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.

my favourite songs

there are a few questions i really like asking people. one is what is the favourite car they ever owned. i find almost everyone has a strong sense of attachment or nostalgia for a particular car so when they talk about it, they can’t help but feel the rush of their youth as they recall road trips, boyfriends/girlfriends, parties, etc that they experienced with those cars. it’s kind of a vicarious thrill for me to see people remember something so fondly. i really just love hearing anyone talk about anything that they love with a burning intensity. for example, i normally don’t give a shit about the history of human civilization, but i love it when dana talks about it, because HE loves it. it’s the same thing with asking people about their favourite cars.

anyway, another question i like asking people is what their favourite songs are. i like it for the same reason, but also because it feels like an insight into someone’s past, their feelings, their inner workings. it can say something abstract yet very telling about a person.

i also like to think about my own favourite songs, but not for any of those reasons. i just like to think about things i like a lot. it’s self-indulgent. and that’s why i’m making a list of my fave songs now.

  • song of the troubled one by amorphis. this one has been #1 on my list since i heard it when i was 16, and it still hits me in the guts almost every time i hear it. the lyrics are very vague, talking about the simple lives of finnish farmers hundreds of years ago and blowing wind, and something else in the first verse but i have no idea what. i don’t know why but the lyrics have always communicated to me the poetry and transient nature of our existence — they capture all that is beautiful about life. it’s so inexplicably tragic and wonderful. the music gives me the same feeling too. it’s dreamy in parts, rocking in others, but always stirring. they combine for one of the most powerful artistic expressions i’ve ever felt.
  • the death of art by renaissance. i blogged about this one a while back because i think it is criminally overlooked. it’s 40 minutes long and covers a vast array of styles and feelings. my fave is the end section that begins around 37:45. to me, the harmonized guitar parts and heavily reverbed guitar solo over top sound like drowning, like what i imagine one would feel in their final moments when they accept death underwater. it’s so beautiful, so sad.
  • human nature by michael jackson. i’ve loved this one since i was a kid. it always stood out to me from the rest of the thriller album as odd, what with its airy synth and guitar and complete lack of disco/dance pop, but there was also something much more subtle and emotionally complex about it. the line about ‘electric eyes are everywhere’ always unsettled and intrigued me, it’s really blade runner and sci fi-ish. i didn’t grasp it as a kid, but i loved it. i have a much better sense of what the song is driving at now (at least for me), and i still love it. very touching. here’s a fucking amazing live performance of it from 1988. wow, MJ was a phenom. his multiple talents were of inhuman caliber.
  • black sun by dead can dance. to me, this song both feels like the most modern urban landscape, headlights streaming by in the dark, and the oldest sun-bleached stone creations of man. i guess what i mean is that it feels timeless, like it captures something about the struggles people have always faced since our beginning, and always will for as long as we exist. it’s truly epic and powerful.
  • every little thing she does is magic by the police. this is another one i’ve loved since i was a kid. i’ve always found it haunting despite its happy and upbeat chorus. that synth swell at 2:00 is so sci fi and thus inherently dark, and the steel drum in the chorus is such a strange sound, like ghostly voices. but every time stewart copeland picks up the beat in the chorus, all i want to do is dance. reminds me of some of my favourite moments at retronight at evolution. i love it.
  • paranoid, black no. 1, green man, drunk in paris, ode to locksmiths by type o negative. it’s impossible to pick one particular type o song that stands out as my fave because so many of them elicit strong emotional reactions from me. i think that, generally speaking, they consistently did a great job of wearing their hearts on their sleeves, writing songs that were open and honest to a fault, but never without the ability to laugh at their morose nature. they were so fucking relatable. so i can’t pick one but those are some of my faves.
  • when the levee breaks by led zeppelin. it’s hard for me to put my finger on why i love this one so much — i mean, beyond how fucking heavy and epic it is. there’s also something sad about it. i’ve never really paid attention to the lyrics, even though i know them all by heart. i just read them now and they’re really just classic blues lyrics, but again, there’s something timeless about them. i feel like most blues falls flat because it tries too hard to be the blues in the first place, but this is the blues executed perfectly. this is bone simple, sad, heavy shit. that’s part of what makes zeppelin so interesting and mysterious to me: how did 4 pale british kids get so fucking good at playing the blues? man oh man.

i’m sure i’ll think of other songs i should add to this list — maybe madman across the water by elton john — but these are the first ones that come to mind. maybe i’ll make an addendum one day if i find there’s a handful i should have mentioned.

