I’m not a huge fan of the “What Four Musicians Form Your Dream Super Group” game. I usually just rattle off the members of Alice in Chains or Tool. Sometimes I pick a trio or quintet and add or subtract a member, but that was never my game.
I do really enjoy “Best of…” lists though. And I thought it would be a good idea to do some for this blog.
I do realize I could just call this “My Favorite Bass Players,” but I worry that would take all of the controversy out of it. Just rest assured that I did a lot of research into my personal preferences to compile this list. It was very scientific.
Billy Gould (Faith No More) – He’s not an extremely flashy bass player, but every so often you get a bit of flare that lets you know his chops could keep up with the best of them. I’ve always felt it takes more to restrain and play for the song than to shred.
Duff McKagan (Guns n’ Roses, Velvet Revolver) – McKagan isn’t really a bass player. He’s more like a rhythm guitar player who only has four really fat strings.
Jonathan Wolff (The Guy Who Did The Music for “Seinfeld”) – Really, he did all of that with a synthesizer. But I think he still deserves a place on this list.
Les Claypool (Primus, Flying Frog Brigade, Oysterhead, etc.) – Perhaps the only instance of a lead bass player in popular music. There are a few other’s who can turn the bass into the main instrument on the song, but Claypool is the only one whose album I ever bought.
Mike Inez (Alice in Chains, Ozzy Osbourne, Black Label Society) – You may think I put him on this list because of my AIC fandom, but you would be mistaken. Inez makes his way to this list for being credited with “Inspiration and Musical Direction” on Ozzy’s No More Tears album. Seriously, how fucking awesome do you have to be to get that credit on that album?
Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, G//Z/R) – But even with as awesome as Mike Inez is, he’s still lower on the list than Ozzy’s other main squeeze of a bass player. Geezer gets bonus points for writing some pretty awesome lyrics too.
Ryan Martinie (Mudvayne) – Mudvayne get’s a pretty bad rap for being lumped together with nu metal, but when it comes down to it they’re some pretty bad-ass musicians. And the bass player is the one who manages to consistently wow me.
Cliff Burton (Metallica) – You may think I put him on this list for being such a virtuoso and shredding all over the neck and doing stuff that people confused for guitar solos, but you’re wrong. Much like children, bass players should be seen and not heard.
The dude from AC/DC (AC/DC) – Who is that guy? Does he really exist? I know he’s been in the band for a while, but I really can’t think of his name. Like, we all know Angus and Brian Johnson. Then you have Malcolm there in the background and the drummer who does meth and tries to hire hit men. But who’s the bass player? In fact, I may be wrong here. AC/DC might not even have a bass player.
The dude from the White Stripes (The White Stripes, Local H, The Doors) – The greatest bass players should not only not be heard or seen, they should not even exist! Come one, who really cares about bass players anyway?