Weird, Obscure, Strange, and Overlooked Bass Lines that Shred.

Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

Infectious Grooves-Violent and Funky. Not sure of what ever became of bass player Robert Trujillo but I hope he is still able to eek out a living with music.

XTC- Helicopter

“Hey man, can you make your bass sound like a helicopter?” “You got it, Andy.”

Roxy Music-Love is the Drug

Real drugs are also fantastic. I’m not sure what is up with the eye patch, either.

Porno for Pyros-Good God’s Urge

Mike Watt doesn’t play bass. He works it. My man is always clocked in.

Besides filling in on bass for the Stooges, he also played in fIREHOSE and the legendary Minutemen. The breakdown part at 3:10 gets stuck in my head for days at a time. The eagle-eyed will notice that this is the second song to feature drummer Stephen Perkins.

Pere Ubu -Small was Fast

Devo, Pere Ubu, Brianiac. . . Ohio sure produces a lot of strange music. One of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.

Meshell Ndegeocello-If That’s Your Boyfriend.

She used to play bass for some dude named David Bowie and can probably slap your damn face off with her thumb.

Spizz Athletico 80-Where’s Captain Kirk?

Everyone’s favorite Star Trek Tribute band from the 80’s. (If you don’t shed a tear listening to “Spock’s Missing”, then it is time to seek online therapy, you monster.)

Sonseed- Jesus is my Friend

Satan may inspire the best metal musicians, but it looks like Jesus might own ska.

Try to deny that breakdown at 1:22. I double-dog dare you.

Talking Heads- Sugar on my Tongue 

Tina Weymouth sure got a phat tone from a short scale bass. I love how her bass line is almost a duet with the vocals.

The Kinks- Sunny Afternoon

Maybe not the most obscure bass song, but when you run a Magazine called Next in Line. . .

A Sure Fire Hack that Makes Everyone Want to Jam With You.

Don’t Worry. This method has nothing to do with scale, modes, or time signatures. Technically, It doesn’t even really have to do with making music. But I guarantee, if you just follow these two simple steps, your jam card will always be full. Your bandmates will love you, and so will every sound engineer that you encounter live or in the studio. Heck, you may even snag some session work off of it. And you literally have to do nothing. 

Step One: Stop making noise and STFU when other people are trying to talk or trouble shoot gear around you.

Step Two: Repeat as necessary.

Who hasn’t been in this situation? The guitar player is showing the bass player the chords, while Keith Moon in the corner is thrashing away at full volume, trying to decide between a paradiddle, a double paradiddle, or a flamadiddle to lead into the next chorus. 

But, of course— and this isn’t said out loud very often— it’s not always the drummer’s fault. If only there was a way for the guitarist to doodle between songs without getting on everyone’s last nerve. Sigh.

But Wait! There is! We have the technology in the form of a new fangled device called the “volume knob.” (see picture below.) 

First try playing a power chord with the volume knob turned up all the way. Then ask your lead  singer how much back rent they owe their landlord. It’s not easy to discern the amount, is it*? 

 Now, turn the volume knob completely off. Notice how you are the only one who can hear the guitar now, and people around you can enjoy a conversation without shouting? Volume knob technology has also made its way to keyboards, Omnichords, Stylaphones, and even bass guitars! 

But what about Acoustic instruments, you say? They don’t have volume knobs. Drummers can play air drums or on your knees. Guitar players can just strum quietly. Didgeridoo players, use a didgeridoo mute. Everyone around you will be so much nicer to you.

Think you got it down? Take the quiz:

  1. You are waiting for an engineer to finish setting up your drums mic. His ear is located right next to an 24” Paiste Rude ride cymbal and he isn’t wearing hearing protection.

Should you: 

A. Do your best Meg White impression and wail on the edge of the cymbal.

B. See how your rim shot technique has come along. Is it loud enough yet? How about now?

C. Do nothing but stare blankly into space.

2.  Your keyboard player spilled another beer on her $650,000 vintage Farfisa organ. 

Should you:

A. See if you can get your sax to squeal like Big Jay McNeely.

B. Play the Benny Hill theme while she scrambles to find canned air to dry out the insides.

C. Do nothing but stare blankly into space.

3. The front of the house engineer yells “kick” and starts tweaking the gate on the drummer’s bass drum. Should you:

A. Jam along with kick drum ¼ notes, because what is drums without bass? Boring!

B. Tune your four-string at full blast for the whole audience to enjoy.

C. Do nothing but stare blankly into space.

Please forward this to anyone who needs to read it.

Answers: C. The answer is always C.

*This was a joke. Any lead singer worth their salt has no idea how much money the landlord is owed. That’s what roommates are for. That and toilet paper. And peanut butter. And . . .

