James Leavey's Sharing An Ashtray With... John Entwistle

John Entwistle

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James Leavey's Corner
  By James Leavey

James Leavey was one of thelast journalists to interview The Who’s late, lamented bass andFrench horn player.

JL: When did you haveyour first cigarette"

JE: When I was about five years old. I was sitting in a workingman’s club and everyone was smoking, except me of course, and everybit of smoke went right up my nose.  I put up with that until I was21 years old, and then I thought, ‘Sod this.  I’m going to smokeright back at them.’ So I started smoking cigarettes.

JL:  Did you ever smokecigars or a pipe"

JE: No. But I’ve smoked a lot ofcigarettes that made me cough.  I’ve finally found a brand ofcigarettes - in America – and I now go to the extent of buying tencartons at a time.  It costs me about Ł30 a carton in Customs andExcise Duty just to bring them into this country (England).  Butthey don’t make a cough, and I feel fine now.  I have my lungstested every so often and there’s no problem.

JL:  Did you smoke onstage when The Who first started"  Or did you smoke in the wings"

JE: I started smoking on stage when they told me I couldn’t.  Ialways thought, ‘Fuck you!  I’ll going do what I want.’  I’ve playedin lots of non-smoking coliseums – but nobody has ever told me Icouldn’t light up.

JL:  Is this still thecase"

JE:  Yeah.  They take meinto a non-smoking auditorium and I go into the dressing room, andthere’s usually cigarette ash all over the place after I’ve beenthere.

JL: Is there a musician,alive or dead, you’d really like to share an ashtray with"

JE:  Oh God, let me think.  I reallyrespect Joe Wash, and I’d like to share an ashtray with him, but hedoesn’t smoke or anything.  Hardly anyone I know still smokes.

JL: Really"  Do you findthat the current generation of musicians are not smoking"

JE: Yeah.  They’re all getting paranoiac about smoking. These peopleare also walking about in cities like Los Angeles and could get runover by a fucking motor car. When an atomic bomb goes off they’llthink, ‘Shit!  I wish I’d carried on smoking.’  A lot of members ofmy family have smoked, but none of my family has had cancer oranything like that.

JL: If the powers that besaid that the area where you live is now a non-smoking zone, whatwould you do"

JE: Build a dome and live in it.  Nobody’s going to stop mefucking smoking.  When I’m in LosAngeles I walk up and down the street smoking, rather than sit in arestaurant and get hassled.

JL: So what you do when you go to a fancyrestaurant in America and have an expensive meal, and they tell youthat you can’t light up"

JE: Leave. Fortunately,I’ve got some timeshares in a place in Mexico and nobody there tellsyou not to smoke.

JL:  Do you think smokinghas made a positive contribution to your work as a musician"

JE:  No.  But lots of singers stopsmoking because it makes them cough.  Fortunately, as I said, I’vefound a brand of cigarettes that don’t make me cough.

JL: Do you worry aboutthe potentially harmful effects of smoking"

JE: No.

JL: Has there ever been atime in your life when you’ve lit up a cigarette and it’s just beenthat perfect moment"

JE: Yeah.  Three o’clock in the morning just after the girl walksout of my room into the rain.


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