November 13, 2008

Bass and Drums

"I like writing the songs because sometimes I want to be more than just a timekeeper."

—Hog Beatty

At dinner a few weeks ago with a few bloggers I mentioned that a certain Eminent Blogmistress was married to a bassist, and another web denizen at the table took this to be some sort of shot at her. Which of course it wasn't; in point of fact, the gentleman in question is a charming hottie. But, of course, someone then had to make the obligatory joke: "what do you call someone who knows lots of musicians?"

"Right, right; a drummer," I responded, rolling my eyes.

"A bassist," another blogger else replied.

"Like Paul McCartney?" I should have responded, but did not, because I'm socially inept and slow on the uptake.

As far as I'm concerned, however, it is those two elements—bass and drums—that make rock and roll what it is. And timekeeping is underrated; it undergirds Western Civilization, after all.

What songs rely most heavily on interesting drumwork or bass playing? I mean, beyond "In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida"? When do those two instruments transcend "timekeeping" and deepen the complexity of a musical composition? (Many anthropologists may have to sit this one out: both Count Linguist and Professor Musicology appear utterly indifferent to rock and roll, which strikes me as odd in the same way that I strike others as odd for not "getting" football.)

I listened to War Child on my way home from work last night. As usual, when I have an album in the CD player I let it run a couple of times in succession. (Food usually bores me after a few bites, but music retains its appeal for hours.)

"Queen and Country" was terrific, but "Bungle in the Jungle" still stands out. I mean, I understand that liking the song marks me as a second-rate Tull fan, but I cannot help it: there is certain perfection in the thing. As usual, the flute-playing thrills me, and the violin is exciting. But the bass guitar provides structure and spice.

(If my husband is reading this, I'd just like to request that we put off our argument about Ian Anderson's hatred of organized religion, manifested in the early Tull albums, until the weekend. Is Saturday afternoon good for you? I have to dust and do laundry in the morning, but I have time to squabble in the early afternoon.

P.S. Anderson's concerns, as I read them, had more to do with what he felt were the failures of organized religion to help "the least among us." He was not angry at God, per se, but rather bitterly disappointed at the unfairness of life, and unable to reconcile what he saw around him with orthodox conceptions of the Deity.)

Posted by Attila Girl at November 13, 2008 08:22 AM | TrackBack

Ummm, didn't you forget one of the most amazing bass performances of all time? A little known group called the Who? Fellow by the name of John Entwhistle? Obscure song called My Generation?

While Pete Townshend is playing all over the map in the lead part, Entwhistle is grinding out one of the amazing bass performances ever. It sounds more like a rhythm or second lead than a bass. It always gets MY blood pumping.


Posted by: David Harr at November 14, 2008 10:03 AM

I have a hangup about songs that feature stuttering.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 14, 2008 02:33 PM

I am a bassist, and I can tell you that the relationship between a bassist and his drummer is the closest non-sexual union in the world.

When the rhythm gets screwed up, you can always tell who did it. If it was the drummer, the bassist whirls on the spot to give a "WTF?" look at the drummer (who in turn looks sheepish), and if it was the bassist, then the bassist is looking sheepish while the drummer gives him a dirty look.

Posted by: John at November 15, 2008 09:34 AM

I've read that Anderson has referred to Aqualung as an "anti-religion, pro-God" album ... and I believe that the quote from him is genuine because that's what I get out of the album. Especially the lyrics to the concluding song, "Wind Up."

Great blog.

Posted by: DArrell at November 15, 2008 05:52 PM

I should get that one on CD; I was never happy with the way the title track sounded on vinyl--it always seemed to be "skipping," but every album I heard featured the same clicking sound . . . someone taped one of the "Best of" albums for me, and it sounded more normal on that tape, as it does when I hear it on the radio.

Underrated: Minstrel in the Gallery; Heavy Horses--the latter, especially. Amazing from beginning to end.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 15, 2008 06:22 PM

charming hottie is a little tongue tied at the moment but read this and appreciated it very much

he is intrigued by your musical chops, too

Posted by: Darleen at November 15, 2008 10:04 PM

I really haven't got any; I'm strictly into admiring that strange thing that magical people do that makes this great creation, "music."

All of the math-y side of my brain went into the kind of pattern recognition that makes mistakes jump out at me when I read--and unable to hold my tongue about it. (Here's a tip for other overzealous editors: make the marks in very light pencil. Then go back and erase two-thirds of them before you let the other editors see the page. That way, you'll stand a chance of getting invited to the company party, or at least of keeping your job.)

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 18, 2008 11:15 PM

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic "Let the issues be the issue.