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.

i drop money down

for the first times since 2007 when i bought type o negative’s ‘dead again,’ i have paid for recorded music.

it may not have been their best album but i think ‘ode to locksmiths’ is the best type o negative song ever, hands down.

i was contemplating this a few weeks ago after digging author & punisher’s latest record, melk en honing. i even wrote about it here. so after some consideration and my EI payments finally beginning after 6 weeks of breath-holding, i went ahead and purchased melk en honing. it felt good.

then i started thinking about the other artists whose shit i’ve downloaded and loved recently, like voices and their album, london (which i wrote about here). and i felt guilty because they are a struggling group who i had also stolen from. so even though i downloaded london months ago, i went to their bandcamp page and paid for it today.

that felt good too.

so i’m pleased that i’ve started to change my habit on this. what i’m not pleased about is the moral dilemma of deciding whether every artist deserves this kind of respect and honesty. metallica and taylor swift certainly don’t require my financial support, but god knows they work at least as hard as author & punisher or voices, so why shouldn’t i pay them for their shit?

great. now what? pay lars for death magnetic? that seems like a stretch.

i actually love lars. i just don’t feel super guilty about stealing from him. guilty, yes, but not $10 guilty. ok, maybe.

public toilet diarrhea

the other day, i was using a public bathroom when a guy came rushing in, jumped on the toilet, and unleashed all hell on the unsuspecting thing. the sounds and smells were horrible. to make it worse, i noticed that when he unrolled toilet paper to wipe his ass, he unrolled a bunch onto the floor before bunching it up to put it to use. that really grossed me out. i know assholes aren’t the cleanest part of our bodies but i don’t like the idea of exposing them to whatever filth is congregating on the bathroom floor by means of cross-contamination.

good old type o has me covered for full-on anus visuals.

but what particularly struck me is that this scene is not uncommon in public bathrooms. i’d say that at least 50% of the time i use public bathrooms, i hear someone punishing their toilet with a violent liquid bowel movement, and that makes me wonder: does everyone have diarrhea, all the time? it sure seems like it, unless all those people just get really nervous every time they have to use a public bathroom. or maybe there are even more brutal alcoholics running around than i already suspect.

whatever. the point is, it’s gross, and it happens a lot, and i think it’s weird because i sure don’t have diarrhea that often. am i the weird one? maybe i should join the crowd and get diarrhea more regularly.


i don’t know where this is from i think it’s pretty funny. fecal matter has never been so cute.


i like the first two korn albums. there, i said it.

when korn first started blowing up in the mid-90’s, i fucking hated them.

look at them. how could anyone NOT hate them?

i hated their fashion. i hated the tone of the guitars, it was too muddy. i hated the click-y bass guitar tone. i hated all the ‘mommy/daddy/nursery rhyme’ bullshit in their lyrics, it seemed so silly and childish. i hated all the minimalist single word song titles that were so popular back then. i hated the lack of 16th note bass drums. i hated that they sounded like lousy musicians who could only play the most rudimentary shit. i hated that their riffs didn’t sound like metallica’s riffs.

in short, they weren’t enough like metallica or megadeth or morbid angel or entombed or type o negative or amorphis or any other band i was absolutely nuts over at the time.

this is what i thought every metal band should look like — no plaid, no track suits.

in the early 2000’s, an attractive acquaintance strongly recommended the second korn album to me, life is peachy. i had a crush on this girl so you bet your nuts i checked it out. and i was amazed that i actually liked a lot of the album. there was one track that was basically all rapping and it sucked but the rest was surprisingly heavy. i also appreciated some of the layered sounds and interesting drumming. here’s one that i liked right away.

then someone recommended korn’s first album. i liked the second so much, i thought maybe i had been wrong about the first one. maybe it was good. so i gave it a shot. nope, still hated it. still had all the same complaints.

that brings me to today. it was a nice sunny day and i had to drive to nanaimo to pick up a friend so i grabbed the two aforementioned korn albums to listen to on the drive. for reasons unknown, i threw on the first one. and you know what? finally, after almost 20 years, i really like it.

i now think the guitar and bass tones are innovative and heavy, although in an obviously different way from the typical metal production of the day. i love david silveria’s intricate yet effortlessly funky drumming. i love the space in the music created by the bass and two guitars all playing different parts simultaneously, as opposed to all three playing the exact same part together, which is common in metal. i think a lot of the yells are super raw and wicked. i really like the progressive elements that i never noticed before — the occasional added beat that allows for more emphasis on the lyrics and vocal delivery, the sudden shifts in tempos and feels. i still do not relate to the lyrics much but i like everything else so much that i can look past them, and at least appreciate that perhaps jonathan davis really was venting some deep-seated childhood issues. anyway.

another thing that occurred to me today was that korn were actually really brave — almost punk — to do what they did, when they did it. in ’94 when their first album came out, metal was still all leather jackets, long hair, and tattoos. then korn came out, playing loud, heavy music that had elements of metal in it but was definitely a far cry from metallica or megadeth or slayer, and they were dressed like weird inner city misfits. the group didn’t even have a cohesive look. head and fieldy looked like wannabe mexican gangsters, munky looked like a mean hippie, davis looked like white trash, and silveria looked suspiciously like a jock. i now LOVE that. i think it’s so neat that they had such a mixed up, inconsistent appearance, and didn’t care about it. that aspect makes me respect the blatant disregard for marketing they had back then. they were just a bunch of skids making a new style of music that they really dug. and i think that’s a core quality in a lot of good music.

as they got more popular, i think the quality of their shit decreased. probably due to record company pressure, drug use, internal strife, etc. whatever. i don’t care about those albums. i still think those first two albums are magical, and capture an excitement and enthusiasm that is captivating.

i tried to pick a song from the album to post but i actually think the album is best consumed as a whole, so here it is. as if the rest of the world isn’t already super familiar and done with it.