Friday Bass Solo

By Sean Carroll | January 21, 2011 5:28 am

I’m at a pretty intense workshop this week, spending my waking hours talking about causal diamonds, Boltzmann Brains, and the multiverse. My poor regular brain isn’t up to the task of blogging.

But John Entwistle has some thoughts he would like to share with you.

  • Chris Lindsay

    Wow. And I thought Geddy Lee’s fingers were fast. Very awesome! What is it about the way those fingers just dance on the strings that makes it so amazing to watch?

  • Greg

    John Entwistle has always been one of my favorite bassists. His style and body language while playing served as such a great counterpoint to the amazing skill he had. And he was one of the most influential bassists in rock music, not just in style of playing but in instruments and sound equipment.

  • Sebastian Thaler

    Sean, be sure to give us a full report on the workshop when you’re home!

  • ChuckWhite

    I used to be pretty good on a trumpet. Of course that was only one note at a time. This guy is amazing – “50 million notes at once” is RIGHT! And, I agree with Chris Lindsey, above — there’s something almost hypnotic about the way his fingering works.

    Thanks for that.

  • bassfan

    For those who haven’t heard of Victor Wooten, he’s the top of the bass world:

  • spyder

    Thanks for sharing Sean. He was one of the great lead bassists ever, highlighting and moving the songs along. We tend to overlook that, until you are reminded every time you catch an opening of any CSI show.

    As for Victor, he would give those top props to Edgar Meyer.

  • Jimbo

    Thoughts comprehensible only to doobie brothers, surfing the multiverse.

  • Lab Lemming

    Is there such thing as a causal graphite or Lonsdaleite?

  • Chris Duston

    Great posting! So much of Entwistle’s great playing has been lost to poor recording quality, it’s good to see there is some record of his later concerts.

    And Geddy, Wooten, Myung, Flea, all those guys would not be anywhere without Entwistle :-)

  • Jimbo

    Chris & bassfan,

    With the exception of Geddy Lee & Entwistle, most of the aforementioned punks are not fit to tie Jaco Pastorius’ shoe laces.
    Jaco was THE greatest bass player, EVER. He’d still be with us today, if he’d learned basic martial arts, but was probably reluctant to risk his double-jointed thumbs of magic.

  • Phillip Helbig

    “With the exception of Geddy Lee & Entwistle, most of the aforementioned punks are not fit to tie Jaco Pastorius’ shoe laces.”

    The interesting thing about Lee is that he is widely recognised as one of the best bass players on the planet even by people who aren’t familiar with and/or don’t like his music. (If anything, the guy on the drums behind him is held in even higher respect.) He’s also the only world-class bassist who is also a lead singer (though he doesn’t win as many awards in that category.) Probably because there are more outstanding guitarists than outstanding bassists or outstanding drummers, this tends to obscure the fact that the guy to his right on the guitar is also extremely skilled.

    Maybe one reason is that they don’t make the non-music news much. Lee and Lifeson (both around 60 now) are still married to girlfriends they have been together with since their teenage years (same with Peart with his girlfriend, until she died) and I’m sure that they haven’t destroyed any hotel rooms. Peart is probably the only rock drummer who has read all of Thomas Hardy’s novels.

    I like the playing of Entwistle and his stoic stage presence; especially the combination is very enjoyable. I’m not a huge Who fan since I don’t particularly like Daltrey’s singing and am also bothered by the band’s appetite for destruction. OK, it was a gimmick, but why not a harmless gimmick like the microphone stand without a base used by Freddy Mercury (“everyone has to have a gimmick, dear”), even if they could easily afford bashing up so much stuff?

  • James

    I just came across this joke, that sums up my thoughts perfectly.

    European: Those drums–do they mean danger?

    African guide: No, but when drums stop, very bad.

    European; What happens then?

    Guide: Bass solo.


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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