Garage Rock Bass

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by PennyroyalWe, Oct 27, 2021.

  1. PennyroyalWe


    Sep 2, 2018
    Me and some friends are kicking around the idea for a recording project inspired by old 60’s-70’s garage rock. I figured I’d ask here about some favorite recordings, particularly for getting ideas for song structures (and BASS TONES!!!). So feel free to drop links to your favorite examples. If you don’t have songs in mind, samples or descriptions of some cool garage-y bass tones are more than welcome too. Thanks!
  2. PennyroyalWe


    Sep 2, 2018
  3. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    First off, ‘garage rock’ is a nebulous term that needs to be defined further. In classic terms, it would mean the kind of primitive, primarily three-chord racket banged out by inept but hopeful American kids inspired by the British Invasion, from approximately ‘64-‘68, although earlier musical trends come into play…R’n’B, Frat Rock, reimagined 50’s rock, certain traces of the folk revival and surf music that was already in effect, and then the emerging soul movement at the time. Then there were the pro outfits that jumped on the Brit bandwagon, got signed to relatively major labels, had national hits, and provided aditional fodder for the kids still struggling. “Garage Rock” didn’t really exist in the 70’s; after the great stylistic upheaval of ‘67, with all the experimentation, branching out, and increasing emphasis on virtuosity, the entire zeitgeist changed. Sure, there were still kids in garages and rec rooms making noise, but it was with a whole different attitude. If anything, the late 70’s punk/new wave explosion was a return to garage rock ideals, and was actually influenced in part by the pre-‘67 stuff; in addition, there was the lateral garage rock revival that went along with all that.
    That being said, besides the national acts, there were legions of local bands that put out one-shot singles that were never heard beyond their region, before they ran out of steam, interest, or band members getting drafted or going to college.
    There are endless compilations of this kind of thing, amateur and pro, but the bedrock collection, where you and everybody else should start, is Nuggets, originally conceived and compiled by Lenny Kaye(eventual Patti Smith guitarist)in 1972, when that kind of musical history was ignored and dismissed. Initially just a double album, it was greatly expanded on a four-disc box set in the 90’s…
    Further editions covered the British scene of the time period, and then a collection of late 70’s-80’s bands inspired by all the early stuff.
    Then there was the separate Pebbles series that concentrated on all the one-and-done local heroes, Girls In The Garage, and a vast number of Surf, Frat Rock, Mod, Freakbeat, and regional collections. Too many to list, but you can track this stuff down, or plug in “garage rock” on You Tube or to come up with some gems.
    As far as any key tracks, ask ten different passionate fans, and you’ll get ten different answers; I’ll just throw these Captain Obvious examples out….
    Gotta start somewhere, and this was the last big rock hit before JFK was shot, and then subsequently the Beatles hit(the two events that changed everything)….

    Once the Brit influence took hold, the reactions were varied…

    The snotty attitude of the Stones translated as well…

    Then there were post-Byrds strains of folk-rock…
    As far as instruments/amps are concerned, it’s more important for the guitars to be ‘period correct’; for bass you’d be better off using modern equipment, but no pointy metal or hippie sandwich basses, not cool. This was the era that forced the manufacturers to up their game in bass amplification.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2021
  4. dalkowski

    dalkowski It's "rout," not "route." Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    I'll co-sign with @Michedelic on the "Nuggets" box set 100%. Certainly that's where I'd start. "Nuggets II" (UK and international) is also pretty awesome IMHO.
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  5. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Then there was the “blue eyed soul” contingent…

  6. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Two key “revivalist” bands…

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  7. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Don’t forget the combo organ…

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  8. AGCurry

    AGCurry Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2005
    St. Louis
    Garage rock: Music by small American groups who rehearsed in a garage, or sounded like it. Usually young white guys, sometimes Hispanic. In the earlier days of garage rock, these bands were trying to sound black(ish), but later in the sixties, the psychedelic influence changed that.

    Early days (1962-1965):

    Gear by Silvertone (Sears & Roebuck) or Airline (Montgomery Wards). Fender amps (coveted by those playing Silvertone) are okay, but not if they have JBL speakers. Cheap dynamic microphones. No studio musicians!

