African American Bass Players on TB: Question for you guys...

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Tbirdbassist, Oct 4, 2005.

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  1. Have you ever been, Or felt/feel like the "odd one out"?

    I mean, I know there are a lot, A LOT of black bass players, but even still, playing a stringed instrument seems to be odd for a person if color.

    I listen to a broad range of music, but its mostly rock, metal, and jazz. And since I'm young (16), I sometimes get put down for not going with the mainstream and wanting to be a rapper, or wanting to play basketball or wanting to make beats as a living.

    I try not to let the constant "you wanna be white or sumthin???" and "what, you wanna be a rock star" (and then the stupid sound of them imitating a guitar solo). And the stares from people when you walk around with your gig bag on your back out in public? (then those stares are too, followed by bad imitations of guitar solo's... :rollno: )

    There are a select few who will stop and ask what I play, but most are highly ignorant and non understanding.

    The thing that gets me the most, Is that I get this more from my own race, and Hispanic races then I do from caucasion's.

    I know for the older black/hispansic TB'ers it may have been different since people were alot more open with music back in the 70's and 80's, But what was your experience, And whats your advice/look on it?

    And for the younger, minority TB'ers whats it like for you?
  2. I thought in America everyone thinks the only good bass players are African Americans?

    I feel like the odd man out being white and playing bass... :D

    Not that I'm that good, but I'm adequate.

  3. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings
    I've always felt like the odd man out... and I've enjoyed it. Who wants to be a follower?

    One thing you learn as you go through life is that nature has provided you with an endless stream of stupid people who will pass your way. In this case most likely they're trying to annoy you. Stupid people love that.... so don't let them. Stupid people hate that. They're also most likely jealous as they're probably displaying the only thing approaching talent they have. Always keep that in mind.

    And also remember, most stupid people, deep down, know how stupid they are. Probably just need a hug.

    How would I deal with it now? Depends. If it's just taunts and such, I'd completely ignore them or maybe even thank them for their attention. Might even tell them how much fun playing music is.

    Would you rather be doing what they're doing or what you're doing?

    Do that. The rest is just sideband noise, don't let it get you down.

    And find more intelligent people to hang around with. They might be older than you.
  4. cheezewiz


    Mar 27, 2002
    Exactly what Brad said. Be true to what YOU want to do, and don't let idiots get you down.
  5. BigJH


    Jan 20, 2001
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Sometimes the only way people can make their flames shine brighter is to blow yours out. Don't let them. It takes a strong person to forge a path different from the other people around them. Take it from me I have been down that road before many times. Brad had some great advice ignore the stupid people and do your thing.
  6. Skeezix


    Sep 28, 2005
    Jacksonville, FL
    Being Hispanic myself I can relate. I lived in predominantly Black and Hispanic neighborhoods for the first 14 years of my life, then moved to an all White area. Lived there until I was 20, then joined the Military. All I can say is that I have NEVER felt the need or desire to explain what I liked musically to anybody. I like everything, and I listen to everything. It was nice because nobody could peg me down to anything. They could not predict what I would be listening to next, and they still can't. I think that I'll keep it that way for a little while longer. :bassist:
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Yeah, I'm sure Nathan East, Bill Sharpe, Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Willie Weeks, Rhonda Smith, James Jamerson (RIP), Melvin Davis, Stanley Clarke, Bakhithi Kumalo, Aston Barrett, Tom Barney, Randy Jackson and Rickey Minor all feel(felt) like the odd man out.

    C'mon, man! Those guys RULE and everybody knows it. So get your ass out there and rule!
  8. Shaggy98771

    Shaggy98771 Guest

    May 19, 2003
    Rockford Illinois
    im white but i believe bass knows no color and i thought a colored man on guitar was odd till i saw snoop dog at a linkin park concert and the guitarist shredded it up like crazy and the drummer had some very nice double bass blast that blew me away i was very impressed they can put on a show
  9. Marlat


    Sep 17, 2002
    London UK
    This picture of TB's very own Dirk Diggler should be sufficient evidence for you to realise that bass is colour blind:
  10. Color, schmolor- what in God's name is he PLAYING? :eek: Looks like the Wish Amoeba bass!
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    There is the definition of "odd man out."
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Oh yeah, and Darryl Jones.
  13. smperry

    smperry Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 3, 2003
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: Martin Keith Guitars
    I don't know if I count as young since I'm in my thirties, but...yeah, I've aften felt like the odd one out in terms of being black and playing in alternative/emo/whatever rock bands. That feeling has come from interactions with white people more than nonwhite. But, it hasn't been bad. In my experience (which sounds different from yours), musicians are often more "accepting" or "inclusive" or whatever word you'd use than a lot of other people are. I've had to deal with more stuff as a teacher, graduate student, researcher, husband, consumer, pedestrian, driver, etc. So, I'm used to being "different" in a bunch of different contexts, and I'm less uncomfortable when I'm playing/enjoying music.

    Take care,
  14. Adam Barkley

    Adam Barkley Mayday!

    Aug 26, 2003
    Jackson, MS
    South Park had a pretty funny episode with a joke about black bass players.
  15. el_Kabong


    Jul 11, 2005
    wow. not the only ones by the sound of that. no offense brad.
  16. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    Good for you, being your own person is priceless, nice job. Most of the people of color who bust your chops are lazy and ignorant. There is a general attitude of entitlement in this country that makes me sick. It has been sorely eveidenced in the actions of "some" of the Gulf Coast residents that we've seen in recent weeks. The world owes, you or anyone else, (regardless of race) nothing. You are the master of your own destiny, be proud that you've decided to take control of it.

    The people who bust your chops are not worth your time, they'll only bring you down. Stay focused, follow your path and ignore the nay-sayers. Someday you will be a "have, they'll always be "have-nots" due to their attitude, ignorance, & laziness. Similar skin color or not, these are not your people. Anyone who would try to sway you from your course is not your friend. They're just jealous, pitiful, lazy, losers. Call me a racist if you will, but the opinions I've just expressed extend to ALL races, colors and creeds. I'm color/religion blind. A jerk is a jerk, no matter what color it's painted.
  17. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003

    Name Dropper ! :D
  18. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    White people are allowed to play bass? Does this mean I can sell my afro wig and makeup kit?

    PS: The best bass player I personally know, my former teacher Roland Dorsey, is black. He owns not only on the bass, but on pretty much every other instrument you can imagine.


    Jan 25, 2005
    Phoenix, AZ
    I'm an African American bass player and I thought this was pretty funny. I've heard this myself from a bar patron as I'm bring in my cabs " must be the bass player, huh?". This is without him ever seeing my instrument. "Black" and "bass" seem to be joined at the hip in some people's minds....(Motown probably had something to do with that) ;)

    There are soooo many people who think to have a funky groove and you're in a white band, you've gotta have a black bass player (Allman Brothers have one, Rolling Stones have one, Bela Fleck has one, Dave Koz has one, yada, yada, yada). They probably think this for a reason.

    Keep your head up, my brother. ALL bassists have much to be thankful for the pioneers and innovators (of all races) who have contributed to this mighty instrument. Learn your craft, learn your history, and don't let 'em get to's just not worth your time.
  20. Brad Johnson

    Brad Johnson Commercial User

    Mar 8, 2000
    Gaithersburg, Md
    Boom Bass Cabinets, DR strings

    I've no doubt some of them did feel like the odd man out. Heck, Marcus played clarinet.

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