Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Bass Bits #3 - Postpunk Bass

Administrative stuff first:

Graham at Our God Is Speed with more Tina Weymouth love  + the oddness of Melvin Jackson

Phil at The Phil Zone on where postpunk bass went to die

Guest posts will appear here starting tomorrow - keep the suggestions coming!

Preferred format: band name + bassist name + YouTube embed code + optional: a comment


Postpunk bass when it was very much alive, then...

Wish Scritti Politti had made a whole album out of the 4 A-Sides E.P.

Another track that turned me onto the Funk,  "P.A.s".

What a vivid sounding production, such clarity - you really feel like you are right there - among the players. Everyone at the top of their game - Tom, Green, and Nial Jinks with his bulging, quivery, wonderfully mobile bass.    

High-toned, melodic, plangent with worry:

Deconstruction Chic


From Politti to Pollitt... Tessa, that is.

Hard to pick a tune off of Cut - not a duff moment, not one where the bass isn't doing something wonderful.

But this - the first song I heard by The Slits - stands out for its baleful, almost pogo stick-like bounce.

Doleful 'n' soulful

Hammering like a heart under the ribcage of a nervous yet exhilarated shoplifter

Tessa Pollitt - my favorite Slit. 


Their pals The Raincoats 

Lovely sidling and burbling bass-melody under this joyous tumult  - Gina Birch

They went in for a bit of the old postpunk instrument-switcheroo on"Only Loved At Night" (keep it fresh; dismantle stale-making structure 'n' strictures - you know the drill) and so it's Vicky Aspinall  who's responsible for the haunting B-line.


Many contenders from Dave Allen of Gang of Four

This might be his supreme rockfunkpunkdisco B-line. Rubbery, pummeling - at once unstable and dominating.

Another favorite Go4 track, doesn't get mentioned as often as it should.

The drums and the guitar feedback get most of the attention on "Anthrax" - understandably - but the bass is crucially monolithic


 The Fall enjoyed a series of superb bassmen.

Tony Friel

Marc Riley

Steve Hanley


I always feel that Richard H. Kirk should get mentioned more often in lists of great guitarists.

And - although unlikely to feature in any musicians or technical mags - much the same could be said for Stephen Mallinder's way with the bass guitar.

This pair are my two top  Cabaret Voltaire tunes anyway, so in a sense the award goes to all three members. But then the bassist's job is to be the glue, right?  Bassists, generally speaking, can't be good in isolation from the other elements in the group / groove. Are there bassists whose performances you enjoy, despite the drummer being crap?  It's a mind-meld, the rhythm section - a united front.   


There's been a bunch of bands in rock history with two drummers - but how many have there been with two bassists?

Maybe just Delta 5, with Ros Allen and Bethan Peters

Love the loping top-line bass on this!



David Weddell of Josef K, take a bow


Lots more that could and should be mentioned - Tony Maimone, Peter Hook, Graham Lewis, Fred Smith, Les Pattinson, Rick Goldstraw, Steve Severin ....


Wobble, if you're wondering, will get his own Dedicated Post.