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Death Metal Bassists


DWBass

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What do yall think of the genre? I've been locked in an ongoing battle on another BBS (Jazz related) and this guy from Norway or Sweden swears these guys are the best bassists on earth due to their being able to play super fast!! He says jazz will only be complete when fused with Death Metal!!

 

Any thoughts..............

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Pure comedy (the suggestion re. jazz bassists). I imagine that there must be some good death metal out there, but it's an extremely difficult genre in which to create good music as one is constantly treading an very fine line between noise and music. And the lack of lyrical subtlety tends to compound this.

 

The funny thing is that jazz players usually have the technique to play much faster than punk/metal instrumentalists, but because of the lack of volume this isn't noticed by heathens, plus they don't play fast all the time due to something called taste.

 

Btw, is there much Death Metal that's a 300bpm? (i.e. hard bop speeds)

 

Alex

 

P.S. I've always found that music that I consider heavy to be on the slower side anyway.

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He had the nerve to put down some of the most well know bassist on this known earth such as Victor Wooten, Adam Nitti, Gary Willis, Jeff Berlin and several others saying that none could match the 'speed' of death metal bassists. I'm going to post a link to this very discussion for yall to read.

 

http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=118

 

I'd love to read yalls opinions.

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Can't help you much. I suspect that there are solid, accomplished bassists in every genre.

 

I haven't heard much of this stuff, and what I've heard hasn't had me running back for more. FWIW, the same is true for me about jazz !! :eek:

 

My advice would be to declare them winners in your discussion. "Death Metal" people don't sound like people I'd like to have angry at me, even if they are on a different continent....I get in enough trouble with CMDN (well, not really..)

 

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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Jesus, who cares?

 

There have been some jazz-trained Death Metal/Punk Bassists (Cliff Burton, Scott Thunes) that I respect. Scott Thunes, especially. What he did when he was playing with Fear (Have Another Beer with Fear) was absolutely hilarious...he turned punk bass into a virtuoso art by applying his extensive background in jazz, classical, and progressive music. Brilliant!

 

Ultimately, dwalmz, you probably are going to have to accept that people out there have different tastes. Just because you don't like death metal doesn't make it music that has no value. For example: I happen to think that the guy from Pantera has an incredible voice and is musical, but I also have the utmost respect and admiration for jazz players like Jeff Berlin, etc, who have such a high dedication to their craft. What does that say about me?

 

As for the notion of jazz fused with death metal...sounds like a great idea. I'd like to hear it if someone could pull it off in a way that didn't sound contrived.

 

Our own Jeremy C played with the MC5 back in the day...

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Um... hello.

 

I actually know a good bit about death metal. As with any type of music, there's good stuff and bad stuff. The best death metal isn't always the most technical or the fastest, but a lot of it is pretty technical and fast.

 

Some of it is a tough listen, and many people are simply turned off by the imagery and lyrics... not to mention the gutteral vocals, hyper-saturated guitars and blast beats. It's not for everyone. I can get into it for a few songs, but it gets kinda "samey" after a while. Just like any subgenre of music.

 

Are these bassists the fastest? Who fucking knows or cares? Most of them can play realy, really fast. Playing fast is a big part of the genre. I don't know if being fast makes you good... it just means you're fast. Good is an overall thing. Fast is a specific thing. Whether the latter is a requirement to be the former is a totally subjective issue. Many of the death metal players I know could easily play with some of the big jazzers out there if they wished -- you should hear the guitarist from Morgoroth bust out "Autumn Leaves" at soundcheck sometime -- it's unreal. For whatever reason, they like playing the death stuff. It's not like they get paid well playing death metal, that's for sure. Whatever... Takes all kinds of folks to make up the world. That's why they make chocolate and vanilla, right?

 

Funny thing... many of the death metal fellas (and ladies) I have met are just about the nicest people you'd ever hope to meet. They're generally a lot like serious comic book enthusiasts -- studious, intense and focused, with an encyclopediac knowledge about their interests and very few social skills outside of their circle of friends. The guys from Cannibal Corpse, for example, are hilarious -- George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher (vocals) is a big fan of old horror comic books, and he's a funny, sweet guy. He doesn't take himself seriously at all. In fact, most of the death metal peeps I've met are FAR nicer (and way less sarcastic) than the indie-rock folks I've encountered. The death metal ones are usually scarier-looking, though.

