One of the most overlooked positions in any band is the bass player. So many of us take for granted the actual role they play and how they are responsible for not only driving each song, but giving them guts. So without further adieu, I give you my top five favorite bass players of all time!
He was so stubborn as a rhythm guitar player, that he switched to bass guitar before joining Black Sabbath. Perhaps that was the edge he needed to keep up with Tony Iommi, but in most cases it was the other way around with Tony having to keep up with Geezer. Not only were his fingers inspired by the devils fire, but he broke ground by being one of the first bass players to utilize the wah pedal, and even down tune his bass. Something that has become a standard in many aspects of heavy metal today.
Formerly know as “Rex Rocker” in the early days of Pantera, Mr Brown had the duty of backing the heaviest band in heavy metal. One would think having such an enigmatic guitar player as Dimebag in the spotlight, the bass player would easily be overshadowed. Not the case with Rex at all. He projected a thunderous stability behind the bands prominent guitar driven music, and was able to keep the song moving while Dime was soloing his fingers off. A perfect example is the isolated bass track from the Pantera song “Im Broken” which showcases Brown’s legendary tone and power.
There’s no mistaking the image of this bad ass Brit with a Rickenbacker in hand, and a microphone higher than his head. His style is all his own, and often imitated but clearly never duplicated. One of the most genuine aspects of Lemmy’s playing is his ability to play from the heart, however black it may be. Just by watching this metal god on stage you can easily see the notes spewing out of his fingers as if (much like breathing) its simply second nature to him.
There is no denying the brilliant technical wizardry exemplified by Dream Theater bassist John Myung. He remains the quiet, soft spoken member of the band who prefers to let his playing speak for itself. Backing such a technically savvy band requires ultimate skill sets in and of itself, but to match guitar virtuoso John Petrucci note for note on some of their historic speed runs is simply unfathomable. Like most musicians who have mastered their craft, Myung makes it look effortless.
As if Im not going to mention the giant from Brooklyn. His towering silhouette makes, what ordinarily is quite a large instrument, look like a banjo in his mammoth hands. Its clear just by listening to Peter speak that the bass fits him better than the black panties fit his most adoring female goth fans. His skills were never in fretboard fireworks, but rather in song writing itself. Inspired heavily by The Beatles and Black Sabbath, Steele would use his bass to carry some of the best arrangements ever written in heavy music. Not to mention some of the most memorable, and bad ass bass lines in the genre.
Thats a wrap on my top 5 bass player list! Everyone has their own opinions and favorites, so as always feel free to share yours in the comments below!