Friday, May 28, 2010
BLOG POST: Lightning Bolt and other bass-guitar-driven bands.
Question: do you think its possible the guitar is an over used instrument in rock music? by that i mean its now become the convention. do you see it as a possibility that band that use the bass as the main instrument eg lightning bolt, death from above 1979(when they were around), exit international and palehorse are actually reshaping rock music because they are using a different instrument as the lead or is it possible thease bands are being seen as gimmick bands. im curious as to your opinion on this its just 90 percent of bands seem to have the guitar/bass/drums line up and im wondering is there is room for going from that whilst still being taken seriously? From:
Answer: When it comes to bass-lines versus riffs, riffs win every time for me dude.But I agree it pretty cool to listen to bands with a different slant from time to time.This group of bands you mention, well I've never really seen them as connected or as being part of a common scene, just because they choose to have bass-guitar as lead instrument, but I take your point about how it breaks the convention of the traditional drums/bass/guitar/vocals set up.The reason the conventional set up is so successful is because it offers the full palette of sonic frequencies, in my opinion, it just "works".
From the 70's onwards,the dub and reggae scenes have had bass-lines taking the lead and some of the biggest post-punk rock bands at that time also built their songs around bass-lines - undoubtedly by taking major influence from the dub scene- the guitar was somehow relegated to the role of providing flourishes or fragments of noise instead of riffs. Bands like Talking Heads, Killing Joke spring to mind. Public Image Limited might well have been the first to spearhead this singleminded fixation on basslines, because at the time John Lydon often proclaimed Dub was his main influence, after Sex Pistols folded.
Nowadays of course the bands you mention have ditched the guitar all together.For me personally its an interesting diversion to listen to them for a while, so cheers for the cool question!
Here's Lightning Bolt- 2morro Morro land. Watch the amazing drummer - he's just killing it on the kit.Awesome display.
Public Image Limited- Careering
I remember London's Palehorse well, because we had a connection to their label. I saw them many times as they were constantly supporting every band in the UK between 2002-5 or so. With two bassists going at it, they were pretty heavy, but it was more a dirge than anything memorable. In 2003 they had an album out "Gee That Ain't Swell" on UK indie Dry Run Recordings which was the label run by Earache's former sales manager Raffi Ouzounian. Raffi was the biggest Godflesh fan around, and compiled their best-of set "In All Languages' for Earache. His label also released the first post-Godflesh material from Justin Broadrick, Jesu's 'Heartache'.
Palehorse Live in London: