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Mick Karn

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by PinkFloydDan, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. PinkFloydDan


    Jul 4, 2005
    In last month's Bass Player Mag, there was a small article with Mick Karn. Pretty inspirational for those non-reading musicians and those with no theory training. I downloaded this guy's 8 songs from his Web site----it's certainly different. I dig it.

    Anyone else like him?
  2. sloppysubs


    Nov 24, 2002
    Swansboro, NC
    Definately marches to his own drummer.

    I love him.
  3. pafriend


    Sep 21, 2005
    Los Angeles, CA
    Mick has always been my favorite bassist. His solo stuff can be a bit too much at times for some folks, so be sure to listen to the work he has done with other artists. His work with Kate Bush and Masami Tsuchiya is great stuff.
  4. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    His whole deal is that he has his own style and doesn't sound like anybody else, really (although Duran Duran ripped off huge chunks of Japan's sound). Yuo have to admire someone who has forged his own sound. If you're going to start digging into his past, don't miss out on Japan- VERY artsy fartsy music with vocalist David Sylvian. It was kind of an art school interpretation of Bowie's Berlin trilogy, but with weirder synth sounds. Also, the album Dali's Car is a classic.

    Interetsing thing about Mick Karn: he plays octaves with his first two fingers- on a fretless. just something I noticed.
    Goy77 likes this.
  5. j-raj

    j-raj Bassist: Educator/Soloist/Performer Supporting Member

    Jan 14, 2003
    Indianapolis, IN
    very unique cat Mick Karn is. His stuff with Japan and Kate Bush is very talented.
    JimK likes this.
  6. Mojo-Man

    Mojo-Man Supporting Member

    Feb 11, 2003
    I've just got into Mick Karn too.
    Great stuff.
    A real nack of playing behind a singer.
    Anybody got a fretless Wal for sale?????
  7. luciferrising


    Aug 20, 2008
    Yeah, great sound, great touch, but...anybody knows where to find some tabs?
  8. Huge fan of Japan! Influenced me greatly as a keyboard player and in my songwriting. Mick Karn's playing with them is tops!
    I'll have to revisit their stuff now that I'm playing bass! Where did I store that VINYL? :)
    Goy77 likes this.
  9. Hoover

    Hoover Banned

    Nov 2, 2007
    New York City
    I've been a huge Karn fan since the mid-1980's when Tom Dube turned me on to Dali's Car and the Japan "best of" compilation Exorcising Ghosts. Fanstastically unique voice on the bass, there really is no one else like him...although it once occurred to me that if you took Percy Jones, then subtracted everything about Percy that resembled Jaco Pastorius, then took what was left over & played it backwards, you'd have Mick Karn. Maybe.

    Check out his first solo album Titles...brilliant stuff.

    Indeed...although, in his first Bass Player Magazine interview which came out right around the release of The Tooth Mother he talked about working with David Torn and Bill Bruford (they toured as Torn's quartet after Cloud About Mercury, and appear together on Torn's Door X album), and Karn admitted his lack of formal training was an obstacle to smooth productivity. Karn would play a note and Bill or David would suggest he play a different note (eg. "a half step flatter") and Karn would look at them like they had three heads until David would physically grab Mick's finger and push it to the spot on the fingerboard where the note they wanted was.

    I saw Mick on tour with Mark Isham around 1987 or '88 (in an awesome band that also included David Torn & Terry Bozzio) and it was almost uncomfortable for me to watch Mick's technique...or lack thereof. Both his left and right hands are so not what "textbook" bass players are supposed to use that it was visually distracting!

    But man, close your eyes and the schidt he plays is just so freakin' cool it wouldn't matter if he was an idiot savant who flails against the bass strings with his pecker.
    bearhart74 and Goy77 like this.
  10. Goy77


    Feb 28, 2017
    Reviving this just to see who else loved Mick Karn's playing? This hasn't been posted in since his death. I'm sure he's jamming away in the next life, pleasing the light people's ears like he did ours! :-] BTW anyone know what all basses he used through the years? I would love to get hold of one like the ones he used in Japan.
    murphy likes this.
  11. Bob_Ross

    Bob_Ross Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2012
    I suspect this isn't a complete list, but my understanding is that in Japan he used a Travis Bean TB-2000, and then a Wal MkI. He aquired a second Wal and continued using those two basses for his solo albums, as well as adding a Klein sometime around the recording of The Tooth Mother.
  12. Julian G

    Julian G

    Mar 16, 2017
    Nice to see some kudos being given to Mick Karn. Brilliant bassist with a unique style and feel for the bass.
    Listen to his playing on the Japan album Tin Drum - simply magical.
    murphy likes this.
  13. He was really one who marched to his own drummer. I have a copy of The Tooth Mother, and despite its bizarreness, you can see his brilliance shine through. Check out a live video he played on called Sleepers Awake and you will notice he was so in tune by using his ears that he very rarely even looked at the neck while playing.
  14. veryvery


    May 23, 2016
    *hold up hand* fan here, ever since I heard Dali's Car in my mid-teens way back when.

    If you're interested in playing some of his stuff there are YouTube videos these days--some are quite on point.