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Big Country's Tony Butler/ Simple Minds' Derek Forbes

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by The Mock Turtle Regulator, Mar 21, 2001.


  1. anyone else like the bassplayers of these two extremely unfashionable UK bands?
    both had distinctive, original styles and tones IMHO.

    fave basslines;
    Big Country;Look away, wonderland, fields of fire, chance.

    Simple Minds (I think Derek Forbes played on these); promised you a miracle, glittering prize, someone somewhere in summertime.
     
  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Was never much of a Simple Minds fan - their music always made me feel like I was being stamped on (!), except at the end of The Breakfast Club, when they play 'Don't You Forget About Me' and it's a spine tingling moment.

    However, Tony Butler was a big early bass hero of mine - I played 'The Seer' til the tape wore out, and loved his bass playing, his sound and his grinning camp-skippy dance thing that he did on stage... :oops:)

    I've not heard anything that Big Country have done recently - they went all RAWK, if the press is to be believed, but the first three or four albums are classix...

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  3. the drummer out of my originals band played in a band ("Kolony") supporting Big Country at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in 1998, and wasn't too impressed by their performance though...

    BC drummer Mark Brzezicki's been spotted doing pub covers gigs around London......

    I noticed you mentioned The Cure's Simon Gallup in your list of influences on your site, Steve. he's definitely a bass hero of mine.
    I was really disappointed that Bassist never interviewed him- are there any plans for Guitarist to do a feature?
     
  4. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    I'd love to interview Simon Gallup - a true Goth bass god! :oops:)

    We'll see what happens... :oops:)

    Steve
    www.steve-lawson.co.uk
     
  5. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I must admit that I really liked the tracks you mentioned when they came out - played the albums to death and wrote songs "in the style of" Simple Minds - but we had a female singer so it didn't end up sounding the same - I think a lot of their "pompousness" is down to Jim Kerr's vocal style.

    But I did love the playing - at the time though I was playing guitar and keyboards and it was this part that influenced me more then anything. During the Punk era, it was all distorted guitar thrash and I was interested in the way bands like Simple Minds appeared that were using instruments more as "textures" and new production techniques, like digital reverb and harmonisers on guitar and keyboards.

    I was a studio/production buff then and I quite often listened more to the production than the actual song. I can remember getting hired by bands around the time to play keyboards and add textures "in the style of" Simple Minds.
     
  6. yeah, that whole Simple Minds big "Stadium Rock" sound has a lot of reverb.

    re. punk era bands, The Stranglers were very experimental with production and music on the "Gospel according to the men in black" album of 1980- stuff like "turn the centuries, turn"- a very overlooked and innovative album. it sold very badly though, so they abandoned that sound on the followup album La Folie.
     
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    Yes, I bought all the Stranglers' albums - great production and great bass sound! But as you say, I was thinking about that "Cathedral" sound - fast, punky songs don;t allow the space for this to "bloom" and Simple Minds more measured tempos, allowed the effects to really fill out the sound.

    Quite a few people I know in Brighton were friends of the Stranglers and knew them when they started off round here. One local bass player mentioned to me how he tried J-JBurnel's P Bass and the action was so low he couldn't play anything on it, but apparently J-J liked the buzzing and fret noise as part of his "sound".
     
  8. it wouldn't surprise me if that was around the time of the "Black and White" album- that almost- Rickenbacker-like rasping sounds like a very low action.
    the cleaner tone on La Folie sounds like a much higher action.
     
  9. sgraham

    sgraham

    Aug 30, 2000
    Tyler, TX
    Geez, I forgot about Big Country. That first album,
    "The Crossing" was one of my favorites of the
    early '80's. Those guys got such cool sounds out
    of guitars in that synth-saturated era. More
    importantly, it was the first time that I heard a
    bassist use a chorus effect extensively, although
    you'd hear Geddy or Sting use one occasionally back then.
     
  10. Scott Cutrer

    Scott Cutrer Guest

    Aug 21, 2000
    Richmond, VA
    Yeah, i think Tony Butler was a great 80's player, I think he was on Pete Townsends early 80's solo album too.
     
  11. I've just bought Simple Minds' "new gold dream" album for £2.99:) in the HMV clearout- interestingly all the songs I mentioned above are on it.

    Derek Forbes plays inventive basslines throughout- a distinctive bright maple-neck P-bass tone as well-
    slap on "colours fly and catherine wheel" and "big sleep", a picked continuous 16ths line (sounds like a pick, and it's pretty demanding to play fingerstyle) on "new gold dream" and a percussive fingerstyle on others.

    Simple Minds seemed to lose a certain edge when Forbes left.
    I'm looking out for other albums Sparkle in the rain and 98' album Neapolis when Forbes returned to the band for a while.



    re. Big Country, I bought a compilation of The Skids, BC's mainman Stuart Adamson's previous band, for £4.99 - bassist Bill Simpson played some interesting lines too, with an aggressive picked Jazz Bass tone eg. "Charles" and using dropped-D tuning eg. "Into the valley".
     
  12. CS

    CS

    Dec 11, 1999
    UK
    Try listening to Themes For Great Cities (Sister Feeling Call) Turn up the synth intro loud and wait for the rhythm section to kick in.
     