Chinn and Chapman: Two Guys You Never Heard of Who Wrote Your Favorite Songs.

One part London rich kid, another part Australian waiter, songwriting duo Nicky Chinn and Mike Chapman’s songs have more hooks than a pirate convention, scoring number one hits on both sides of the Atlantic. Helping to define glam rock by writing for bands like The Sweet, Mud, and Suzi Quatro, Chinnichap combined retro 50’s rock and rock with 1970’s long haired drugs. They also scored some surprise hits in the 80’s and 90’s with Tina Turner and Huey Lewis. Chinn still pens songs for folks like Ariana Grande, one was featured in some Disney movie.

Here are Chinn and Chappman’s greatest hits, along with a couple great misses thrown in. 

The Sweet: Ballroom Blitz

One of the cornerstones of glam rock, The Sweet made this one a classic. Remember Tia Carrere’s version in Wayne’s World?

Toni Basil: Hey Mickey

Besides singing this one hit wonder, Philly girl Toni Basil is also a respected choreographer. Pushing 80, she still shakes her tail feather at her dance studio. Also check out her amazing cover of Devo’s “Be Stiff.”

Suzi Quatro: 48 Crash

Oh my God, I love Suzi Qautro. One of Joan Jett’s Idols, she was most famous in the US for portraying Leather Tuscadero on Happy Days. She also played herself on Absolutely Fabulous. Hell of a Bass player too.

The song was written on a dare, after Chinn and Chapman boasted that they could write a song about anything and still score a UK number one. They silenced the haters when they wrote this hit song about the US stock market crash of 1848 combined with a naughty subtext about erectile dysfunction.

Exile: Heart and Soul

Did you know this Huey Lewis tune was a cover? Neither did I. One of the best riffs in history. 

Here is the original version which the News faithfully followed.

Tina Turner: You Better be Good to Me 

I’ve always been good to you, Tina. Chinnichap added collaborator Holly Knight to write this one. 

Mud: Tiger Feet.

I have no idea what tiger feet are either. It was the 70’s. No one does.

The Arrow: Touch Too Much

Speaking of Joan Jett, these guys also wrote “I Love Rock and Roll.”

Smokie: For a Few Dollars More.

Here a tear-jerker about a honky tonk angel.

Peter Noon Shoo Be Do Ah

The Herman’s Hermits frontman croons this ode to nostalgia. 

Racey: Lay Your Love on Me

Wow. I think Mongomery Burns did the choreography for this one. Great chorus and organ riff though.

New World: Rooftop Singing

I know it’s only Rock and Roll…

Check out “Period” in the Latest Issue of Antihumanist Magazine.

The Antihumanist Third Edition. Cover by Zuzanna.

Next In Line would like to congratulate Steve for being published in the best magazine from down under, The Antihumanist. (“Period” page 53)

Download a free copy here.

While you are at it, check out Joel Schroeder’s story “Howie Showie.” (Page 19). A friend of Next in Line Magazine, Joel tells stories of the sureal that always come highly recommended.

The Science is in: Every Cover of “Alone Again Or” is Awesome.

According to a 2021 independent study hosted by Next in Line Labs*, there are no terrible versions of the Love classic Alone Again Or. The lab has many theories as to why this is. Some point to the melody, some to the lyrics, while others to the greatest mariachi trumpet solo ever written, one so respected that nobody tries to put their wacky spin on it, playing it note for note with reverance in every version.

According to head researcher Dr. Lee Stephandoski, “You gotta be good enough to play the damn guitar part and you gotta be cool enough to know the damn song. And the Damned cover.” (Folks, this is EXACTLY why we at Next In Line leave the puns to the professionals.)

You be the judge! Know a shitty version of Alone Again Or? Drop us a line at Nextinlinemagazine@gmail.com

Arthur Lee. Let’s get this party started right. Yeah, yeah, he was in Love so this technically isn’t a cover, but I still don’t technically care. Look how badass he looks with the top hat/bandana combination.

The Damned. This was the cover heard round the world, the one that educated the punk rock masses.

Calexico. This is the cover that all the kids talk nowadays. I have no quarrel with these dudes.

The South Sea Alternate Choir and Friends. Not gonna lie, I thought this was going to be the first sucky version, but even the flutest proved me wrong. I own the same brass snare drum, but don’t play it nearly as well.

Gold Lake. When the ladies first started singing, I thought they were too talented, and would ruin the song by putting their fucking art into it, running up and down the scales like Steve Vai, pissing me off. But they kept it very tasteful, dark, and mysterious.

