HPMA Bassist Nominees Pick Best Bassists Ever

Categories: HPMA

Photo by Debrah Watts/Courtesy of Chad Smalley
Blaggards' Chad Smalley
Chad Smalley
Chad Smalley says he started playing bass about 20 years ago, but didn't start playing in earnest until he met Blaggards front man Patrick Devlin in 2003. The band celebrates ten years of "Stout Irish Rock" in 2014, and Smalley has been there from the start.

Klaus Voormann: "A vastly underrated bassist," offers Smalley. "He's a brilliant visual artist who befriended the Beatles in Hamburg long before they made it big, and is most famous for doing the cover of their album Revolver. But he's also a very tasteful and groovy bass player who appears on a lot of John Lennon and George Harrison's solo work. My favorite is the work he does on Lennon's Plastic Ono Band. Listening to Klaus has taught me how to give a song what it needs without getting in the way."

Geezer Butler: "[He's] another one of my faves and is definitely not underrated. His big, dirty style of playing has had a big influence on me, too. He's not as flashy as [Iron Maiden's] Steve Harris, for example, but is so incredibly distinctive. Whenever I have moments in a song where I want the bass to stick out a little more, it's usually Geezer I'm thinking of. "

Photo by Jay Dryden/Courtesy of Chris Wise
Buxton's Chris Wise
Chris Wise
Buxton bassist Chris Wise has been playing the instrument nearly half his life, and the reason he chose bass should tell you something about his drive and ingenuity.

"[At that time], I figured if I played bass, then I could play in whatever band I wanted since everyone was either a guitar player or a drummer," he says. Buxton has been laying low of late, Wise notes, but the good news is that the band has been writing and recording. They'll be playing Craig Kinsey's record release this Saturday at Fitzgerld's.

John Stirratt, Wilco: "The first choice would be [him]," Wise says. "I'm not a very flashy bass player, to the point where I'm surprised I'm even nominated. That being said, I like parts that are written to support the song. Sometimes root notes are the best call. John Stirratt seems to get that. Then you have a song like 'Handshake Drugs' where he carries the song.

"The other bass player would be Nick Cody from Wild Moccasins," Wise adds. "Super creative and makes me want to be a better player. I've really only been in Buxton, so I'm very comfortable with what we do. Then I see him play and want to push myself a little further."


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