Bassists are an overlooked group in general. You can barely hear them over everyone else’s showing off event hough they’re the ones keeping the rhythm going and keeping the song in check. I wanted to pay some respect to the lady bassists out there since they have a tough job but they still go out and do it well. Here is Don’t Dance Her Down Boys definitive list of the most amazing female bassists out there. As always if you think I’ve missed someone out give me a shout.
We couldn’t include this list without the godmother of experimental rock on here could we. Sonic Youth have been going strong for well over two decades now and it doesn’t look like they’re going to stop any time soon. Gordon’s icy demeanour and free and loose way of playing has inspired thousands of girls to pick up a bass and try it themselves.
Talking Heads bassist and member of Tom Tom Club, Tina Weymouth, is an obvious choice for this list. She was a founding member of one of the greatest art punk bands in history. Weymouth is a self taught guitarist who was encouraged to play bass by her then boyfriend and Talking Heads drummer Chris Frantz and David Byrne. She has later stated that the encouragement she received from both men was critical to her grasp of her instrument.
Kim Deal is without doubt an indie rock legend who was and still is an integral part to her band The Pixies. I just love her stage presence; her head and limbs swayed around in a jerky rhythm like she was being possesed by the song. Deal had a simplistic approach to the bass but it was never a novice’s approach. Deal played it straightforward and minimal, never slipping into the ususal rock cliches or what she previously described as how “real bass players” play.
Listen: Gouge Away
An unknown one by still amazing. Leslie Langston was bassist in the alternative rock band Throwing Muses from 1984-1990. Described by one reviewer as a ‘dreaded hippie’ Langston certainly did cut a striking figure on stage with her waist length dreads swaying to the beat. Langston’s style was, like the muses, experimental, harsh, spasmodic but ultimately beat driven. Her parts were always driving the song no matter how out there they sounded. As noted in band mate Kristin Hersh’s memoir Rat Girl, when questioned about, what the interviewer deemed was the band’s ‘random’ way of playing Langston responded “We work really hard to play like this. No one teaches you how to play this way.”