13 Bass Players
As a part of a project that Gregg challenged me to I needed to choose the 13 bass players who have had the biggest impact on my playing, taking advantage of my chronic, neurotic insomnia these are the ones I have chosen & of course I thought this vital enough information to the survival of mankind that it simply had to be shared with “teh intarweb”. As always in no particular order:
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, no shocker here he is the guy that inspired me to start playing bass in my early teens. He is a monster of a player, an accomplished songwriter and obviously has super powers. This is from a song from their first album, one I am proud to say I have actually learned to play.
Mike Watt is a guy I’m proud to say I’ve actually met and hung out with for a few hours. He is the only virtuoso musician produced by the California punk scene, possibly best known for being one of the members of “The MINUTEMEN” and “fIREHOSE”, & more recently for touring with Iggy & the Stooges; my introduction to him was on the “Porno for Pyros” album “Good Gods Urge” attatched is a performance of the song of the same name which is my favorite bass part ever, check his stuff out. He is adored among musicians despinte the fact that he is far from a household name; in fact the “Red Hot Chili Peppers” dedicated their album “BloodSugarSexMagic” to him.
John Entwistle of “The Who”. Wow what hasn’t been said of this guy? This player reinvented the instrument completely, with his skill, his confidence and his (well justified) ego, he is also hero worshipped by the 2 gentlemen mentioned before him as well as a 3rd (Billy Sheehan) who will be mentioned later on this list. I found a video of the isolated bass track from “Won’t Get Fooled Again”
and “The Real Me” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQk0av8L0oY&feature=related it’s the John Entwistle band instead of the who unfortunately but it was the best sounding bass in the mix not surprisingly, and since this is about the bass players & everybody knows how great “The Who” is we can move along.
John Deacon of “Queen”. Why does everybody forget this guy; he’s fantastic? Admittedly, being noticed with Freddy Mercury on stage is a challenge to say the least but he is an underrated great bass player and songwriter with fantastic chops. He is the quintessential tasteful, thoughtful bass player.
Victor Wooten. One of the very few bass players who can make bass a viable solo instrument, just go out and buy “A Show of Hands” the entire album is him & a bass no overdubs, let me say that so it can sink in… NO OVERDUBS!!! This guy is so good it’s wrong; I’ve also met him once and he is very nice.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mz7flss0w9Y That is him playing “Norweigian Wood”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGsW4qtPA2w&feature=PlayList&p=788C6F85745F560D&index=0 My personal favorite Victor playing Stevie Wonder’s “Overjoyed”, wow.
James Jamerson. One of Mowtown’s original “Funk Brothers”, is there a Motown song you like? chances are he helped make it a classic; the late great James Jamerson.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y9KC7uhMY9s This is my favorite of his bass lines.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqtELR5GyfI here is the part isolated for a closer look.
Jaco Pastorious. Not only is he the guy who made me (and everybody else) get into fretless bass, the album “Bright Side Life” was the first jazz album I ever owned. Jaco & I also came from the same part of South Florida so I can relate to the guy a bit more because of that as he’s the “hometown hero” so to speak.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wDQlSSOXU6A I had to post “Teen Town” and I don’t care what anybody says jazz fusion (least fashionable genre ever according to some) is great.
Rocco Prestia. When I was about 21 I was drafted into a “Tower of Power” tribute band/ soul review; it was brutal (especially since I was the only guy in the band who wasn’t a retired special forces member–no joke they ran it like boot camp; I’m also fairly certain that I was the only member of the band who hadn’t killed someone with their bare hands but I digress) but it utterly transformed my playing. Rocco was the Steve Harris of funk with his relentless 16th note grooves. “What is hip?” says it all.
Paul Mcartney. Duh.
Billy Sheehan is best known for the “Mr. Big” hit “Be with you” (which has a great bass line by the way) but he’s a great sideman and solo artist. When I first started playing I would read his column in bass player magazine and through it both got into his work and had my mind opened in several ways. I’m putting a video of his playing with Steve Vai & david lee roth because I love the interplay and counterpoint between him and Steve in what would otherwise be a pretty goofy song.
and this video has smaller hair http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=StMtNQkCqUU
Stanley Clarke. Composer, player, soundtrack artist, ferocious I love his attack and his stuff in general.
Flea. Here again I’m tempted to just say “Duh” and link a clip but I love the way the guy’s playing has grown and matured through the years. I just love his stuff and it keeps getting better.
Last but certainly not least the bass world’s resident kook in ameritus the inimitable Les Claypool. More than a goof he is another player who really opened up my mind to the instrument’s possibilities and brought a little more fun to the plate. His recent work with Buckethead is also great to hear.
So there you go, my lucky 13, again they were picked by the amount of direct influence they had on my actual playing. Some honorable mentions include Bootsy Collins, Andy Rourke of “the Smiths”, Norwood Fisher,of “Fishbone”, Nathan Watts, Phil Lynott of “Thin Lizzy”, Cliff Burton, Chuck Rainey, who is a top session player best known for his work with “Steely Dan”, Peter White who is a local musician who I have acres of respect for (also a nod to Scott Avery his guitar playing partner in arms) & Peter Cook of “New Order“.