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Question for Watt

Discussion in 'Ask Mike Watt [Archived]' started by ChrisG, Nov 19, 2001.


  1. ChrisG

    ChrisG

    Nov 19, 2001
    UK, devon
    Hello Mike,

    Could you settle an argument between myself and a friend. Could you tell us what bass you used on "Under the influence of the meat puppets" (Ragin' full on) my mate reckons it's a fretless, I think not.. could you enlighten us on how you achieved that sound.. what a great track.

    Cheers

    Chris
     
  2. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    chris,

    tell your mate that you're right - it's a FRETTED fender telecaster bass (w/emg active pickups) plugged direct into the board - no signal from the amp being miked. I slurred the notes pretty heavy whcih probably prompted your bud to think it was a fretless. I was trying to make it sound kind of like a trombone in parts.

    thanks much for the kind words!







    on bass, watt







     
  3. it's funny how there's a couple of questions about fretless on "ragin' full on". they did sound like fretless lines.

    when i did the spiel with watt for project x (www.proj-ex.net), i asked him if he ever played fretless and he said he tried to play fretted bass like it was a fretless sometimes. i told him that when i got a fretless bass i approached it like "how would mike watt play fretless bass?" and at soundchecks i used to drive my bandmates nuts by playing "relatin' dudes to jazz" and "big train" to check my gear.
     
  4. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    cj,

    sorry for bugging your bandmates via a few degrees of separation.





    on bass, watt






     
  5. watt,

    you're too modest :) and they didn't have a whole hell of a lot of good taste in music in retrospect. it's a miracle they had a proxy-son like me on the thunderbroom.

    cj
     
  6. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    cj,

    miracles make life trippy, huh?





    on bass, watt












     
  7. watt,

    indeed they do, amongst other wonderful things.

    "life isn't bad - life is good!" - gene simmons

    cj
     
  8. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    cj,

    good quote from gene. I saw kiss a bunch before they had a record out - they'd open up for anyone. picked up on some his bass things, like that slur stuff up and down the neck. I told him that once and he was very surprised. he said john entwhistle was the real ****.






    on bass, watt











     
  9. thank you very much! :) that quote came from a 1992 kiss documentary that i have on laserdisc.

    i gather that at least one of the times you saw kiss open up was for b.o.c.?

    kiss is one of the reasons i took up guitar and bass in the first place. their records of mine are played almost to death and sitting in my basement storage room along with my equally played almost to death minutemen records. never got to see them live though - missed them when they came through last year on their farewell tour. it's all my girlfriend's fault - she wanted to see matchbox 20 instead.

    mike watt and gene simmons in the same room... what a mental image! :eek: not too surprising , though, considering that j did an awesome cover of "goin' blind" for the "kiss my ass" tribute album.

    i am in total agreement regarding "the ox". :cool: wish my bass was here at work so i could bang out "boris the spider" right now! :)
     
  10. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    cj,

    I saw them open for james gang, savoy brown, camel, wishbone ash - stuff like that. maybe I saw them play a stadium gig w/b.o.c. - there must've been ten or something bands on the bill. last time I saw them was in 1975, I think - the only time I saw them headline.

    I remember their first album when it came out - must've been after seeing them like three or four times. I remember it sounding so slow...





    on bass, watt







     
  11. the production on their first two albums was pretty bad. it didn't do the band or the songs justice at all!
     
  12. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    cj,

    it wasn't the sound - it was the tempos and just playing too careful - I was used to their live thing.

    by the way, I think "hotter than hell" sounds great - it was the next one "dressed to kill" that sounded so tiny. the live one after that was mudded up but I still dug it - it was the last one I ever listened to.






    on bass, watt





     
  13. mike,

    you're right, compared to the live album, the studio tracks are rather slow, come to think of it!

    casablanca records was skimming for money when they did the first live album. it was a big risk - if that record had tanked, that would have been it for the label and possibly for the band.

    cj
     
  14. Harper

    Harper

    Nov 10, 2001
    I catch *so* much flack when I tell people I think Simmons was underrated as a bassist. Check out the bass lines on Detroit Rock City, Goin' Blind, Cold Gin...lots of good stuff on the early albums.

    You got any favorite Kiss bass lines, Watt?
     

  15. I'm listening to chemical wire right now and i could SWEAR that it is a fretless...scary!
     
  16. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    hi,

    I swear to you I used my fingers (no pick) on a FRETTED 1968 telecaster bass w/emg p and j pickups recorded straight into the board from a direct box - no mic on a speaker w/an amp driving it.

    the fingers mean a lot w/the bass - left AND right hands...






    on bass, watt






     

  17. that sounds like a very interesting bass...i've seen pictures of some like it on the fender catalog. was it a custom shop or stock?
     
  18. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    hi,

    not a custom shop bass. I bought it in 1983 for $300 from a cat in koreatown (l.a.) who was turning away from music and into religion, I found it through an ad in the recycler (a l.a. free ads zine). it had passive pickups and a kludged bridge. the body was a schecter replacement, cut for p-j pickups and was very heavy, maybe swamp ash. the neck said "sep 27 '68" on it. I shimmed it w/a piece of a matchbook cover to get the angle w/the body better. I had the neck re-fretted w/jumbo fret wire. I put in an emg p-j setup w/the emg two band eq thing (the main reason for them was that me and d. boon would sweat so much, it would shunt out the highend from our machines halfway through a gig. the epoxy-sealed emgs were immune to this problem). the bridge was made for fender by kahler for a short while and was called "the claw." it was a boat anchor, maybe weighing three pounds or something. I put a brass nut on the neck too. it came natural (you can see a picture of it soon after I got it when you see the pictures inside the minutemen's "double nickels on the dime") but I removed the pickguard and painted it white w/refrigerator finish epoxy spray paint (krylon) shortly after. after a while, I started putting pictures on it. here's some links to good shots of it:

    http://hootpage.com/watt84a.jpg

    http://hootpage.com/watt86a.jpg

    http://hootpage.com/watt91b.jpg

    http://hootpage.com/watt91c.jpg

    http://hootpage.com/watt87b.jpg

    http://hootpage.com/hurley-watt87a.jpg

    it was stole from my apartment while I was on tour (I was using my blue thunderbird II) in the fall of 1995. I really dug this bass and it was a big part of my later minutemen and most of fIREHOSE history. it was in the van during the wreck that killed d. boon. I had to replace the pickups after cuz they had stopped working when I got it back. I recorded the first two dos records w/it among other things - it was my main bass for years. hope someone's playing it and it's not on some pawnshop wall.







    on bass, watt








     
  19. there's also good shots of the bass on the back covers of "project: mersh" and "ragin' full-on".

     
  20. watt

    watt TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    cj,

    the back of fIREHOSE's "if'n" too - a real clear one. also, it's kind of my madonna shot cuz you can see my bellybutton.





    on bass, watt