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 . . .

Help Find the Cure for Affluenza.

Why I Care. 

The term “Affluenza” is “the inability to understand the consequences of one’s actions because of financial privilege.” Affluenza affects 1% of the US population, so about 3.2 million United States citizens. 

Licensed psychologist, G. Dick Miller (“Call me Dick”) defended maligned teen Ethan Couch, after the poor boy, accidentally killed a couple people in a drunk driving incident while innocently sowing his wild oats. He was mercifully given 10 years probation and no jail time, but his untreated Affluenza continued to plague him until he skipped out on parole, ending up the subject of a manhunt that ended Mexico where he was found higher than Willie Nelson on his birthday. Sadly, Couch’s luck ran out. He was arrested, convicted, jailed, and released last year. This didn’t happen in Communist China. This happened in the U.S. of A.

To my knowledge, there is no other research being conducted to find a cure. (I didn’t look too hard, though.) I’m willing to sacrifice my health and help fight Affluenza from the inside, by accepting enough donations for me to join the 1%. In the great State of Pennsylvania, that’s just $388,593 a year. A pittance compared to the cost of research of other diseases. I don’t even need a laboratory, though I might buy one on a whim to make small batch gin.

What I’m Willing to Endure.

I’m willing to infiltrate the 1% and report back on the side effects, including but not limited to:

Wearing boat shoes with no socks.

Clapping off-rhythm at concerts. 

Suffering from hemophilia developed from recursive inbreeding.

Developing a reluctance to tipping waitstaff, especially automatic gratuities for tables of four or more.

Naming my kids Mercedes, London, or Baron.

Suggesting that the impoverished pull themselves up by their boot straps without providing boots.

Referencing the tribulations of deceased immigrant relatives that I never met.

Taking up two parking spots in my future Beamer. Three if I get a Tesla. 

Severe allergic reactions to paying taxes to where I’ll need to isolate myself from my money using offshore accounts. 

Why I’m Qualified.

As a cis gendered, white male Gen X’er, I’ll fit right in, after I get a Peaky Blinders haircut and a Rolex. Did I mention that I’m really into bath bombs? I think, given proper funding, I could take to frivolous spending like ants to syrup.

How YOU can Make a Difference.

For just the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can buy me a cup of coffee a day. Is there a chance that I will ghost everyone after receiving my first thousand and flake out on my research? Of course. I don’t own a crystal ball. Who knows what journey this disease will take me on? But if my fresh Yeeseys 450’s can bring us one step closer to a cure, then it’s all worth it. Be a hero. Do your part.

https://www.gofundme.com/manage/help-find-the-cure-for-affluenza

Free Software for Starving Artists that Actually Works.

Gimp Photo Editor.  I’m a tightwad, so Gimp is the only editor I use for Next in Line Magazine’s images, including the toolbox above. You might as well grab the G’mic expansion pack while you are at it.

Download Gimp Here.

DaVinci Resolve. The free version has everything you need for basic editing and color correction. Perfect for creating band videos or youtube tutorials, it’s so handy that I feel dirty using it for free. Here is a Scraddle Vision bumper I made using Resolve featuring a dear friend of the show that we totally didn’t hire on Cameo.

Download Davinchi Resolve Here.

Pity you!

Shotcut. Shotcut was my go-to until I found out about Da Vinci Resolve. With less of a learning curve than Resolve, this one could be more appropriate for the technically unsavvy.

Download Shocut here.

Audacity. This one ain’t too shabby, especially for the price. While it’s nowhere near as robust as  Pro Tools, it’s still everything the Beatles had in a box, so no excuses! Here is a little jam with my friend Jay on guitar. You can hear me soloing the individual tracks.

Download Audacity here.

ASIOFREEFORALL Driver. This is for anyone running DAW software like Pro Tools, Cubase, or Studio One. I’m no Chris Lord-Alge, but I do know that it’s much easier to mix music when the sound actually comes out of your speakers.

Download Asio4all here.

OBS. This is perfect for screen capturing or getting really fancy with Live Streaming. It’s not an intuitive program —so get ready to watch tutorials —but it can do a lot of cool shit if you want to get fancy with live streaming with multiple cameras. 

My buddy Jay set up green screens in three different rooms during quarantine, and then pasted us together on the same screen with crazy effects ala Black Sabbath. Here is an impromptu jam with Sir Richard Brown.

Download OBS Here.

HandBreak. Need to transcode a video from one format to another or rip a DVD? (Whatever those things are.) Don’t worry, I got you.

Download HandBreak Here.

Vanido. This app is like Guitar hero, but for singing on pitch. I practice alone in a parked car for better acoustics and privacy. (My neighbors already think that I’m nuts for many justified reasons.) Available for Iphone or Android at their respective app stores.