09 November 2006

Bass Players Are A Dime A Dozen???

Somebody once told me this and I can't say that I agree. In 4-bar blues bands, possibly. Buried in a 38-piece orchestra, possibly.
Can you name some of rock-n-roll's greatest bass players? How about some that are still alive?

Steve Harris - Songwriting and marketing of Iron Maiden
Geddy Lee - Vocals, bass pedals, keyboards. You want more?
Gene Simmons - marketing genius of KISS, not musicianship

Les Claypool, Geezer Butler, and then there's Tony Levin playing the Chapman Stick.

The other day, I was hearing Iron Maiden's latest for the first time and I found myself returning from this bassplayer tangent after five tracks. A Matter of Life and Death pretty much falls flat on its face. I cannot remember a worse Maiden album. Maybe it's the third guitarist that followed Bruce Dickinson back from his solo career. The sound is too muddy; indistinct. There's not much to grab you; no hooks.

Don't get me wrong. I have every Maiden album or CD produced. No, not all the collectible vinyl in black, red, picture disc, jacket artwork variations and all that nonsense that will drive a person crazy on eBay.

Before this album, I really had thought of Steve Harris as one of Rock's most enduring songwriters. Check the liner notes on any Iron Maiden you own. He's the author of two-thirds of their recordings. On this one, tho' he's off his 'ead, mate.


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