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Any ideas on the bass sound on "Love Is The Drug" by Roxy Music?

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ChrisBandicoot, Nov 11, 2010.

  1. ChrisBandicoot


    Feb 16, 2009
    Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
    Endorsing Artist: West Edge Guitars
    Hi everybody,

    I know that there is probably nothing amazing about the bass in the song Love is the Drug, but there is something about the sound and tone of the bass on that track that I just want to sink my teeth into. I was just wondering if anyone had any particular idea as to what is going on on that track.
  2. Jjango


    Nov 16, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Roxy Music went through bass players the way Spinal Tap went through drummers! :smug:

    Going by sound alone, I'd say it was a P-Bass played with a pick.

    However, in this lip-synced video, it's a P-Bass mimed with fingers:

  3. ChrisBandicoot


    Feb 16, 2009
    Tecumseh, Ontario, Canada
    Endorsing Artist: West Edge Guitars
    I had a feeling it was a P with a pick. I don't use a pick much. Maybe I should start practicing with one more. I also have an Epiphone Ripper that can somewhat emulate a P Bass tone.
  4. meycom

    meycom Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Southern Wis.
    I found a live version that shows exactly that, P-Bass with a pick.
  5. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    East Bay, CA
    John Gustafson played on that song. There's an interview with him here (no gear info, but some sweet Wal pix & a good read).

    I'm more a fan of the Brian Eno era (first 2 albums) but Roxy sure has made some distinctly sophisticated music over the years. Incredible ideas, crazy sounds, and great musicianship--always in service to the song. IMO original drummer Paul Thompson, who played on this tune, is in the rareified company of John Bonham and Keith Moon, mixing manic energy with ruthless precision.
    bholder likes this.
  6. PhR


    Dec 13, 2005
    Gus used a P-bass and played with a pick. His sound is same on Shawn Phillips' "Furthermore" for example. A great bassist.
    Spectre1966 likes this.
  7. PhR


    Dec 13, 2005
    Thanks, that was interesting. Shame there's no picture of that bass.
  8. jhoadley


    Dec 6, 2013
    The amplifier plays a key role in the tone, too, yes? Sounds like a tube amp.
  9. Mixed by the "MAN" Bob Clearmountain - he makes EVERY bass sound incredible - being a bass player himself.

    Just my opinion I could be wrong....

  10. theretheyare

    theretheyare Supporting Member

    Sep 4, 2010
    Brooklyn, NY
    Endorsing: Arkham Vacuum Tube Amplification
    John Gustafson has always been good with that muscular style...with Roxy I always dug him on Viva! and Country Life (for example, The thrill of it all and Casanova).
  11. agree with all this. :cool::cool::thumbup::thumbup:
  12. Jim C

    Jim C Is that what you meant to play or is this jazz? Supporting Member

    Nov 29, 2008
    Bethesda, MD
    Although I believe his best work was with drums.
    Some of that Bowie / Talking Heads records from the Power Station using the bathroom as an ambient space to re-mic the snare was brilliant as well as use of room miss and compression
    You have to remember kids that the early digital reverbs were horrible and you had to make the sound not punch it up.

    Back to Roxie
    My favorite songs have always been with Wal or P
    There are some Wal songs that sounds like a P, but there are other songs that sound only like a Wal
  13. Bongolation


    Nov 9, 2001
    No Bogus Endorsements
    In the studio bass is generally recorded direct. Dunno about this specific track.
    This is the answer. The instrument is insignificant compared to the upstream engineering -- these days more than ever. Way more. ;)
  14. milkman-27


    Jul 4, 2009
    It's a U-Bass
  15. Some of the old analog mixing desks, Neve, SSL, Harrison, et al had great eq modules to get direct to board bass tracks down on tape. We often mic d an amp and blended the direct track with that track for "warmth " or just used the direct track , always panned center .
    SpazzTheBassist likes this.
  16. Hooskerdu


    Mar 26, 2018
    "The Same Old Scene" had an amazing bass tone too..

  17. groove pump

    groove pump

    Oct 24, 2006
    Nice!! That has a lot of the urgent nasally vibe in Rio (Duran Duran) that really grabs the song by the scruff and hauls it forward. Not too flashy-showy and not too dark and lacking of a fundamental that can still chug along. Must be a chore to cook up that delicate balance for a mix.

    The sound in "Love is the Drug" has a little more of a neck humbucker or P-bass character to my ear with the tone reigned in just a little. Heavy attack, but not too much in terms of brittle high freq's. Diesel!!
    Hooskerdu likes this.
  18. AlBass


    Aug 19, 2018
    W w what??? I was shocked whenI read this.
    Jon Gustafson is the guy who made me want to play again. I had never heard any other playing like his. I mainly heard him thru the Roxy stuff he did.
    I realise this thread is way out of date, but yeh, as someone has said, it was a Wall bass hyped with p bass neck. I'm not convinced he played with a pick on this, but may be wrong. If anyone loves this kinda playing as I do, try to find the Roxy cover of Remake Remodel, done by Bryan Ferry himself. Wonderful bass by Jon in similar playing style. Its on the Lets Stick Together album

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