Published on June 3rd, 2015 | by Jace0
Jace from DEAD Picks His Top 10 Inspiring Bassists
We recently asked Jem, drummer of Melbourne sludge band DEAD, to pick his Top 10 inspiring drummers.
Jace, the other half of the band, became insanely jealous and dashed off this piece in response.
Please enjoy Part 2 of this outstanding profile of 10 bass innovators of the underground.
Over to Jace…
Omotai were one of the first bands I saw at Total Fest in 2011.
I walked down a set of stairs to see Melissa on stage standing in front of a GK 800 and an Ampeg fridge holding a P Bass, about 20 seconds later my kidneys were being pummeled by one of the most aggressive thumping bass tones I’ve ever copped.
Melissa plays technical bass lines with a solid relentless style that impresses the hell outta me, she also loves dogs so she obviously rules.
Kristy (Baby Machine)
Kristy has about the most fun on stage as anyone I’ve seen; actually I doubt I’ve seen anyone smile so much while playing a set. What I’ve come to learn after playing many shows with Baby Machine is Kristy takes her bass playing very seriously.
Kristy’s tone is very deliberate and anchors the band perfectly. She has a sweet technique of playing low notes up the neck on the bottom string for thicker tone. All this while nailing some of the best metal backing vocals in the business.
Kristy and I get rips in precisely the same part of the crotch area of our jeans, I don’t know what that means but it’s obviously bass playing related.
Ray (Hard-Ons, Nunchukka Superfly, etc.)
Ray’s bass playing and attitude toward making music has been a huge influence on me for a long time.
Some of the more psychedelic stuff Ray does in Nunchukka is absolutely mind-blowing; it’s the kind of playing that inspires me to try stuff I can’t yet do.
I once saw Ray play in a psychedelic noise group called Testicle Candy, the frequencies of their finale almost made me vomit. When I told him about it afterwards he cracked a massive grin and said, “Sucked in.”
Patto (Fire Witch, ITGB, Wicked City)
Patto is one of the best bass players I’ve ever seen. I’ve seen his amp blow up more times than I’ve seen him fluff a note.
A few years ago during a Wicked City set Patto obviously had his eye in early and was going for runs off what seemed like every second note, it was incredible to watch. Somehow he can pull off ridiculous stuff but always makes it sound classy.
He’s also punished me with some of the most relentless bowel-busting brown notes in Fire Witch, which I loved!
The bloke knows tone and looks good without a shirt.
Paul (Vaz, Hammerhead)
Technically Paul plays a guitar in Vaz, but as far as I can tell he’s still playing bass. He is one of the loudest, most aggressive, and relentless bass players I’ve ever seen, he also writes incredibly interesting and unique music.
During a Hammerhead set I once saw Paul play for a solid twelve minutes while a bar manager tugged on his shirtsleeve demanding the band stop playing, he just kept nodding and smiling. It’s one of my top ten live gig moments.
He also likes watermelon eating competitions.
Yes, Vern plays synthesizers, but I’m claiming her as a bass player anyway.
She creates walls of sounds that range from subsonic bass-line thumps to sci-fi bleeps to screaming sirens. What strikes me is how tasteful Vern is at balancing the low end with more textural playing.
I’m not going to pretend to know how she achieves her sounds, but what she does is truly inventive and powerful. Vern also makes an incredible seitan sandwich, which is worth the trip to Portland alone!
This bloke took playing with multiple amps to a new level. He also understands how to be incredibly heavy!
Watching Harada play live taught me a lot about using volume as a compositional tool, and how it can be almost like an extra band member.
During Ryokuchi’s Missing Link in-store set I noticed a plainly dressed woman walk down the stairs and watch the performance with eyes like golf balls and mouth agape. As soon as Ryokuchi finished, she turned to me and said: “I was sitting in my office and heard this rumble, so I came to see what it was. I had no idea this kind of music even existed, this has changed my life.”
Keith (Meat Cake, Midget)
I’ve recently had the pleasure of playing shows with Keith’s killer new(ish) band Meat Cake. I was a BIG fan of his previous band Midget and probably punish him a bit with questions and praise… sorry mate.
Keith has always been a very tasteful, solid bass player and a great singer. Recently I’ve realized what a bloody awesome songwriter he is. It’s a rare talent that can create such richness from such simple ingredients.
Keith is also the only person I know who can knowingly be 30 minutes late starting a set but still be comfortable in taking a leisurely piss and then heading to the bar for more booze before he plays.
Michael (Brain Resin, Castration Party)
Hard to know where to start with this bloke. First off, he gets the most ridiculously aggressive tone I’ve ever heard from a $30 Behringer pedal. He also has an incredible talent for playing repetitive relentless bass-lines with machine-like consistency and menace.
I once saw Mikey (after 6 of 7 hours of drinking) tune a cello from totally slack strings to bang on, play the most ridiculous intricate piece of classical music, and then promptly pass out.
I can’t wait to see Castration Party play live.
Chris (Mr. Dad)
It wasn’t until the third or fourth time I saw Chris play that I cottoned on to how good he is, as the singer in his band is usually nude or doing a handstand (or both) and it’s very distracting.
His playing is very understated and is stylistically hard to pin down. He’s equally punky and proggy and has chops to burn, but there’s something else very unique going on in his playing that I will only fail in trying to describe.
Like most musicians I’ve met from Minot, ND, he plays with a LOT of heart.
Check out some of DEAD’s music over at bandcamp. If any of the above appeals to you, you’re gonna love it.