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Adam Clayton

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Bass Case, Jun 23, 2000.

  1. Bass Case

    Bass Case

    May 20, 2000
    Just wondering what the oppinion is U2's bassist. Is he a good player who uses simple paterns and rhythms, or he just not very talented and happens to play with a world famous band?
  2. I find that Adam Clayton is a great bassplayer. His tecnique may not be the wildest, but he plays very tasty lines, and not just root notes. The work on 'Disco' is very nice, and the riff in 'sunday bloody sunday' is very very catchy.
  3. Adam Clayton will be rememberd because he was the bass player in U2. He will not be rememberd for his bass playing. Nowadays he 's famous because he's famous person.
    File under "uninspiring bass players", IMO.

  4. RAM


    May 10, 2000
    Chicago, IL
    I don't know if I'd go that far. I try to listen to every bass player I can, though I don't spend as much time as I'd like with a few. But, I do remember a band I was in that played a couple of U2 tunes. I was bored stiff! I didn't find the groove interesting, nor the note choice. I'm not too sure ANY of them are particularly good musicians. It's just that together they make fun-to-listen-to music. A lot of bands are like that. For proof, listen to the Rolling Stones, AC/DC, and a whole host of others!
  5. Maybe Adam Clayton isn't the most startling bass player, but I don't think I'd go as far as saying that none of them are any good. IMO, I certainly wouldn't say Edge in particular is no good, some of the stuff he has done is fantastic. Like I said though, this is just my opinion.
  6. Prashant


    Feb 29, 2000
    The Edge? Absolutely FANTASTIC. A true rock guitar innovator. Sure, he doesn't display the chops of many guitar players (in so far as dexterity is concerned, 'though he may very well have them...one can never know), but his brilliance is in other areas:
    beautifully crafted lines and textures, rich and warm tone, great feel/touch, amazing use of studio capabilities (effects, looping, and the like), and originality/influence upon rock/pop music.

    I think that his contributions to guitar paying are in a similar vein as those of Tom Verlaine, Kevin Shields, and Johnny Marr.

    Sorry for the digression. :)

    To get back on topic: I have to preface this by stating that I think a player should be judged within the context of his idiom. To illustrate - I don't want to hear Victor Wooten substituting for Paul McCartney on The Beatles' recordings, nor vice-versa.

    That being said, I think that Adam Clayton is a wonderful bass player. He really fills out U2's sound, grooves with their music, and has a very "vintage" tone, particularly on their mid-career to recent albums. This last part is a really important element of U2's sound, as it serves as a juxtaposition to some of the more modern/electronic textures in their music. Moreover, the progressive elements in some of U2's work would be harder for the average listener to digest if the "glue" that is his basswork did not underscore and bring out the harmonies/chord progressions in the music.

    As far as being a technical/theoretical wizard (if that's what the original post is implying), I'd have to agree that he is not anything awe-inspiring. But then again, would we ever know unless he chose to show us? And more importantly, who gives a rat's a*s?

    Some of rock/pop's most influential players were not technical wizards or theory buffs, but they were involved in a body of work which influenced subsequent generations, and are therefore studied by these subsequent generations in order to understand what made that body of work so effective. Putting U2 in this category may be a bit of a stretch for some (myself included, 'though it's only the slightest of stretches for me), but IMHO, I think that this is important to remember.

    If you want an example of this phenomenon ('though I'm sure many of you don't need one), look no further than The Beatles. Sure, some will argue that they were not so bad players, but I don't think anyone would say that they were in the same league as a Return to Forever or Weather Report.

    Sorry for the long post, and thanks for reading it. Cheers!
  7. Ushtey


    Mar 21, 2000
    First off, I never liked Adam's bass playing much I'll be honest - never liked U2 that much but the more I learn as a bassist the more I find myself getting drawn to listen to some of his bass lines. He really is solid - I cant think of any other way to describe his playing & that afterall is bassically what a bassist should do.
  8. funkastorious


    May 26, 2000
    Mpls, MN.
    Interesting topic. Everytime I hear U2, I say to myself, "Where the bass (base)". IMO, there isn't any. That's not ripping on Clayton because I haven't really ever heard him play anything but straight notes on "Sunday Bloody Sunday". Maybe ole' Bono won't let him let loose.

    I will admit that I'm certainly not a huge U2 fan, but would like(d) them to include a few groovy bass lines into the mix.

    What would happen if you put (IMO) a GREAT rock bassist like Mike Mills or Paul McCartney in U2?
  9. Usedtobejim


    Jan 3, 2000
    U2 was huge for me growing up.
    I learned all their stuff in my teens. The best bass stuff was off October. "Gloria" is not Claypool but cool for the time.

    Meter was and is his game.

    Play along with "New Years Day" and the "Where the Streets have No Name" for a lesson in meter.

