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Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 2288
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 10:39 am:   Edit Post

Dear Phil

I am a bass player. I grew up listening to mingus,cassidy, lesh and chambers to name a few. I like playing out of the pocket and in the pocket when necessary. But playing in the pocket can get pretty boring sometimes.
I've tried traditional cover bands, but feel hamstrung.
I recently tried to put a dead cover band together and after our first get together which i thought went pretty good, i got dumped by 3 of the
other musicians. one of them is also a bass player and he said my idea of playing bass didnt jive with his. the guitar player said he wanted something more mellow. The drummer said it didnt do it for him. i like playing eighth notes. i like dropping a bomb. i like playing more of a lead than a bottom. Just because I am a bass player does that mean i cant express myself and sit there like other players doing the old sit in the pocket. how did people like jaco or entwhistle survive?
I hate to give up playing but all my latest experiences leave me sad and tempted to lay my wonderful instruments down and call it a day.
Please help me.
Advanced Member
Username: kimberly

Post Number: 329
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 12:32 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Jeff errr....direwolf, ;)

Two words - 'Solo Bassist' :-)

Seriously, after a 17 year hiatus from playing, or even listening to music, when I started playing again I went through three bands in about six months. Too much BS due to personalities and musical direction. After pondering what I wanted to do with my music in general after my 'break', I decided to go solo.

This choice for me was absolutely the best decision I've ever made with my music. More gratification, sense of accomplishment and pure pleasure than ever before, not to mention the fact that the 'show/performance' is all on me. When I'm 'on a roll' you best hang on cause you're 'going for a ride'. :-)

Course the dowside is if I do 'crash and burn' it can be spectacular! :D

Take a break if that's what you need Jeff, but never stop like I did. I can't help but wonder about the 'what if I wouldn't have stopped playing, where would my music be now' question(s). :-)

Take care. :-)

Best Wishes, Best Regards,

Kimberly :-)
Advanced Member
Username: briant

Post Number: 345
Registered: 12-2004
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 12:32 pm:   Edit Post

Not meaning this to be a personal attack or anything:

Maybe your idea of playing busy isn't appropriate for the music and/or your lines aren't complimenting what is going on around you? The reason Jaco and Entwistle got away with playing busy is they were adding something to the music. They weren’t just being busy for the sake of being busy.

There is a fine line one needs to walk when doing more than laying down root notes. "Is this fitting in with everything else?" "Is this adding or taking away?" "Would space be better than a fill?" "Less is more" "Why is the guitard player soloing still?"
Advanced Member
Username: mike1762

Post Number: 335
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 12:53 pm:   Edit Post

I did the "band" thing for a long time, but I don't have the time or desire to deal with the hassle anymore. However, I still love/enjoy playing music. I get my fix from recording my own music and helping other people with their projects. Digital recording equipment is relatively inexpensive and being your own musician, producer, and engineer gives you the absolute control that I think you are looking for. Admittedly, sitting in the basement tracking instruments and mixing may not give everyone the satisfaction I derive, but you should give it a shot before you seriously consider "... call(ing) it a day".
Senior Member
Username: senmen

Post Number: 884
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 12:58 pm:   Edit Post

Hey Jeff,
completely agree...
That is why I founded our WHO tribute:
with that I had the chance to do the great JE stuff and stand a bit in the troopers light with that style of playing.......
Oliver (Spyderman)
Senior Member
Username: senmen

Post Number: 885
Registered: 7-2003
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 12:58 pm:   Edit Post

Sorry, double post.

(Message edited by senmen on July 03, 2009)
Intermediate Member
Username: jerryme

Post Number: 105
Registered: 1-2008
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 1:56 pm:   Edit Post

Find better muscians to play with.
Or at least some more in tune to what you are into. Hell I just try to keep up :-)


P.S. Bombs are good....
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3976
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 2:15 pm:   Edit Post

Jeff, I can certainly relate to your frustration. I had a good group of people together doing Dead stuff for a couple of years until other projects, life, etc. got in the way. Since then I've been trying to put a new project together. It seems I'm running into people who either really don't know the Dead stuff very well, or others who want to do a Dead "tribute": copying the Dead note for note, rhythm player sings Bobby songs, lead sings Jerry songs, etc. To me the "tribute" approach is anathema to the whole Dead trip. My current plan of attack is to put together informal Dead jams once a month or so. I'm hoping to cull the right players from these jams. I think this might work a little better than getting five strangers in a room and trying to "be a band". Another thing I find is that pulling off the Dead style requires the players to be familiar with each others' playing, and to LISTEN to each other. The listening part seems to be a problem for many players, especially lead guitarists. In this regard, I find that it usually works better if I start out playing more simply, just doing the straight rhythm chords, and work into the inversions, different voicings, "lead with chords" thing as we get to know each other's playing a little more. One thing I can tell you is that your chances of putting something together are much better if you keep trying than if you give up. Hang in there, bro.

Bill, tgo
Intermediate Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 159
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 6:02 pm:   Edit Post

Hi Jeff ,
Don't give up !
Phil Lesh, Jack Casady, Jaco Pastorious,John Entwhistle,Chris Squire, Rocco Prestia,Stanley Clarke, Mark Egan, Alphonso Johnson, Michael Manring. These names are among my favorite electric Bass players{ not to mention numerous acoustic players} All these players are fairly busy (lots of notes).

