Bass! How low can you go?

Let’s talk about the bass guitar.

I’ve always been a huge fan of bass, and most of my earliest rock and roll heroes were bassists. I myself, in my very early teens, bought a bass guitar and drove my entire family loony playing it, and when I say “playing it” I really mean “playing it badly”. I learned the bass parts for Floyd’s “The Wall”; I knew the riff from the Barney Miller TV show (you know, “BUM…DA DA DA DUM…BA DA DA DUMM…BADADA DADADADA DADADA); I even learned Another One Bites The Dust (or, Chic’s Good Times, if you prefer). Even took lessons from an old war veteran, who insisted I learn the “basics”.

What killed my interest in playing it, despite the fact that I was crap, was attempting to learn WHO and RUSH riffs, particularly the latter. Boris The Spider was an easy one, but The Real Me, from Quadrophenia, was freakin’ impossible! Tom Sawyer was pretty easy, but then a friend suggested YYZ and/or La Villa Strangiato from “Hemispheres” and I lost it. Drove straight to the pawnshop, took my money and bought a carton of cigarettes and a case of Molson Canadian beer.

But I never lost my affinity for the instrument and have always admired those musicians who play it well. It’s the instrument I hear most when I’m listening to music, the instrument I play the air with. I rocked the air bass with the best of them!

My favorite bassists? John Entwistle, Paul McCartney (underrated!), Nick Lowe, Geddy Lee, Roger Deacon, Paul Gustave Simonon, Klaus Fluoride, Bootsy Collins and, God help me, that fellow from Weather Report, Jaco Pastorius. Even his fusion noodlings get my blood pumpin’.

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