The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Lonesome Bass Player

The bass guitar player has had a unique part in the history of rock and roll. Dreams of rock stardom are sparked by a desire to sing or play guitar or sing to beat the shit out of some drums not be the guy in the back of the band going,"bum, bum, bum". The bass is the fat kid's instrument; something you do because no one else will.

I will admit, this was why I started playing it 20 years ago, there were only 4 strings instead of six and no one (with any taste) expects you to take a solo.

But being a good bass player means providing the rhythmic and melodic middle ground between drums and all the other insruments, and it took me a long time to learn that. I've always said that playing bass is like writing pop songs; it's easy to do but hard to do well.

I went to see a "jazz" band in Silver Spring. In truth they were more of a "smooth jazz" band; more like instrumental easy listening than what would be traditionally called Jazz. They'd cover lite rock standards and other examples of smooth jazz and trade solos during the verses.

The bass player was holding down the "groove" with workman like precision, but something was distracting him a bit; a young blond woman that I saw him talking to before the band began their set. Between the beat he'd shoot her sly "hey there..." glances as he jerked along in the traditional fashion of the smooth jazz bassist, trying to come off loose and smooth while their instrument is slung up just below his chin.

This isn't the guy, just an example.

As the set went on, his onstage pitching of woo became a bit more overt. His glances turned into stares as his gentle bopping became something more uncomfortably aggressive. He had even lowered his bass strap a bit between songs so he could make his bass more part of the action. And that's exactly what it became; pointing the headstock towards the object of his desire, not once losing his place in "Midnight at the Oasis".

As the bass player's mating dance reaches it's fever pitch, the male places the bass between his legs to subtlety but unmistakably simulate the act of sex. This part is often called "humping" the bass, but this time it might more accurately be called a "prison rape" of a bass because it is less a act of affection and more of an assertion of dominance.

Then , all of a sudden, he stopped and slinked back towards the back to play his more traditional role. I looked and the woman, his reason for rocking, was gone.

Such is the life for the lonesome bass player.


Jake said...

Fucking hilarious....Jake

Esteban Novillo said...

The best Smooth Jazz in Spanish: Las 1001 Musicas del Jazz. Check my radio show: