all the bass players in the metal bands i grew up listening to sucked


when i was 14 and first became a musician, i came at it all wrong. first off, i let my friend nick (who played guitar) convince me to learn to play bass when i didn’t know or care about bass at all back then. i loved the sound of distorted electric guitar so i should have started there but nope, i listened to nick.

second, i didn’t have any bass heroes until i had been playing bass for many years. almost all the bass players in the metal bands i was listening to sucked. they either couldn’t play worth a shit, had terrible tone, were mixed way too low on the records, or some combination of those things. shall i list some of them? i shall.

  • cliff burton (metallica) – he’s actually awesome, of course, but the only time you can hear him on a record is when he has a solo — which is twice on three records.
  • jason newsted (metallica) – sucks, bad tone, mixed low.
  • dave ellefson (megadeth) – sucks, bad tone, mixed low.
  • frank bello (anthrax) – sucks, TERRIBLE tone.
  • rex (pantera) – stupid scooped mid tone that lacks any body, mixed low.
  • nikki six (motley crue) – sucks, bad tone.
  • billy gould (faith no more) – sucks, bland tone.
  • david vincent (morbid angel) – sucks, mixed low.
  • paulo jr (sepultura) – sucks super bad, bad tone, mixed low.
  • tom araya (slayer) – perhaps the worst bass player ever, mixed completely out.

i’m sure there are others i’m forgetting too. i suppose i didn’t mind greg christian from testament and DD verni from overkill but they also didn’t exactly get me hard, either. about the only bass player that stood out to me as really mattering to a band was type o negative’s peter steele. you could hear him, his bass sounded cool, and he played neat things.


plus he looked fucking awesome.

as a full blown adult now, i’ve managed to find a few other bass players that really inspire me. jeroen paul thesseling (pestilence, obscura) is ridiculously talented and creates some frightening, unsettling sounds on his fretless. eric langlois (cryptopsy) always had super heavy tone, and mixed in some slap playing too. i think tony choy (pestilence, atheist) is probably the single biggest influence on my bass interests now though. he has a nice, well-rounded tone, plays a lot of slap (tastefully, mind you — it doesn’t sound out of place like a funk bassist in a metal band), and does great job of making the bass just as important and interesting as the other instruments. he’s fun to listen to, fun to play along with.

if only i knew about these guys when i was 14. because, i mean, i was a horrible bass player myself — shit in, shit out, right? i didn’t realize that bass could be cool, and that led to me mostly giving up on bass and focusing primarily on guitar up until the last few years. now that i love playing bass and realize how cool it can be, i wonder where i would be if i only had this knowledge 20-odd years ago.

whatever, i was a bonehead then anyway. i probably would have squandered my talents and written some stupid generic metal bass lines regardless. i’ll just be grateful i don’t suck at bass anymore and continue searching for an outlet for my bass love before i become a mouldering corpse.



yesterday i listened to type o negative’s dead again album for the first time in a long time, and my feelings on it haven’t changed much since i first heard it. it’s a weird record, and i’m a massive type o fan, so i want to talk about it.


i think dead again contains some of type o’s best and worst work. an ode to locksmiths may well be my fave type o song of all, and september sun and tripping a blind man are also excellent tunes in my book. the profit of doom, hail and farewell to britain, and the title track are all decent too. but while halloween in heaven isn’t terrible, it’s pretty stupid, and the female vocals are weak and seem out of place. she burned me down, some stupid tomorrow and the first half of these three things downright suck, so much so that i’m embarrassed for type o when those songs come on.

but it’s not just the inconsistent quality of the writing that is odd to me. i also don’t like the production much. the bass in particular lacks body and doesn’t sound thick or heavy enough, and there is something wack with the vocals. it sounds like steele’s mic etiquette was a little off, ie, he was pulling away from the mic to compensate for varying volumes in his vocals but he didn’t do a good job of it, and they did a lousy job afterward of trying to correct it with compression. it sounds amateur.

it doesn’t help that steele’s vocal performances are inconsistent too. some of his vocals on the record are great, and i think kenny’s vocals in particular are the best they’ve ever been. but steele’s spoken/yelled parts in the first few verses of the profits of doom suffer from the weird compression thing i just mentioned, and they also sound like he was drunk when he performed them. i have the same complaint about the vocals in a lot of these three things and parts of the title track.

but i think the worst aspect of this album is that some of the lyrics are just awful. i mean:

with due respect, heed these words of caution
if considering an abortion

that’s garbage. i mean, it’s preachy as all hell which i hate, but i could live with that if it was at least artful, if steele had put a little effort into the words he chose, or if there was some humour in it. but the above quote is some of the laziest, weakest lyrics i’ve heard since i first tried my own hand at lyrics back in grade 8. and the lyrics in she burned me down and some stupid tomorrow are completely fucking pointless.

meanwhile, some other lyrics on the record are fantastic. i love the lyrics at the end of profits of doom, and especially in an ode to locksmiths. they are classic type o in that they display wry humour and touching, insightful honesty.

in addition to great lyrics, an ode to locksmiths boasts strong vocal performances, interesting beatles-esque vocal harmonies, type o’s classic ‘jam three songs together and make one’ song arrangement, and a catchy, heavy as balls closing section.

such are highs and lows on this record. it’s nuts.

but this is probably what impacts me the most about the album. i was lucky enough to meet steele on the dead again tour, and it was apparent he was battling his same old demons at the time. he was a very friendly drunk but a drunk nonetheless (his live performance sucked for it), and he had what appeared to be track marks on his then emaciated arms. it made me really sad because in a way, i felt like i had managed to catch a peek behind the curtain and see some awful truths: that peter steele really was depressed, and that his trademark self-deprecation and humour were his way of making his melancholy easier for him to talk about and others to hear. after this realization, i began to see the humour that is so integral to steele and thus the type o package as a distraction from the great sadness that steele was actually laying open to the world. now when i go back to his earlier works and look past the silly double entendres and one liners, i realize that he was making light of his condition but he wasn’t kidding about the condition itself. that’s incredibly sad.

because of my experience of meeting steele when i did, i have a special, strange fondness for dead again. i feel like, having seen firsthand how fucked steele was at that time, i can understand why the record turned out like it did, and i can forgive its shortcomings.

type o rules.

hell in an overflowing handbasket

here i go again, reading the news and getting upset. this is becoming an unpleasant trend.

today i learned that by 2025, 1 in 5 adults on the planet will be obese.

and this, amidst food shortages, droughts, and monsanto controversies.

i know there are lots of fun facts behind the obesity epidemic, like ‘poor people eat garbage food because it’s one of the few luxuries they can afford,’ and that to truly treat the problem we must get to the root of these issues, but i just don’t give a shit sometimes.

get self-actualized, self-empowered, or whatever you want to call it. take responsibility for your miserable fucking life. be aware of why you do things, and change stuff if you give a shit about it. but don’t blame you being fat on financial or social inequality. that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. you and your personal choices are a much larger piece (no pun intended).


$10 says they’re not eating a salad.

on a happier note, i was just listening to some new music. i gave several things spins, and didn’t like any of it. i thought, “i must be in a bad mood.” but then i put on a live version of type o negative’s my girlfriend’s girlfriend, and i fucking loved it. still great after all these years. i actually like this version more that the album one. i love how steele sings the “walking hand in hand down king’s highway-ee-ay-ee-ay-ee-ay-ee/two for one today” line. beautiful.

so there. i’m not just purely miserable. i’m miserable AND most everything sucks. at least i have type o.

everyone is dying

i just read that david bowie died today. that’s a shame. i liked him.


see ya, chap

it seems like we’re currently riding a wave of deaths that is beginning to crash down, like there have been more and more deaths of notable people lately, and the rate that those deaths are occurring is increasing. i’m sure that’s not true but it sure feels like it.

when i was a kid, i remember hearing that chris farley died. he was the first big star that died that actually had an impact on me. before him, sure, i heard that various old talk show hosts had died but what did they mean to me? nothing, i didn’t know them at all. chris farley, he was awesome and spoke to me and every other 13-yr old at the time so i really felt a sense of loss when he died.

it was quite a few more years before another important star to me died. i think the next one that i cared about was dimebag darrel from pantera. bill and i were at evolution when i learned about that one and i was incredulous. it seemed unreal. and since then, important stars die more and more frequently. lemmy just died two weeks ago. scott weiland not long before that. ‘the ultimate warrior’ died in 2014. joe cocker. jeff hanneman from slayer. lou reed. nelson mandela. peter steele from type o negative. on and on. when i was a kid, deaths seemed rare. now people are dropping like flies.

i wonder if this is what it’s like to get old and reach the point where you’re watching your friends drop, one by one. it’s not a terrible thing but it certainly is stark.


i should probably get a suit pretty soon.