Cliff Williams

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by Blunk, Dec 20, 2004.

  1. Blunk


    Aug 14, 2002

    my band has started to add in a few more ac/dc tracks into our setlist - we've highway, whole lotta rosie, you shook me... and back in black (we don't put them all in the set list, they just make deadly encores)

    the guys in the band are always slagging me saying "you've only got an A to play, don't worry"...cliff williams makes those notes POP!

    i dunno how he does it, i'm trying to get that groove into my playing - i've really developed a much better appreciation for bass players in _great_ rock bands.

    i've really tried to take his approach but also be myself, when it comes to writing originals with my band, we have two brilliant guitar players so i try to sit back and let them get going - its what the crowds are after.

    everyone wants to be a guitar hero, apart from the bass players - we just let the "kids" have their moment in the sun but we know the score :D
  2. Planet Boulder

    Planet Boulder Hey, this is a private Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2001
    6,482 feet above sea level
    I once had impure thoughts. Oh, and I pluck my ear hair.
    For his style, he's very steady. I'm actually listening to the live "If You Want Blood" (which is just SICK!) CD today at work and he really drives it nicely.

    If you dig AC/DC (and I'm a big fan of their Bon Scott stuff, but not the Brian Johnson stuff) and you don't have this CD, you don't know what you are missing. VERY tight performances. Angus and Malcolm's guitars are split in the channels and you can hear how much they really double(d?) their lines.
    BoogyBass likes this.
  3. Cliff Williams is the man, in my opinion, even when he pounds the root, he still sounds better doing it than les slapping the *** out of his bass. His lines stood out more during the Bon Scott years and he played some groovy stuff. I think now he upgraded to a 5 string Ernie Ball(dont know why). The guy has a good attitude too, devoid of any ego. I think in one interview he said "Usually Angus just tells me what to play and i take it from there".
  4. I think that Cliff along with Phil Rudd are one of the tightest rhythm sections out there. They are just solid and they play for the song. AC/DC is a ROCK band pure and simple.

  5. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I have the whole AC/DC american output, mostly in LP format (up to "The Razor's Edge". From there I had to buy CDs). It's a shame that not so many musicians in my town know or appreciate that music, because AC/DC is a lesson in the real purpose of a rhythm section. I admire those guys a lot. The only "star" there is Angus. The rest of the band play what they have to. No solos, no fancy stuff. Just a solid foundation. Something I learned from AC/DC: Every time I have to sing background vocals, I walk back and keep at the bottom of the stage when done. Seeing Malcolm and Cliff doing that was really cool to me. A lesson in discipline. Someone should build a statue (Angus already has one, BTW) or name a street after the band just for creating such a simple but effective (I mean POWERFUL) song like "Back In Black". That was the first AC/DC album I bought back in 1980 (Friday november 28th, more precisely) and the opener "Hells Bells" still gives me chills every time I listen to it. "Back In Black" and Van Halen's "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" are at the top of my list for an award to simplicity combined with great musicianship. And Cliff Williams with Aerosmith's Tom Hamilton are prime examples of true professionals at their instruments. Maybe Michael Anthony should be there also, but he's eclipsed by the monster that plays with him (well... he's also a great singer...).
    lesliegl likes this.
  6. Alvaro Martín Gómez A.

    Alvaro Martín Gómez A. TalkBass' resident Bongo + cowbell player

    I retire my words. I forgot his crappy live solo. :scowl:
  7. A very good bassist and very underrated... as someone said, his playing with Phil Rudd is impeccable... :bassist: :bassist: :bassist:
  8. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    One things for sure. No one will ever accuse him of over-playing.
    Veldar likes this.
  9. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    I was quite the Jazz/Classical/Prog Rock elitist when I was in high school and college. I thumbed my nose at many of the current rock bands at that time. I thought I was 'beyond that simple rock stuff'. In kinder words, I was a moron. :rolleyes:

    In 1983 I saw AC/DC live with some friends, and by about the time the band started playing 'Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap' I was a believer.
    I love Cliff's playing. Simple and right to the point. He plays what's approriate for the song, and he grooves like a mutha. I also like his tone; it's nice and fat.
    I read an interview with him in Bass Player many years ago. He seemed like a decent, down to earth guy, with a great attitude.

  10. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Some of you are saying that Cliff grooves. Would you please point me in the dirrection of one of his grooves. Every song I've ever heard played by AC/DC was always straight up 1/8 note bass lines using root motion.
  11. Arthur U. Poon

    Arthur U. Poon

    Jan 30, 2004
    SLC, Utah -USA-
    Endorsing Artist: Mike Lull Custom Basses
    One of my personal favorites is: "Shoot to Thrill' off of the 'Back In Black' album.
  12. I think he "grooves" best on an old AC/DC song called "Soul Stripper"
  13. Krogolas


    Dec 15, 2003
    I think grooving is about feeling good, tight and giving the illusion that you could play the same riff for days.
    Listening to cliff makes you feel like drinking and getting laid.

    Nobody could play his stuff better, that guy has huge balls in he´s playing!

    Cliff is the man!
  14. I believe the bass line on "Soul Stripper" is played by Mark Evans.
  15. I played a few fill in gigs for an AC/DC tribute - I learned more about rock bass playing in those 2 gigs then I had in the previous year. Pounding out the foundation and adding a tasty little something once in a blue moon is incredibly effective for a no thinking balls out rock band like AC/DC.

    Re Cliff grooving, after the first rehearsal I had with the tribute band their guitarist said to me the key is that everyone should feel like steadily bobbing their head or jumping up and down when listening to it. That's still a feel good groove to me even if a good 75% of what he plays is 8th note roots.
  16. Opas


    Aug 1, 2004
    Harrisburg, PA
    Love Hungry Man from Highway to Hell.
    SteveHeissner likes this.
  17. David Ferrare

    David Ferrare

    Feb 19, 2015
    Listen to something like Stiff Upper Lip.. Such groove to it. IMO it makes that song.
  18. ERIC31


    Jul 1, 2002
    Maricopa, AZ
    I've been rocking out to the High Voltage CD for a bit now and really enjoying it. Livewire, TNT, Little Lover, etc. Fun songs to listen to and play. Im definitely a Bon Scott era fan, not so much after although BAB is a monster record. Would have been better with Bon on vocals IMO. :)

    Cliff was/is the man!
    lesliegl and SlimS like this.