The Reason John Deacon Became The ‘John Entwistle’ Of Queen
It’s common for people to identify bands with their vocalists’ names and images. In fact, Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan had previously pointed out that acts such as Black Sabbath, Metallica, and AC/DC are identified with their lead singers’ voices, which makes it impossible for them to get replaced or for their songs to be covered.
We might also argue that the lead guitarists’ contribution to the band’s sound is also crucial and memorable. For instance, when someone mentions Led Zeppelin, we might think about Robert Plant, but surely Jimmy Page also pops into our minds. The same goes for AC/DC, as Angus Young is quite well known, if not more than Bon Scott or Brian Johnson.
But what about the bassists? What about their roles within a band as they create the rhythmic bridge between the drums and the rest of the instruments? Do we appreciate bass players enough, and why are they so overlooked? Queen’s John Deacon had an answer for these questions as he discussed his role within the band and disclosed why he had become the John Entwistle of Queen.
When someone mentions Led Zeppelin, we don’t immediately think about John Paul Jones, which is also often the case with the Who, as John Entwistle’s name might come after his bandmates, Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey. So, Deacon also had the curse or the blessing of being a bass player, and his name would often come after those of Freddie Mercury and Brian May.
John Deacon discussed his role in Queen in 1977 with Jim Ladd, and he emphasized that he was the quiet one of the band. Then he pointed out that the bass players would often be the quiet ones, such as Entwistle, but that was not a problem for Deacon as Queen members had achieved harmony in this way.
“I tend to be the quiet one of the group,” told Deacon as he discussed his role in the band. “There’s always one. And it’s often the bass player as well.”
When the host pointed out that the bassists were the ‘rocks’ of the band, John Deacon mentioned another bass player as a great example. He said, “John Entwistle, a few people like that. Yes, I tend to be the quieter one. But you know it takes, it’s a balance of four personalities, and them all being different, it’s very healthy in a way.”
John discussed how they creatively helped one another. The bassist explained, “With four people, there’s plenty of ideas you can bounce off each other. And also, you don’t get too extreme in any one direction that could be bad for the group because there’s always sort of three people to perhaps pull it back.”
The bass players create most of the rhythmic bridges between the instruments, and it seemed like Deacon was the rock of Queen as he tried to preserve the band’s dynamics with his quiet personality. His role as the silent one also coincided with his bass talents, but he said that many other bass players have also been rather easygoing. However, one thing is for sure; Gene Simmons doesn’t fit that characterization.