Monday, April 20, 2009

Life in Music- The Funky Bass Players

I love bass players. They are my brothers/sisters in groove.

Without them, I am nothing (after all, I'm just a bass player trapped in a drummer's body).

That being said, bass players really piss me off lately.

I don't know why, and I probably never will, but bass players seem to be perpetually less than timely, especially lately. On 2 gigs that I did last week (2 in one week?) the bass player was late. When I say late, I mean late for the START of the gig. Not late for the load-in or the sound check, but the hit time (biz lingo).

Hello? Are we pro's here or what?

Isn't part of your job keeping good time?

The kicker of this part of the story is that it occurred with 2 different bands and 2 different bass players.

About a week or 2 previous to this, there was another gig that the bass player was late. About an hour late for the hit, to be precise. I can't blame her, though, because she was filling in for the person that was supposed to show up.

That's right, I said supposed to show up. The person who originally got the call never showed. Just didn't show up. Didn't even call. Luckily, someone was found, albeit an hour late.

So what's going on here, bass players? The economy is terrible and the gigs are getting scarce. I understand that we all gotta do what we gotta do (I'm talking to the mercenaries out there, myself included.) I know that if you're already booked to play for a hondo (a hundred dollars- more biz lingo) and someone else offers you 2 for the same day, you gotta take it.

But you also gotta be responsible and send a sub or at least CALL THE LEADER and let them know that they need to get someone else. When you don't show up, or if you show up late, not only do you screw up your colleagues' future employment, but your own name gets tarnished mightily (notice my manners in not calling y'all out). Besides, just like many, many drummers in this town, you're probably not nearly as good as you think you are, with your noodling fingers and thumping thumbs; being "funky".

Sorry to be harsh, but if you feel slighted by this statement, then you probably fit the description. If it does not affect your mood, then you are probably very solid and...


Probably funky, too.

And speaking of funky, how about the city of Chicago sending out the secret goon squad to ticket motorists who fail to stop for pedestrians who just walk willy-nilly into the middle of the street just 'cause they can. Why doesn't the city just send us all a bill every month?

So it goes...


  1. how did i miss this one. hey mike im your biggest fan and have struck 2 bass players in the face just from insperation of this post. pow-right in the kisser. your the man!

  2. did you hit them with their own bass? that's worth the price of admission right there.

  3. No Mike, drummers are the worst when it comes to being late..showing up 5 minutes before the gig with too many large cymbals and sticks for the Styx gig.."knowing" James Brown tunes when in reality they are playing some terrible cliche of the one JB tune they managed to not learn while "working" in the Northern Illinoise Jazz Lab stage band..and my favorite, executing the "roll through time" in which drum boy starts a fill at 120 bpm, and ends at 124 bpm.

    But as you say Mike, they are my brothers, and I do love them to we bass players are nothing but drummers saddled with a plank of wood with vibrating strings.

    Of course I just proved your point about BP's being late, as I see the original date on this post is from April.