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I Prefer the Company of the Rhythm Section


The Bear Jew

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In my present main music gig, I rarely (never) play bass at all, unless I'm messing around at home or trying to explain something to the bassist in my band using a visual aid. I mainly spend my musical time playing guitar, working on song arrangements, writing lyrics or singing (read: hollering like a banshee.) So I am primarily a guitarist/songwriter/vocalist these days. However, I can't stand hanging out with other singers/guitarists.

 

Yep, I prefer the company of bassists and drummers over guitarists and vocalists--I have discovered that I have nothing to say to them. It's not that I don't like them intrinsically--I just don't seem to have much in common artistically with other guitarists or vocalists.

 

It seems like the old light bulb joke about guitarists (It takes one to change the bulb and 10 to say they could have done it better) is true... and I just don't have patience for the nonsense. I don't care about being faster or niftier than anyone else, and I really don't want to discuss the relative merits of EL-34 tubes versus KT-88s. I mean, yeah, OK, I DO appreciate seeing/hearing a nice instrument, amp or effect, but most of the other guitarists I meet have this adversarial attitude that I just despise. OOOooooooh... you can get a sound just like Dimebag's... GOOOOOOD for youuuuuuu. Oooooh, you have the Wowwee Super-Cool Neato pedal.... you're obviously better than everyone in the room. For some reason, they never wanna talk about writing interesting songs or fun stuff. Nope. They tend to want to compare penis sizes... erm, I mean guitar technique rather than what it takes to make art. Sure, there are a few nice folks out there, and I'm always glad when I get a chance to do gigs with those guys... but more often than not, they're a-holes.

 

And singers? Come on. Unless they're really cool, mellow and friendly, the ones I've been meeting are overly concerned with their hair, their clothes, the kind of beer they're being seen drinking, finding/doing drugs or whatever else... or at least appearing to be doing something cool and unique. Sadly, they definitely don't seem to be too interesting very often. I think they tend to be compensating for the fact that they don't hold an instrument onstage or something... I dunno.

 

And the guitarist/vocalists? Whoo, boy. Imagine a mixture of both of these personality types rolled into one. Can you say "insufferable a-hole?" I think you can.

 

I think part of the problem here is that so many of these folks are totally caught up in the mechanics of their chosen artistic vehicle without having much of a sense of the big picture... and they're either worried about being exposed as fakes or concerned with supporting their identity as musicians. Or something. I don't know... but whatever it is, I can't deal with it 90% of the time. It's like they want to have a guitar fight or something... ugh. I'm a frickin' grown man--I don't want to have a guitar fight (or any other kind of fight) with anyone.

 

So yeah, I tend to find myself chilling with bassists and drummers (in real life and online) more than any other sorts of musicians. Sure... you'll certainly find jerky drummers and bassists from time to time, but, generally these two groups tend to be more interested in hanging out and acting like human beings without dragging along any weird pretentious baggage into the experience.

 

So... here's to ya, gang. Thanks for not being jerks (most of the time).

 

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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I got your "visual aid" right here. Heh. :D

 

It's simple -- guitarists and singers are trying compensate for their feelings of inadequacy and small penises with their fancy gear and bravado.

 

Bass players and drummers, on the other hand, have nothing to prove to anyone.

"Tours widely in the southwestern tip of Kentucky"
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It's the old "type-A" personality traits that are a necessity for some people to be a "front man". This can be fine if they truly have the skill level and talent to back it up but usually the one's that do are more laid back and humble. Too many singers these days have had it embedded in their minds that they must have the diva (hate that term) mentality, I love when it comes back to bite them in the a**.
If you think my playing is bad, you should hear me sing!
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Yeah, it's the truth fa'sure.

 

There's a humility amongst the rhythm section that's not matched elsewhere.

 

Bono and The Edge versus Clayton and Mullen. I mean it's so obvious who is an over-hyped a** and who's cool to just hang ...

 

Davo

 

"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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Eric, I'm concerned. There's a whole lot of negative energy coming from you in the last few topics you've posted. You OK? Maybe you need to post some pics of the youngster to get you thinking on a more positive frequency. Or change the tubes in your amp. Or something. Opening the window and shouting out "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" will only serve to piss off the neighbors.

 

Or something.

 

And Mr. Clayton is just the luckiest guy in the world to have landed that gig. Stepped in Lucky Poop, he did. Without Bono, he'd be selling shoes at Payless. Might rise up to manager if he played his cards right. I mean, I'm happy for him, and jealous, and all that. I'm just saying the hype goes to Bono 'cause he's the guy driving the bus 'cause he's got the balls to think big. Oh, sure. It's OK when Sting has an accent and writes some cool tunes and thinks big.

 

Which leads me to think that maybe it's us?

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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The fact that Bono has stayed with the same guys all these years says a lot about him.

 

The same thing goes for Springsteen.

 

Elvis and Sinatra also kept the same guys in the band forever.

 

None of these guys had to and there certainly were better players around who might have been available.

 

I think it would be way more interesting to hang around with Bono than with Adam Clayton.

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Yep, I prefer the company of bassists and drummers...

 

Who doesn't? :rimshot:

 

+1

 

+1 also.