\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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Originally posted by dwalmz:

What do yall think of the genre? I've been locked in an ongoing battle on another BBS (Jazz related) and this guy from Norway or Sweden swears these guys are the best bassists on earth due to their being able to play super fast!! He says jazz will only be complete when fused with Death Metal!!

 

Any thoughts..............

I like the genre. But I also like jazz, which I got into first (along with classical music). In fact, if you see the few pics of myself on my web site, that should confirm it (or not heheh).

 

But anyhow, I don't think it matters as much as you think. It's so much of a subjective matter, that it gets old after a while. Speed isn't everything, even in death metal. I've heard some cool slow tunes that grind just as hard as the hyperspeed pieces. Remember Obituary?

 

As for death fusing with jazz, I haven't heard it yet, but some bands have come close. Meshuggah's my fave example of this, even though they aren't a death metal band IMO.

 

My fave bassist who does both (not necessarily fusing the two styles though)? Steve DiGiorgio. He did some jazz albums a while back under the name Dark Hall. I'd love to get those albums, if I can find them.

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I'm with the consensus that in the end the "who's fastest?" question isn't all that interesting.

 

CMDN's report on these players doesn't really surprise me. I'd expect them to have good & diverse skills, as well as knowledge. A lot of metal gets put down because to some ears it doesn't sound very "erudite." But recently I've been doing an exercise of playing pre-programmed samples on my Boss Dr5 in all styles of music, including metal & hard forms of rock, with the bass track muted, and seeing what I can come up with. Right away you notice that "simple" sounding metal tracks are actually using some pretty dodgy rhythms & harmonics, which take a LOT of concentration, especially at high speeds (tempo is adjustable on the Dr5!). It's not my preference in music, but I certainly can appreciate that making it sound good, building interest, etc.--I mean making GOOD metal--takes the same sorts of skills & concentration that other, more "high brow" genres do.

 

Along these lines, I was recently working out a line on a song a friend had written (& I'd arranged), & I wanted the bass to have a steady, driving 8th-note beat through one section, where the guitar pedals on E, & then jumps up at odd times to crank out some other chords & then back to E. (Not metal, more of an old Zeppelin feel.) Thing is, (1) the guitar was putting the beat on places like the "and" of beats 3 & 4, stuff like that, & (2) on those beats it would hit quarter note chords. I wanted my bass part to follow the guitar's chords, & the bass line I came up with turned out to involve this counter-point of 8th notes pedalling on E & bouncing up for an 8th on the root each time the guitar hit a quarter-note chord, then back to E, then back to the next root, & so on. It took just a tad of practice to get that line solid & clean at speed! But now it's a way of building driving 8th lines in hard rock that I can put in the toolkit, so kinda cool.

 

Anyway, all that to say that working on "harder" stuff than is my normal fare has taught me something about playing! :thu:

 

On your point, dwalmz...it's not only jazzers who can be snobs, metal folks can be too--anyone can. Sounds like a waste of breath. What this fellow needs to learn is how to appreciate what diverse people & approaches bring to the table, & then just let it be good.

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Hahaha, I used to be a metal head, back when I was young and angry. I grew out of it, because like most of you have said, it is a joke. Sure, playing fast is great if you wanna impress a few people, but it's not all about that. Dave Gilmour doesn't play fast, I don't even think he can. Trey Anastasio can play really fast, SRV even faster. But it's not about how fast, it's about feel. And death definitely has no feel.
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Hahaha, I used to be a metal head, back when I was young and angry. I grew out of it, because like most of you have said, it is a joke. Sure, playing fast is great if you wanna impress a few people, but it's not all about that. Dave Gilmour doesn't play fast, I don't even think he can. Trey Anastasio can play really fast, SRV even faster. But it's not about how fast, it's about feel. And death definitely has no feel.
Well, as much as I love you, my brother, I have to disagree and give you a PC beatdown. You'd make me ever so much happier if you'd just say that you didn't like certain things rather than degrading them. You know I don't like hippie music, but I don't think it's a joke -- I just don't like it. For all the crap I talk about The Dead, Dave Matthews Band and Phish, I still respect it. It's just not my preference.

 

Death metal has feel -- you just don't like it. It's not the kind of "feel" that grabs you. That's totally fine. It's not a joke to the people who care about it and love it, just like The Dead aren't a joke to the people who care about them. As I mentioned, playing really fast, pentagrams and grunting are part and parcel to the subculture of death metal, just as wiggly major scales, Birkenstocks and weed are big elements in the hippie underground.

