Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Tina Weymouth

Tina Weymouth and roommates David Byrne and Chris Frantz formed art-punk band Talking Heads in 1975, quickly establishing a signature sound through her minimalist, reggae-and-funk-derived staccato bass lines. By 1977 the band had added guitarist Jerry Harrison and signed to Sire Records, ultimately becoming one of the most critically-acclaimed bands of the 1980s.

In 1980, Tina and Chris formed side project Tom Tom Club, initially as a way of keeping busy while Talking Heads was on hiatus. But that group soon hit big with one of the most infectious dance-floor fillers (and sample source) of all time, “Genius of Love.” Bohannon. Bohannon. Bohannon.

Today, Tina is still active with Tom Tom Club, though Talking Heads broke up in 2002. She and Chris Frantz have been married since 1977, and have two sons, Robin and Egan.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

And with that, we’re taking the weekend off. We’ll have more chick bassists for you starting Monday. If you’ve got a favorite bass player you’d like to see featured, or if you’re a chick bassist that readers need to know about, please leave a comment and a shout-out. And if you enjoy these posts, tell a friend!

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Carol Kaye

Even if you’ve never heard Carol Kaye’s name, chances are you’ve heard her bass. One of the most prolific bass guitarists in history, session musician Carol Kaye has played on approximately 10,000 recordings, including hit singles from the likes of The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel, The Monkees, Ray Charles, Ike & Tina Turner, Sonny & Cher, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Nancy Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand. And on movie and TV soundtracks like Duel, The Streets of San Francisco, Mission: Impossible, M*A*S*H, Get Smart, Hogan’s Heroes, The Love Boat, Wonder Woman, and the Cosby Show. Here’s a recent clip of Carol talking (and plucking) about her fifty-five year career.

Here’s Carol chatting a bit about two of her best known bass lines, The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and “California Girls.”

At the time, Carol’s contributions to popular music went largely unnoticed, with credit going to the stars rather than the “Wrecking Crew” of session players who actually played on the albums. Regardless, The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson once described Carol as “the greatest damn bass player in the world.” Not bad for a girl from Everett, Washington.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Louisa Rachel Solomon

A veteran of the riot grrrl scene of the ’90s, Louisa Rachel Solomon played in bands Lucky Tiger and The Syndicate before forming The Shondes in 2006. Louisa’s bounding basslines and the furious finesse of her voice have seen the band release two demos and three albums, 2008’s The Red Sea, 2010’s My Dear One (Fanatic Records), and 2011’s Searchlights (Exotic Fever Records).

Louisa is also an outspoken activist regarding the Israeli occupation of Palestine. The Shondes’ “I Watched The Temple Fall” addresses this issue with aplomb. And just a touch of punk-rock Klezmer chutzpah.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Jennifer Leitham

Bassist Jennifer Leitham has played on over a hundred jazz albums, alongside such notables as Mel Torme, Doc Severinsen, Woody Herman, George Shearing, Gerry Mulligan, Peggy Lee, Joe Pass, and Cleo Laine. A left-handed double-bass player, she’s also been credited as “Lefty,” “Southpaw,” or “John.”

Here’s Jennifer and Trio, performing her composition “Split Brain.”

Here’s “C.O.D.”

And here she is noodling around at Winter NAMM 2012. I could watch clips like this all day.

A veteran of some of the most prestigious stages throughout the world, Jennifer challenged the conservative social mores of the Jazz world when she transitioned gender in 2001. She is the subject of the 2012 documentary, I Stand Corrected.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Vickie Blue

Vickie Blue replaced Jackie Fox as bassist for The Runaways in 1977, playing with them for just over a year before leaving the band in 1978 due to medical problems. After The Runaways split up in 1979, Vickie formed a band with singer Cherie Currie (Currie-Blue Band) and the duo appeared in the film This Is Spinal Tap. Here’s a circa 1978 The Runaways performance featuring Vickie on bass.

Today, Vickie calls herself Victoria Tischler-Blue and works primarily as a film producer, director, writer, and photographer. She directed the controversial 2004 documentary, Edgeplay: A Film About The Runaways, which has been described as “a rock n’ roll Rashomon”, and the 2005 Suzi Quatro documentary, Naked Under Leather.

Recently, Victoria directed Suzi Quatro’s video for her 2011 cover of Goldfrapp’s “Strict Machine”, which adds a few lyrics from Quatro’s “Can the Can” to jaw-dropping effect.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Jackie Fox

Jackie Fox became The Runaways’ third bassist in 1975, after being “discovered” by the self-proclaimed “mayor of the Sunset Strip,” Rodney Bingenheimer, and being presented to The Runaways’ Svengali/manager, Kim Fowley, shortly thereafter. Though she auditioned to be the group’s lead guitarist, that role was claimed by rocker Lita Ford, and Jackie replaced short-term bassist Peggy Foster. She was fifteen years old.

