Do you like bands just because of the bass?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by kirbywrx, Jun 7, 2002.

  1. kirbywrx

    kirbywrx formerly James Hetfield

    Jul 27, 2000
    Melbourne, Australia.
    I know for a fact that if it werent for Flea and Les i wouldnt like RHCP and Primus. Anyone else feel this way? Do people actually listen to Jaco's stuff because it sounds good (and it does) or do theyjust listen to it because they want to be like him, or they want to be able to play it.

    If this question is too hard to understand get rid of it, or move it if you have to.
  2. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    If a band has good bass lines, then I like them more than most. It all depends on the bass. It gives it the feel. I like RHCP for the bass. GO FLEA!!! that's one example... many more, I just don't want to post them all.
  3. I definately dont like bands just for bass. To me, probably the guitarist is the most important, then the rest - bass, drummer etc. are equal. I love the RHCP but it isnt for Flea, its because they write some awesome songs and John Frusciante is one of the best modern guitarists.
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member Administrator

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    i think they go hand in hand - bass playing and general songwriting and musical ability. i'm not too crazy for some of the serious bass-heavy groups, especially the jazzy ones, but i'm also not into too many bands that have lame bass.

    for instance, i've always liked iron maiden, but i've never been much for judas priest, who's rhythm section was pretty lame. i'd much rather listen to david lee roth's first solo album than any of the van halen offerings.

    then again, i'd rather listen to a band like our lady peace than bela fleck, even though vic is an awesome bass player and olp's bass isn't anything special at all.

    i'll always be into songs first, but there's no denying that i enjoy listening to active/aggressive bass playing too.
  5. Never.

    Bass is only a part of the picture. I don't understand why people like Primus so much... I really, really hate their songs. I don't care how good Claypool is.

    I agree 100%. So many people are bent on how great they think Flea is, but I think John Fruiciante is a far better (and much more tasteful) musician. In fact, he's one of my favorite musicians.
  6. PollyBass

    PollyBass ******

    Jun 25, 2001
    Shreveport, LA
    No i don't. Everything has to be flowing for it to be good music. maybe the bass stands out, but they all have to be good. like justin from tool lets say, yeah, he;s good, but how good are danny, adam, and maynerd? VERY GOOD. I agree with the comments that john from the RHCP Is a better musican than flea.
  7. I've bought a whole load of albums just for the bass playing-
    Dave Lee Roth's Eat 'em and smile, Skyscraper,
    Weather Report's Heavy weather, Jaco Pastorius's debut solo album,
    Primus' Pork soda (listened to it twice, then sold it- I can't see what's so great about them either)
    RHCP's BSSM, Mother's milk, Californication
    Chic best of, Chic-ism
    Iron Maiden best of the beast, Fear of the dark, killers, Iron maiden
    Japan best of
    Mick Karn's the tooth mother
    Colin Hodgkinson's The bottom line
    John Paul Jones' Zooma
    TM Stevens' out of control (a bit poor)


    the Chic, Japan, Iron Maiden and RHCP albums I like for the songwriting as well, but as for the rest it's just the level of musicianship that made me buy them, just to see what I could learn from them as a bassist.
  8. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    All that horrible GRP stuff, e.g. the Dave Weckl albums. It grooves to death, but so BOOOOORING!!!
  9. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I love great bassists, but I would never knowingly buy an otherwise uninteresting album just to hear the bass. The overall quality of the music is paramount for me. I have absolutely nothing against technical ability; it's just that without musical depth (as I perceive it, needless to say), it isn't satisfying. For instance, I personally would rather listen to Los Lobos than to a Vic Wooten solo album (though Wooten is a great player).

    BTW, this isn't about blanket judgment of a musician's entire career, just about specific judgments of specific recordings. I'm not saying Wooten, for example, is not a good or deep musician; I just don't really dig what I've heard of his solo work.

    Just my $0.02.
  10. I don't listen to a band just for the bass. I have listened to RHCP since before I picked up the bass. I admit that I tend to pick out the bass more, and tend to judge the basslines, but if the bass is cut, or the basslines suck, I'll still listen to it if it's a kickass song.
  11. DanGouge


    May 25, 2000
    I think that view pretty much sums up my feelings on the issue. You have to listen to the music as a whole. The bass playing is just a component of the whole. RHCP and Primus would probably lose their distinctive sounds without their respective bassists. But the bass is not the only thing that makes those bands work. In effect, a lame band with a great bassist will still sound lame. The reverse is also true, a band of otherwise great players cannot make a lame bassist sound good. You have to have all the elements to make a great band. That and all the elements have to work together well. Also, a lot of bassists play simple stuff because that's what their band's sound demands.
  12. There have been times when I've bought music only because of the bass playing. In the eighties I had just joined a band and the guitar player suggested I go out and buy a couple Iron Maiden albums to get a better idea what kind of sound they were going for. Boy did that open a few doors. Also, more recently, I've bought a few Motown CDs that I know I wouldn't have purchased if James Jamerson wasn't playing on them. They have also opened up some new ideas for my bass playing.

    Generally speaking, though, I'll buy a CD if I think it's going to be good, regardless of the bass playing. I do agree with an earlier post that good music and good bass playing seem to go hand in hand, at least with the music I tend to listen to.
  13. JT hit the nail on the head--if a band cares enough about the music that its basslines will be more than bare-bones, odds are they will be more thoughtful songwriters.

    Of course, then you have Level 42, which made crappy music no matter how good Mark King might have been.
  14. Zirc


    May 13, 2001
    Los Angeles
    Only reason I like Alien Ant Farm is because of their bassist
  15. Hategear

    Hategear Workin' hard at hardly workin'.

    Apr 6, 2001
    Appleton, Swissconsin
    Not necessarily.

    If a band sounds like s**t, I don't care how good their bassist is. On the other hand, I think Flea can do things with his bass that amaze and mystify me, but I just can't get into the RHCP.
  16. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    A general comment-
    I started out playing "Rock" in ' '75, I had gravitated towards R&B/Soul/Funk because the bass was, IMO, was more outfront. So, needless to say, I probably bought a lot of LAME records because 'funky bass' was present.

    I do buy a lotta albums because of who is playing bass(or horn or drums)-
    A recent example: Fima Ephron. I totally dig him...when I just recently discovered The Hasidic New Wave, I ordered all their stuff with Ephron(even though I hadn't heard anything by HNW & was totally unfamiliar with their genre of music, Klezmer).
    ...and a blast from the past-
    I may not have bought any of those Joni Mitchell albums unless... ;)
  17. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    A good bassist can make a good band or a good song, great. A good bassist won't do anything to help though if they are in a bad band or playing a lame song.
  18. pc


    Apr 4, 2000
    Montreal QC
    Let's say 70% of my cds were bought because of bass.
  19. malthumb


    Mar 25, 2001
    The Motor City
    I love to listen to Vic Wooten, and I think some of his best work is with the Flecktones, but I only own two Flecktones CDs 'cause I just can't get into their whole sound.

    On the other hand, I would love Earth, Wind & Fire even if Verdine White was not the bassist. Their style, feel, and musical philosophy just rings true for me. I actually liked EWF before I gave a rip about Verdine White, who is now one of my favorite bassists.

    Lastly, one of my favorite songs is Prince's When Dove's Cry . Do you know how the bass line goes on that one? Let me save you some time. There is no bass in that song at all. None.

    For me, it's the music, then the bass, then the bassist.


  20. lump


    Jan 17, 2000
    St. Neots, UK
    I feel exactly the same way. It's the music first. Bass wanking is just as boring as guitar wanking. Support players fill stadiums, not soloists.