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View Full Version : Who were some relatively untalented members of otherwise-talented bands?


It's Not Rocket Surgery!
03-14-2011, 01:16 PM
Who are some band members who were totally outclassed by their bandmates?

Here's a couple to start:

Sid Vicious, by all accounts, was an awful bass player. Since Steve Jones and Johnny Rotten were pretty good as guitarist and singer, I think that counts.

Meg White is/was certainly not as talented as Jack. But since Jack wanted a "dirty" sound for the White Stripes, this one can be argued,since Meg brought that to the table.

Who else?

Superdude
03-14-2011, 01:27 PM
Michelle Phillips was (in my opinion) the least talented of the Mamas and the Papas. Tragically, she's the only one still living (I have a feeling this will be repeated, and that Ringo will be the only Beatle left at some point).

RealityChuck
03-14-2011, 02:57 PM
Yoko Ono, of course. With the Plastic Ono Band.

Sampiro
03-14-2011, 02:58 PM
Yoko Ono, of course. With the Plastic Ono Band.

And her Beatle-in-law Linda Eastman McCartney in Wings.

Before they became big Stu Sutcliffe was a "Fifth Beatle" who had no great talent other than being well liked by the other Beatles, particularly John.

Lemur866
03-14-2011, 03:47 PM
I thought Stu was John's hetero life partner, and the other Beatles just put up with him.

cjepson
03-14-2011, 03:47 PM
I might vote for Tommy Hall, the would-be spiritual guru and electric jug player in the 13th Floor Elevators. He wasn't really a musician, but more of a Big Idea Man, 1960s acid-style. He layered that dumb electric jug all over the Elevators' music... kind of an interesting novelty the first time, but it wears thin fast, especially when it always sounds the same and seems to bear no discernible relationship to the rest of the music.

Barkis is Willin'
03-14-2011, 03:48 PM
I may catch hell, but I say Geddy Lee. He could play bass just fine, but I always thought Rush be awesome if they just had a lead singer. His voice is unique alright, but it's nails on a chalk board for me.

Rrose Selavy
03-14-2011, 04:03 PM
Bez of the Happy Mondays - a kind of drugged up "dancing " mascot with maracas.

Andrew Ridgely - Wham

StusBlues
03-14-2011, 04:08 PM
Bill Wyman. Every once in a while I used to hear an interesting Stones bass line and think, "Hey, Wyman finally turned one in!" Then I'd do a little research and find out the Keith Richards ("Let's Spend the Night Together") or Robbie Shakespeare ("Undercover of the Night") or somebody played bass on that one.

WordMan
03-14-2011, 04:30 PM
He's gotten better, but when Pearl Jam first came out, I wondered whose beginner kid was roped in to play lead guitar, but then found out it was a guy named Mike McCready. Lord he was awful in the early 90's, but has gotten better.

The Beatles are my favorite band and I deeply, deeply respect George's taste (he always had the right chord or lick for the song), songwriter and overall presence as a musician, but he was not that great of a player, as I have commented many times...(but anyone who tries to cite Ringo for this thread is 100% wrong - and I don't want to hear about it! ;))

The guitarists in Big Brother and the Holding Company supporting Janis Joplin - oh lord, they were bad.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-14-2011, 04:50 PM
I may catch hell, but I say Geddy Lee. He could play bass just fine, but I always thought Rush be awesome if they just had a lead singer. His voice is unique alright, but it's nails on a chalk board for me.

Have you listened to any of Rush's more recent albums? Geddy's voice has mellowed with age. He's still Geddy, of course, but he doesn't screech like he used to.

Jim's Son
03-14-2011, 05:01 PM
Perhaps he was better in the past but I saw the Pink Floyd "Delicate Sound of Thunder" tour at Nassau Coliseum in 1988. I was seated high and on stage right. Drummer Nick Mason scarcely played the drums at all that night, leaving most of it for the other drummer. Yet when video came out, it was edited to make it seem that Mason played more.

Tom Tildrum
03-14-2011, 05:01 PM
Eddie Van Halen's brother?

It's not exactly on point, but I'll cite Steven Adler for the proposition that you must be a serious f-ckup if your drug use gets you kicked out of Guns'n'Roses.

Ibanez
03-14-2011, 05:37 PM
Krist Novoselic, bass player from Nirvana.

Kurt had complained he didn't practice enough. The only remarkable work he did IMO was the opening bass line in Lounge Act.

But then what do I know, he was the other founding member of Nirvana.

Argent Towers
03-14-2011, 06:05 PM
The guitarists in Big Brother and the Holding Company supporting Janis Joplin - oh lord, they were bad.

I totally, totally disagree. Technically they were kind of sloppy and unrefined, but it fit the style of music very well. I love the guitar on Summertime and Piece of My Heart.

Fiddle Peghead
03-14-2011, 06:24 PM
The Beatles are my favorite band and I deeply, deeply respect George's taste (he always had the right chord or lick for the song), songwriter and overall presence as a musician, but he was not that great of a player, as I have commented many times.

I agree with this to a great degree, and yet he played one of the truly great leads in all of rock on his composition "Something." Go figure.

aceplace57
03-14-2011, 06:41 PM
Poor Ringo in the Beatles had some of his tracks replaced by studio musicians on their later albums.
I always thought that was because McCartney is a perfectionist. Ringo was a good drummer.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-14-2011, 06:47 PM
Michael Anthony of Van Halen was average at best. He was extremely lucky.

gaffa
03-14-2011, 06:51 PM
Everyone mentioned in this thread are musical geniuses, even Meg "Hey, Who Left These Drums Here?" White, compared to Einar (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einar_%C3%96rn_Benediktsson) of the Sugarcubes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugarcubes) Dear Og, was he painful!

fiddlesticks
03-14-2011, 06:57 PM
D'arcy of The Smashing Pumpkins. Only moderately talented and even moderate in the eye candy department.

Superdude
03-14-2011, 06:58 PM
The Beatles are my favorite band and I deeply, deeply respect George's taste (he always had the right chord or lick for the song), songwriter and overall presence as a musician, but he was not that great of a player, as I have commented many times...(but anyone who tries to cite Ringo for this thread is 100% wrong - and I don't want to hear about it! ;)).

I'm basing my opinion on Ringo on each member of the Beatles as a whole, including their post-Beatles records. John and Paul were fantastic. George was very good, also. But poor Ringo couldn't sing as well as the other three, and his songwriting abilities didn't strike me as particularly brilliant. For those reasons, I make that statement.

Disclaimer: I'm not the world's biggest Beatles fan, nor do I claim that the above has any statement in fact. It's just the opinion of a casual observer.

ianzin
03-14-2011, 07:26 PM
The B-52s, Fred Schneider. Can't sing, can't play anything, can 'talk sing' in an eccentric manner. But I guess some will suggest his personality and presence were an important part of the group's appeal.

Sateryn76
03-14-2011, 07:48 PM
Eddie Van Halen's brother?

It's not exactly on point, but I'll cite Steven Adler for the proposition that you must be a serious f-ckup if your drug use gets you kicked out of Guns'n'Roses.

Really? Alex Van Halen is one of the best drummers of that era, IMO. Have you ever heard the drums in Hot for Teacher?

Sir Prize
03-14-2011, 08:26 PM
Michelle Phillips was (in my opinion) the least talented of the Mamas and the Papas. Tragically, she's the only one still living (I have a feeling this will be repeated, and that Ringo will be the only Beatle left at some point).The rest of the Beatles knew each other as kids. Ringo is the one that they went out and recruited because he was so good. Not much of a singer or writer but a great drummer.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-14-2011, 08:40 PM
Poor Ringo in the Beatles had some of his tracks replaced by studio musicians on their later albums.

This is not true. McCartney plays drums himself on a few tracks, notably the White Album songs recorded when Ringo temporarily walked out on the sessions, but the Beatles never brought in a studio musician to replace Ringo's parts.

RickJay
03-14-2011, 09:13 PM
Michael Anthony of Van Halen was average at best. He was extremely lucky.
Beat me to it.

David Lee Roth is a pretty shitty singer, too. He's got charisma and he fits the band, so it works, but really he's barely adequate as a vocalist.

So if you think about it, the original Van Halen lineup is one of the most talent-polarized bands that ever existed; Eddie and Alex Van Halen were and are immensely talented musicians, while David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony were, at best, adequate.