Though Jackie didn’t play on The Runaways’ 1976 debut album (Blondie bassist Nigel Harrison did), she did play on second studio album Queens of Noise, and on The Runaways’ 1977 Live in Japan album.

It was during the 1977 Japan tour that Jackie grew distraught over her bandmates’ inability to get along, deciding ultimately to quit the band. She was replaced by Vicki Blue.

In subsequent years, Jackie worked as a record company promotions executive, modeling agent, and Tony Robbins seminar promoter. In 1980, she appeared as a contestant on TV’s The Dating Game.

Today, Jackie is an entertainment attorney, having attended Harvard with classmate Barack Obama. She appeared in her The Runaways’ replacement Victory Tischler-Blue’s 2005 documentary film Edgeplay: A film about The Runaways, and has written columns for the Huffington Post.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Michael Steele

Founding Runaways bassist Michael “Mikki” Steele was fired from the band (reportedly for calling the band’s debut single “Cherry Bomb” stupid) shortly after its inception (and shortly before its commercial breakthrough), but her bass and vocal talents have kept The Runaways’ earliest demos in demand for decades.

Michael and her bass went on to play with Elton Duck, Slow Children, Nadia Kapiche, and Snakefinger before replacing The Bangles’ bassist Annette Zilinskas in 1983. The rest is history. Michael played bass and sang on the band’s most memorable hits, including “Manic Monday,” “Walk Like an Egyptian,” and their cover of Big Star’s “September Gurls.”

Michael hit her stride as a songwriter on 1988 album Everything, but The Bangles soon broke up. She remained musically active, playing in a mix of bands (Crash Wisdom, Continential Drifters) and recording a solo album and planning a tour that were both shelved by record company management. In the late 90s, The Bangles talked of regrouping, eventually reuniting to record 2003’s Doll Revolution, which included three Michael Steele compositions, “Nickel Romeo,” “Between The Two,” and “Song For A Good Son.” Subsequent tours were complicated by various members’ family concerns. In 2005, Michael officially called it quits, parting company with The Bangles. Today, Michael is reportedly still involved in music, though in a behind-the-scenes capacity.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Gail Ann Dorsey

Already a sought-after session musician when she joined David Bowie’s band in 1995, Gail Ann Dorsey has also played with Tears for Fears, Indigo Girls, Gang of Four, Lenny Kravitz, Charlie Watts, Gwen Stefani, and many others. But it’s Gail’s work in Bowie’s band, particularly when matched with guitarist Reeves Gabrels, that shines. Like here, when she implants a throbbing, beating heart into Bowie’s classic Queen collaboration, “Under Pressure.”

Or here. “Heroes.”

And we’ll just have to see if Bowie’s new album kicks off a tour. But if it does, I’m willing to bet that Gail will be there, backing him up.

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Sara Lee

Sara Lee was already an accomplished bassist when she joined Gang of Four in the early 1980s, having played with Robert Fripp in League of Gentlemen. “I Love a Man in a Uniform” from the Gang of Four album Songs of the Free showcases Sara’s talents–for singing as well as playing the bass–very nicely, though the song was banned in the UK shortly after its release in 1992 because Britain went to war with Argentina in the Falklands Islands.

After Gang of Four, Sara became a sought-after session and touring bassist, playing with such acts as the Thompson Twins, the B-52s, Indigo Girls. and Ani DeFranco. In 2000, Sara released her first solo album, Make It Beautiful on Difranco’s Righteous Babe records.

But you really want to listen to League of Gentlemen…

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist

Permalink

off

CHICK BASSIST celebrates chick bassists: Lyn-Z

Lyn-Z worked as a window display artist and assisted painter Ron English before joining Mindless Self Indulgence in 2001. Often noted for wearing an exaggerated schoolgirl uniform on stage, Lyn-Z is also known for augmenting her aggressive playing style with back bends, stage dives, and pratfalls.

In 2007, Lyn-Z married My Chemical Romance leader, Gerard Way backstage at the final date of Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution tour. The pair have a daughter, Bandit Lee Way, born in 2009.

As Lindsey Way, Lyn-Z regularly exhibits her visual art, including her thirteen-diorama series inspired by Henry Darger, Mary Blair, and Georges Melies, “Hush.”

Order CHICK BASSIST today!

Chick Bassist