The progressive-metal bassist salutes the greats

Dane Alderson

He’s in the Yellowjackets now, but I was having my mind blown by him when he was playing at a bar in Perth every week, back in 2005 to 2006. I got a couple of bass lessons with him back in the day, and I’m pretty sure I just asked him to shred so I could see it up close. Dane has been criminally unknown for a long time, but this is finally changing now he’s in one of the most prolific jazz fusion bands to ever do it. Dane is as outstandingly musical as he his technically brilliant. I actually don’t think there’s a better bassist out there.

Mark King

How can I not have the King on this list? A pioneer of slap bass like no other, not to mention incredible brain dexterity to be able to sing over the top of his bass craziness. Songwriter and badass.

Etienne Mbappe

Might this guy possess the most incredible bass tone of all time? Very probably. Again, like Mark King, Etienne is a master of playing and singing at the same time. He’s truly gifted with the power of music and his compositions are amazing.

Fieldy

I first heard Korn when I was 11 years old and the clanky sound of Fieldy’s playing was a huge part of what makes the band so unique. I love his style to this day. I love in particular that he’s so unconventional and that he’s carved his own artistic path by doing things differently. When I play my slap parts in Voyager songs, I can feel the Fieldy in my heart trying to break free through the stings. Call me crazy but it’s a wonderful feeling!

Alain Caron

Alain is a bass legend. Who the hell else is a master of fretless, slap and six-string bass? I just don’t get it. He’s amazing and I don’t really even know where to begin. Also a huge influence on my playing in Voyager. There are more, of course, but I’ll leave it here. What’s important for me is taking little bits of what I love about each of these incredible players and trying to make it my own. 

Voyager will release their new album Colours in the Sun via Season of Mist on November 1. See video below.

Related

Men in the Mirror: The Bassists of Michael Jackson How Alex Al And His Predecessors Pumped Up The King Of Pop

THERE’S A REVEALING EXCHANGE ABOUT FIVE MINUTES into This Is It, the documentary about the late Michael Jackson’s planned world tour, in which the Gloved One is encouraging his keyboardist to play the answer riff to the penetrating bass line of “Wanna Be Startin’ Something” funkier. “It’s not there yet,” he says gently, before singing the entire two-measure groove flawlessly in the pocket, while playing air bass. Real bass seems to have always been at the forefront of Jackson’s music, whether it came from studio savants in Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York, or his landmark use of synth bass that remains in vogue to this day. Alex Al, Jackson’s bassist since 2001 and a member of the seven-piece band featured in the film, concurs. “Bass was the most important instrument to him. He’d make references to Paul McCartney’s melodic playing with the Beatles, James Jamerson being upfront and center with Motown, or Stevie Wonder’s left hand.”

Alex Webster: To The Extreme

For the past 22 years, Alex Webster has pretty much been doing two things: anchoring the seminal death metal band Cannibal Corpse, and pushing himself to wreak technical havoc on the bass guitar.