posted on September 1, 2009 at 7:15 am

i decided sometime in 1969
that i wanted to play the bass guitar
something just gave me a great big hunch
that thats what i was supposed to do
its like a feeling
its like a calling
its like discovering something that makes you very excited
a bunch of kids fantasized about getting a band together
we planned our record covers n everything
in 1970 i nagged my dad into buying me a bass guitar
it cost 80 dollars and it was a violin shaped
my dad made an amp for me out of an old p.a. system he’d come across
playing a bass was nothing like i thought
it was hard yakka
i tried to figure out bass parts in other peoples songs
little green bag by the george baker selection
yeah thats my first riff right there
i played it in A
which meant i only had to use one finger
this lesson of the easy one finger lick was not lost on me
after that i figured out 25 or 6 to 4 by chicago
over and over n over until the “oldies” begged me to stop
some rellies came over and requested a performance
on stevens new electric guitar
i got my bass out n played them my grab bag of licks
by now i’d added yellow river by christie
and some led zepp stuff
my rellies were completely underwhelmed
my uncle bought me a jose feliciano record
and said
thats how a guitar should sound!
i pressed on regardless
i jammed with other novice guitarists n drummers
and we kinda figured it out together
we played rock round the clock for hours
i hated it!
but i wanted to learn
one afternoon
a very cool guy called ben
with red hair came over
and in 1 hour flat
he showed me scales, slides, slurs and bends
and the inside scoop on how paul mccartney played
applying this knowledge
i found myself improved by leaps and bounds
i began to sing and play bass
because no other fool would sing my silly words
playing n singing at the same time is hard at first
how do you do it?
now it seems as easy as rolling off a log
i listened hard to the bass guitarists i liked
chris squire from yes blew my tiny mind
he had a new sound
a trebly tremeloey thing
that elevated bass guitar right outta the accepted ballpark
and implied so many possibilities
of what could indeed be done
strangely enough
soon i discovered i had my own style
it was a lazy easy style
it wasnt all uptight and pushy
it wasnt very technically brilliant
but it was my way of doing it
and i liked it
after about a year or 2
i became very comfortable playing the bass
i could never achieve that degree of comfort with a guitar
the bass and i feel joined
i feel at home
i feel like ive kicked my shoes off and i’m safe
its a lovely instrument
and my current bass is a real rolls royce
even and true
a real luxury to play
rich and deep and resonant
it says things that other basses cant say
it throws up music other basses could not hear
it has become charged with much mojo over the years
and it sometimes discharges blasts of its reserved power
right up my arm and into my brain
this only happens when the church is rocking hard
of course
but i go into an anaesthetized state
cant feel the weight of it
cant feel gravity at all
my fingers still nimble luckily
they pluck n pluck like fat little hummingbirds
faster than the I can see
and after a long time
you achieve symbiosis with your axe, man
you got a thing going with it
an understanding
it wants to resonate
it wants to deliver
its thirsty for music
it wants to seek the heat n fury of rock
so you strap it on
and you go out there
into the beckoning limelight
you blink under the lights
the crowd check you out
you gotta prove yourself
but you got the rollsroyce bass on your side
like the rifleman had his rifle
you got your fender jazz
and you wait to hear the click of the drumsticks
that counts in the first song
click click click click
youre off and running
you stand back and it all happens
the fingers fly to their positions
they automatically run around the bass
the words come rushing out your mouth
in a solid stream
and me
whoever i am
i just stand back
and i gently guide the
fingers and voice
adding n subtracting bits
trying new innovations
sometimes fucking up n having to correct it
reacting to the others
none of them see it like me
none of them see it like each other
music has a million ins
and all of us got our own in
if you got no in you might as well give up
i cant explain my in to you
i stumbled on it and its non transferrable
i believe if you stumble around long enough
youll find your in
i believe musical ability in the family is a big plus
music seems to run in families
peters dad is a musician
my dad n his mum played the piano
martys brother plays the guitar in cabaret bands
tims son plays guitar in a street light song
craigie our keyboard players mum was a piano teacher
it seems to be in the genes
but its also in the fact
that if you see someone you know doing it
you realize it cant be that damn hard
anyway i was born n destined
to play the bass guitar
the only instrument i am truly proficient on
i try to make my bass parts

thank you for listening

39 Responses to “keep on rockin’ in the three worlds”

    Error thrown

    Call to undefined function ereg()