All Good Bass Players, Speak Up! or Forever Hold Your Peace!

A long time ago, in another blog far, far away, on livejournal, I blogged about my love for the bass. More than that, bass players. It was mostly in reaction to this kid Jim, who I was, um, you could say I was involved with him. He lived in Ohio, or else he would have been a boyfriend. He was weird. He was in a band called Velvet Sun. He played guitar, and had zero respect for his band’s (or any!) bass player. He also had this complex where he thought he was always right. And wanted to control me from 500-ish miles away. Yeah, on second thought, if he lived here, he would probably not have been a boyfriend. Anyway…

In order to convince him of the importance… Nay, the sheer AWESOMENESS of the bass, I made him a mix CD. It had some great tunes from Yes, the Pixies, Radiohead, Porcupine Tree, Cake, the Who, the Beatles, RHCP, the Clash… Basically if I had a song in my iTunes with a groovy bass line, I included it. There are just so many. And when the ode to my favorite four-stringed instrument fell on deaf ears, I vented about it in my livejournal. As I was prone to do back then. I was hoping for some drama or sympathy or something. I just made a list of bassists I knew of. It was pretty boring. I’d be embarrassed to share it nowadays.

After a conversation with my boss yesterday brought up memories of this, I have decided to revisit this subject. Because I never told Jim this, but one of the reasons I developed a love for the bass is because I have always thought girl bass players (like Kim Deal and Tina Weymouth) are so cool. If I ever joined a band, I’d want to be the girl bass player. This, by the way, was after I realized that my “choir voice” wasn’t good enough even for background vocals… I told this bass dream to my boss yesterday, which brought back the memories of Jim. And I was thinking about it again today. I think I’ve finally figured out why I think the bass is that cool.

In my life, I am the bass. See, the reason why Jim had no respect for the bass is because you only notice it when it’s not there. Which is so like me. It’s not out there, making all the noise like the lead guitar. It’s in the background, supporting the noisemakers. In their own little quiet, almost subversive way, making themselves indispensable. In fact, take a look at the picture of half the David Crowder Band above. See the guy all the way to the right, almost faded into the background? Bass player! (Mike Dodson — and he is really good at what he does too.)

The bass is not appreciated until it’s missing. That is kind of my gift. I hang in the background and just make all good things better. I don’t want the praise, I just want to help people enjoy their lives.

The other thing I’ve noticed about bass players is, they’re all so laid back and happy. I have never seen a bass player that didn’t have a smile on their face. While the guys up front tend to be the high-strung A-type personalities (and this is a complete generalization, so please don’t come to me with examples to try and prove me wrong!), the bass players are the calm, peace-love-happiness types. Low key, laid back, calming influence.

This is why I love bass players. Because, despite the fact that my bass experience is limited to a couple lessons at music camp (and this was the string bass, not bass guitar!) I am the bass player in my life. At least that’s what I try to be.

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