  13. TMTR, I had that Skids album. I remember about 100 years ago buying that record and Sham 69's first album. I liked the Skids better than BC.... What about Jazz the bass player from Killing Joke. What happend to him?
     
  14. I'm trying to WinMX that at the moment, but the server seems to be working very slow.
    what I've got so far sounds great- the bass is very high in the mix -seems like he was using a Rickenbacker on that.
    I'll have to search out that album too.


    Originally posted by Fetch Da bass
    What about Jazz the bass player from Killing Joke. What happend to him?

    Jaz Coleman was Killing Joke's singer.

    they had 2 bassists- first, Youth, who left to work as a producer around 82/83, replaced by Paul Raven, who played on "eighties", "love like blood" etc. and later joined Prong.
    Youth rejoined Killing Joke, and also continues producing and has done sessions- he's credited with bass on Dido's album.

    also check out www.ubl.com for info on loads of bands.
     
  15. Sorry about that..really I ment Youth! I saw killing Joke back in 86 I got to hang out with them for a while.. nice guys.......I know Youth was not the bass player then.....I think the dude playing drums was from DOA...That show was one of my favorites. Prong was cool too...
     
  16. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This brings back memories - there used to be a "local" band that I hung around with in Brighton in the early 80s who were called "Midnight & the Lemon Boys" - used to go drinking with them in the Gloucester pub in those days.

    They were pretty good and even got to support U2 on one gig they did in Brighton when they were releasing their first album. They wrote some good songs and we thought they would be big. But they fell apart and we heard that they had lost a member who had gone off to be bass player in Killing Joke. It's a bit confused in my mind as I don't think he played bass in the local group and he must have been their "creative force" - I would love to find out if this was right - I couldn't quite believe it at the time - as an aspiring bass player myself! ;)
     
  17. at ubl.com it says that Paul Raven has worked as a producer and remixer as well- no info on pre-Killing Joke bands though.
    apparently he was to join UK industrial pioneers Godflesh last year, but the band split.

    Youth, real name Martin Glover, was in a band called The rage before joining KJ.

    in Google there was a hit for "midnight lemon boys"- apparently a band Miles Hunt, Wonderstuff singer, worked with briefly when he used to play drums....
    Miles Hunt is from the Midlands though, so it's unlikely it's the same band.
     
  18. Winston TK

    Winston TK Hairpiece Adventurer

    Oct 8, 2001
    Burnaby, BC Canada
    Great thread.

    Simple Minds was a great band. Derek Forbes' bass playing was excellent. Maybe not high on techique, but very inventive just the same. I recently purchased the double-CD greatest hits package "Glittering Prize". This is a quintessential investment for anyone into cool 80's music. Forbes' lines on those early gems are ear-catching and really make the songs move.

    Tony Butler of Big Country was also a great player. I still clearly remember being totally blown away by the album "The Crossing" when it first came out. The driving basslines, and bagpipe-esque guitar tones were always standouts.

    Too bad that any hopes of a Big Country reunion/comeback were dashed with the relatively recent death of leader Stuart Adamson. (He was found hanged to death in a hotel room in Hawaii. Strange indeed.)
     
  19. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    I searched on Google, Alta Vista etc as well - wonder what the fascination with midnight and lemon is?


    Sort of a naff name - maybe whoever it is, is embarassed to put it in their CV? ;)

    I found mention of the Brighton group in a discussion forum about punk - there was discussion of a compilation album of bands who played at the "Vault" club in Brighton - most of them weren't punk at all - but the only mention of this band was that they kept to themselves, whereas the other Vault bands were all friends and socialised etc.

    I also found mention of another bass player that I have had lessons with - but the poster was saying that it can't possibly be th eperson they knew at school as that would make him 48 now - he still plays reguarly in bands - of course I can quite believe this - whereas on the discussion forum they were suggesting it might be a son with the same name! ;)

    I think that people in punk/new wave bands in the 80s never imagined that their members would last until their 40s!! :D
     
  20. Originally posted by Winston TK
    I recently purchased the double-CD greatest hits package "Glittering Prize". This is a quintessential investment for anyone into cool 80's music. Forbes' lines on those early gems are ear-catching and really make the songs move.


    I bought the Glittering Prize compilation on cassette about 6 years ago (the version I have has 16 songs on it).
    my favourites on that were the songs that I found out recently were all off new gold dream- the later stuff was a bit too commercial with the added backing vocals.

    in the liner notes Jim Kerr says circa 1981 "we loved Chic, as well as Robert Fripp and Brian Eno"- which explains some of the funk influences.

    "waterfront" sounds like a very dull bassline at first- just an open D all the way through, but on their performance of it on The Tube, I noticed that Forbes was playing the open D and simultaneously playing a C and D on the A string and adding vibrato- maybe this was an overdub on the record, plus slapping with the octave towards the end.



    Too bad that any hopes of a Big Country reunion/comeback were dashed with the relatively recent death of leader Stuart Adamson. (He was found hanged to death in a hotel room in Hawaii. Strange indeed.)


    that was pretty tragic- Adamson had been suffering from alcoholicism and went missing before his death- manager Ian Grant posted messages on his website asking Adamson to get in touch only weeks before his death.