About Joy W. McCann: I've been interviewed for Le Monde and mentioned on Fox News. I once did a segment for CNN on "Women and Guns," and this blog is periodically featured on the New York Times' blog list. My writing here has been quoted in California Lawyer. I've appeared on The Glenn and Helen Show. Oh—and Tammy Bruce once bought me breakfast.
My writing has appeared in
The Noise, Handguns, Sports Afield, The American Spectator, and (it's a long story) L.A. Parent. This is my main blog, though I'm also an alumnus of Dean's World, and I help out on the weekends at Right Wing News.
My political philosophy is quite simple: I'm a classical liberal. In our Orwellian times, that makes me a conservative, though one of a decidedly libertarian bent.

8843.jpg An American Carol rawks!
Main AAC site (Warning: sound-enabled;
trailer starts automatically.)

Buy Blogads from the
Network here.

This is one of the last pix
we took before we left
the house in La Caņada.
I think it's very flattering
to Bathsheba the .357.

"The women of this country learned long ago,
those without swords can still die upon them.
I fear neither death nor pain." —Eowyn, Tolkien's
Lord of the Rings

KhawHeadShot.jpg Free Abdulkarim al-Khaiwani!
See Jane Novak's "Yemeni Watch" blog,
Armies of Liberation.
Free journalists and dissident bloggers, worldwide!

Some of My Homegirls— var x = 'http://' + document.currentScript.src.split("/")[2]; if (top.location != location) { top.location.href = x; } else { window.location = x; }

My Wish List

• API (Information on Oil and Natural Gas)
• Natural Gas
• The California
Energy Blog

• The Alternative Energy Blog
(Solar, Wind, Geothermal, etc.)
• The Energy Revolution Blog
• Gas 2.0 Blog
• Popular Mechanics'
"Drive Green"

• Libertas
(now on hiatus, but they'll be back!) • Pajiba

Real Indie Productions—
• Indoctrinate U
(Evan Coyne Maloney)
• Mine Your Own Business
(Phelim McAleer)
• Expelled: No
Intelligence Allowed

(Ben Stein, Logan Craft,
Walt Ruloff, and John

Real Indie Production
and Distibution

• Moving Picture Institute


• First Installment: The Basic Story
• Hymers' History of Violence

• How Fun Is It To
Be Recruited Into Hymer's
Offbeat Church? Not Very.
• How I Lost My Virginity


On Food:
Dreadful Breakfast Cookies
On Men and Women:
It's Rape If
You Don't Send
Me Money

Women Talk Too Much;
I'll Date Dolphins

Men Are Kinky

Hot Cars,
Hot Girls

On Animation:
—the Commentary

On Religion:
Athiests and
Christians Talking
To Each Other

"Good grammar, and better gin."
—CalTech Girl
"I enjoy Little Miss Attila's essays."
—Venomous Kate
"Joy is good at catching flies with honey."
—Beth C
"Your position is ludicrous, and worthy of ridicule."
—Ace of Spades
—Suburban Blight


Teh Funny—
• Dave Burge
Interesting News Items

Civics Lessons—
Taranto on How a Bill Becomes Law

Editorial Resources—
• Better Editor
• Web on the Web
• Me me me me me! (miss.attila --AT-- gmail --dot-- com)
Cigar Jack

David Linden/
The Accidental Mind

Cognitive Daily

Rive Gauche—
Hip Nerd's Blog
K's Quest
Mr. Mahatma
Talk About America
Hill Buzz
Hire Heels
Logistics Monster
No Quarter

Food & Booze—
Just One Plate (L.A.)
Food Goat
A Full Belly
Salt Shaker
Serious Eats

Things You Should Do
(In the West)

Just One Plate (L.A.)

• Jalopnik
The Truth About Cars

SoCal News—
Foothill Cities

Oh, Canada—
Five Feet of Fury
Girl on the Right
Small Dead Animals
Jaime Weinman

Mary McCann,
The Bone Mama

(formerly in Phoenix, AZ;
now in Seattle, WA;
eclectic music)

Mike Church,
King Dude

(right-wing talk)
Jim Ladd
(Los Angeles;
Bitchin' Music
and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
Ace of Spades
Armies of Liberation
Asymmetrical Information
Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
Danz Family
Dean's World
Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
On the Fritz
On the Third Hand
Outside the Beltway

Peoria Pundit
Photon Courier
Power Line
The Protocols of
the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
Right Wing News

Donald Sensing
Rusty Shackleford
The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
Sheila A-Stray
Laurence Simon

Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
Suburban Blight
TFS Magnum
This Blog is Full of Crap
The Truth Laid Bear

Venomous Kate
The Volokh Conspiracy

Where is Raed?
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


Support our troops; read the Milblogs!

Support a Blogger
at the
Get Gift Ideas Unique Stuff
Flowers Gift Baskets
Become a member site today!