Did you ever see the movie Amadeus ? They told Mozart _______ "TOO MANY NOTES ! " He answered "THERE ARE AS MANY NOTES AS NEEDED" My point here is " Mozart's compositions ____________
had the gifted touch of a "GENIUS" Are the Bass players that I mentioned above " GENIUS" ? I think so. They have the magic that it takes to pull of the trick of being busy.Is there any mystery in that magic ? A little bit _ BUT! : Most of those players have some what of a musical academic devotion ( some even have advanced musical degrees) Too get there they just kept on playing!!! AND studying and sweating !!! And Bill IS RIGHT ON TARGET___ Listen---Listen---Listen ---AND__________


Wolf __________
Advanced Member
Username: jbybj

Post Number: 217
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Friday, July 03, 2009 - 11:09 pm:   Edit Post

"My current plan of attack is to put together informal Dead jams once a month or so."

Bill, you should consider starting a meetup group. Go to and check it out. I got involved for a while with a guy who started a "Culver City Alt country" meetup group. It was a fun and casual way to vette prospective band/jam mates.

Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 598
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 3:01 am:   Edit Post

I've found that overall, once a month dead meet up groups work out better than a regular band that tries to do all, or mostly all dead tunes.

The last band I was in that was supposed to be a "dead" band, ended up doing all this other crap out of fear of getting rejected by a non-dead audience, of course my argument that a dead cover band shouldnt be booking places that is not frequented by heads was not listened to.

This didn't go over well with me, as I was, and am mainly interested in playing dead tunes in my very limited free time. Every time they suggested a new, non-dead tune to play, it was always with the excuse "oh, well this is a tune that dead would've/should've/could've covered"...the tipping point for me came when they wanted to do "Glory Days" by Bruce S.
Senior Member
Username: terryc

Post Number: 926
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 4:37 am:   Edit Post

flax..well I got sacked from a 70's party band two weeks ago, something do with my sound, not joining in with off stage stuff, I never got a straight answer but the stuff I played was crap so why did I do it..the money was great but I let myself down on a personal level.
I have made a vow not to do that anymore, I am even considering getting my own band together with a very good drummer friend of mine who is on the same wavelength.
If I get a band together then I call the shots, I am sick of 'putting up with it'
I am even considering Kimberley's suggestion of going solo.
Flax..don't give up playing, I now how you feel.
An old musician once said to me;-
'Son, if they get rid of you after a week then you are crap, if they get rid of you after a month or more, you are too good for them'
Take heart!
Senior Member
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 711
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Saturday, July 04, 2009 - 6:12 am:   Edit Post

Hang in there Jeff. Even though you may not think so, things could be worse... you get what I mean? Never lay your wonderful instruments down and call it a day... music feeds the soul, even when you play alone. Best, Art
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 2289
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Monday, July 06, 2009 - 1:06 am:   Edit Post

i hear ya glocke- comments i got was"it wasnt gelling" or it wasnt mellow enough?" it didnt work for me" and the last from another bass player who said "thats not i think bass should be played"

mellow? dead? the only thing i would cop a plea on is having my neck pu to high on the low side which caused a slight boom in the wonderful fender brx piece of shit amp the studio supplied'

thats another thing- you ever notice that when you go into a studio there are usually 2 or more guitar amps and always 1 bass amp thats usually pretty mediocre?
i decided
i aint givin up- if a drummer needs me to hold his hand to keep a beat down- what kind of drummer is he in the first place?

if i stay unemployed maybe i will move out to san francisco and kick some musical ass... lol
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 3982
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Monday, July 06, 2009 - 7:18 am:   Edit Post

Come on out, Flax!

Bill, tgo
Advanced Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 230
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post

I think you gotta BS em into not messing with you!! Just tell them you attended Berekly and also have a black belt and hopefully they will pick on the horn players instead. It's a prison yard mentality out there. Tattoos might help (sp?). Owning the PA will denfinatly help, and sleeping with the lead singer will help a lot (until you have a fight).

I have heard most groups are actually run by one or two people who really call the shots. Maybe a singer and a drummer or... It might even take a while to find out who really runs the show. If you passed the audition it may not even be about your playing at all. Could be something way out in left field. Maybe a mid-life thing the singer is having. If music is in your blood it won't quit calling to you. You might try creating your own band. Remember, nothing lasts forever, Even the Beatles broke up while making tons of money and having unheard of success.

I kind of see bands as a form of serial monagamy with an occasional affair thrown in for good measure. But then I always was a self-serving no good bum anyway.

Best of luck to you!
Username: andbassforall

Post Number: 55
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Tuesday, July 07, 2009 - 2:19 pm:   Edit Post

I think its just as hard and almost takes as much discrimination to find musical soulmates as it does the romantic type. A lot of risk taking, time wasting, and frustration getting to that place its natural and easy. I play in a lot of groups. Many of which I'm of course playing not always what I choose. But I enjoy the company and challenge, the lessons learned as long as I have a project to call my own where I can play out every idea. You'll have to be responsible for your own creative outlet. On those gigs where they turn their heads when u play a chord or above the 5th position, attitude and outlook is everything. I'd rather play e en if its not ideal. Best of luck to you. I'm sure you'll keep playing. We won't let u quit!
Senior Member
Username: flaxattack

Post Number: 2291
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 12:18 pm:   Edit Post

i ran this ad in craiglist
Experienced bass player looking to form dead based/jam/cover band. I am looking for talented musicians who have played with other people/bands and not along with a cd.
The deal is about having a good time together, letting people express their musical abilities, going with the flow and taking it out on gigs.
Not looking for jerry clones or bob wannabees etc. My style is a mix of influences and I play out of the pocket sometimes and expect the drummer(s) to be able to hold down a beat and also have the ability to “play” their instrument. If you like the dead you’ll know what I mean. Looking for guitars, keys, sax, and vocals. Send clips if you have some.
Senior Member
Username: artswork99

Post Number: 733
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Wednesday, July 08, 2009 - 12:31 pm:   Edit Post

That says it all IMO... Good luck with the search for musical companions.

(Message edited by artswork99 on July 08, 2009)

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