Well if you think about it lead guitarists (rhythm guitarists are much mellower) and singers are the two positions that just scream "Look at me, LOOK at ME!" Yeah, that is where you are going to find the majority of raging egomaniacs and drama queens. I think it's part of their psychological makeup in order to survive.

Lydian mode? The only mode I know has the words "pie ala" in front of it.

http://www.myspace.com/theeldoradosband

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I think that I must be very lucky, most of my circle of friends are players, guitarists, drummers, bass players, vocalists and many of them double in these roles. There are no real ego's or nasty personality's to deal with. Maybe its to with the fact that we are mostly early to mid 30's up I don't know.

 

I do know this, I hurt a very good friendship early on in my playing life, a friend wasn't deemed to be not making sufficient effort so he was asked to leave a band. I went with this at the time, after I saw the hurt it caused I vowed never to ruin a friendship again for the sake of music.

 

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It can be a pain to deal with that kind of mentality- especially with our 'American Idol' culture breeding a cesspool of wannabe gods.

 

Sometimes you just can't let it get to you. It takes all kinds to make a band go 'round.

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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Erik, I'm concerned. There's a whole lot of negative energy coming from you in the last few topics you've posted. You OK? Maybe you need to post some pics of the youngster to get you thinking on a more positive frequency. Or change the tubes in your amp. Or something. Opening the window and shouting out "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more" will only serve to piss off the neighbors.

 

 

Hm. I don't feel negative. This is me... I talk about the stuff I encounter when I encounter it. I'm actually really happy. I love my life--I have a wonderful wife and an amazing son who makes me want to burst with joy every single day. Everyone in my family (both sides) is healthy. I have a decent job. I'm a member of a band I enjoy a great deal, and people like us. My amp doesn't need new tubes--I actually had the amp serviced about a week ago, and it sounds better than ever.

 

I'm not mad about anything.

 

All I was doing here is sorta noting that I don't really feel a lot of kinship with other guitarists or vocalists (or guitarist/vocalists) and that I seem to gravitate to bassists and drummers for some reason.

 

But if it makes you feel better... here.

 

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3487/4085274866_5470132cd8.jpg

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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great pic!

 

I'm not surprised that you find the guitarists difficult, because you are not a gearhead (just a "gear appreciater"?). I find the extreme guitar tech stuff can get to be much (though I'm enough of a gearhead to withstand some of it :) ).

 

My answer to this is similar to when you posted about bands who acted "uppity" and were trying to "make it". I consider myself lucky. I have had to deal with very little of this in my various musical encounters (and not at all in Stonefly). If anything, I am a bit "type A" because I feel the need to keep things moving.

 

I do agree that the tendency is for the rhythm section to be cooler, and to be the guys that are easier to hang out with. I also find that when the talk gets too self-indulgent, I either talk about my family or theirs. If that doesn't alter their attitude, I go elsewhere.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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At one time I was in a pit orchestra band for a musical revue.

 

The band had piano, bass, drums, sax and trumpet.

 

The arranger had the brilliant idea of changing the band to:

piano, synth, drums, trumpet, trumpet. The plan was that the synth player would play the sax AND bass parts and the band would sound bigger with the same number of people.

 

It didn't and I'm glad I don't have to work with that arranger anymore. I went to the show and he asked me, "what do you think?" and I said, "sounds like a band without a bass player; the audience won't notice much difference but the singers will."

 

And that was true.

 

Meanwhile, on breaks the two keyboard players would discuss patches and software, the two trumpet players would discuss mouthpieces and nobody talked to the drummer.

 

Previously, the bass player and drummer hung out together, the sax and the trumpet players hung out together and no one talked to the pianist.

 

 

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Being both a bassist and guitarist, I find it easy to "cross the line", so to speak, and hang with almost any and everybody. Egomaniac lead singers are hysterically funny if you don't take their self-absorption seriously. I haven't worked with too many keyboard guys, but the ones I've worked with have been nice enough guys and easy enough to talk to.

 

The one horn player I've worked with is the exception; after the 10,000th time, hearing him talk about how much money he had in his horns and how much practice time he put in in each of them, it got old enough that I wanted to talk to someone else pretty much all the time. But that may just have been him...

Always remember that you�re unique. Just like everyone else.

 

 

 

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Being both a bassist and guitarist, I find it easy to "cross the line", so to speak, and hang with almost any and everybody. Egomaniac lead singers are hysterically funny if you don't take their self-absorption seriously. I haven't worked with too many keyboard guys, but the ones I've worked with have been nice enough guys and easy enough to talk to.

 

The one horn player I've worked with is the exception; after the 10,000th time, hearing him talk about how much money he had in his horns and how much practice time he put in in each of them, it got old enough that I wanted to talk to someone else pretty much all the time. But that may just have been him...

 

I think maybe I have become more curmudgeonly as I have aged, and I don't have the patience to deal with certain personality types anymore. I mean, I was raised to be polite to people, and I am always diplomatic is social situations where my music is involved, but I will quickly (but pleasantly) separate myself from people and conversations that seem inane or irritating to me... and a lot of the folks who irritate me in musical social situations tend to be the vocalists or guitarists. For some reason, I just seem to encounter a lot of annoying people in these roles.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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