\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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Let's all detune our basses, grab picks and alternate pick straight root notes through a huge amp with an evil scowl on our faces while growling something unintelligible. Viola! We're all death metal bassists!

 

I never really got into that, although I do like some of those bands, Meshuggah being the heaviest that I like. They do have the few good musicians. Being good isn't all about speed, as everyone has said. They're good at what they do. Put them in a jazz trio and they're not in their element, just as if you put Victor Wooten in a death metal band. Of course those guys are going to think those are the best players because it's their favorite music. As far as being the best, it's really subjective. Of course, we're not delusional, so we know who is actually better.

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Thanx for the link Dwamlz, what a nice, polite and well argued debate!

 

Pity I dig neither Jazz or Death Metal :)

 

Some of those lyrics were fricken terrible.

 

CupMcMali...this monkey's gone to heaven :freak:

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This is an avatar test. Had this been a real post, I would have said something. This is only a test.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Originally posted by Jode:

Just ask your metalhead friend if his girlfriend likes it fast.

LMAO. my roomates for a while were a death metal cheezball and his girlfriend. she seemed to like it pretty fast. i was always amazed by his ability to reach that kind of speed. and yes, they listened to death metal while bumpin uglies.

 

as for death metal itself, i knew a bunch of dudes in college who listened to it. apparently buffalo is like some kind of U.S. death metal cultural center second only to parts of florida. and now a good friend of mine from high school is hanging out with these kids who live upstairs, one of which is a death/speed metal freak. i am amazed at these peoples ability to listen to this stuff ALL THE TIME.

 

my only real problem with death metal people (as with overzealous fans of pretty much ANY music, jazz inculded) is their inability to accept anything else as good. this kid russ, the above mentioned new neighbor is a prime example. at a christams party where we were listening to a ot of prince, al green, and barry white his remark upon leaving was "thank god we're out of there. that music made me feel like i was trapped in a f**kin porn movie." he then proceded, at 4 A.M. to BLAST Obituary at the absolute limit of my friends car stereo while i tried to give directions to the driver from the back seat. a 15 minute drive took two hours because we kept missing turns.

 

the best thing about a lot of death metal is the album covers. trying to figure out what the hell the band name is through their rediculously over-stylized logo complete with dripping blood (ever notice ALL of their logos are simalarly over-stylized red with white outline?) and reading the song titles. i think there's some quota amongst death metal people that your album must contain certain amounts of the words "vivisection," "putrifaction," and "remains."

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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okay, i read the first page of that discussion and i have to say the most open-minded person in that discussion was the death metal guy. he went on there to talk about something he was very into and felt was progressive and jazz-leaning enough to discuss it on a jazz board. then he was met with a lot of people questioning the value of what he listens to. that would piss me off and sure as shit make me real defensive. if he dissed those bass players of yours i didn't notice because i only got a few replies in and saw a kid trying to hep some people to stuff that he liked and a number of people questioning him and i got bored. as bad as some of these death and speed freaks can get (notice the SOME, not all), a jazz snob is always worse.

 

as for getting offended by saying that some of your favorites could never be as good as death metal players because they can't play as fast, i notice your list contains a lot of very technical musicians. bass players whose names would be unrecognizable to a lot of people who don't play bass. and if you're looking for technical prowess in defining the quality of a bass player, then he has a point. if i can play some sick-ass crazy technical riff, and you can play it faster, then you are technically the better bass player.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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One of the more hilarious guys I met was a dude who had this to say about Megadeth:

 

Dude: "I think that Megadeth was the most influential band in the history of music."

 

Me: (cautiously) "Ummmm....why?"

 

Dude: "Every band in existence who heard Megadeth immediately reacted by saying either 'We want to sound exactly like Megadeth,' or 'We don't want to sound anything remotely like Megadeth.'

 

I gotta admit, it was funny. Even though you could've said the same thing about any band, it made me laugh harder than anything else that night....

 

I still don't know if he was serious...although he did laugh with me pretty legitimately...

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some random thoughts:

 

1. Both jazz and death metal are intricate styles of music,that require practice to perfect.just like any form of music there's good ,theres bad, and just plain ugly.

 

2.Each genre requires a certain technical skill to play,there should be no argument as to who is better.Just the appreciation of any musician that takes the time to progress as a player.

 

3.Speed kills,as my tendinitis can attest too.

