songs, songs, songs

Discussion in 'General Instruction [BG]' started by corinpills, Jun 1, 2003.

  1. corinpills


    Nov 19, 2000
    Boston, MA
    I just got back from a family function where my 18 year old nephew, who has been playing bass for a few years, had his bandmates come over for a little jam session. I was pretty happy to hear them play as I know that he's really been working hard at bass for a few years. All his family members gathered around to listen to him and his two friends and...they didn't know any songs. Eventually everyone just wandered off.

    It was really weird, they would start to play a Zeppelin song or something and then nobody would sing, the guitarist would noodle around playing some blues leads and then it would fizzle out. Then they would do a "blues jam" that never changed chords, then they'd play 1/2 a pink floyd song, nobody would sing and it would just fizzle out. Then they'd play the riff to "Superstition", but never actually do the song.

    I was talking to him after everyone left and I asked him why they don't know any songs. He said that they can't find anyone to sing so they just get together and jam every week. I tried to explain to him that the whole deal is to learn songs, and he didn't seem to know what I was talking about. He said they like to jam "like Phish" and I explained to him that their jams are based on songs. It was weird because he had a couple of little slap riffs down, things that he picked up from Flea and Les Caypool, little guitar store riffs, and so did the guitarist and so did the drummer but they didn't know how to play a single song all the way through.

    So, for some of the younger players, just in case nobody has ever told you, those riffs and licks are totally useless unless you understand how songs work. Rather than spend hours learning Les Clayppol riffs, you'd be better off learning how to play "Crimson & Clover" or "Wooly Bully" all the way through. Then you could at least play a song that your relatives could smile at and not just be confused. It's all about songs.

    And for God sake, even if you suck at first, learn to sing. Just sing, that's all. Trust me, please, sing. Sing, ok? It's no big deal, just sing. Here's a suggestion: sing. Open your mouth and have words come out in melodic patterns.
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    This is what they mean in the ads in music stores, when they say : NO TIMEWASTERS! ;)