RealityChuck
03-14-2011, 09:21 PM
No matter what you think of Ringo, he was better than Pete Best.

Jim Capaldi from Traffic was good enough in their early days, but they eventually had to replace him as drummer because he just couldn't keep a beat (though he stayed on as singer and songwriter).

Tom Tildrum
03-14-2011, 10:14 PM
Really? Alex Van Halen is one of the best drummers of that era, IMO. Have you ever heard the drums in Hot for Teacher?

I was misremembering who was the bassist and who was the drummer.

devilsknew
03-14-2011, 10:24 PM
Beat me to it.

David Lee Roth is a pretty shitty singer, too. He's got charisma and he fits the band, so it works, but really he's barely adequate as a vocalist.

So if you think about it, the original Van Halen lineup is one of the most talent-polarized bands that ever existed; Eddie and Alex Van Halen were and are immensely talented musicians, while David Lee Roth and Michael Anthony were, at best, adequate.

Oh, you're one of those, an Eddie VH revisionist.

astorian
03-14-2011, 10:42 PM
I never figured out what Donna Godchaux did for the Grateful Dead except shake her boobs and a tambourine.

The Second Stone
03-14-2011, 11:15 PM
I never figured out what Donna Godchaux did for the Grateful Dead except shake her boobs and a tambourine.

She usually sang off key. When she was in tune she was quite good, but not necessary.

MPB in Salt Lake
03-14-2011, 11:33 PM
She usually sang off key. When she was in tune she was quite good, but not necessary.

I know that many feel that 1977 was a high-water mark for the Grateful Dead, but by in large I can't listen to ANY GD music that has Donna & Keith in the mix.

To my ears, 1968-1969 (Pig) and 1989-1990 (Brent) were when the band was at it's peak live performance abilities---For the most part, the entire 1970's held NO appeal for me, with the exception of a handful of random nights that somehow escaped Keith and Donna's tone-deaf "contributions" to the band's sound.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 08:59 AM
This is not true. McCartney plays drums himself on a few tracks, notably the White Album songs recorded when Ringo temporarily walked out on the sessions, but the Beatles never brought in a studio musician to replace Ringo's parts.

Thanks - when I read the first post, I was like "hunh?" What copy of Lewisohn's Compleat Abbey Road did I not read.

Argent - we clearly must agree to disagree. Are you a player? You point out the lack of technical proficiency, but don't point out that the errors are basic and just about execution, not about reaching for some new idea, which is the kind of slop I love from folks like Hendrix, Page, EVH, etc...

Fiddle Peghead - yep; George's solo in Something is sublime, no doubt. I wonder how many times he practiced it before he laid it down - I bet thousands.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-15-2011, 09:24 AM
I totally, totally disagree. Technically they were kind of sloppy and unrefined, but it fit the style of music very well. I love the guitar on Summertime and Piece of My Heart.
Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page were sloppy good, and (as Wordman said) a result of stretching and reaching, pushing themselves. They still had great technical ability. The Holding Company guys just weren't very good. They were amateurish, garage band guys who really had no business on the same stage with Janis Joplin. I've listened to those albums more than once and just cringed, thinking "Jesus, I KNOW I could have done better than those guys." Go to any building or warehouse that rents out practice spaces to bands, and you'll hear a dozen guys that are at least as good as those guys.

An Arky
03-15-2011, 09:41 AM
Zia McCabe in the Dandy Warhols, Joel Gion in Brian Jonestown Massacre, Noel Abercrombie in Split Enz, Robert Plant in Led Zeppelin, Paul Simonon in The Clash, Richard Hell in Television (though his Voidoid stuff was good), Bill Wyman, Tom Fogerty in CCR, Andy Hummel in Big Star, Peter Criss in KISS, Mo Tucker in the Velvet Underground, Rick Buckler in The Jam.

None of them are bad, IMHO, and their other contributions may compensate; just that they seem to be the weak link in their respective groups.

Annie-Xmas
03-15-2011, 09:49 AM
How the Door put up with Jim Morrison so long I will never know. He looked the role. Period.

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 09:51 AM
Andy Summers of the Police was pretty ordinary, especially when compared to Sting and Stewart Copeland. It wouldn't be the Police without him, but he didn't do much to distinguish himself.

Peremensoe
03-15-2011, 09:53 AM
Rush: Even if we stipulate that Geddy isn't or wasn't a great singer (matter of taste), it's not really fair to call him "relatively untalented" beside his bandmates, given that he does play good bass, and plays keys, and cowrites.

Beatles: Perhaps aceplace57 was thinking of session drummer Andy White on the "Love Me Do" single, at the other end of the Beatles' recording career?

Grateful Dead: I like Donna Godchaux more than most, I think, but it's possibly fair to list both Godchauxs--as well as T.C. and Vince--as relatively "untalented" beside their truly prodigious bandmates. ('70s Dead still largely rules.) Hell, some would put Bobby in there too. :eek: Conversely, Brent Mydland has never gotten full and proper respect.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 09:56 AM
Bill Wyman

An Arky, you're the second (at least) poster to cite Wyman. Keef would agree - he spends no time on Wyman in his book other than to say that he joined the band 'cuz he had a big amp, and that he made weak-ass tea ;).

But...dude - you're a rhythm guitarist in a rock band. In some bands, the relationship is primarily between the rhythm guitarist and the drummer, right? That is clearly the case with the Stones - in terms of the roles of the instruments, Keef is the "bass player" of the group - he's the one who sets the groove with the drummer. If Wyman tried to be That Guy, Keef would've killed him. And Darryl Jones can be the bass player, but he is getting paid real money to tuck in behind Keith. (as an aside, and I know you know this, An Arky - but that is the relationship between Hetfield and Ulrich in Metallica and The Edge and Larry Mullin in U2).

So when I hear Wyman play cool lines like the bass in Sympathy, or hit the groove on other songs, I hear a reasonable talented guy doing what he was told to do. Is he "untalented"? Not for doing what Keith told him to do...

Oh, and speaking of U2 - for this thread, gotta go with Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen. Luckiest rhythm section on the face of the earth.

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 09:59 AM
How the Door put up with Jim Morrison so long I will never know. He looked the role. Period.

HERESY!

He was actually a good singer when he wasn't acting the fool. He was light years better than lots of other singers, including such contemporaries as Mick Jagger. He wasn't Burton Cummings or Jack Bruce, but that sort of vocal styling wasn't appropriate for the Doors' music.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 09:59 AM
Andy Summers of the Police was pretty ordinary, especially when compared to Sting and Stewart Copeland. It wouldn't be the Police without him, but he didn't do much to distinguish himself.

You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

Andy Summers was, besides Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughn, prolly the most influential guitarist of the 1980's. His ambient, sound-wash style defined the use of effects for the next 15 years, alongside The Edge (his partner in effects-laden crime, but without Summers' technical/jazz chops). Your assertion is simply factually inaccurate.

And folks are welcome to state they don't like Geddy Lee - heck, I am not much of a Rush fan myself - but to claim he is untalented, even on a relative basis, is just foolishness. Pish tosh.

psychonaut
03-15-2011, 09:59 AM
Krist Novoselic, bass player from Nirvana.

Kurt had complained he didn't practice enough. The only remarkable work he did IMO was the opening bass line in Lounge Act.The bass parts in "Love Buzz" are pretty memorable. The bass line is the hook to the song, and Krist does lots of funky improvization in Kurt's "noise collage" solo.

Both songs show that Krist wasn't untalented. Usually unremarkable, maybe, but not untalented.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 10:05 AM
Both songs show that Krist wasn't untalented. Usually unremarkable, maybe, but not untalented.

True - heck, the intro to Lithium is enough to show he can hold a groove well.

The problem with Krist is that he was/is a bit of a doofus - too tall for his own good, prone to blurting silliness at awards shows, or beaning himself with a tossed bass - he doesn't help his case...

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-15-2011, 10:06 AM
How the Door put up with Jim Morrison so long I will never know. He looked the role. Period.

Well, that and the fact that he basically was the band. Compare the dismal, uninspired albums that the surviving trio released under the Doors name in 1971-72 to anything they recorded with Morrison. No contest.

