Friday, December 03, 2010

Plunk rock

I’m sorry to say that I’ve never been able to play a musical instrument, but deep down I know I should really have been a bass player. It’s all about temperament; it’s the Eeyore-ish, resentful glumness about them, based on the fact that, excepting the case of those who operate in the realms of funk and reggae, only about 10% of the audience will be able to identify the noise they’re making, above those ghastly egomaniacs, the guitarists and drummers and saxophonists. One way that bassists do assert their individuality, though, is through the medium of deliciously preposterous names. Don’t believe me? All the following are American jazz bass players; bar one, who’s a fictional character in a book by Thomas Pynchon
Ronnie Boykins
Wellman Braud
Monty Budwig
Jimmy Butts
Spanky DeBrest
Malachi Favors
Squire Gersh
Chris Lightcap
Cecil McBee
Grachan Moncur II
Kurt Mondaugen
Buell Neidlinger
Lonnie Plaxico
Esperanza Spalding
Victor Sproles
Hank Van Sickle
Ike Sturm
Leroy Vinnegar
Virtue Hampton Whitted
Chester Zardis
The fact that you almost certainly can’t spot the ringer suggests to me that the majority of bassists are in fact minor characters from the works of Pynchon (or Kurt Vonnegut, or possibly Philip K Dick) who have temporarily invaded what mere mortals (and trombonists) foolishly know as ‘the real world’.


Richard said...

The book what I wrote was about an English double bassist. He didn't have a preposterous name

Rog said...

In "The Secret Integration" Mr McAfee was a bass player but without his instrument. He's not the sort to achieve a viral reputation.

Your list also looks like the Adobe Photoshop Credits which come up every time you open the programme.

The militant working boy said...

What I wouldn't give to get my hands on a Dickens book featuring a bass player.

Richard said...

There's the missing passage from David Copperfield where Peggotty and Betsey Trotwood do the solo from Big Noise from Winnetka.

The militant working boy said...

Yes, there have been theories that Krook from "Bleak House" did not combust spontaneously, but instead was attempting to play an Edgar Meyer Solo.

Billy said...


Sorry, I don't know why I said that.

Geoff said...

"Sorry, didn't catch your name, chief."

"Chris, squire."

Billy said...

The Guillemots' bassist is called Aristazabal Hawkes.

Anonymous said...

Ah right. Bass is it?
I'd had you down as a secret timpanist or gamelanner. Hugely accompli9shed, but secret.