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If you thought the 80's was a big pile of suck, have you reconsidered anything?

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by lordradish, May 3, 2021 at 6:34 AM.

  1. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    This one's for all the 80's haters, of which I still mostly consider myself one...

    I've never been a fan of the '80s, at least as far as rock goes. For me, it's the decade where a lot of music got really plastic and silly. Hair bands and new wave were all the rage when I was in high school, things were much more style over substance with few exceptions. I was mostly listening to what was considered classic rock at the time (65-75). I did like some of the more sophisticated stuff like Talking Heads and what King Crimson was doing at the time... punk never did it for me. Although my tastes ended up going more towards jazz, funk and prog rock, in the last few years, I'm starting to appreciate how much good musicianship was hiding under the sheen of plastic and hairspray, in some cases. I think the production techniques hid a lot of what was going on in some cases, and some of the great lines were kinda hidden under that digital sheen. I also think that, at that time, my musical knowledge as a bassist simply wasn't at a level where I could pick out and appreciate these lines.

    In terms of bass, there's the obvious stuff like Mark King/Level 42, and Pino's work with Paul Young, and Mick Karn with Japan. Even though I'm not really a fan of the sound, there's no denying the sick bass playing. There's quite a few other underappreciated bassists and basslines out there. Curt Smith from Tears for Fears has some incredibly tasty work in their stuff from this time period. And of course, John Taylor from Duran Duran could really kill it.

    Who are some other hidden nuggets out there? I'm not talking about the players that did the basics well - even in a lot of the stuff I don't like, the player could pound out consistent eighth notes, but that's just showing up for the job, so that's not what I'm talking about, and that's generally not what impresses me, nowadays. Who really stands out and is worth a second look?
  2. Picton


    Aug 16, 2017
    Reading, MA
    Umm. For bass?

    Peter Hook? John Avila with Oingo Boingo?

    Aside from that, I generally think any serious fan of prog-rock is going to have a hard time liking the "plasticky" '80s. As a guy who VASTLY prefers the plasticky stuff, I'd just say "diff'rent strokes, diff'rent folks." Exploring digital instruments and cheesy rhythms is not necessarily a knock on a band's musicianship; Vince Clarke of Erasure certainly knew what he was doing musically, though his aesthetic probably wouldn't appeal.
  3. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
    Late 70s early 80s, the Police , one of the best trios ever.

    Ill spare you the awesome metal bands that spawned in the 80s....and I'm not talking glam or hairspray bands

    Terrorizer anyone??!?!!
    knumbskull, Squittolo, Amano and 21 others like this.
  4. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
  5. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Two words: John Taylor. Check yourself out some Duran Duran and Power Station.
  6. lordradish

    lordradish Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2006
    I know... I mentioned him. I recently watched a video of his where he did a playalong to "Rio", ya could really hear the bassline and it was quite impressive.
  7. ugly_bassplayer


    Jan 21, 2009
  8. Stevorebob

    Stevorebob Well... I Am Here, Aren't I? Supporting Member

    Sep 29, 2011
    Los Angeles
    Sorry. There were a lot of words and I drifted off. :bag:
    Amano and Mark 63 like this.
  9. Jeff Hughes

    Jeff Hughes

    May 3, 2020
    Kim Deal of The Pixies. Nothing too busy, but she has some interesting note choices.

    Adam Clayton of U2.
  10. ctmullins

    ctmullins fueled by beer and coconut Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 18, 2008
    MS Gulf Coast
    I'm highly opinionated and extremely self-assured
    I am a huge fan of the 80s, for a variety of reasons. Here are two:
    • Synth bass. I'm a huge fan of synth bass, done with real synths, not those cheesy "synth pedals" that people use with a bass guitar (and I've used a few, so I get to say that). I mean huge, throbbing, sawtooth-with-resonance bass that churns your insides in the most delightful way.
    • The rise of alternative rock. This was actually a massive deal for me. Prior to the 1980s, the music that was popularly available was tightly controlled by a handful of labels and distribution companies. If it didn't fit "the formula", it simply wasn't heard. Then, in the early 80s, with the rise of alternative radio stations, we suddenly began getting access to really obscure artists making really interesting music. No longer did we have to color inside the lines. At last, we were free to explore the outer fringes of what was possible. Even though the big labels were still prevalent, and still saturating the market with cookie-cutter pop music, we finally had other options.
  11. bigdaddybass12


    Feb 26, 2021
    No 80's rock music still stinks.
  12. jw23mind

    jw23mind Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2017
    Reading MA
    I'll echo the rise of alternative rock, and add the merging of punk and metal as a high point of the '80s. And as plastic-y as the pop music was, the songwriting was downright masterful compared to everything in the pop realm since. In fact I'd say it was the last gasp of mainstream pop music, destroyed by the rise of the alternatives.
  13. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    I was into hardcore punk and heavy metal in the 1980’s. (I still am). You can’t get any further from the mainstream 80’s music scene than that. My 80’s were incredible, music-wise.
    PsyDocHill, oranje, jymyben and 12 others like this.
  14. jw23mind

    jw23mind Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2017
    Reading MA
    Favorite bassists: Kerry Hatch of Oingo-Boingo and Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE).
    GregC, jymyben, obimark and 8 others like this.
  15. I don't hate the 80's, but I think people should give Hair Metal Bands a second listen. Those guys were way better musicians than people think. They were being judged on the way they looked. For example...

    Skid Row
    Motley Crue
    Slaughter... and the list goes on.
  16. roborend

    roborend Supporting Member

    Jun 10, 2012
    Rock Island Illinois
    I've given most of those a second, third listen and some like hundreds of times because radio, and they're completely terrible, IMO lol but carry on
    GregC, zenrad, Marc DLarosa and 7 others like this.
  17. dalkowski

    dalkowski Supporting Member

    May 20, 2009
    Massachusetts USofA
    Mani - Stone Roses
  18. Zoffy


    Jun 7, 2020
    Sacramento CA
    Yes. John Taylor was/is definitely worth a listen. One of my favorite bassists.:thumbsup:
  19. PWRL


    Sep 15, 2006
    The 80's weren't all mainstream. Nomeansno, Bad Brains, Minutemen, fIREHOSE (already mentioned I know, but still), Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, the list goes on.
    GregC, xbud, PsyDocHill and 17 others like this.
  20. That's ok. I can't convince anyone else either! Haha.
    roborend likes this.
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