Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pro Series Advertising Materials Featuring John Entwistle and Percy Jones

Pro Series Advertising Materials From the 1970s Featuring John Entwistle and Percy Jones

In many ways Wal Basses grew out of Ian and Pete's friendships with the musicians who passed through Trevor Morais' Farmyard Studios. And similarly across the London session scene. Certainly a lot of musicians ended up becoming Wal's official design consultants - John G Perry, Rupert Hine, Pete Zorn and a host of others... However, in those early years only two of their muso friends actually became "official" endorsers of the brand through appearances in formal advertising materials. And the guys couldn't have asked for two more respected and influential spokespersons than John Entwistle from The Who and Percy Jones the Welsh Wizard who played the fretless bass for Brand X.

Both John and Percy had been purchasers of the early JG Series basses but it was propounding the Pro series that they appeared in print.

Ironically, the bass that The Ox is seen playing in the Pro Bass advert isn't actually a Pro Series bass. It's his JG series Wal from a few years earlier. The floral leather tooled scratchplate is an unmistakable feature of the JG Series. Here's that bass...

 However, he did own other Wals over the years (as part of his legendarily huge bass collection), including Pro Basses. The picture below shows him playing a hybrid Pro/Custom model at a charity music bash hosted by Rick Wakeman in the very early 1980s.

Photo courtesy of Rick Wakeman
Percy Jones, however, made his Wal basses his number 1 weapons of choice when he swapped to them in the late 1970s. Putting down mind bogglingly inventive fretless bass sounds as part of Brand X's complex jazz fusion sound, his playing drew as much interest in the musician community as the presence of Genesis drummer Phil Collins on the drum stool drew in the mainstream media.

There couldn't have been a better proponent of the brand than Percy...

Here's the Wal ad in which he appeared. A Pro Series advert from 1978.

And of course, Percy wasn't just one of those players who would tote the instrument for the purposes of the photo shoot and never bother to pick it up again. In fact, when he went along to take some promo shots for an entirely different company the following year, guess which brand of bass he took along...? Remember the mighty "Frunt" amplifier? Nope me neither. Nice hybrid Pro bass, though!

Hi resolution scans of the adverts above can be found at this link...

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