Do Bassists Look Too Bored On Stage?


Metallica / Jason Newsted
Metallica / Jason Newsted (Photo credit: Fernando Vega)


I thought I’d share this short video called Bassists Look too Bored that I stumbled upon today. Based on the title alone I figured it would get my back up but I it’s pretty funny actually. I especially liked the part about being told to stay out of the singer’s ‘space’ on stage – not that I can relate or anything!

My bass idols starting out were guys like Jason Newsted and Cliff Burton – neither of whom could be called ‘boring’ bassists, and so I did my best to move around and have fun on stage as well.

Here’s the video:

I’d love to hear what you think of this video – are you guilty of any of the problems mentioned in this video?

I never did actually talk to the drummer during performance, but I would go back and ‘rock out’ with him regularly. For one thing, I’ve always found it challenging to talk and play at the same time unless the bassline was extremely simple to play. Rocking out with the drummer would ‘amp’ him up as well and help to start up some infectious energy; so if the band needed a kick in the pants, I would do things like that.

Jumping off the stage was another good way to get everyone into it. My brother Mark – pretty much the only drummer I ever played with – had a pretty telling comment after one particular show where I left the stage and got into the audience. I had screwed up a part when I did it and he said something along the lines of “it’s okay to make a mistake if you’re putting on a show for the audience”.

Maybe that’s part of why some bassists are too bored on stage? They want to be note perfect and don’t want to risk moving around, tripping on a chord and messing up their part? Or are they just in bands that they don’t like playing boring music and are in fact bored themselves?

Enhanced by Zemanta
  • Rick Lewis says:

    Great find, Mike.
    I’ve always thought that musicians should be visually entertaining as well as musically. Unfortunately, most don’t get the concept. Just like bands bringing in a full PA to blast out the walls of a small club…..they just don’t get it.
    Make eye contact, dance, kick, jump, do tricks with your axe, make funny faces, twirl your arms and body, shake, rattle and roll, but above all…
    Remember, you’re having the time of your life.

  • Hey Rick!
    I agree 100%. Some musicians just don’t get it – oddly enough in my experience it was a few guitarists that would mainly stand there instead of really putting on a show. One guitarist I worked with was a phenomenal player, but for the longest time insisted on having a garish orange pick holder on the top of the body of his white guitar. While we don’t want to focus solely on the image/cosmetic element of a performance, we also need to remember that many people ‘hear with their eyes’. Your music is more exciting when you’re more excited and act in an excited way. First you get your part down, and then you should come up with ways to make it look cool and engage with the audience. Not only does this make it more interesting for people to watch, but keeps you interested as well when you’re playing the same song for the 100th time.

  • HAHAHA thinking of Mikey Way right now. But just as an aside , not all bassists are boring. Pete from Fall Out Boy? Maybe it’s more about the person than the role they play.

  • >