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Bill "The Buddha" Dickens fans? -> CD and DVD review added...


Gruuve

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I was watching the BassDay '97 DVD yesternight, and one of the bonus features was a performance by Bill Dickens (and the band he's part of, which I gather is called "Snap, Crackle, and Pop"). I wasn't familiar with his playing, but I REALLY enjoyed that performance. The music they were doing was definitely rock but very groove oriented, with most of the groove coming from his busy but quite musical slapped bass lines, a rock drummer pounding away (Bobby Rock, I believe), and guitarist wailing away with some very melodic rock-oriented guitar riffs. Bill's apparently a quite busy bassist, but there wasn't a huge amount of wanking in the song...I thought the majority of the one song they played was quite musical. A busy slapped bass groove with melodic guitar riffs over top...very nice, and a style of music that I really like! Bill is obviously a technical virtuoso, so I just ordered both of his bass DVD's as well as Snap, Crackle, and Pop's CD off of Amazon.com. If that CD is anything like the performance on the BassDay '07 DVD, I can't wait to get hold of it!

 

Here's his site by the way...it says he's done an enormous amount of studio work, but unfortunately there's no discography listed. But, take heart...you can take personal lessons from him for a mere $100/hour paid 3 weeks in advance. :D;)

 

http://www.billthebuddhadickens.com

 

If there are any other Buddha fans, I'd love to know some other artists/songs/CD's he's played on.

 

Enjoy!

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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Fan? Maybe stretching it since I haven't spent money on him. Admirer? Absolutely.

 

He's one of the artists on my "You have got see this!" list. Definitely not everybody's cuppa, but everybody should know he's out there and other players with similar style are out there, too.

- Matt W.
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I first heard him on a Ramsey Lewis album called Chance Encounter that I bought in 1982. There were a couple of bass fills that stood out and I went, "ooh, what (and who) was that?"

 

By the way, on back cover of the album the picture shows Bill with hair and a beard and not quite so big as he is today. That's ok. In 1982 I had hair and a beard and weighed 10 pounds less than I do now.

 

I went to one of the Neil Zaza Bobby Rock Bill Dickens clinics around the same time as CaptainMRI and he's always at the NAMM show....especially around the AccuGroove booth where I also can be found.

 

He doesn't seem to play much anymore but does some producing.

 

His skills and talents are prodigious but he seems to be treating playing bass as an athletic event these days. There seems to be a reasonably large market out there that likes this.

 

I wish he would use his powers to actually play some serious music.

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Well, I'll let you guys know how the CD and DVD is. I'd imagine the DVD will be a collection of super-technical wanking (maybe, maybe not), but I do really expect to enjoy the CD if it's anything like the performance on the BassDay '97 DVD. I really like that style of music...you don't often hear grooving slapped bass, metallic drumming with lots of double-kick work, and Eric Johnson/Joe Satriani type of guitar melodies put together in way that actually sounds like music (IMHO, of course). Normally, this combination would sound like they were all playing in a different room :freak: , but these guys seemed to really make it work, and it came out very musical IMO. I'll post after I get the CD.

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I don't think I've ever actaully heard his playing but from what I've heard about his playing makes me think that I'd like it quite a bit. I don't know if I'd ever want to or be able to play like that but I'm sure that I could get quite a lot out of it (which, from what I know of you, Dave, is what you're probably getting at). I think I'll look for one of his cds or dvds.
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YouTube comes through again...here's a clip:

 

There's a lot of wankin' on this one, but if you scroll forward to about 5:45, this is the performance that's on the BassDay'97 DVD...I really like this song, great groove. The "bass cam" is pretty cool too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twj5aaw0BUs

 

As chunky as this man's fingers are, I can't see how he can slap/pop so ferociously on a 7-string bass with it's close string spacing. :freak: I guess it's all in what you adapt to, eh? ;)

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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I am not a fan because it's not my thing. He can play and gets it done with that slap stuff. I saw him at an exhibit once, and got to chat with him for a few minutes. He was cordial and pleasant. Someone asked him about how he uses an elastic hairband sometimes on his Conklin 7, and he was showing different riffs he does and where the band goes. Very nice guy.

 

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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Originally posted by Dave Sisk:

YouTube comes through again...here's a clip:

 

There's a lot of wankin' on this one, but if you scroll forward to about 5:45, this is the performance that's on the BassDay'97 DVD...I really like this song, great groove. The "bass cam" is pretty cool too:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twj5aaw0BUs

 

As chunky as this man's fingers are, I can't see how he can slap/pop so ferociously on a 7-string bass with it's close string spacing. :freak: I guess it's all in what you adapt to, eh? ;)

 

Dave

OK, he plays a lot. I'd rather be this guy:
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  • 3 weeks later...

OK, review time!

 

Snap, Crackle, and Pop CD: I like it. There's plenty of wankin' going on (it IS 3 guys who specialize in chops after all), but there's quite a few good grooves going on. If you like the Joe Satriani/Eric Johnson/etc. type guitar melodies and riffs, but you actually like hearing some bass and drums that aren't completely dumbed-down along with it, then you might enjoy this CD. It's a live CD, so there's some pushing-n-pulling going on in a lot of spots, and IMHO the bass production could have been done a lot better, but I think it's a good listen. Bobby Rock is a great drummer, but he does too many solos on the CD, and they kind of all sound the same. He can do some good grooves though, and he and Bill Dickens seem to have a good anticipation of what each other will do in most of the material. They can play some really busy stuff and make it work most of the time. I really like Zaza's guitar tone...very present but doesn't cover up everything else on the planet. I think the CD is mostly a jammer...there's nothing really mind-bending on it to me, but if you like rock instrumentals you'll probably like this CD.

 

Bill Dickens bass videos: I've got both of them on a single DVD. OK, he seems like a truly nice guy, fairly humble for someone of his ability, but I do have to say that he simply doesn't come across as a good teacher on the videos. I get picky about terminlogy sometimes, BUT...he calls almost everything a "technique"...for instance, in one spot he was discussing the 2-5-1 chord progression, and he called it a "technique"...I couldn't help but critically think "it's a not a technique, it's a chord progression!". He does demonstrate how he does some of the slap techniques that he uses, and there's definitely some things that can be learned and used. His six-tuplet technique sounds pretty good on the video, but it doesn't seem like he uses it all that well in the performances. The performances (and about half of each video is actually performances) are actually some of the best things about this video...the guy can indeed play! Technique-wise, he really doesn't do anything that's all that mind-bending...he does execute everything he does extremely well though. He was a drummer before he took up bass (I knew there was a reason I liked him ;) ), and a lot of his playing is very rhythmic, with lots of ghost notes filling out space. I really didn't get all that much out of his lessons to be honest...so, if you buy this DVD buy it for the performances, because they are quite good and mostly very musical.

 

And while I mention the 2-5-1 chord progression...he made quite a big deal out of a pattern he plays over that chord progression. He really didn't explain his point very well, so I honestly didn't get what the purpose of the whole discussion was. Anyone seen that part of the video? Was my brain turned off or something?

 

Dave

Old bass players never die, they just buy lighter rigs.

- Tom Capasso, 11/9/2006

 

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