So I watched a band again last night, and the only thing I could think of during the show was:
“Mother Fucking Ballz and Shit, Fuck, Fuck, Balls, Satan.”
At least it was something similar to that I think…might have been a few more fucks and one or two more balls. Oh well. The point was that it was an experience about as pleasant as having a buffalo herd stampede across my cock and balls.
Why? Why did this suck soooooooooooooooooooooooooo bad. I hate to admit it, but it was one of my own kind. Yep, boys and girls…the bass player completely fucked this band to the point of complete and utter lameness.
I happen to like the singer of this band. He does a great job, he has an eighties sound but he does that era justice and delivers a good performance. Somebody bought the guitar player (who I bitched about last time) a tuner between the show at the Jet Lounge and this one, so he sounded fine. The drummer was not the best on the planet but he did not do a bad job. But that bass player….I think he might be the worst fucking bass player I have ever seen in my 23 years of playing bass guitar.
It was not that he did not have chops. In fact, his right hand fingers were faster than many of the guys I have seen in Houston. Unfortunately, he had no idea what the fuck to do with them. He tried to turn the band into the “Bass Guitar Power Hour” and just ran circles around the other musicians. I know most of you do not play bass, so I will give you a quick low-down on the bass player’s job.
1.) Establish the rhythmic pocket with the drummer to provide “Groove” to the music.
2.) Establish the root chord tone so that it can be built upon and embellished by the other instruments.
3) Add small fills, but not very often in dead spots where nothing else is moving.
4.) Fuck groupies.
Of course there are always exceptions. If you are playing in a funk or fusion band…well…bass is priority one. If you are playing prog metal…you have a lot more room because much more is expected out of the style. BUT…if you are playing rock, hard rock, classic rock, or blues…then your job is to hold down the foundation…DO NOT FUCK THIS UP. When women that are not musicians begin to complain because the bass player is fucking up the songs…then you are REALLY, REALLY, REALLY FUCKING THEM UP FOLKS.
What the hell is going on here? Obviously this guy has put some time on his instrument. But he never learned how to tune the stupid thing. He tuned after every song and it made him look like a complete jackass and made the band look like they still belonged in the garage with the other fourteen year olds. He did not even use the tuner very often, he just tuned it by ear (no harmonic tuning either folks…he just tuned it…JESUS). He learned one really fast fill (beedle-uh-beedle-uh-beedle-uh-beedle-uh) that he liked to do in the higher octave range. In fact, he loved this fill so much that he used it five or six times in every fucking song (including the god damn ballad). The only problem with this (other than it only needing to be done once a night) is that he would play wrong notes before, during, and after the fill. At least he also had learned two other fills at some point during his amazing career.
Seriously, if you are going to piss all over somebodies entire set…at least learn more than three fills in which to do so. Nobody cares that you can go beedle-uh-beedle-uh-beedle-uh-beedle-uh if you are going to turn around and fuck up every thing else. And once you do it the second time…well, we just heard it so we are are even less impressed. By the third time…everyone realises that you don’t have much game in your bag and begin to be rather disappointed in your performance as a whole.
I heard really good advice once from old man Mike Pritchard when I joined his swing and blues band as a young hot-shot way back in the day. He said “Mikey…I don’t like lead bass players, and if the crowd notices you during the show, then you are messing up, and I will replace you.” I listened, and for the next five years, I played only bass lines and fills that fit the music…so much so that none of the guys in the band knew I could play at the level I was capable of until they saw me with another band the year before I quit. The reason…IT WAS ABOUT MAKING GOOD MUSIC…NOT A PISSING CONTEST ON THE EXTENT OF MY CHOPS. I know what I’m capable of…and that is enough for me. I want to play crazier lines now a days so what did I do… I did not go fuck up some poor assholes blues band…NOPE…I joined a prog metal band where I had room to move.
This guy needs to be fired if this band wants to move forward at all. This guy would be happier joining a band that was centered on the bass guitar and that he could show off some more in. Of course, for him to do that he needs to have somebody sit down with him, show him how to tune before the gig and teach the poor bastard at least twenty more fills. It would be a shame for him to blow his wad five minutes into his set.
I hope the other fellas figure out because they are much better than this bass player makes them sound.
While I was complaining about this, a few people said that “Well…he (the bassist) is a really nice guy.” What the fuck does that have to do with anything? I’m not attacking this man’s charactor…just his job performance. Think about this a second. If you had to have open heart surgery, would you really be more concerned with the surgeons skill level or the amount of times he has helped elderly women cross the road? When it is your life on the line, I suspect that most of you would really only give a flying fuck about the guys ability to operate on you successfully or not. Living would be your main goal. Well, this really nice guy’s bass performance last night left the gig dead on the operating table. That’s all I am saying here.
I hope it will be days and days and days before I have to see that guy play again.