After the sudden death of John Entwistle on June 27, 2002, Pino Palladino was named bassist for The Who. With the band on the verge of starting a tour, Palladino was intercepted in Philadelphia, on his way back to the U.K., to fill in for The Ox. He got only two days of rehearsals before the tour's first show, at the Hollywood Bowl, but by all accounts it went off without a hitch.

Specializing in fretless bass guitar, Palladino has woven a long and fruitful session career since 1982, building the kind of experience you'd need to play with The Who on two day's notice. Like Tony Levin, he's one of those people whose name might be all over your record collection, whether you know it or not. I first came across him on a Tony Banks CD and on David Bowie's mediocre Black Tie White Noise. It turns out he was Paul Young's regular bassist and toured with Squeeze for a time. Other artists who've employed Pino include Joan Armatrading, Eric Clapton, Melissa Etheridge, Don Henley, Kirsty MacColl, Michael McDonald and Celine Dion.

A consummate studio man, Palladino has played with the heady likes of John McLaughlin and Ryuchi Sakamoto but has also appeared on albums by Rick Springfield and Jennifer Love Hewitt. He's also quite acquainted with The Who. Palladino was part of Pete Townshend's live band in 1993 and appeared on Townshend's White City album, as well as on Roger Daltrey's Celebration: The Music of The Who.

Palladino has not done any solo albums. But he did release an album with The Tweeters, a trio he founded with Manu Katché (percussion) and Dominic Miller (guitar).

Palladino was born in Cardiff, Wales, in 1957, and began playing guitar at 14, switching to bass at 17. After moving to London in 1980, he joined the Jools Holland Band (Jools being the on-again, off-again keyboardist for Squeeze) and eventually hooked up with Paul Young, with whom he first recorded in 1983. Around the same time, Palladino started his sessions career, appearing on Gary Numan's I, Assassin.

The stint with The Who is Palladino's first serious tour in years, as his studio work takes up most of his time. Reportedly, he basically hid in the shadows during the first concert, drawing attention only for his solo during "My Generation." Townshend's tour diary says Palladino was instructed not to copy Entwistle; Pete writes: "The one request I made was that - at first - he play as loud as he can bear!"

Stereotypical for a bassist, Palladino isn't much of a publicity hound, and his anonymity to the general public isn't likely to change after this tour (c.f. John "Rabbit" Bundrick). There is an http://www.pinopalladino.com, but it's run by a fan.

Other sources:
-- Pete Townsend's online tour diary: http://www.petetownshend.co.uk/diary/index.cfm?zone=diary
-- VH1 describes Day One of the tour: http://www.vh1.com/artists/news/1455912/07022002/who.jhtml
-- A Pino fan page: http://utenti.lycos.it/PINOPALLADINO/index-5.html
-- http://www.bestguitarfest.com/robmac.html

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