Drain Bead
03-15-2011, 10:09 AM
I wouldn't call Krist Novoselic untalented, but he was definitely outshined by the raw charisma of Kurt and the musical talent of Dave. Krist was a perfectly capable musician flanked by two effing geniuses.

An Arky
03-15-2011, 10:10 AM
An Arky, you're the second (at least) poster to cite Wyman. Keef would agree - he spends no time on Wyman in his book other than to say that he joined the band 'cuz he had a big amp, and that he made weak-ass tea ;).

But...dude - you're a rhythm guitarist in a rock band. In some bands, the relationship is primarily between the rhythm guitarist and the drummer, right? That is clearly the case with the Stones - in terms of the roles of the instruments, Keef is the "bass player" of the group - he's the one who sets the groove with the drummer. If Wyman tried to be That Guy, Keef would've killed him. And Darryl Jones can be the bass player, but he is getting paid real money to tuck in behind Keith. (as an aside, and I know you know this, An Arky - but that is the relationship between Hetfield and Ulrich in Metallica and The Edge and Larry Mullin in U2).

So when I hear Wyman play cool lines like the bass in Sympathy, or hit the groove on other songs, I hear a reasonable talented guy doing what he was told to do. Is he "untalented"? Not for doing what Keith told him to do...

Oh, and speaking of U2 - for this thread, gotta go with Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen. Luckiest rhythm section on the face of the earth.

Yeah, I didn't really account for the Keith factor; however, there were times that it seems his part could've been stronger, and I can't imagine why Keith wouldn't have wanted it stronger; different era, I guess. I do like Wyman's lines in some songs and don't think he's bad at all, just the weakest link.

Totally agree on U2...

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 10:12 AM
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

Andy Summers was, besides Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughn, prolly the most influential guitarist of the 1980's. His ambient, sound-wash style defined the use of effects for the next 15 years, alongside The Edge (his partner in effects-laden crime, but without Summers' technical/jazz chops). Your assertion is simply factually inaccurate.

It wasn't an assertion, it was an opinion. You're free to disagree, and you clearly do. No big deal. You probably disagree with my other opinions in this thread, too. Most people do.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 10:16 AM
It wasn't an assertion, it was an opinion. You're free to disagree, and you clearly do. No big deal. You probably disagree with my other opinions in this thread, too. Most people do.

Sorry - I get feisty about guitar; it's a sickness.

(and, by the way - I was going with early 80's - Slash came in during the late 80's. Knopfler was huge, too. Rhoads tucked in behind Eddie (Yngwie was niche) and Johnny Marr and Steve Stevens were part of the ambient-effects gang.

This stuff is important, man. ;)

dzeiger
03-15-2011, 10:18 AM
Through a good portion of their history, the band Yes consisted of

Steve Howe on Guitar
Jon Anderson on Vocals
Chris Squire on Bass
Rick Wakeman on Keyboards

all of which are pretty legendary in their fields

and Alan White on Drums. Who is a very good drummer to be sure, but clearly the weakest link.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-15-2011, 10:19 AM
It wasn't an assertion, it was an opinion. You're free to disagree, and you clearly do. No big deal. You probably disagree with my other opinions in this thread, too. Most people do.
You said Andy Summers "did not distinguish himself." By every objective metric, that's factually untrue.

Do you play an instrument?

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 10:21 AM
Well, that and the fact that he basically was the band. Compare the dismal, uninspired albums that the surviving trio released under the Doors name in 1971-72 to anything they recorded with Morrison. No contest.

I wouldn't characterize them as dismal or uninspired. In fact, over the life of the band Robby Krieger wrote about half of their material, so it wasn't necessarily the content. The musical skill was there as well.

The problem is that they continued to use the Doors as their name. The albums were different, and while that's OK for The Soft Parade because Jim was there, it's not OK without Jim. People were expecting something other than what they got, and the albums suffered in comparison, especially Other Voices.

Had they simply taken the expedient of changing the band name expectations would have been reduced and the albums might be seen in a different light today. Seriously, how many people do you know that have actually heard the albums? Very few have or can remember anything about them except for the "fact" that they aren't any good because Jim wasn't there, if they even know the albums exist.

It's Not Rocket Surgery!
03-15-2011, 10:22 AM
I have another to add to my own thread.

I heard some Public Enemy last night. Chuck D is an awesome rapper. Flavor Flav is...not.

Compared to Chuck, Flav sounds like the slow cousin who the adults make sure gets some playtime with the big boys.

bup
03-15-2011, 10:27 AM
Mick Avory of the Kinks. The other members were casual/sloppy, but he was just a bad drummer.

And I'll second Mo Tucker of the Velvet Underground.

psychonaut
03-15-2011, 10:27 AM
I wouldn't call Krist Novoselic untalented, but he was definitely outshined by the raw charisma of Kurt and the musical talent of Dave. Krist was a perfectly capable musician flanked by two effing geniuses.The full musical talent of Dave wasn't at all evident in Nirvana, where (apart from a single B-side released late in their career) his sole duty was to drum very loud to Kurt's songs. It wasn't until the Foo Fighters that the world realized what a great singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist he was.

Drain Bead
03-15-2011, 10:30 AM
I firmly believe that Dave Grohl is one of the best true musicians of his generation, but you're right, in that I'm pretty sure in 1994 nobody thought he'd end up being bigger than Kurt.

Cumbrian
03-15-2011, 10:30 AM
Richie Edwards from Manic Street Preachers, together with Nicky Wire, wrote the lyrics for the first 4 albums (the 4th in absentia - having disappeared, presumed dead, after album 3).

Where he fits in relation to this OP though is that he is possibly (hyperbole alert) "the worst guitarist ever" to feature for a relatively successful group. Apparently he played on none of their records - James Dean Bradfield laid down all the guitar tracks - and there are legendary stories about his guitar effectively being turned off when they played live. There is even a story that, at a Japanese festival, the socund techs thought, since Bradfield was singing, that Edwards must be the lead guitarist and turned up his amp - only for it to be apparent that he was barely forming chords. I think he even claimed that his role was to write the lyrics and pose with the guitar.

On one level, very talented - few Manic Street Preachers songs post Everything Must Go are lyrically as good as the stuff that Richie Edwards wrote. But musically, incredibly bad.

Marley23
03-15-2011, 10:37 AM
I firmly believe that Dave Grohl is one of the best true musicians of his generation, but you're right, in that I'm pretty sure in 1994 nobody thought he'd end up being bigger than Kurt.
That's because he didn't. ;) He did last a long longer. He's a better drummer than any of those other things as far as I'm concerned, which isn't to say he's not talented. I don't think I'd ever heard of anyone recording an album basically on their own before he did it for the Foo Fighters' first album.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-15-2011, 10:45 AM
I wouldn't characterize them as dismal or uninspired. In fact, over the life of the band Robby Krieger wrote about half of their material, so it wasn't necessarily the content. The musical skill was there as well.

The problem is that they continued to use the Doors as their name. The albums were different, and while that's OK for The Soft Parade because Jim was there, it's not OK without Jim. People were expecting something other than what they got, and the albums suffered in comparison, especially Other Voices.

Had they simply taken the expedient of changing the band name expectations would have been reduced and the albums might be seen in a different light today. Seriously, how many people do you know that have actually heard the albums? Very few have or can remember anything about them except for the "fact" that they aren't any good because Jim wasn't there, if they even know the albums exist.

You have it backwards: the only reason as many people heard those albums as did was precisely because they were credited to the Doors. Those albums did sell; not in the numbers the Doors were accustomed to, but they charted respectably (though Full Circle less so than Other Voices) and certainly didn't go unheard. By contrast, once they started releasing music not under the Doors name--Manzarek as a solo artist, doing some really good, adventurous stuff, and the remaining Doors (with new singer Jess Roden) evolving into the Butts Band--they flopped dismally.

As for the quality of the albums, I will admit to never having given Full Circle a totally fair shake, never having bought my own copy after being subjected to dreck like "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned," "Variety Is the Spice of Life," and "In the Eye of the Sun" on the previous album. But to my mind, they had exactly one really good song--"Ships w/Sails"--over the course of two albums.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-15-2011, 10:51 AM
I firmly believe that Dave Grohl is one of the best true musicians of his generation, but you're right, in that I'm pretty sure in 1994 nobody thought he'd end up being bigger than Kurt.
He never got close to Cobain's success or significance (other than riding his coattails in Nirvana), and his solo career was basically just ok. Nothing special or groundbreaking. Functional power pop. His musicianship and songwriting are fine, but nothing extraordinary. He never held a candle to Kurt's genius.