    Inspiration? Many of these are listed by @Michedelic above, but I'll second them:

    The Kingsmen: "Louie, Louie" and "Money (that's What I Want)"
    Tommy James and the Shondells: "Hanky Panky"
    The Medallions: "Double Shot"
    Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels: "Little Latin Lupe Lu"
    Shadows of Knight: "Gloria"
    Paul Revere and the Raiders (actually a cut above garage rock, but covering them qualifies): "Just Like Me," "Oo Poo Pa Doo"
    Standells: "Dirty Water"
    The Animals: "House of the Rising Sun"
    The Rolling Stones: "Get Off My Cloud"
    Wilson Pickett / Young Rascals: "In the Midnight Hour"
    Richie Valens: "La Bamba," "Let's Go"
    Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs: "Wooly Bully" (Billboard's #1 song of the year in 1965!)
    And of course, ? and the Mysterians: "96 Tears"!
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2021
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  9. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Hopefully you know that most movies about an era or time period are usually a bunch of crap, but this one comes pretty close to explaining “how it was”, aside from the storyline cliches…
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  10. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Another endorsement for the Nuggets box set. I have volumes I & II. :thumbsup:
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  11. PennyroyalWe


    Sep 2, 2018
    Thanks, all, for the replies! Lots of tunes I’ve never heard before. I’ve always thought of MC5 and the Stooges as the quintessential garage rock groups, but I’m seeing it’s really a much more varied (and sometimes soft edged) genre.
  12. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Both of those bands came out of the garage rock milieu, the 5 moreso than the Stooges. Kramer and company went through the same traditional process that scores of other bands did, but they took it in another, newer, heavier direction as they weathered the changes of ‘67. The Stooges were essentially a bunch of slacker malcontents out to just make noise; Iggy had been a drummer in a bluesy garage outfit; Ron Ashton had been a bass player who moved to guitar with rudimentary skills, but went to England and saw The Who in their early, violent days, having an epiphany. The Who was not well known in the US until 1967, and they themselves had a stylistic change or two since they emerged at the begining of ‘65. But the important thing is, both bands, along with the Velvet Underground, laid the groundwork for punk while everyone else was all hippy-dippy. There was other tributary stuff as well, sometimes bands that don’t seem likely, along with the Nuggets style roots. To give you an idea of how the 5 transitioned, here’s a tune by Van Morrison and Them(the Irish part of the British Invasion, and the originators of “Gloria”, the song that Chicago garagers the Shadows of Knight had a hit with)….

    Then the MC5’s take on it a year later, from a small local label…

    A little fuzzier, and perhaps more energy than expertise, but they were on their way. They ditched their Vox amps for Marshall and Sunn, and started issuing slabs of sound like “Kick Out The Jams” while being in the middle of an agitated, political era. It was no longer teen sock-hop time.

  13. Another great garage rock band, for me probably the epitome of garage rock.

    Last edited: Oct 30, 2021
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  14. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Yep, unfortunately they and The Wailers really didn’t make it too far out of the Pacific Northwest; too raw, perhaps, while The Kingsmen and Paul Revere got all the glory.
    But they(and The Monks)certainly got rediscovered and exalted in the last few decades. Saw the Sonics twice, first time 10 years ago with most of the original members, and the newish bass player covering a lot of the bloodcurdling vocals, and then in 2017, when the only OG guy was the sax player, with keyboardist Gerry Roslie’s position filled by Jake Cavaliere from revivalists Lords Of Altamont(who are great themselves).
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  15. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    A little taste of the Lords’ version of raw power..

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  16. mdlewis

    mdlewis Supporting Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Boston Metro
    +1 to The Sonics and Wailers. I first encountered them in 77. We immediately started covering the Sonics’ version of Have Love Will Travel and their original tune, Cinderella. Raw power at it’s finest.

    Met Gerry Roslie several times - super nice guy.
    bobyoung53 likes this.
  17. I'd rate the Sonics as one of the most influential American bands ever, even if they didn't sell many records. Neither did the Velvet Underground.....

    And one band who took that influence as far as they could - Boston's Lyres: