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Dueling Bassists

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by rickbass, Jan 11, 2001.

  1. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Recently, I met a bassist who was open to the idea of, perhaps, putting a group together with 2 bassists. Maybe I just haven't been around the block enough, but the only recording I have of a rock group with 2 bassists is Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Do you know of any other bands in the rock vein with 2 bassists that I might use as a reference?

    (Multi-tracked recordings of one bassist don't count since the musical ideas are one person's).

    Thanks in advance.
  2. john turner

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

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    there was a band in atlanta about 11 years ago that had 3 bass players and 2 drummers. forgot their name.

    i've wanted to get a multi bass band together for some time. i think a bass/bass/drummer band would be cool.
  3. There was a band called Cop Shoot Cop that had two bass players. And there are others.. do a search, because I know there was a thread about this before.
    Ned's Atomic Dustbin is a great reference.. I really like what they did with the two basses, and their music ROCKED!
  4. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    Does morphine count? How bout the Tap?
  5. Erlendur Már

    Erlendur Már

    May 24, 2000
  6. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I knew I could count on you guys, THANKS! for giving me a start.

    john - leave it to you to know of s bsmf that had THREE bassists, (that is, the most bass strings). I always liked the concept of more than one as well. N. Atomic Dustbin had a guy on a Rick who generally played melody lines with the guitar while the other bassists used a Stingray to play very simple foundations.

    Dave Siff and Rockinjc- I'll see what I can find on the bands you mention. Glad you dig Dustbin, too, Dave. Unfortunately the only recording I have of them is an 45rpm EP (1 song per side).

    phreaky- I'll check out the sound links you directed me to after some sleep. My ears are still ringing from tonight's gig.
  7. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    There was another British band (apart from Ned's) called Delta 5 who actually had two "female" bass players. I saw them live and the two bass players stood on opposite sides of the stage and had very different sounds.

    One had a Fender J bass which was eq'd to sound quite "clicky" and toppy - the other had a custom bass that was set for a very low rumbly "dub" sound. The latter who was small and dark, played reggae-influenced sub-bass lines and the former who was tall and blonde, played rhythmic,scratchy sounds mostly. It sounded great - they had obviously thought about the arrangements and it worked very well.

    Delta 5 also had a guitarist and drummer - I think they had a singer as well, but other contributed to vocals as well. There was another "all-woman" band called the "Raincoats" who experimented with different combinations of instruments for each song and more than one member played bass and I think for some songs they might have had two..not sure though.

    If we hadn't been confined to Rock, I might have mentioned Ray Brown's "SuperBass" with 3 bassists.....!
  8. In the late '70's I played in a punk band with 2nd bassist (he was lead bass, I was rhythm) and NO DRUMMER. It was up to me to keep the rhythm rolling. That band was way too much fun, of course we could barely get gigs. Cincinnati was all Pure Prairie League and similar crud around that time. Two guitars, keyboard, two basses.

    I used a '78 Alembic and a '76 fretless P thru an Acoustic 22o with 215 cab, and two Hammond tone cabs (spring reverb, 2x15 and 2x12 in each).

    Lead bassist used fretless P and a mid 60's Lake Placid Blue Jazz- that was a beautiful bass- thru a Music Man 120.

    Name of the band was "Rumble".
  9. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    fretless5 - I was in a punk band at that time, too! The Foes.

    2 bassists at the time of Pure Prairie League/America/Pocoish, little-hippie-cowboy scene? Man, that must have been tough. All we guys with integrity were doing the punk thing. ;)
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    I played in a one-off project called the Earth Movers, three bassists plus a drummer. We did it largely as a goof after watching Spinal Tap playing "Big Bottom". We covered that tune plus some other bass-centric rock warhorses like Godzilla, Dazed and Confused (I used my URB bow to cover Page's solo on a P-bass and freaked out a lot of people), Whipping Post, Birdland, etc. We didn't think to actually tape the performance.

    It was a serious challenge keeping out of each other's way and avoiding dissonance. We never followed up on it because of the difficulty of working up original material but it's a concept I'd like to explore again.
  11. You've got to get their first album, "God Fodder." Excellent stuff.
  12. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    There's an awesome Australian band by the name of "Pre_Shrunk" which utilises 2 bass players - Davage & Dave (who happen to be good friends of mine) and a drummer - theyr quite big over here but the majority of you talkbassers being Americans or Brits or whatever, you've probably never heard of them. Check their stuff out on Napster - "Sound Pimp", "Creation", "Screen Saviour" and "Crash" are some of the highlights.
  13. Hi all

    There was recently an interview in the now defunct Bassist magazine with the English group 'Gomez'. I don't quite remember if they used more than one bass player on their tracks but it sounded like there were three in the band who considered themselves 'bassplayers'.

    Maybe Bruce or one of the Poms can help me here?

  14. as one of said "Poms", and a reader of now defunct Bassist I can say that Gomez only have one bassist (at a time). the guitarists in the band all contributed basslines on their recordings.

    there is a British band called Rothko, who have three bassists and no guitarist, or vocals either. i don't think they even have a drummer- it's just three bassists with drum loops.

    on The Cure live video "Show", on the song "Primary", they're using 3 basses - guitarists Robert Smith and Perry Bamonte using Fender Bass VI's, together with regular bass and guitar.

    I used to like Ned's Atomic Dustbin too- Kill Your Television!

    [Edited by The Mock Turtle Regulator on 01-17-2001 at 01:48 PM]
  15. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    XavierG - Yeah, that's cool. As long as they're not trading off lines. That's kinda corny, you know, "Okay, I play your riff. Then I add this. See if you can do it." Old C&W used to do that, or even worse, Charlie Daniels.
  16. Remember The Outsiders? The 60's band whose only hit was "Time Won't Let Me"? They had two bassists--basically, both lead singers also played bass, so both would do so on record and live.

    If you listen to "Time...," you'll hear what are two bassists performing unison runs.

    On The Beatles' "Back In The U.S.S.R.," Lennon is playing 4-string bass while Harrison is playing one of those Fender Bass VI 6-string basses.

    Still gotta go with Spinal Tap as my fave for multi-bass recording, though...;)
  17. Rockinjc


    Dec 17, 1999
    Most of the stuff Phil Spector recorded had multi basses, but more than likely not just two. How bout Metalica and that orchestra thing?

  18. winston

    winston Supporting Member

    May 2, 2000
    Berkeley, CA
    There was a group in the 80's/90's called Hugo Largo that had two bassists. I've never heard it but I know Mike Watt of MinuteMen/Firehose fame made an album with his (ex?) wife Kira (who was bassist for Black Flag) called Dos. If you can withstand the bad poetry and pretentious posturing of Kip Hanrahan, his albums offer the tantalizing opportunity of hearing Jack Bruce, Steve Swallow, and Andy Gonzalez playing bass all at once. There's a band called Molotov that has two bass players, and certain Bill Laswell recordings feature more than one bass. Percy Jones and John Giblin occasionally played together on Brand X albums (check out the dueling fretlesses on "Wal to Wal"! And Stanley Clarke has counted on Jimmy Earl and Armand Sabal-Lecco to hold down the bottom when he plays tenor or piccolo bass.
  19. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...I'm no fan of more than 1 bassist(or more than 1 drummer, though, I love a drummer + an aux percussionist).
    Though not Rock, Ornette Coleman's FREE JAZZ album features TWO 4-tets(1 bassist per 4-tet)playing simultaneously in a collective improvisation(Scotty LaFaro & Charlie Haden).
    If any of you have The Average White Band's SOUL SEARCHING album(or the Live PERSON TO PERSON album), check out "Love Your Life"; that's Gorrie & Stuart BOTH playin' bass...one is playin' the LOW groove, the other is doin' the HIGH fills. Though ARRANGED, the tune is pretty cool & funky.

    I guess my concern is "what happens during improvisation"?
    Is one guy swingin' while the other guy is funkin' out? Are both guys gettin' busy? I dunno...looks like a clutter fest.
    FWIW, I'm from the less is more school(1 guitarist is enough, too, thank you).

    "Beauty Is A Rare Thing"
  20. I have had that idea before myself. Symphony orchestras have several basses, each with thier own bass line. Why can't rock groups have more than one bass. One bass would be strickly bottom end while the other would be more melodic and be more alto. Ed Freiland plays the piccolo bass!

    Bass Player magizine has sponsered Bass Day. I have the Bass Day 98 CD that has the all bass band with Michael Manning, Andy Gonzalez, Francis Rocco and Victor Wooten. It sounds great!


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