Bass players. The ones always left in the dust. Akin to background singers, you don't realize you know or sing a long to more of their parts than to the lead. I happen to love the bass and the fine folks to play it. Without the bass, the song is not complete. So here in NO ORDER are some of my favorites - the underdog of the music world - here is to the bass player.
Bobby Dall - Poison
Okay, so sort of no order. Bobby is where my bass crush started. It was Bobby's neon green BC Rich bass, the constant cigarette in his mouth, and THAT melody. Call it the pre-Justice Metallica syndrome, a lot of bass is turned way down and you can't appreciate what it really gives to the songs. And that hair --
Berry Oakley - Allman Brothers
The signature of Whipping Post is Berry's opening bass line. In his 24 short years on this planet, he created some of the most memorable bass riffs of the jam scene. As a founding member of the Allman Brothers, he laid the foundation of a band that will see its touring end this year.
I've seen the Aussie play with the Allman's and Jeff Beck. You will lose your soul to her bass lines. She is smooth jazz and soul. She's played with the who's who of rock: Jimmy Page, Sting, Prince, and Eric Clapton to name a few.
You don't realize you've heard this woman dozens of times. Have you heard LaBamba? Sloop John B? River Deep Montain High? Or watch shows like Kojak, Hogan's Heroes, or the Cosby Show? That is the infamous Carol Kaye.
One of the most prolific bass players of the 20th century, he personified racial tensions into melodic, haunting, jazz songs. He was not only a bass player, but a composer, creating dozens of well known jazz recordings.
Gail Ann Dorsey
You like David Bowie? Then you know Gail. She performed bass and sang with David Bowie for many years. She's also played with the following artists: Boy George, Gwen Stefani, , Seal, , ani difranco and Dar Williams.
The bassist extraordinaire band co-founder from Umphrey's McGee, he oozes cool, plays hot, and fashions a stache that Magnum PI would pay for. Did I mention he ALSO loves Pittsburgh sports as much as yours truly. He' given UM some of their tightest, funkiest bass lines to songs like 1348, In the Kitchen, and Mantis. You like Metallica, the Grateful Dead, and Hall and Oates ... check out Mr. Stasik and Umphrey's McGee.
Ian Fraser "Lemmy" Kilmister, bassist and coun-founder of Motörhead is a no-nonsense, slightly unintelligible rock god. You can thanks the Beatles for Lemmy, as they were his first inspiration. While writing some of rocks most well known songs, including some for Ozzy Osbourne, it would be Motörhead's cover of Metallica's Whiplash that would win them their first Grammy and Whiplash was inspired by Motorhead!!! How fucking cool is that Cliff Burton?? Mind blown. \m/ \m/
John Taylor - Duran Duran
John is more than just a pretty (really really pretty) face, he is co-founder and creator of some of the most famous 80's songs. Rio, Hungry Like the Wolf, Union of the Snake ...take a close listen at that bass riff. He can also be found writing and acting while he isn't catching up with Duran on tour.
Rachel Bolan - Skid Row
One of my first crushes, Rachel, sweet Rachel, you brought us Youth Gone Wild, Piece of Me, nose chains, and a thankful look back that we didn't get on that motorcycle as tempting as you were (one motorcycle doesn't work with two friends who understand not leaving your wingman).
Nikki Sixx - Motely Crue, Sixx A.M.
Cliff Burton - Metallica
One of my favorite bassists of all time. Cliff brought the bass to the forefront of the band. He made the bass sound like it was the lead guitar. After his brother's death, he promised he would practice and become the best bassist player for him. I think he fulfilled that promise. What would have become of Cliff if we had not lost him in 1986 at the age of 24?
Phil Lynott - Thin Lizzy
Yet another co-founding band bassist. Phil was also lead singer and songwriter for the band known for their songs such as Whiskey in the Jar, Boys are Back in Town, and Jailbreak. This Irish band was diverse not only in culture but in religion as well - making them a ground breaking no-borders type of rock band.
Les Claypool -
Primus, Frog Brigade, Oysterhead
THE man ... what a funky, slappin' bass this man plays. We all met him in Primus, the unforgettable sound of that funky bass revved up like Jerry's race car. And yeah, don't forget - it's good ole Les singing the South Park intro. He can also he heard with Stewart Copeland and Trey Anastasio under the guise of Oysterhead (pig mask and all).
Flea - Red Hot Chili Peppers
Michael Peter Balzary ... who??
FLEA! He is perhaps one of the most influential bass players...in the world. His style of bass slapping and funk jamming has been copied and imitated across all spectrums of music. Not only is he the co-founder of RHCP, but he has played in numerous other bands lending his talent, he acts, he runs a music conservatory for underprivileged kids ... AND - he runs marathons! What is not to love about the man?
Her style definitely has Flea and Les Claypool inspiration as well as her own jazzy touch. She's played with Jeff Beck and Prince and can hold her own as you will see with this clip. She's a singer and songwriter who has not only played with George Clinton and Chaka Khan, her own band Karma Deuce has toured worldwide.
John Paul Jones- Led Zeppelin
No, you never think of John Paul Jones when you think of Led Zeppelin. He's the Ringo Starr of Zep. But behind all of Jimmy's riffs, Bonzo's beats, and Roberts shrills, you'll here this -- pure rhythm bass tying together all of the hedgerows of Mordor.
It's no secret I love Sting. Love his attitude, his perfectionist ways, his philanthropy, and I love his bass. He is true Brit, an artist, and can actually write a good biography. What I also like about the man is that he takes chances both musically and in life. Carry on Sting.
Krist Novoselic - Nirvana
Sounding like a broken record, Krist is a the bass player and co-founder of Nirvana. See - bass players will get you places. His life post-Nirvana has included becoming involved in politics and simple farm living. He does occasionally play with former Nirvana member, Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters.
Tommy Shannon - Double Trouble
While Stevie Ray did (rightfully) take all the limelight, it was Tommy keeping up diligently with Stevie.
Jeff Ament -
Green River, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam
This basketball-loving bass player from Montana was a key player in the two bands that would help grunge evolve into what eventually became Pearl Jam. How?
Andy Fletcher - Depeche Mode
Another co-founder and bassist, Andy Fletcher's role within the band is always touted and speculated ... In a key scene in D.A. Pennebaker's 1989 documentary 101, Fletcher clarifies these roles: "Martin's the songwriter, Alan's the good musician, Dave's the vocalist, and I bum around."
He has essentially done everything (even produce and manage) but sing.
Oh yeah, and don't forget this chap!
Paul McCartney - The Beatles, Wings