WreckingCrew
03-15-2011, 10:59 AM
Dennis Wilson didn't bring a lot to the Beach Boys besides pedestrian drumming and some raspy vocals. Of course he was the only one who surfed, so he had that going for him.

Stormcrow
03-15-2011, 11:02 AM
He never got close to Cobain's success or significance (other than riding his coattails in Nirvana), and his solo career was basically just ok. Nothing special or groundbreaking. Functional power pop. His musicianship and songwriting are fine, but nothing extraordinary. He never held a candle to Kurt's genius.

I'll agree that Dave Grohl hasn't had the influence that Cobain has had; very few musicians can make that claim. But I think that the Foo Fighters have probably at this point sold many times the number of albums that Nirvana did. Probably no single album as big as Nevermind, but again, that's a high bar to aim for.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-15-2011, 11:02 AM
That's because he didn't. ;) He did last a long longer. He's a better drummer than any of those other things as far as I'm concerned, which isn't to say he's not talented. I don't think I'd ever heard of anyone recording an album basically on their own before he did it for the Foo Fighters' first album.
Ever heard of Prince?

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-15-2011, 11:08 AM
Ever heard of Prince?

Or Paul McCartney?

psychonaut
03-15-2011, 11:17 AM
Or Paul McCartney?Or Nick Saloman?

(OK, you probably haven't heard of Nick Saloman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Saloman). But he is pretty prolific and does tend to record everything himself.)

Blaster Master
03-15-2011, 11:18 AM
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but I'd have to say Lars Ulrich of Metallica is a perfect example. That he's often regarded as a metal drumming god is a straight up insult to the genre. I even recall an interview with James Hetfield in which he said the main reason he started the band with him was because of his connections, because he was a bad drummer (can't seem to find a cite, sorry).

Personally, I think his drumming lacks any semblance of creativity and shows little variation, particularly when contrasted with other contemporary metal drummers; worse, it definitely doesn't age well because it sounds very flat compared to modern drummers, and the drum tracks are usually much more complicated when I hear Metallica covers. Also consider the level of talent that surrounds him. I think James Hetfields vocals were highly regarded for most of their careers, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted were both very good bassists, and Kirk Hammett was a first class shredder. Ulrich's lack of talent was blatantly apparent on the abomination called St. Anger in which the drums were turned up.

It doesn't help that he's a giant douche too.

Crafter_Man
03-15-2011, 11:26 AM
Peter Criss in KISSWas any member of KISS talented? Seriously.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-15-2011, 11:26 AM
I have to disagree about Lars. I think he's very good. He's also well regarded by pretty much every metal drummer I know. He was very influential in that early thrash movement. and his drumming wasn't bad on St. Anger, the album was just horribly mixed and made his drums sound tinny.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-15-2011, 11:27 AM
Was any member of KISS talented? Seriously.

LOL! Well, they were talented at merchandising.

pulykamell
03-15-2011, 11:28 AM
I agree on Ulrich -- think he's a very average metal drummer, but not sure if I'd call Hammett a "first class shredder," either. I would put them at about the same talent level. As for Hetfield, I'm not big into his vocals, but man can he hold down the rhythm. He's gotta be up there among the best rhythm guitarists in the genre.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-15-2011, 11:41 AM
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but I'd have to say Lars Ulrich of Metallica is a perfect example. That he's often regarded as a metal drumming god is a straight up insult to the genre. I even recall an interview with James Hetfield in which he said the main reason he started the band with him was because of his connections, because he was a bad drummer (can't seem to find a cite, sorry).
The story was that Lars had previously auditioned for James, and it had gone poorly. Lars had a crappy kit, and his hi-hat kept falling over. James kind of told him "don't call us. we'll call you," then Lars called them sometime later (weeks, days, months, I don't...sometime later) and said he had a connection (Brian Slagel of Metal Blade Records) and could get them onto a planned compilation album of metal bands (Metal Massacre 1). Lars had told Slagel he had a band when he didn't, but after he called James, they managed to get a band together with Ron McGovney (kind of the Pete Best of Metallica) on bass, and Dave Mustaine on lead guitar. They recorded their first song "Hit the Lights" for Metal Massacre a few months after forming and the rest is history.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 12:18 PM
I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned yet, but I'd have to say Lars Ulrich of Metallica is a perfect example. That he's often regarded as a metal drumming god is a straight up insult to the genre. I even recall an interview with James Hetfield in which he said the main reason he started the band with him was because of his connections, because he was a bad drummer (can't seem to find a cite, sorry).

Personally, I think his drumming lacks any semblance of creativity and shows little variation, particularly when contrasted with other contemporary metal drummers; worse, it definitely doesn't age well because it sounds very flat compared to modern drummers, and the drum tracks are usually much more complicated when I hear Metallica covers. Also consider the level of talent that surrounds him. I think James Hetfields vocals were highly regarded for most of their careers, Cliff Burton and Jason Newsted were both very good bassists, and Kirk Hammett was a first class shredder. Ulrich's lack of talent was blatantly apparent on the abomination called St. Anger in which the drums were turned up.

It doesn't help that he's a giant douche too.

Hetfield is clearly the heart of Metallica - the Keef AND Mick, I guess ;)

I never thought much of Ulrich one way or the other - but I do give him credit for innovating and laying down the blueprint for thrash drumming, along side other players. But I will acknowledge that when Sad But True came out on the Black Album, I tipped my hat - that, my friends, is a very durable groove and Lars holds up his end...dare I say he even swings?

ETA: Oh, and as for Kiss - imho (I am decidedly not a fan), Paul and Gene are decent pop songwriters - enough to crank out the same album year after year for their adoring fans. As far as musicianship - the only one I would point to of the original four (before they brought in hired guns), was Ace Frehley - say what you will, but he was a solid, in-the-pocket lead player with good technique and a great tone.

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 12:27 PM
You have it backwards: the only reason as many people heard those albums as did was precisely because they were credited to the Doors. Those albums did sell; not in the numbers the Doors were accustomed to, but they charted respectably (though Full Circle less so than Other Voices) and certainly didn't go unheard. By contrast, once they started releasing music not under the Doors name--Manzarek as a solo artist, doing some really good, adventurous stuff, and the remaining Doors (with new singer Jess Roden) evolving into the Butts Band--they flopped dismally.

As for the quality of the albums, I will admit to never having given Full Circle a totally fair shake, never having bought my own copy after being subjected to dreck like "I'm Horny, I'm Stoned," "Variety Is the Spice of Life," and "In the Eye of the Sun" on the previous album. But to my mind, they had exactly one really good song--"Ships w/Sails"--over the course of two albums.

I suspect that the first album would have sold well out of sympathy, curiosity and inertia if nothing else. It probably did, in fact. After people realized that the Doors without Jim were nothing more than a talented ensemble instead of the dangerous, on the edge psychedelic/hardcore blues band they had been in the past they walked away. Jim was the face, image, and perceived talent/leader of the band.

The other stuff, the stuff they did solo, wouldn't have done well under any circumstances because it all had a different focus. Imagine Grace Slick, Marty Balin or Paul Kantner releasing a solo blues-type album in 1972, how well would that have gone over?

With regard to the "dreck" from the post-Morrison albums, nothing there could ever be as insipid as "Satisfaction", easily the most overrated song from the most overrated band in recording history.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 12:38 PM
Nothing there could ever be as insipid as "Satisfaction", easily the most overrated song from the most overrated band in recording history.

You're welcome to start a thread based on that assertion/opinion and see where it goes - hint: not well.

Okay - I have your assertion, er, opinion, about Andy Summers and now this. Got it.

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 12:44 PM
You're welcome to start a thread based on that assertion/opinion and see where it goes - hint: not well.

Okay - I have your assertion, er, opinion, about Andy Summers and now this. Got it.

I told you you probably wouldn't agree with anything I said, didn't I? If my existence here were based upon pop culture likes and dislikes I would be damn near universally reviled.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 12:49 PM
I told you you probably wouldn't agree with anything I said, didn't I? If my existence here were based upon pop culture likes and dislikes I would be damn near universally reviled.

