I’ve been listening to fIREHOSE a lot, lately. Mike Watt was their bassist, like he was in the minutemen before that. What a guy! When Flyin’ the Flannel came out I saw them play at De Melkweg. The way he was standing there plucking the snares of his bass – power stance, his cheeks full of air, flannel shirt hanging loosely around his shoulders – I wanted to be Mike Watt.
After that I have never again heard a band play such rugged music in such a groovy way. Well, yes, Watt himself, years after that, at a gig he did at Madrid’s Moby Dick club. He had just released Ball-Hog or Tugboat? and had come to Spain to do a short tour. My buddy David and I interviewed him afterwards for the second issue of our fanzine Garfunkel, which never came out. I still have it somewhere, I’ll look it up.
He’s playing with Iggy Pop and the Stooges now, I still can’t believe I missed out on his gig with The Stooges Tribute thing at Pukkelpop a couple years ago. He’s also started recording a new album with his new band The Secondmen, with whom he’ll be playing at the upcoming All Tomorrow’s Parties fest in London.
Also, check out his radio show [only weekends]. It’s great.
Top ten bassists [in random order, and in my fav list because of the way they touched me at some point in my life, not because they’re technically fantastic – I wouldn’t know about that]:
Mike Watt (see above)
Robbie Shakespeare (All your reggae bass are belong to him. The first time I witnessed him play was with the Taxi Gang, accompanying Gregory Isaacs at Reggae Sunsplash 1985 or 1986, Noorderligt, Tilbo. What a great concert)
Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth, Dutch readers can find out how Sonic Youth came into my life here, the others, well, let’s just say they had a really big impact on me and the way I was listening to music)
Kim Deal (Pixies, Breeders et al. She was by far the coolest dude in the Pixies. Dunno about that reunion though)
Henny Vrienten (Maybe not brilliant but, as Guuz sez in the comments, very effective bass player of Dutch heroes Doe Maar. It was his sound that made me fall forever in love with the bass, as described here)
Les Claypool (Primus rule! I love the way he plays all kinds of bass guitars, and the way he imitates his voice with them. Or is it the other way around?)
Charles Mingus (It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that Mingus)
Flea (Hmmm, I love them bass slaps. He’s my favourite Pepper)
Bent Sæther (Motorpsycho rule, too! I love the way his bass sounds, it’s almost like a guitar. Lemmy has that sound, too. In fact, and make sure you’re seated as this may come as a surprise, Lemmy probably had it before Bent did. Check ‘Junior’ on Demon Box, you’ll know what I mean)
Phil France (From Cinematic Orchestra. I love the way his bass takes you by the hand and leads you through the darkness, into the light)
how about yours?
update: in the comments, Guuz suggested I motivate my choice, so I added them afterwards