Ian Leith. Nice! my man practiced this one. This guy has as many friends as I do. To be unfair, this was the worst trumpet solo so far.

UFO. Buckle up.
Cocos Lovers. Also, no Trumpet.

Low Cost Covers. They use keyboard trumpets, but I’ll allow it. I love the singer’s voice.

Sneeze. Old heads keeping it real.

The Boo Radleys. Mariachi meets shoegaze.
This Random Uke Player with No Name. I thought she was going to suck, too. Playing this is hard enough on guitar, but she rose above.
Another Project with No Name. They should hook up with the Uke player above and form a supergroup with no name. I like the trumpet solo on guitar.

*Next in Line Labs is a subsidiary of the Next In Line Corporation and is no way affiliated with Next In Line Magazine. 

Swap Liam For Dave: An Open Letter to Oasis and the Kinks.

Sibling rivalry has been around since Cain smashed Abel’s head in and those two never ever climbed in a tour van together. There is only one thing sadder than when brothers stop talking: when they stop singing together. Sadder than that? When it’s Noel and Liam Gallagher of Oasis. And even worse, when it’s Ray and Dave Davies of the Kinks. We, the people, want reunions and we want them now. You guys aren’t getting any younger. At least do a special or something on Zoom.

Who was right and who was wrong in each little squabble doesn’t even matter. Figuring out which brother is more justified in his grudge is as fruitful as sniffing through a field to see which cowpatty smells sweetest. Who is the bad guy, Ray or Dave? Liam or Noel? Answer: probably all four. Who cares?

That’s why I propose a sibling swap. Simply trade Liam Gallagher for Dave Davies so then both The Kinks and Oasis can tour again, nowhere near each other, not even the same continent. Close your eyes and imagine Dave singing “Death of a Clown,” with the boys, maybe lending lead vocals on “What’s the Story Morning Glory?” How is that going to be a bad time? He and Noel could do a little guitar dueling during “Supersonic.” Or Liam singing the high harmony part with Ray on “Village Green Preservation Society.” Not awful, is it?

I can already hear all the naysayers, haters, and wet blankets jeering, “Steve, you’re stupid. Liam can’t play guitar. How the hell is that an even trade?” Ok, it isn’t. As a bonus, the Kinks would also get The Smith’s Johnny Marr on lead guitar. Maybe they could delight fans with “There Is a Light that Never Goes Out” as an encore? Who knows? How much fun would it be to hear Ray sing that one? Plus, Liam plays a mean tambourine, which is an unsung staple of almost every Kinks classic from “People Take Pictures of Each Other” to a little ditty that Leonard Bernstein lovingly referred to as “a barbaric example of the mixalodian scale” called “You Really Got Me.”

This way, the Kinks fans would be happy, the Oasis fans would be happy, hell, even The Smiths fans would be happy. Well, happier. Happierish.

I mean, I’d buy tickets to both shows. Come on guys! Be Game. What would Cain do?

Stalls for All: Let’s Close the Door on the Bathroom Debackle.

“Complaining about a problem without posing a solution is called whining.”

-Teddy Roosevelt

The bathroom is an odd place for a battlefield.  From segregation, handicapped rights, to the trans movement, restrooms somehow make their way to the front and center of every social argument. Hell, the first Roman bathrooms were for men only, so that says something. Outside of politics, they are a dangerous place for the vulnerable, creating an abundant hunting ground for predators.

The public restroom is the perfect setting for a horror scene, just add a villain and stir. Will there be a rapist hiding in one of the stalls? A childmolester snapping pictures? Or a mugger pressing a gun into the back of some guy at a urinal? For every type of person, there is a type of gang who would love to bash their heads in, just for being. I’ve heard of people who would rather wet themselves than use a traditional restroom on a road trip through Trump country. Society asks everyone to come into a room together and all drop-trou. For what reason?

It’s not just humans who feel this way. When dogs defecate, they look to the rest of the pack or their owners to watch their backs during this time of vulnerability. Look what happened to John Travolta when he dropped a deuce in Pulp Fiction. The bathroom shouldn’t involve anxiety.

David Bowie’s response to “what do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?” 

“Living in fear.”

That’s why I propose one simple solution: private stalls for all. We have the technology, people. It’s just drywall, pipes, and elbow grease. Then people can use the restroom without Mace in hand. Comedian Fortune Feimster can walk into a public restroom without bellowing “I AM A WOMAN!” to avoid being mistaken for a man and attacked in the ladie’s room. Children will no longer walk into a room with people shooting up, snoring lines, or any other drug use. The terminally pee-shy will enjoy a stress free experience away from the gregarious few who decide that the bathroom is indeed an appropriate place to make friends. There is enough to worry about in life. Peeing shouldn’t be an issue for anyone. 

And who would lose out on stalls for all? Rapists, muggers, violent religious zealots, perverts, and miscellaneous ne’er-do-wells. And of course, owners of public restrooms. Will these renovations cost money? Like the bumper sticker says, “freedom isn’t free.” Change always comes out of pockets. If our government can spend millions to put a man on the moon and bail out Wall Street, then it can afford to offer tax credits to business owners for renovations for something that will provide peace of mind for all.

If I could just snap and make everyone get along, I wouldn’t have any skin left between my fingers. My heart goes out to any victim of bathroom related violence and anyone living in fear. I can’t wrap my mind around why some people think that they are too good to take a dump next to anyone else. It all smells the same to me. But if we all can’t get along, let’s at least get our own private stalls until we figure it out. I’m not naive to think that this Band Aid will fix all the social issues, but let’s just keep politics away from the toilets and pick any other arena for a battleground. 

Why Quitting Caffeine was Harder than Quitting Smoking.

Human Guinea Pig Chronicles #3

Coffee and cigarettes go together so well that Jim Jarmusch made a movie about it. Throw a chocolate Tastycake on top of that mess and they form the unholy trinity of unwise breakfasts like Voltron.

No gives you a pat on the back for quitting caffeine, instead look at you with pity mixed with judgment. While smoking is limited to certain areas, people can drink coffee anywhere. (Except near my laptop. Get back! Ungawa!)

I thought my coffee habit was under control, until I became a barista who got high on his own supply. Due to boredom and the folly of youth, my colleagues and I held contests to see who could down the most shots of espresso, with hands shaking and eyelids a’ twitter.

My transition from coffee clerk to freelance audio visual technician only made things worse, with fifteen hour days starting at 6 am, sometimes after working until 11 pm the night before on a different job. I became coffee, with a 32 ouncer glued to my hand, so hooked that I’d place a half-empty cuppa on my bed stand before hitting the hay.

The thing they don’t tell you about any kind of upper, from coke to crank, is that you will do everything faster, especially making mistakes. If you want to sprint down the wrong path in life until bloody collapse, speed is the way to go.

The headaches were debilitating. I thought allergies were causing the headaches and nocturnal teeth grinding, but the culprit was caffeine withdrawl. Anytime I went an hour or so without kissing the mighty bean, my head would throb and my focus would turn to static. Because my sleep patterns were anything but, I’d wake up in the middle of the night, ready for action for nothing.

Addictions are annoying, because they are so needy and expensive, demanding attention at the worst times like a spoiled brat. It was time to kick caffeine to curb, like I did cigarettes the year before. Because of my boolean personality, I’m either on or off with everything in life: zero cigarettes or three packs a day, no candy or the whole bag of candy, balls to the wall or nothing at all.

I quit smoking by totaling all the loot that I’d spent in a year on cancer sticks and budgeted tickets to Jamaica as my carrot to dangle. If I started up again, then I knew I couldn’t afford the trip. Quitting smoking was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I figured caffeine would be just a little hurdle. It turned out to be the high jump.

With personal days to burn, I took off a week just to quit caffeine and binge Storage Wars: Texas. On day one, I thought that taking the whole week was overkill and admonished myself for being a decadent baby. I thought it was going to be easy. I was wrong.

On day two I was bedridden with a Texas sized railroad spike buried between my lobes, like a doughy Phinus Gage. I felt like a photocopy of my former self, and was as pleasant to beanbe around as a runway queen freshly voted off of Drag Race. That day, I knew that I’d never touch caffeine again and risk going through that pain. I was scared straight. There was a lot of fetal position going on.

It wasn’t until day four that I could walk around and go outside for a little bit. I felt like I took a handful of stupid-pills that wouldn’t wear off. This haze created a full month of idicacy. I’d put the jelly in the cupboard and the peanut butter in the fridge. Screwing up left and right at work, I became the subject of many a nasty-gram regarding my performance.

With smoking, it only took me two weeks to conquer the physical addiction. After day fourteen, the only desire for a nicotine fix is mental. Quitting caffeine left a mind fog that lingered for a full month before I was back to normal. (Well, normal enough for this guy.)

Five years later and I survived, still caffine and ciggarette free without the need to convert to Mormonism. My insomnia is all but gone, my digestion has improved, and I no longer ground my chompers in my sleep. Sure, I still drink decaf in the morning for the bitter taste of reality, but if I run out of coffee, I no longer need to run out to the store like an addict. Given the hypothetical, I’d choose quitting nicotine over caffeine, as they say on Storage Wars: Texas, “all day long.”