A point I am not going to argue with.

But, okay then, frame your statements about songs like Satisfaction - largely considered one THE defining singles of the rock era, bar none - with a bit more context and consideration. Otherwise you come across as someone wholly ignorant of the history surrounding this topic...

I state I don't like things all the time - I hate The Doors for instance, and think that Morrison represents everything pretentiously laughable, faux-dangerous and douchey in rock and roll - but I readily acknowledge their enduring popularity and the fact that some of their songs are well-crafted and performed...

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-15-2011, 12:52 PM
I suspect that the first album would have sold well out of sympathy, curiosity and inertia if nothing else. It probably did, in fact. After people realized that the Doors without Jim were nothing more than a talented ensemble instead of the dangerous, on the edge psychedelic/hardcore blues band they had been in the past they walked away. Jim was the face, image, and perceived talent/leader of the band.

All agreed.

The other stuff, the stuff they did solo, wouldn't have done well under any circumstances because it all had a different focus. Imagine Grace Slick, Marty Balin or Paul Kantner releasing a solo blues-type album in 1972, how well would that have gone over?

But look at what really did happen: the last couple of Jefferson Airplane albums were big hits. Then Slick and Kantner made an album very much continuing in the vein of those post-Balin Airplane albums (Baron Von Tollbooth & the Chrome Nun) but under their own names, and it bombed. So they started billing themselves as Jefferson Starship, and hey presto: back to the upper reaches of the charts. Moral: What's in a name? Sales, boy, sales!

An Arky
03-15-2011, 01:01 PM
ETA: Oh, and as for Kiss - imho (I am decidedly not a fan), Paul and Gene are decent pop songwriters - enough to crank out the same album year after year for their adoring fans. As far as musicianship - the only one I would point to of the original four (before they brought in hired guns), was Ace Frehley - say what you will, but he was a solid, in-the-pocket lead player with good technique and a great tone.

I have always dug Ace's solos for one reason: You can sing them! Maybe it's because I listened to KISS nonstop when I was 12-13 and it's just muscle memory, but there's a certain pithy melodiousness to them that I think many lead guitarists more highly rated than Ace could use a dose of.

Hippy Hollow
03-15-2011, 01:03 PM
Andy Summers of the Police was pretty ordinary, especially when compared to Sting and Stewart Copeland. It wouldn't be the Police without him, but he didn't do much to distinguish himself.

I'm not piling on... wait, yes I am. Summers is likely the most talented member of The Police (if one could even rank them). His longevity in music (The New Animals, Zoot Money before The Police, tons of session, soundtrack, and jazz work post Police) and his versatility - and his tone - make him a legend. The guitar synths he brought to Sting's music gave it that spacey feel (see Don't Stand So Close to Me, Secret Journey for examples). Pretty much every guitarist in the early 80s was trying to channel Summers.

Also disagree about Rick Buckler from The Jam. Great drummer. Ever hear "Precious" or "Funeral Pyre?" Foxton and Weller were amazingly talented and he might have been less so than either of them, but still awesome.

Someone mentioned upthread Paul Simonon. Brilliant guy and fit The Clash perfectly, but Mick and Joe often played his parts on the early albums. Topper played bass on "Rock The Casbah."

I would say Adam Clayton of U2 as well. Larry Mullen is a decent drummer. There is nothing exceptional about Mr. Clayton (aside from being the lone Englishman in a band full of Irish dudes). Again, sure he's a nice guy, has had some good moments, but there's a reason why beginning bassists like to play along to The Joshua Tree.

Oasis went through a secession of drummers. The first guy they had that played on Definitely Maybe wasn't much cop.

There's a whole category for the Bez-types. Paul Rutherford from Frankie Goes to Hollywood just wore a lot of leather.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 01:07 PM
... there's a certain pithy melodiousness to them ...

Dude, I think Ace's head just exploded.

;)

Marley23
03-15-2011, 01:07 PM
Oh, and speaking of U2 - for this thread, gotta go with Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen. Luckiest rhythm section on the face of the earth.
And not just because they weren't involved in the Spider-Man musical!

I'm not a big fan of the Red Hot Chili Peppers to begin with, but I think Anthony Keidis was very fortunate to have gotten together with Flea.

Mister Rik
03-15-2011, 01:16 PM
I may catch hell, but I say Geddy Lee. He could play bass just fine, but I always thought Rush be awesome if they just had a lead singer. His voice is unique alright, but it's nails on a chalk board for me.

Have you listened to any of Rush's more recent albums? Geddy's voice has mellowed with age. He's still Geddy, of course, but he doesn't screech like he used to.

Vocal tone is the result of physiology, not talent.

Also, as I've mentioned many times on these boards, Geddy had mostly stopped with the "nails on chalkboard" shrieking by 1980, a mere six years into what has turned out to be a 37-year-and counting career.

An Arky
03-15-2011, 02:26 PM
Dude, I think Ace's head just exploded.

;)

Yeah, but he already did that sometime in the mid-70's...anyway, that was a bit tweed-jackety of me, haha!

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-15-2011, 02:40 PM
Vocal tone is the result of physiology, not talent.

A combination of both, I'd say. You have the instrument you're born with, but it takes work and taste to learn how to exploit it effectively.

smoke
03-15-2011, 03:27 PM
Well, that and the fact that he basically was the band. Compare the dismal, uninspired albums that the surviving trio released under the Doors name in 1971-72 to anything they recorded with Morrison. No contest.

Or perhaps review their perrennial struggle to be noticed right up til today. I say this as a fan.

Agent Foxtrot
03-15-2011, 03:31 PM
I came in just to mention Sid Vicious, but the OP beat me to it.

Blaster Master
03-15-2011, 04:01 PM
I have to disagree about Lars. I think he's very good. He's also well regarded by pretty much every metal drummer I know. He was very influential in that early thrash movement. and his drumming wasn't bad on St. Anger, the album was just horribly mixed and made his drums sound tinny.

To each his own, I suppose. I remember even when I was a big Metallica fan that I always felt like something was missing, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. After not having listened to them for a number of years, I put on an album and realized how lacking the drumming was relative to the metal I had been listening to since. He may be an above average drummer, but I really feel like metal, particularly Thrash and other Thrash-influenced sub-genres like Black and Death really need a top-notch drummer.

That is, I feel like Ulrich does a fine job at keeping a beat, but he doesn't go that extra step toward making the drum an integral part of the sound. I feel like his lackings were largely covered up by particularly catchy riffs. Whereas, I feel like each of the other members doesn't just serve their niche in the band, but brought something more. For a sports analogy, I feel like he's a serviceable quarterback who simply won't lose the game for you relying on the exceptional skill of the rest of his teammates to win the game (eg, Trent Dilfer, 2000 Ravens) rather than the type that will is exceptional in his own right and raises the quality of play of all around him.

Moreso, IMO his performances don't hold up well against many others in the genre, even his contemporaries. As I mentioned, I've heard plenty of modern bands perform Metallica covers and they usually embellish on the drumming considerably. Sure, a lot of that embellishment is nothing any more creative than adding double bass or blast beats, but I still feel like that's a fairly significant difference in talent (eg, In Flames' cover of Eye of the Beholder). I certainly can't see him holding up to any modern Thrash drummer, even if the only real difference is speed.


Also, that story you gave is probably pretty close to what I read, I don't seem to recall them later blaming it on the kit just on him. It was more of an aside anyway.

I agree on Ulrich -- think he's a very average metal drummer, but not sure if I'd call Hammett a "first class shredder," either. I would put them at about the same talent level. As for Hetfield, I'm not big into his vocals, but man can he hold down the rhythm. He's gotta be up there among the best rhythm guitarists in the genre.

Hammett isn't particularly impressive in terms of his speed, but I still believe he's faster than most of his contemporaries. Beyond that, I feel as though he was particularly skilled in composing compelling solos. That is, as I mention above in seeing Lars as serviceable and not really bringing much more than keeping the beat, I would see a serviceable lead guitarist as the type who just knows his scales and plays them really fast.

It's precisely that I think he brings that level of musicianship above and beyond and that so many of his solos really are timeless and make or break the songs is what makes him clearly a better musician in my eyes, and that I think that's at least as important as technical skill, that's why I'd put him up there for that era. There's certainly far more impressive shredders out there, so "first class" might have been pushing it, particularly in light of how much of metal has gone toward the "play as fast and as heavy as you can" mentality. But despite that he probably couldn't keep up in raw speed, I think that his solo-writing is enough to put him well above those, whereas I don't think Ulrich brings that factor.

pulykamell
03-15-2011, 04:19 PM
Hammett isn't particularly impressive in terms of his speed, but I still believe he's faster than most of his contemporaries. Beyond that, I feel as though he was particularly skilled in composing compelling solos.

Like you said, to each his own. I'm not commenting about his speed--I couldn't care less about that. I just find his solos neither compelling nor compositionally competent. ETA: I should add, I'm not a guitarist, so perhaps a guitarist's perspective would be interesting. I just find his phrasing a bit odd, and his solos a bit disjointed and same-sounding.

WordMan
03-15-2011, 04:33 PM
Like you said, to each his own. I'm not commenting about his speed--I couldn't care less about that. I just find his solos neither compelling nor compositionally competent. ETA: I should add, I'm not a guitarist, so perhaps a guitarist's perspective would be interesting. I just find his phrasing a bit odd, and his solos a bit disjointed and same-sounding.

Yeah, I kinda hate Hammett, but respect his technical skills, so don't spend much time bashing him - besides if I want to point out a wanking shredder whose tech skills I respect, why unleash the fury on anyone by Yngwie? ;)

But yeah, I remember hearing the solo on Enter Sandman the first time - when he turns the one corner towards the end and does that wah-ish blues-ish lick a few times - it hit me like an ice-pick to the ear. Foul. But for the most part, his stuff tucks into Hetfield's rhythms fine...

Shoeless
03-15-2011, 04:47 PM
Mike Rutherford in Genesis.

Ginger Baker in Cream.

Superdude
03-15-2011, 04:54 PM
I find it more than slightly strange that Van Halen had its best successes with its least talented singers. They were successful under David Lee Roth, and again with Sammy Hagar. But Gary Cherone (while admittedly not the best fit for the band) was far and away the best pure singer.

Cherone is a fantastic singer, but his vocal style just didn't mesh with the rest of the band. It was weird...it wasn't Van Halen (or Van Hagar) anymore. And it wasn't Extreme.

Airman Doors, USAF
03-15-2011, 05:20 PM
I state I don't like things all the time - I hate The Doors for instance, and think that Morrison represents everything pretentiously laughable, faux-dangerous and douchey in rock and roll - but I readily acknowledge their enduring popularity and the fact that some of their songs are well-crafted and performed...

I have never rejected the Stones' enduring popularity. 5 decades don't lie. But I do reject the Stones themselves. "Satisfaction", in particular, is lyrical nonsense. Musically I find them mostly unimpressive, but I could handle that were it not for Mick Jagger's babbling on the microphone.

To me the Stones are nothing more than a blues/pop band that came over on the Beatles' coattails and never evolved to any meaningful degree. I think they are the ultimate manifestation of style over substance. If you prefer, I'm simply not a fan in the same way that you're not a fan of the Doors and I am.

astorian
03-15-2011, 07:17 PM
Dennis Wilson didn't bring a lot to the Beach Boys besides pedestrian drumming and some raspy vocals. Of course he was the only one who surfed, so he had that going for him.

Dennis was frequently happy to let Hal Blaine play the drums on Beach Boys records- partly because his studio technique was a bit sloppy and partly because working in the studio with a neurotic perfectionist like Brian Wilson was tiresome. Dennis could surf, drive his sports cars and chase girls all day, while Blaine made the records... and then Dennis could play the songs live, which was much more fun and paid a lot better.

And Dennis DID have great on-stage charisma. Blaine himself loved Dennis, and raved about the way Dennis could get thousands of girls screaming with just a little shake of his head. And that IS a talent!

Mister Rik
03-15-2011, 10:32 PM
Ginger Baker in Cream.

Old joke:

Q: What does army coffee have in common with Ginger Baker?

A: They both suck without Cream.

kenobi 65
03-15-2011, 10:50 PM
Oh, and speaking of U2 - for this thread, gotta go with Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen. Luckiest rhythm section on the face of the earth.

There was a thread here a couple of years ago about The Edge's sound (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=510059). In that thread, Le Ministre de l'au-delà noted:

To me, one of the most interesting things about the band is the strange role reversal that is part of their sound. The guitarist is who is setting and maintaining the tempo with his delay(s), the drummer and the bass player are adding groove but they can't change the tempo or the whole thing is going to sound like shite. It's almost like the lead guitarist is a drum machine in disguise. :)

It does make it sound a bit like U2's rhythm section is sometimes along for the ride. :)

Hippy Hollow
03-15-2011, 10:51 PM
Before this thread devolves into being absolutely ridiculous, the criteria is "relatively untalented." So being simply talented in a world-famous band with ubertalented bandmates doesn't qualify you. Many of the folks mentioned here are fine musicians; they just play in bands with freakishly talented, one-in-a-million artists.

But there hasn't been much discussion about current pop bands... which brings me to the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie and will.i.am appear to do most of the singing/rapping, and those other two guys... what do they do exactly?

woodstockbirdybird
03-15-2011, 10:57 PM
Also disagree about Rick Buckler from The Jam. Great drummer. Ever hear "Precious" or "Funeral Pyre?" Foxton and Weller were amazingly talented and he might have been less so than either of them, but still awesome.


Agree. As a drummer, I find it hard to believe anyone could call his contribution "weak". If we're doing Class of '77, I'd pt him in the top 3 along with Topper Headon and John Maher (of the Buzzcocks).

TreacherousCretin
03-16-2011, 01:24 AM
So when I hear Wyman play cool lines like the bass in Sympathy, or hit the groove on other songs, I hear a reasonable talented guy doing what he was told to do. Is he "untalented"? Not for doing what Keith told him to do...

That bass on Sympathy For The Devil is played by Keith.

Not Bill. Well documented in print and film.


.

Starving Artist
03-16-2011, 03:18 AM
I remember shortly after Wyman announced his retirement, someone stuck a microphone in Jagger's face and asked who he was gonna get to be the Stones' new bass player. Chuckling wickedly and with a glint in his eye, he said, "Oh, I don't know, maybe I'll play bass. I mean, how hard could it be?"

WordMan
03-16-2011, 07:55 AM
Before this thread devolves into being absolutely ridiculous, the criteria is "relatively untalented." So being simply talented in a world-famous band with ubertalented bandmates doesn't qualify you. Many of the folks mentioned here are fine musicians; they just play in bands with freakishly talented, one-in-a-million artists.


Well stated - sorry for getting...passionate.

interface2x
03-16-2011, 08:12 AM
Andrew "Fletch" Fletcher from Depeche Mode. The joke amongst fans is that he provides "claps" because during the live shows all he does is clap along while standing at a keyboard. He is generally known as attending to more of the business side of things than the musical side.

An Arky
03-16-2011, 08:13 AM
Yeah; I'm keying on the relatively part here...I think I already said none of them were bad. Anybody who goes through any significant amount of gigging/recording is going to be more proficient than the average person, if only in knowing the ropes, impairment notwithstanding.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-16-2011, 08:37 AM
To some degree, I think people are talking about the luckiest muscians too. The ones who maybe aren't terrible, but are average, dime-a-dozen type players who just had the good fortune to fall in with superstar talent and ride the gravy train. I think my first example, Michael Anthony, is a poster boy for that.

Marley23
03-16-2011, 08:47 AM
Ginger Baker in Cream.
One of the best drummers of the period even if he insisted on taking very, very long solos. But that reminds me: Noel Redding in the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and to a slightly lesser degree, Buddy Miles in the Band of Gypsys.

Yeah, I kinda hate Hammett, but respect his technical skills, so don't spend much time bashing him - besides if I want to point out a wanking shredder whose tech skills I respect, why unleash the fury on anyone by Yngwie? ;)
I don't hate Hammett, but he can be monotonous and I don't find his solos very dramatic.

WreckingCrew
03-16-2011, 09:04 AM
Dennis was frequently happy to let Hal Blaine play the drums on Beach Boys records- partly because his studio technique was a bit sloppy and partly because working in the studio with a neurotic perfectionist like Brian Wilson was tiresome. Dennis could surf, drive his sports cars and chase girls all day, while Blaine made the records... and then Dennis could play the songs live, which was much more fun and paid a lot better.

And Dennis DID have great on-stage charisma. Blaine himself loved Dennis, and raved about the way Dennis could get thousands of girls screaming with just a little shake of his head. And that IS a talent!

Oh don't get me wrong, I love Denny and what he brought to the band. Between Brian and Mike, the Beach Boys are the tightest-assed band ever to sing about fun in the sun. Somebody needed to be having a good time.

And of course most of their albums were produced by studio players - not just the drumming. But I have seen/heard enough clips of Denny playing live, and even saw him with the band shortly before his death, to know he wasn't a great drummer. But yeah, he could bang his way through "Fun, Fun, Fun" while 12,000 girls screamed so who really cared.

(mind you - with my screen name, I admit to being a big Hal Blaine fan)

Ludovic
03-16-2011, 09:15 AM
Perhaps he was better in the past but I saw the Pink Floyd "Delicate Sound of Thunder" tour at Nassau Coliseum in 1988. I was seated high and on stage right. Drummer Nick Mason scarcely played the drums at all that night, leaving most of it for the other drummer. Yet when video came out, it was edited to make it seem that Mason played more.I'm sad to hear this because I usually defend Mason in these threads, but I haven't seen him live so his skills may have deteriorated. But it was fun in the video to see the other drummer banging his life away to the beginning of Time, and you could tell this was the absolute highlight of his life by his energy, and he totally knocked it out of the park, too.

I'll even admit that compared to Gilmour (and even Wright), Mason was relatively untalented. But despite his simple technique, he managed to do things that no one had done previously. The drums are not that hard to play or compose for DSOTM, but the feeling he evokes with minute variations in the timing of them is sublime. DSOTM is probably my favorite album for the drums.

Lust4Life
03-16-2011, 09:50 AM
He's gotten better, but when Pearl Jam first came out, I wondered whose beginner kid was roped in to play lead guitar, but then found out it was a guy named Mike McCready. Lord he was awful in the early 90's, but has gotten better.

The Beatles are my favorite band and I deeply, deeply respect George's taste (he always had the right chord or lick for the song), songwriter and overall presence as a musician, but he was not that great of a player, as I have commented many times...(but anyone who tries to cite Ringo for this thread is 100% wrong - and I don't want to hear about it! ;))

The guitarists in Big Brother and the Holding Company supporting Janis Joplin - oh lord, they were bad.

Don't beat me but I always thought that JJ was mediocre, image without substance.

Tom Tildrum
03-16-2011, 11:57 AM
But there hasn't been much discussion about current pop bands... which brings me to the Black Eyed Peas. Fergie and will.i.am appear to do most of the singing/rapping, and those other two guys... what do they do exactly?

"Bob your head like me Apple D / Up inside the club or in your Bentley."

So I guess the dude bobs his head.

An Arky
03-16-2011, 12:02 PM
Bobbing for Bentleys?

pulykamell
03-16-2011, 12:12 PM
I'll nominate D'arcy Wretzky of the Smashing Pumpkins. Love them or hate them, Chamberlain was a monster on the drums, and Billy Corgan was a great songwriter, arranger, and (I think) a solid guitarist. Well, all those until he lost the plot sometime after Adore. I would consider them both great musicians in their prime. James Iha was largely overshadowed by them, but also a solid player with an interesting ebowed sound that came into maturity in their later albums. D'arcy, on the other hand, was just competent enough, who I think was there more for her look (and it seemed to have a woman on bass was especially fashionable at the time) than her playing. Billy famously played all her bass parts on the recording of Siamese Dream, as well as overdubbing much (if not all) of James Iha's parts. Of course, Billy comes across a crazy, perfectionist control freak, so that doesn't necessarily say anything about either of their skills.

An Arky
03-16-2011, 12:14 PM
...and who can forget Jerome (http://nimg.sulekha.com/entertainment/thumbnailfull/morris-day-jerome-benton-2008-12-4-5-4-28.jpg) from The Time?

Half expecting wails of Blasphmer! Burn him!

Jim's Son
03-16-2011, 03:09 PM
Donna Jean Godchaux couldn't sing a note on key to save her life when she was in the Grateful Dead. Not that singing (or playing) on key was ever important but she was real bad.

WordMan
03-16-2011, 03:12 PM
...and who can forget Jerome (http://nimg.sulekha.com/entertainment/thumbnailfull/morris-day-jerome-benton-2008-12-4-5-4-28.jpg) from The Time?

Half expecting wails of Blasphmer! Burn him!

I dug his pithy melodiousness ;)

I happen to love Jerome. Dude could move, and there's nothing wrong with a little Harlem showmanship in your Minneapolis, I always say...

BwanaBob
03-16-2011, 04:13 PM
Donna Jean Godchaux couldn't sing a note on key to save her life when she was in the Grateful Dead. Not that singing (or playing) on key was ever important but she was real bad.

She was/is the single reason I couldn't/can't stand listening to live Dead tapes from that era. How she sang on key for the studio recording of Terrapin Station I'll never know.

astorian
03-16-2011, 04:33 PM
To some degree, I think people are talking about the luckiest muscians too. The ones who maybe aren't terrible, but are average, dime-a-dozen type players who just had the good fortune to fall in with superstar talent and ride the gravy train. I think my first example, Michael Anthony, is a poster boy for that.

Michael Anthony IS a great example, one I'd have posted if you hadn't beaten me to it... though, in fairness, he contributed a bit more than bass playing. His background vocals and harmonies were a substantial part of Van Halen's trademark sound.

An Arky
03-17-2011, 05:07 AM
I dug his pithy melodiousness ;)

I happen to love Jerome. Dude could move, and there's nothing wrong with a little Harlem showmanship in your Minneapolis, I always say...

I thought it was a nice touch, too. Actually, I don't know if you can count someone like that or some of the other "excessive personnel" often found in R&B/dance acts, since it's really just for show, anyway. It's like calling a hat the least talented member or something.

WordMan
03-17-2011, 07:31 AM
Michael Anthony IS a great example, one I'd have posted if you hadn't beaten me to it... though, in fairness, he contributed a bit more than bass playing. His background vocals and harmonies were a substantial part of Van Halen's trademark sound.

That's not fair; playing those off-beat notes during Jump when Diamond Dave is singing (well, his form of singing) "can't you see me standing here I got my back against the record machine" is hard, man.

I love VH as an old-school guitar guy, but Anthony was the Bill Wyman of pop-metal; the relationship that mattered was between Eddie and Alex and Michael was filler.

FoieGrasIsEvil
03-17-2011, 07:37 AM
Michael Anthony of Van Halen was average at best. He was extremely lucky.

Average bass player...extremely gifted singer in the upper register. All those early VH songs with all those high harmonies? All Anthony. The band wouldn't have sounded the same without those.

Crap: slain by astorian!

Quercus
03-17-2011, 08:36 AM
The full musical talent of Dave wasn't at all evident in Nirvana, where (apart from a single B-side released late in their career) his sole duty was to drum very loud to Kurt's songs. It wasn't until the Foo Fighters that the world realized what a great singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist he was.In fact, wasn't there a joke about that after Cobain's suicide (and before the Foo Fighters)? Something like "
What has four arms and four legs and works at McDonalds?"
"The living members of Nirvana"


Anyway, like Marley said, wasn't Noel Redding (in the Jimi Hendrix experience) essentially Sid Vicious without the charisma? My understanding was that (like Sid) Noel didn't even play most of the studio tracks, that Jimi recorded most of the bass parts himself. At least Sid brought something to the image of the band.

Hippy Hollow
03-17-2011, 08:52 AM
Well stated - sorry for getting...passionate.
Nope, not at all, Wordy. I've found your contributions great in this thread.

Like the support for Michael Anthony. Average player but great singer - glad that's been pointed out.

Sid Vicious was obviously a sideshow, so he's almost beyond this thread.

I'm standing behind Adam Clayton. He's a "serious" musician, has more money than God, has the huge benefit of having one of the most inventive guitarists and frontmen in rock, and as far as I know, he essentially serves the role as the "no vote." His opinion has pretty big sway in U2, so I suppose much of their success is due to his taste. But musically, I've never heard a bass line that made me go, "Wow, he's good."