    Anywho...opinions are like ??? we have one
  10. ihixulu

    ihixulu Supporting Member

    Mar 31, 2000
    South Shore MA
    U2 started out following the punk ethic: it doesn't matter how well you play, what matters is that you play. I read in an interview with Adam Clayton where he admitted to basically learning on the job (much like Paul Simonon of the Clash).

    I think the he is THE bass player for U2. The band wouldn't sound the way they do with anyone else, and chances are his technique (or lack thereof) contributed as much to the sound and songs as anything else.

    Is he a bass god? Why would he want to be?

    [This message has been edited by ihixulu (edited July 10, 2000).]
  11. Bassmonster


    Mar 24, 2000
    You don't need to be flashy to be a good bass player, and Adam Clayton proves that. He has a real conservative style, but his lines are well thought out and add depth to the music. "Sunday Bloody Sunday" is one of the simplest basslines I ever heard, but I think it sounds really cool, it's still original.

    I'm the Bassmonster....ROWWAAARRRR!!!!

  12. gmstudio99


    Mar 11, 2000
    Cleveland, OH
    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by funkastorious:
    Everytime I hear U2, I say to myself, "Where the bass (base)". IMO, there isn't any. <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    IMO, this is the essence of perfect bass playing.

    Adam Clayton is, really, more influential to me than Jaco, Wooten, etc, because his lines FIT THE SONGS. (Hey! A bit of all caps there for ya! biggrin. ) His lines, along with The Edge's, create vibes for songs that are so distictly "U2". I wish more bands could have such uniqueness to their tone.

    Adam Clayton and Mike Mills, to me, are the two best bassists in rock.

  13. U2 missing the Bass?????
    Here's a list of U2 songs with great basslines, enjoy:
    All I want is you
    New years day
    Sweetest Thing
    If God would send his angels

    plus all of their songs show impecable sense of time and taste
  14. Adam Clayton holds down the bottom and plays to suit the songs. In my opinion, that is the most important thing in music. Period. Technique is a means to an end, and not an end in itself.
  15. Niels Keijzer

    Niels Keijzer Guest

    Nov 27, 2000
    He's one of the best bassists that I know, and I do not care at all for motivating this.
    Have you heard their song "Please", from the Discotheque album? Such a wonderful bassline, and it increases in depth and emotion throughout the song...it's so f*cking brilliant, the sliding part.

    To me he's one of the best bassists in the world, and I don't care that he doesn't care about me caring about it.
  16. like a fish put into a bigger fish tank clayton has grown to his surroundings. he is perfect for U2
  17. gweimer


    Apr 6, 2000
    Columbus, OH
    I flipped through the article on Adam in Bassplayer. He sounds like a down-to-earth, humble guy. He said that he was just glad to be in the "show", since there are so many players better than him out there. He also went into the origins of the band, and the fact that none of them really knew how to play, but he got in because he had a real amp. Maybe we should all remember that some bands perform SONGS, and don't necessarily need to demonstrate individual prowess in the process. There is an art to writing good songs, just as there is an art to individual technique.
  18. I think Adam's a wonderful player! His work is very inspirational to me for the reasons GM listed. Can't there be some genius in simplicity? "Beautiful Day" is very straightforward, but it sounds great and propels the song melodically. Often the case with U2 is that the Edge is laying down some very textural stuff, Larry's doing his unique, bouncy approach, and Adam's right there to pull it all together. A 'technical', busy player would sound like an utter disaster in the context of U2, IMO. U2 really is the sum of it's parts, and they are right there with Rush and Yes as one of my favorite bands.

    The new album is VERY good!
  19. Flatwound

    Flatwound Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2000
    San Diego
    I don't like U2 as much as I used to, but I think Adam Clayton does his job. I liked "Boy", "War", and their older stuff better. Songs like "Angel of Harlem" just leave me cold. Having said that, I think that Adam Clayton has a very good understanding of what the bass is for, particularly in U2.

    I remember reading an interview with the Police years ago, maybe in Musician magazine (anyone remember them?). The interviewer asked Andy Summers about the lack of blistering lead work in the Police albums. He responded by saying that while he could do it (and there's some at the beginning of "Spirits in the Material World"), that the Police were a SONG band. They didn't build songs around solos, but played to fit the song.

    I read the Bass Player interview, too, and found Clayton's attitude refreshing. Seemed like a nice guy, with no "rock star" attitude.
  20. yawnsie


    Apr 11, 2000
    I wouldn't say I'm a big U2 buff, and certainly not into Adam Clayton's style a great deal, but you can't say it's not effective. I think the thing is that, as a bass player, it's easy to listen to a song and be a bit overcritical of the bass and say you can do better - I know I have done in the past. It can be hard to take a step back and listen to a song as a whole rather than as individual parts, but Adam Clayton's whole style is based around fitting into song. It's certainly something I need to think more about at times...

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