 

i used to play in a death metal band a few years back,in fact i tried to cross king crimson w/ cannibal corpse :eek: .It was extremely hard to pull off live because the PA systems sucked(Erik knows what i'm talking about).

 

Monk

I cannot be bought, and I cannot be threatened. But if you put them both together then I'm your man!"
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Originally posted by CMDN:

Hahaha, I used to be a metal head, back when I was young and angry. I grew out of it, because like most of you have said, it is a joke. Sure, playing fast is great if you wanna impress a few people, but it's not all about that. Dave Gilmour doesn't play fast, I don't even think he can. Trey Anastasio can play really fast, SRV even faster. But it's not about how fast, it's about feel. And death definitely has no feel.
Well, as much as I love you, my brother, I have to disagree and give you a PC beatdown. You'd make me ever so much happier if you'd just say that you didn't like certain things rather than degrading them. You know I don't like hippie music, but I don't think it's a joke -- I just don't like it. For all the crap I talk about The Dead, Dave Matthews Band and Phish, I still respect it. It's just not my preference.

 

Death metal has feel -- you just don't like it. It's not the kind of "feel" that grabs you. That's totally fine. It's not a joke to the people who care about it and love it, just like The Dead aren't a joke to the people who care about them. As I mentioned, playing really fast, pentagrams and grunting are part and parcel to the subculture of death metal, just as wiggly major scales, Birkenstocks and weed are big elements in the hippie underground.

Ok, so I wasn't trying to completely diss it, because I used to be a metal-head, but I was pointing out that speed isn't everything. It's gotta have feel, and there are few metal bands, especially of the death variety, that don't strike me as having feeling.

 

Sure, I love me some White Zombie and TOOL and metal like that, but if you're grunting over heavily distorted power chords, I can't get a feeling. Makes me angry, too. Kinda like rap and country. Hmmm, what about a rap/country/metal band, what's that gonna sound like?

 

Sure, you can diss hippie music all you want, I won't care. But I was just pointing out my stance on the metal thing, it just doesn't do a thing for me, but if someone says "Hey, listen to this, check it out", I'm not gonna say "Hey, WTF is this? Turn that off". I'll give it a listen, and decide after however long it takes to get on that last nerve. Some hippie music annoys me, believe it or not. Some (well, most) rock music, especially new, annoys the crap out of me, and even some jazz and blues annoy me. But I'll give it a try once or twice.

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I'd just like to pop up and say that I love Pantera. There, it's out. And I really would not like to try and pull off playing bass in a Pantera covers band whilst I'd be perfectly happy playing Flea in a RHCP covers band (if covers were my thang). I don't know what point I'm trying to make, but I guess most posts on here are fairly 'pointless' anyway.

 

Alex

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When I was playing with a swing band, we had a really great jazz-trained drummer (he had studied with Kieth Copeland) who could literally play anything. He did klezmer gigs, rock gigs, funk gigs, jazz gigs, everything. He was so overworked sometimes that one evening I turned around to look while playing and he was asleep! (Still setting up the horn parts and everything...amazing). On top of all this he was one of the most unfailingly nice guys I've ever known...a big perma-grin on his face all the time.

 

Anyway, we were talking about music once during a break, and he confessed to me that he LOVED Pantera and Rage Against the Machine, big time and used to crank them on his ultra-audiophile stereo when he was at home. He went on and on about Pantera's drummer having the most rediculous double bass drum chops he'd ever heard...

 

I have to agree w/ Bastid E, I went to the forum and read this guy's posts...I think you're giving him a bum rap. Who cares if he thinks jazz should be fused with death metal? Does that mean you have to listen to it? Will it spread across the airwaves like a plague until there's nothing else?

 

Lighten up. This guy seems to like jazz enough to have the courage to post about it, KNOWING that the bebop nazis will eat him for lunch.

 

I have to disagree with Bastid on one point...as bad as jazz snobs are, they PALE in comparison to classical music snobs! :D

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You must have been to music school with me, Ben. You seem to know the same people.

 

Every music has its snobs, but it's been my experience that metalheads and classical snobs are the most closed-minded to other types of music. I used to sublease to three South Florida metalhead friends of mine. They literally did not own a recording between the three of them that didn't go, "chugga chugga chugga" - but they had about 200 CDs between them. Well, they weren't exactly snobs about it, but it was all they knew, and all they CARED to know. On the other hand, they lost their minds when I played Al DiMeola for them.

