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Rock moves for a gigging bassist in his 60's

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by stringthrough, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    I've always been a shoe-gazer but now in my 60's I feel I need to improve my "visuals" so as not to look like I have one foot in the grave.

    Any suggestions would be helpful; words, pics, links to Youtubes, etc.

    Obvisously I am not able to perform Flea antics on stage. Instead I'm looking for more "age appropriate" moves.

    Oh, I'm currently in a country band and medium/ hard rock band.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. My first suggestion would be to look at and engage with your audience. This is especially true if you do any lead or background singing. Try to look happy, not mad. Look at various places in the audience, not just the same place every time. I make it a point to alternate between right, center, and left.

    if you don’t do a lot of singing, or you were just interested in becoming more mobile, my advice would be to lose the guitar cord, and get a wireless transmitter. Nothing nails your feet to the floor quite like your dependency on a cord. The moves themselves don’t have to be complicated. A simple shuffling Two-step side to side will be fine.
  3. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    That's helpful... Thanks!

    BTW, I use a wireless and, unfortunately, don't sing.
  4. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    I refer you to Tower of Power, “What Is Hip”....
  5. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Check out ZZ Top.
    Dusty gets a lot of mileage out of a simple box step...
    I don't move much (working on it, like you) and I play fretless so I'm a bit more conscious of finger placement than I probably should be (working on that too...)
    It never fails that as soon as I'm comfortable with a bit of step-and-sway I'm playing a stage the size of a card table and couldn't move much anyway...
  6. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    Thanks! Good idea to check out Dusty
  7. 2112


    Apr 30, 2005
    You need moves? Check out Blue Lou starting about 3:42. Solid.

    He actually gets started about 2:56. But those particular moves are somewhat adventurous. No need to get too crazy here. After all... you're the bassist.
  8. slagbass

    slagbass Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2005
    Subscribed. My best move is being able to load in without hurting my back.
  9. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    Spirit of Ox likes this.
  10. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    This is by far my biggest issue. I'm so trained to be a solid musician that that's where my focus always is. I spend more time than I care to admit working on not being a statue when I work out tunes at home just so moving with the song becomes more natural. I don't have a naturally "happy face" either - I have to think to smile which takes me away from my playing.

    I do try to look around, make eye contact with anyone doing the same, engage the audience and try to interact with other in the band as well as at least bounce and sway a little with the song.
    josephhc1803 and NathanDetroit like this.
  11. G7sDRz.gif ZkD.gif
  12. There's a fine line to be drawn here. I have video of me pre-pandemic, and video from a shoot I did with a different band this past October. I've been pretty inactive all year, so the October video is a little painful to watch. I look stiff because, well, I'm stiff. My body isn't limber like it was before.

    I'll turn 62 in a week and right now I'm doing stretching exercises in order to limber up a bit so that I don't look like that when I hit stages around here this summer. But on the other side of this coin is that I am 62. To be too animated would just look like a little old lady trying to act young. So for me, moving means being natural. Walking around a little bit on stage. Put your foot on a riser if there is one, but don't jump up on it like an 80's hair guitarist. Sway with the music, but don't try to be Fred Astaire. Be engaged with the music but don't force it. And above all else, don't go over to the other side of the stage and stick your face in the guitarists face :)

    You can practice a little two-step move at home while you're playing your bass. You can practice just moving to the music while you're playing. Look at yourself in the mirror. Have some fun. If you're having fun, the audience will notice.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2021
  13. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    I didn't know Fred Astaire played bass... :)
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    I'm a bit younger than you - 50 - and I like to move around a LOT. Like, my wife can hear me practicing in the basement a lot, even though I have headphones on, because sometimes when I get into a tune I start jumping and dancing and jogging in place while I play. And I probably look like a fool onstage, but I don't care, I'm having fun, and it's all part of the show.

    But even so, I'd say the thing to give your priority to is to own your space and be present in your body. That may sound a little fruity, but what I mean is, don't just stand there when you're playing - PLANT yourself there. Set your feet firmly on a patch of stage and RULE that patch of stage. You don't have to move around a lot, in fact aimless drifting will lessen your presence. Dominate your spot like you're the freaking Rock of Gibraltar. It's about the energy.

    If you DO decide to move, then GO - go SOMEWHERE. Don't drift over to the guitarist like you hope maybe he'll give you a treat if you sit nicely for him - charge him like you're going to tackle him. Shimmy up to the singer and dance, whatever. Go to a destination and then own THAT space. If at all in doubt that you can pull off movement like that, then don't - you're fine just owning your space, with feet planted and energy pounding down into the ground.

    When I say "be present," I mean relate to your environment, to the people in your band and the crowd. That's stuff like eye contact, but it will show in your posture and little subtleties as you handle your instrument. Don't crawl into a cave with your bass to hide like no one else is there. Feel the energy of the song and of everyone playing around you, gather it all up and radiate it out into the audience. That's the kind of thing the Ox did brilliantly without ever moving his feet. Pino is good at it too.
  15. ErikGrand


    May 4, 2019
    Visuals: Smile, smile and smile...Oh, and lose the beard, if that's you on the picture. Beards make people look old :)
    MrLenny1 likes this.
  16. ficelles


    Feb 28, 2010
    Devon, England
    Normal bassist behaviour:

    Wear black.
    With black accessories.
    Move as little as possible.
    Stand at the back and look cool.
    Do not make eye contact with the audience.
    Do not make eye contact with the band.
    (unless you make a mistake, then glare at a guitarist)
    Under no circumstances smile.

    Then when the audience is sufficiently drunk:
    Townshend windmills, leaps, rawk poses, crowd surfing etc are all allowed.
    Basically you can turn into Juliette Lewis on the bass.

    But if you do, never look at the gig photos...
  17. jthisdell


    Jun 12, 2014
    Roanoke, VA
    I wasn't limber when I was young;)
    bobba66 likes this.
  18. He played drums.

    That second video is something else.
    Engle, jdh3000, Dubious Aa and 8 others like this.
  19. You don’t need to perform Flea-like antics, but at least consider performing in your underwear. That should work.
    jdh3000, mikew31, lark_z and 4 others like this.
  20. stringthrough

    stringthrough Supporting Member

    I like that advice, get into a headspace and work the environment you're in.
    hrodbert696 and design like this.
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