only days before his death, Entwistle joked about his epitaph  

LONDON, England -- Legendary bass guitarist John Entwistle of The Who was working at the time of his death on a novel inspired by life by one of rock's most colourful bands, it has been revealed.

But he never finished it. Entwistle had put down just eight chapters down on paper before he died on Thursday, at age 57, on the eve of the band's latest tour.

In one of the last interviews he gave before his death quoted by Reuters, the bearded musician described his book as a fictionalised account of The Who drawn from actual characters and anecdotes from the band's nearly 40-year history.

"It's just basically a novel," he said last Friday, before leaving his British home for the United States. "It's got words that we actually said and stuff like that ... It's basically the funny things that happened, that'll be in there, but the true story."

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Entwistle revealed that he was hardly the fastest author in the world -- he had spent 12 years on the work meaning an average of a chapter every 18 months.

In a remark sadly forecasting his fate, he joked: "At the current rate of writing, they're gonna have to engrave the end on my tombstone."

The untitled book was one of several works in progress that had occupied Entwistle in the final years of his life.

Preparing for what was due to be his 24-venue North American tour with the band, Entwistle spoke of his growing career as an artist, specialising in illustrations he produced for lithographs.

He had planned to open a traveling exhibit of his work, including a collection titled of "Guitar Gods" featuring the likenesses of Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend, in Las Vegas on Thursday.

"The art is a relaxation from the music, and then my music becomes a relaxation from the art," he said. "I get a sense of satisfaction when I finish a drawing. I have people who are interested enough in the work to want to sell it for me."

The Who
The Who, from left, Daltrey, Townshend, Entwistle and Moon, in an undated file photo  

Meanwhile, Entwistle said he was looking forward to The Who's upcoming tour and "the magic that happens onstage when we play together." Keeping the band fresh was its knack for improvised performances, he said.

"We're improvising quite a lot," he said. "I used to get bored with playing the same part twice. I'd go off on a slight tangent, just a little embellishment or another sort of melody line in there. Or you're playing two notes instead of one. That would satisfy me."

He said the band also had been in the early stages of preparing music for a new studio album, The Who's first since 1982's "It's Hard," reviewing some preliminary "sketches" of songs by singer Roger Daltrey and guitarist Pete Townshend.




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