Bass Guitar

Pet Peeve: Narcissistic Bassists

As you well know, I like to surf the YouTube spectrum for interesting videos. I particularly like to watch videos dealing with bass guitars. Although I haven’t played bass in a band for about 20 years, I still hold the bass guitar close to my heart, as that is what I started with when I got into playing in bands.

I pretty much watch all kinds of bass videos: instructional, performance, history, and reviews. While there are a lot of videos that I appreciate, there are some that are just plain annoying. The most annoying to me are the ones where someone is reviewing a bass guitar, but spends the first minute or more just wanking on it, attempting impress the viewer on how good he/she is before telling us about the features and if it is a comfortable bass to work with.

Yeah, great, you are the next Flea or Chris Squire. Then why aren’t you selling out arenas instead of showing us what every other bass player can do and giving off the impression that you are the best? If you are reviewing a bass guitar or amplifier (and I am sure this goes for other musical instrument reviews), talk about the features, and don’t play for more than 10 seconds with each feature.

Another pet peeve are the instructional videos that show some riff or pattern, but there is no actual instruction. The following YouTube short is somewhat of an example. The bassist is playing a famous Stevie Wonder bass groove note for note, but there is no tablature. So why tell us that it is something every bassist should know? As an aside, I know a lot of people that can play along with a recording, but have a difficult time playing with others and not having the recording to play along with.

One of my favorite YouTube bass guitar channels is the Leland Sklar channel. Lee Sklar is probably the most recorded bassist in history. The man has recorded and performed with James Taylor, Jackson Browne, Toto, Phil Collins, Linda Ronstadt, and Lyle Lovett just to start off. At 75 years of age, he is still showing the youngsters how it is done. Besides all of his sideman work, he is occasionally touring with The Immediate Family, which contains other famous Los Angeles studio musicians (they have recently made an award-winning documentary, please check it out at Anyway, Lee started the channel to talk about some of his more memorable bass lines, but it has grown to him discussing studio experiences, life on the road, and some great philosophy on rock and pop music. Now this is a guy who could put all of us to shame if he wanted to by laying down some bass lines on video. Instead, his humble talk makes one really want to sit and listen to a wise man. That trademark beard makes it all the better. Subscribe to the channel, and here’s a taste of one of his wonderful monologues:

Finally, one of my favorite videos from my favorite bass players. Who doesn’t know Paul McCartney? And what bass player hasn’t copied one of his Beatles or solo bass lines? He helped put the bass player in the forefront. This video is a bass lesson by Sir Macca himself for his song “Ever Present Past” from his 2007 album Memory Almost Full. Again, here is a legend, someone who can show us all how it is done, but he is so humble about his bass playing. That is why we all love him so much.

Chew on it and comment.

Entertainment Industry

The “Get Back” Documentary and Disney

This past week, the documentary Get Back was streamed for viewing by those interested. When I first heard that there were plans to take unreleased film footage of The Beatles from the Let It Be sessions and release it as an alternate documentary to the original, I was ecstatic! I knew that all of that footage existed, and while the original documentary showed the Fab Four in a bad light, with lots of in-fighting, those in-the-know stated that the unseen footage showed them as still four lads having a good time playing songs together.

Then I heard that Peter Jackson was put in charge of gathering up the hours of footage and making it into a more truthful documentary, with the blessings of Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. While I have never seen any of this Lord of the Rings films (I am not a fan at all of those sci-fi fantasy stories), I do know that Jackson does some great directorial work. When his World War I documentary They Shall Not Grow Old came out, I went to see it at the theaters three times, each time leaving with tears of amazement. His work on that film is beyond fantastic.

So with all of that going for Get Back, I waited for months to get a chance to see it. YouTube would broadcast a few trailers, and my mouth would drool. My favorite all time rock-n-roll band coming back to the screen courtesy of one of today’s greatest directors!

Then I learned that Disney was in charge of production and marketing, and I have decided to pass on watching it, at least for the time being.

Today’s Disney is not the Disney of old. Back when Walt had Micky, Donald, and Goofy running around being the cartoon version of the Marx Brothers. Or seeing the brilliant adaptations of children’s stories such as Snow White, Cinderella, or Dumbo. And the awesomeness of Fantasia. I won’t even go into talking about his dreams turning into Disneyland.

No, Disney today is about money, no matter how it is made and who is giving it to them. The company owns so much of the entertainment business presently, and they have become political about it. They lean so far left that there is no coming back to center. They are constantly firing actors from their films for speaking more conservative views. I am totally shocked that they, as owners of Fox News, allow the network to lean a bit more right of center. Most likely only because Fox News is the most watched news network on television, leaving CNN, MSNBC, and the three commercial networks in the dust. And that means money for them!

Disney is also extremely friendly with the Communist Party of China (CCP). With that said, money spent on Mickey Mouse watches, trips to Disney World, and yes, streaming subscriptions to watch Get Back, will filter back to China so that it can build hypersonic weapons that the US has no match to compete.

China was smart. They knew where to attack the US at its most vulnerable part – entertainment. Disney, the NBA, and so many other sports and entertainment companies are in the pockets of Chinese businessmen and politicians. Basketball star Enes Kanter talks about the evils of socialism and communism, and he is reprimanded, while LeBron James is rewarded heavily for defending China and not speaking out about the human atrocities that happen there.

So I refuse to let my money go to helping China put another nail into the US morality coffin. I’m not even going to post a YouTube clip of the documentary here. As much as I will always love The Beatles and their music, I also hate socialism and communism that much more.

Chew on it and comment.