We did a post a few months ago back in the 2011 about the best bassplayers however it was incomplete list because we subconsciously some how left off bass wreckin’ Mike Watt. Our readers quickly pointed out the error. Jesuz H Christ me off all people can’t ignore the 10×10 original photo I have of the man wearing his chucks sitting on a comfortable chair in my downstairs bathroom. If I can get a good scan I’ll post the photo. It’s pretty cool. Whole story there how I came about it but for now lets focus on this punk innovator. My favorite thing about him is his attitude towards the bass instrument. He never has shown mercy for the thing. I’ve seen him breaking strings and not even pause. The mother-effer just keeps playing whatever he gots. He might was well be playing some rocks he found in Pedro. He’d still make better music than anything being as passed off as punk rock these days. Anyway you get the point. Here’s a few from the archives and one from his 2011 release Hyphenated-man. The man qualifies as a living legend.
To be honest I’m looking for motivation to get back into the 4 strings thinking. Besides literally trying to find the bandwidth to do it right with Eastern Anchors. I’m not sure why you’d need more inspiration than bands like Girls Against Boys for inspiration in particular when there is awesome tone, tube amps and distortion pedals are at play on every song. GvsB were a innovator in this spectrum of rock, however there are a crap load of other bass players who’s bass licks are just as stellar.
U.S. 80’s-90’s MP3 from Bend Sinister (1986) The bass playing on any of The Fall’s songs is just always so solid and straight forward it becomes innovative on it’s own mainly because who-ever is playing is try to stay ahead of the crazy amount of songs on any given album Gang of Four were also master of making the drumming just as important as the melody with bass making it work perfectly showing who is in control of the rythem section. Not Great Men MP3 by Gang of Four from Entertainment (1979)
Wartime A experimental project that features bass with sorts of effects and use of the “Phaser” is Wartime which was Rollins and Andrew Weiss making some funk w/ Sim Cain going nuts on the roto toms. Then again any song that Andrew played on I thought was awesome and big like on 1,000 Times Blind MP3 from Rollins Band’sLifetime record (1999). He breaks it down into a swinging bass distorted inferno on Lonely MP3 as another example.
Bassface by David Wm. Sims from Jesus Lizard
The Art of Self-Defense MP3 by Jesus Lizard – really any freaking song is an example of killer bass playing but the magic really happens when you have the whole band working hard like this and doing it fucking fast. Almost inconsequential what the singer is doing although you better keep your eye on David Yow because he might grab your private parts. As he and David Wm. Sims are going to be touring with Scratch Acid later this fall. She Said MP3 by Scratch Acid.
Lets consider this part 1 of some of the alternative players. I’m drawing a blank besides like John Paul Jones and particular songs it’s obvious I’ll need to revisit this short list. Please leave a note in the comments. What’s a good drummer gonna do if you can’t give the bass player some credit for making it happen.
Kristen Pfaff RIP 1967-1994: There were few bass players in the Alternative scene in the early 90’s who used distortion and in particular chick bass players who were as killer as Ms. Pfaff. Enter Kristen who died of a heroin overdose some 14 years ago in a bathtub today. Safe to say grunge got the best of her and with that an era of great music. The exact details are not known but one thing is for certain it’s fairly obvious who introduced her to the black tar of death after joining Hole. The One being a Courtney Love for whom Kristen had played with for a brief while and played bass on Live Through This. Ironic huh? A few months prior Kurt Cobain had met his demise with a shotgun and according to her obituary on myspace(no removed 4/3/14) she was hit hard by this loss and trying to get out of dodge before it got her. Sadly, this was not the case.
“You fuck my guitar player, constantly make eyes at my husband and now you’re telling me how to sing. Just don’t fuck with me because you’ll regret it forever.”
– Courtney to Kristen
As the back story goes. Mysteriously, El Duce from The Mentors also died under questionable circumstances per the documentary Courtney Killed Kurt by British documentary director Nick Broomfield. He had claimed he was offered to rid Mr. Cobain for $50,000 so she could get his money allegedly because Kurt was planning on divorcing the crazy lady. He claims he did not take her up on the offer and then 10 days later poof or so the story goes and then later El Doce ran into a train. It would seem she got somebody to do her dirty work huh?. Maybe Hoffa knows. Anyway, I love a good conspiracy and this has never been proven so who knows if time will tell the truth. Like who cares about heroin addicts right? Looking in the future to today Ms. Love is still twisted and forever (i hope) paying a penance for the evil she spreads and we hope Francis Bean gets to be normal. Her crazy train looks like something real sexy-scary these days straight out of the movie Brazil and one of her most famous song lines was one of Kristen’s. See the Janitor Joe track called “Limited edition” who’s lyrics go -“You’ve made your bed you’ll lie in it, You’ve made your bed you’ll cry in it…” Sound familiar rock fans? Her bass playing was awesome showing no mercy and was a true talent not like the blond poser killer. Enjoy the few Janitor Joe tracks posted here.