1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

A neat Billy Sheehan statement

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Mindbender, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. Mindbender


    Aug 23, 2007
    I met Billy,and Steve Vai back when I was 16 when he was touring with the David Lee Roth band in 86.There were staying at a nice hotel in town,so me and some friends pitched in and got a room to party .Well lo and behold they were down in the hotel bar drinking after the show,Vai was pretty sloshed if I remember,but Billy was ok,we talked for a few minutes.
    And he said something that blew me away,as kick ass as he is,he said that two of his favorite bass players were Cliff Williams of ACDC and Ian Hill of Judas Priest because they weren't flashy,but just held the rhythm down.Sometimes less is more I guess.Of course it ain't much fun I guess,however that's the most important part of playing at first,is to know how to lay down that foundation.
    Now back to my Stanley Clarke and Jaco cd's!
  2. Double Agent

    Double Agent Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2006
    Lakeland, FL
    There are a bunch of guys who can play all the fancy stuff that Billy does, but many of them can't get a gig. He addressed this in an interview I saw, and said he almost felt like he had created a monster with all these bass players with blinding speed but who never learned to groove or play with any soul. I think Billy is a great bass player who can groove but also has tremendous technique and understands that the song should come first. Some songs benefit from the fancy stuff, but the biggest hit he played on (Mr Big's To Be With You), his playing was reserved and simple without being boring or cliche. So he can rein it in when the song needs something more laid back. I love listening to Billy play and I think he gets a bad rep because of all the players who try to imitate him. Great rock bass player!!
  3. Good story and points... but wrong forum section, duder.
  4. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    Billy Sheehan is one great influence on my style, in terms that I should not be afraid to show that I am there (both in groove, feel and fills). I have to admit that I've been listening to Cliff Williams for much longer though (his playing is solid as a ROCK). I hate myself to play solo (unless it's a stand-alone composition that could be played on piano, guitar or any other instrument). And I love Billy's playing on Niacin.

    PS check out Evans' "Soul Stripper" (AC/DC) bassline. B and A are 90% of the notes used on that song. How's that for simplicity and solid playing?
  5. I like Evans's job better than Williams's.
  6. DeanT

    DeanT Send lawyers, guns and money...

    There are a lot of bass players who do not go in for all that fancy solo stuff. I guess you could call them traditionalists. They just hold down the bottom end and leave all the flash to the guitar players. There's nothing wrong with it. That's what bass playing was invented for.
  7. fullrangebass


    May 7, 2005
    A tasty fill (in a solid bassline) is very appreciated and fulfilling, yet no need to be flashy, pyrotechnic or fast. Billy is solid to the groove and IMHO only 10% of the time he plays fills (soloing is soloing though)
  8. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    Two words:

    1) Duck
    2) Dunn
  9. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    I agree Billy is an awesome player, such as Tobacco Road and Elephant gun - ripping fast, but still with a serious groove. But I can also appreciate his comments about AC-DC and Priest (well AC-DC anyway - I like priest for reason other than the bass lines). Simple songs but very powerful, and the bass just fits. Who's to say - maybe those guys can play as flashy as Billy but don't because it would ruin the songs.
  10. Mindbender


    Aug 23, 2007

    My bad man,new user,my first post.I didn't check all the other forums.BTW check out Billy's first band Talas.
  11. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    If you listen to a lot of Billy's BASSLINES, they are super simple and solid. At least, when he's playing for someone (Vai, DLR, etc), his solos are the over the top part.

    Niacin, he busys up a bit, but he's playing in a trio, and he's the only string player.
  12. Spector_Ray


    Aug 8, 2004
    I remember reading a Q&A with Billy and some guy wrote in saying that he had bought Billy's instructional tapes and learned them backwards and forwards. He had pissed off every guitar player and now nobody wants to play with him. Billy replied by saying that the guy didn't learn the most important lesson; to play with the band instead of against the band. The ulitmate goal of playing is to play with and listen to each other to make the song sound good.
  13. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    Cool story, and always nice to see a Stanley Clarke fan! :)
  14. Akami

    Akami Four on the floor

    Mar 6, 2005
    I never really listened to Billy much until he started playing with Vai and had always thought of him as an over-player. I couldn't have been more wrong.

    One of my favorite songs to listen to both him and Steve is Building The Church, in which they both take turns at playing very interesting parts, even if all of Billy's are supportive, they just sound so perfect.
  15. Sorry if this is belaboring the point, but I read an interview of Billy years ago, and he said something like "tapping is the icing on the cake, and I was a cake player for 15 years before I got into tapping". He really stressed the primacy of the groove, which he learned by playing five sets a night in cover bands to earn a living.
  16. Baryonyx

    Baryonyx Banned

    Jul 11, 2005
    Marathon Man
    He always does. For all the people that go round calling him a "wanker" and stuff, I've never known anyone stress the importance of getting the basics right more than Sheehan!
  17. machine gewehr

    machine gewehr

    Sep 17, 2005
    Thats my fav. Sheehan topic ever.No wannabes -who don't understand Billy's music- has came to flame him yet.Wow,I love you guys. :p

    Also check his Cosmic Troubadour album.I believe Its a must listen to album if you're a bassist.(At least once.):bassist:
  18. rockwarnick


    Jul 29, 2006
    Rockville, MD
    Billy Sheehan sucks! he only knows how to tap really fast with no rythm or clue of what he's playing!

    ....just kidding.
    Sheehan totally kicks ass. I think he is a great bassist. Im glad to see everyone's responses here too.
  19. BrandonBass


    May 29, 2006
    Too bad he can't keep his solos interesting for more than 10seconds.
  20. The Lurker

    The Lurker

    Aug 16, 2002
    +1. Hey, it was the 80s. Everyone had to do the big showy solo just to keep up with the Joneses (or at least keep up with Whitesnake, KISS, or Night Ranger). That's just the way they did stuff for that type of music in that era.

    Thank all the gods that the 80s are over.:cool:

Share This Page