he said captain, i said watt?

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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

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9 thoughts on “he said captain, i said watt?

  1. hmm, mike and firehose and all that passed me by, i did see that stooges-show @ pukkelpop, but it didnt make a lasting impression though.
    who’s phil france?
    my 10 best bassplayers
    bootsy collins
    larry graham
    robbie shakespeare
    henny vrienten
    charles mingus
    jimmy garrison
    john paul jones
    paul mccartney
    koen lommerse
    doug wimbish

  2. ah, phil france is of cinematic orchestra, faze action and mj cole-fame.
    mabbe a motivation on the bassplayers?
    larry graham is the inventor of slapbass and the best funkbassplayer ever, bootsy is the second best.
    robbie shakespeare is ofcourse the zenith in reggaeplaying, henny vrienten of dutch reggaeband doe maar is not as good, but like the hornsection of earth wind & fire very effective. robbie is ofcourse related to sly dunbar, as henny vrienten is related to jan hendriks, the most underrated guitarplayer in the netherlands
    charles mingus is a fantastic jazzplayer, very experimental, jimmy garrison played with john coltrane on a love supreme, and together with elvin jones he’s coltrane’s lifenet. the way he keeps up with coltrane’s playing is superb, listen to the live-version on the deluxe-edition of a love supreme, garrison’s like a rock.
    jp jones is of led zeppelin fame, mccartney played in a little known band called the beatles, doug and koen are very versatile players, they played in rockband, funkbands, reggaebands, jazzacts, etc.

  3. ron carter
    charles mingus
    dolly bushweed
    paul mccartney
    brian wilson
    gaye advert
    fats wallers’ left hand
    bill black
    capt. sensible
    bobbi rossini

  4. fIREHOSE was absolutely cool and flyin’ the flannel is an awesome record. no time to drop my favo basplayer names but know that Kim Gordon would be amongst them 😉

  5. Jaco Pastorius is called the best bass-player by every bass-player, though a bit to anal maybe (same category: Jamaldeen Tacuma)
    Bill Laswell
    Flabba Holt (Roots Radics etc.)
    Paul Chambers (Miles Davis Quintet
    mainly)
    (category:cool:Melissa Auf Der mauer, the guy touring with Amp fiddler)
    Sting stinks!

  6. Bent from Motorpsycho is definitely my favorite.
    Also:
    Jaco Pastorius
    Kim Deal
    Kim Gordon
    Nick Harmer (Death Cab For Cutie)
    Nate Mendel (SDRE, The Fire Theft, Foo Fighters)

  7. Henny Vrienten (incredible playing and singing simultaneously)
    Paul McCartney (no comment)
    Toody (Dead Moon)
    MCA (Beastie Boys)
    Sting (Police only, please. Hate what he does now.)
    John Paul Jones
    Aston “Family Man” Barrett
    John Entwistle
    Willie Dixon
    Tony Levin

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