 

I was renting to them while I was in college dealing with the other variety of snob I mentioned. Now, THERE's a snob for you: a university music professor. Check here and let Frank Zappa tell you all about them. Along with the metalheads, they have the most etched-in-stone tastes.

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."

 

Les Paul

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Something on the topic of musical snobbery:

One of my biggest musical influences was a friend's neighbor when I was in college. Very serious musician... He had a an early DAW studio in his apartment back in 1990, if that tells you anything. He was very "Zen-like" -- sort of a music Yoda.

 

Anyway, we wound up talking for a while at a party. Super nice guy -- we cracked each other up. I asked about his favorite music, and he mentioned a lot of typical R&B/funk stuff. When he asked me what I was into, I told him he probably wouldn't like or know a lot of it, since he was such an R&B head. He was intrigued, so I took some of my favorite extreme music at the time (Pantera, Cannibal Corpse, Minor Threat, Black Flag, Fugazi, Helmet) to his place, sure he'd kind of retch, and we'd laugh more together. I thought, "Well, at least he'll get to see what I'm about, and maybe he'll find something he likes in it."

 

So I show up, and we threw on Slip It In by Black Flag. To my suprise, he sat down and listened to it all the way through without speaking. He smiled, and asked for another. I hit him with some Helmet... then Corpse... then Fugazi... About three or so hours later, we had listened to most of the stuff I brought. I finally asked him what he thought, and he said, "It's all good. All I hear is notes. There's music in everything. It's all beautiful."

 

His statement hit me... Music appreciation isn't necessarily about understanding a genre (although it helps). It's just about music. Ever since we had that conversation, I've tried to open my mind to the music in everything. That's why I accept the musicality in everything from John Coltrane to Anal Cunt.

 

To me, the intrinsic value of music (or any art) is defined by the emotional effect it has on its audience. I don't want to miss out on anything, so I try to open myself to everything artistic, whether I "get" it at first or not. Even if (after trying it out) I still don't like band or a genre, I try to see why others might like it. For death metal, some folks are attracted to the technical aspects, while others like the gory imagery for the sheer shock value. Still others may just enjoy the aggressive nature of the music. Personally, I can't handle it all the time, but I can see the appeal.

\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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Do you suppose that if you'd shown up with a stack of old Air Supply albums, he still would've sat there for three hours?

 

Everything has its limit.

hmmm... Good question. I dunno. I'm guessing he would've, but then he'd also probably start smoking crack. That's what I'd have done.

 

BTW, I noticed Bastid's funny observation abiut death metal logos and lyrics... That's SO true. Back when I used to do ad designs (among about a zillion other things) for my old music mag, I often had to create ads for some of the mag's death metal label advertisers. The logos were SO hard to decipher sometimes -- there were so many loops and pointy jags on the letters that I thought they looked more like alphabetical fish-hooks than band names. So funny.

 

My favorite album title was Carnivorous Erection by a band called Regurgitate. The album cover featured a woman attempting to fellate a penis that had a face and big, nasty-looking teeth... it was chewing on her cheek. I was dying.

 

Our old bassist and I did a stupid "death" project just for laughs -- we wrote ridiculous songs about farts ("Flatulation Vibration",) helicopters ("Target") and fucking a tree ("Earth First Fist Fuck.") We recorded them on his DAW. We had about five songs -- the lyrics were so stupid, but they sounded great after we processed the vocals and dropped them in pitch to demonic levels. It was fun... but it wasn't easy. Those kinds of songs are murder on the fingers (no pun intended.) We called ourselves Corpsifixation and played our stuff for some of our "deathy' friends without telling them it was our stuff. They loved it. We told them it was an advance from a a new Swedish death metal band... They still don't know it was us.

\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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Interesting article by Zappa--thanks for the link. A lot of truth in it. Also a lot of evidence of its own brand of snobbishness.

 

CMDN--hilarious stories! LMAO. But you know, for all your talk, I'll bet that really you like best to be alone on dark winter evenings with a hot cup of herbal tea and a big, snuggly sweater, tinkling liltingly on your white, candle-lit piano, head tilted back & cocked slightly to one side, with a wan smile and misty eye, softly singing "Imagine" and old Carpenters favorites late into the night, until you retire on your futon, flushed with hope in a world that can be home to people of such deep feeling as yours...am I right? Go on, you can tell us; cry if you like, you're among friends.

 

Yeah, I thought so.

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