In 1995, I was a high school freshman, and my mom and dad did something that would end up being a defining moment in my life. They bought me a black, pointy, Washburn Lyon bass with a ten-inch Park practice amp. I’d fallen head over heels in love with music in the preceding couple years, and the trombone I had been playing just wasn’t cutting it when it came to satisfying the visceral need to rock out I had started feeling.
Now, 22 years later, “bassist” is one of my favorite titles. I have played with a lot of different bands, but my favorites have been: Here Today, This Boy’s Trouble, Sweet Old Etc., The Good Old-Fashioned Rodeo, Tanager, and the to-be-named Susanne Leach/Pat Myers/Matt Murphy project. A few weeks ago, I played a show with Tanager and left every ounce of energy, pent-up frustration, manic excitement on that stage in a swinging, jumping, sweaty, bloody performance.
The two main ways I get out the things that pollute my psyche are playing and creating music and running, and now that it’s getting colder, it is harder and harder to motivate myself to go for a run. I hate being cold. So, music it is. I think it is important that people know how to get the garbage self-doubt, toxic unwarranted shame, painful anxiety out. Otherwise, we end up walking around with greasy jars filled with them and they weigh us down, slow us down, and it gets harder and harder to get out of bed, harder and harder to be the person you know you’re supposed to be.
Sometimes, when I forget about how to clear my own garbage out, I go back and listen to the music that first inspired me to become a bassist.
Check out this playlist:
- Nirvana – Sappy (1993)
- Nine Inch Nails – March of the Pigs (1994)
- Rollins Band – Liar (1995)
- Stone Temple Pilots – Silvergun Superman (1994)
- Smashing Pumpkins – Jellybelly (1995)
- Metallica – My Friend of Misery (1991) – Seriously, the bass tone on this one!!
- Primus – Those Damned Blue-Collar Tweekers (1991)
- Rancid – Salvation (1994)
- NOFX – Dying Degree (1993)
- Alice in Chains – Dam that River (1992)
- Faith No More – Epic (1989)
- Offspring – Killboy Powerhead (1994)
- Jane’s Addiction – Mountain Song (1988)
- Red Hot Chili Peppers – Mellowship Slinky in B Major (1991)
- Pearl Jam – Animal (1993)
- Silverchair – Israel’s Son (1995) – Seriously mean bass tones on this one!
- Rage Against the Machine – Take the Power Back (1995) – All the tone!
- The Cure – Burn (1994)
- Pantera – Walk (1992)
- Megadeth – Angry Again (1993)
I could go on and on, but I won’t.
Here are all the basses I have owned (or still own) ranked from my favorite to least favorite.
- 1994 G&L ASAT with hipshot tuner (still own)
- 1964 Fender Precision Bass (stolen)
- 1999 Music Man Sterling Bass (returned to person who let me use for a few years)
- 2014 Epiphone Jack Casady (still own)
- 2016 Kala U-Bass (still own)
- 1991 MIM Fender Jazz Bass (still own)
- 2003 Schecter Diamond 5 String (sold)
- 2016 Squier Jaguar 5 string (still own)
- 2010 Squier Bronco bass (returned to person who let me use for a few years)
- 1994 Washburn Lyon (destroyed rock star style on my parents’ driveway)