Maybe "Two Hearts Beat As One," or the bass solo in "Gloria..."

Shakester
03-17-2011, 09:53 AM
Having been in a number of bands, I can tell you that the ability to get along with your bandmates is, in itself, a talent.

Bands aren't just about music, they're also about the chemistry of the collective. Some people who may only be average musicians can add a lot to the overall feel simply by being there. Like any job, it can be made a lot better or a lot worse by the personalities of your workmates.

Bassist X may be an average bassist, but I'd rather have a passable bassist who's a nice person to be around than a great bassist who's also a creep.

Bands do break up because of musical differences, but they also break up because nobody can put up with that wanker any more.

bup
03-17-2011, 10:00 AM
David Yarritu and Eden in 'ABC' (for that matter, anybody not Martin Fry in ABC). Maybe that doesn't quite fit the OP, since it's arguable how talented a throwaway singles band is.

Diogenes the Cynic
03-17-2011, 10:13 AM
Having been in a number of bands, I can tell you that the ability to get along with your bandmates is, in itself, a talent.

Bands aren't just about music, they're also about the chemistry of the collective. Some people who may only be average musicians can add a lot to the overall feel simply by being there. Like any job, it can be made a lot better or a lot worse by the personalities of your workmates.

Bassist X may be an average bassist, but I'd rather have a passable bassist who's a nice person to be around than a great bassist who's also a creep.

Bands do break up because of musical differences, but they also break up because nobody can put up with that wanker any more.
This is true, and there's also something to be said for professionalism. A capable background musician who can be relied on to show up for practice, be on time, be sober, know the songs, make the gigs, be equipped and manage his own gear, etc. tends to make himself/herself more valuable than somebody who might be more talented or capable of dazzling musicianship, but misses practices, is a prima donna, is a drunk, doesn't bother to learn songs or otherwise makes himself/herself a pain in the ass.

WordMan
03-17-2011, 10:14 AM
That bass on Sympathy For The Devil is played by Keith.

Not Bill. Well documented in print and film.


:smack: Argh - that sounds right; sorry. Doesn't change the fact that Wyman was adequately talented, but only a minor variable in Keith's equation, which he could sub in as needed...

Hippy Hollow
03-17-2011, 10:27 AM
This is true, and there's also something to be said for professionalism. A capable background musician who can be relied on to show up for practice, be on time, be sober, know the songs, make the gigs, be equipped and manage his own gear, etc. tends to make himself/herself more valuable than somebody who might be more talented or capable of dazzling musicianship, but misses practices, is a prima donna, is a drunk, doesn't bother to learn songs or otherwise makes himself/herself a pain in the ass.

Reminds me of the story of when U2 was in Australia on the ZOO TV tour, I think. Adam Clayton got wasted and was in no shape to play, so his bass tech filled in. Apparently nobody noticed. :)

Marley23
03-17-2011, 10:55 AM
Anyway, like Marley said, wasn't Noel Redding (in the Jimi Hendrix experience) essentially Sid Vicious without the charisma? My understanding was that (like Sid) Noel didn't even play most of the studio tracks, that Jimi recorded most of the bass parts himself. At least Sid brought something to the image of the band.
That's overstating things. It's not that Redding couldn't play, it's that he and Hendrix didn't get along and it got worse over time. I know Jimi played bass on All Along the Watchtower I've read he also handled a few other tracks on Electric Ladyland. Some of that was because Redding and Hendrix were fighting, and other times Hendrix just recorded what he wanted. He was very exacting. And I know Jack Casady played bass on Voodoo Chile because Hendrix was going for a loose, jam session-y atmosphere on that one. It was recorded at the end of a long night.

WordMan
03-17-2011, 10:59 AM
That's overstating things. It's not that Redding couldn't play, it's that he and Hendrix didn't get along and it got worse over time. I know Jimi played bass on All Along the Watchtower I've read he also handled a few other tracks on Electric Ladyland. Some of that was because Redding and Hendrix were fighting, and other times Hendrix just recorded what he wanted. He was very exacting. And I know Jack Casady played bass on Voodoo Chile because Hendrix was going for a loose, jam session-y atmosphere on that one. It was recorded at the end of a long night.

I seem to recall that Redding was a guitarist first and had aspirations to his own Experience-style group and was pressed in as the bassist for Jimi. Sets up a tough dynamic - which, per Shakester, is at the heart of a good playing experience for a band...

Diogenes the Cynic
03-17-2011, 11:08 AM
The story is that Noel Redding actually auditioned as a second guitarist for the Experience (I know it sounds crazy now, but they actually considered hiring a rhythm player for Jimi when they were first putting the Experience together)), and came out of his first jam session with Jimi saying, "I'm switching to bass. I can't see anybody else playing guitar with this bloke."

Jimi hired Redding largely because he could learn songs quickly, and pick up on Jimi's often convoluted chord progressions without much difficulty.

Marley23
03-17-2011, 11:09 AM
It's true that Redding had no played bass before. I hadn't heard the rhythm guitar story before. It does say a lot that Hendrix's other bass player was Billy Cox, an old friend of his from their days in the military. He played some solid funk and blues stuff, the two of them got along very well, and that was that. I meant to add that the three songs Redding wrote for the Experience are totally uninteresting and very dated.

The Hendrix-Cox-Mitchell lineup is my favorite, although I realized lately I'd underrated Band of Gypsys. I still don't think much of Buddy Miles, but it would've probably been a less funky affair if Mitchell had played on it. Miles' primary contribution to the album was writing Them Changes and shutting up just long enough for Hendrix to go absolutely nuts and turn in a historic performance. You can also ignore him pretty easily during Machine Gun and he managed to do We Gotta Live Together in such a way that it's no great loss the first four minutes of the song were edited out. Hendrix was an amazingly prolific writer and even if it kept the peace a bit, he was too generous in letting other people write songs for him.

Small Clanger
03-17-2011, 11:10 AM
... wasn't Noel Redding (in the Jimi Hendrix experience) essentially Sid Vicious without the charisma? My understanding was that (like Sid) Noel didn't even play most of the studio tracks, that Jimi recorded most of the bass parts himself.What on Earth makes you think this? A lot of the early Experience stuff was recorded live. Hendrix was amazing but he couldn't play guitar and bass at the same time.

At least Sid brought something to the image of the band.His "image" depends completely on him being dead, I suppose he definitely looks more distictive than Matlock, if you really want the incompetent, pissed, self abusing junky look in your band. Suited the Pistols I guess.

Curses beaten to it.

ThePylon
03-17-2011, 11:15 AM
I'm standing behind Adam Clayton. He's a "serious" musician, has more money than God, has the huge benefit of having one of the most inventive guitarists and frontmen in rock, and as far as I know, he essentially serves the role as the "no vote." His opinion has pretty big sway in U2, so I suppose much of their success is due to his taste. But musically, I've never heard a bass line that made me go, "Wow, he's good."

Maybe "Two Hearts Beat As One," or the bass solo in "Gloria..."

"Adam used to pretend he could play bass. He came round and started using words like action and fret and he had us baffled. He had the only amplifier so we never argued with him. We thought this guy must be a musician, he knows what he's talking about and then one day we discovered he wasn't playing the right notes, that's what's wrong, y'know?"

-Bono, 1981

http://u2_interviews.tripod.com/id11.html

Mister Rik
03-17-2011, 11:44 AM
Like the support for Michael Anthony. Average player but great singer - glad that's been pointed out.
I kind of think Michael was (is) a far better singer than DLR. It's just that he didn't have the "frontman" qualities DLR had.

The_Peyote_Coyote
03-17-2011, 12:02 PM
Marley23: I think Dave Mason also played acoustic guitar on "All Along the Watchtower," and he said they recorded the song more than 20 times before it satisfied Jimi.
I agree with you that Cox and Miles were Hendrix's best sidemen, and I think you undervalue Buddy. He give the Experience another singer and a bad-ass funk tone. I wish Jimi had kept Band of Gypsies together because some of his best work ("Who Knows?" "Machine Gun" and "Message of Love") is on that album.
As for Noel Redding, I like "Little Miss Strange" and "She's So Fine," but to each their own.

santosvega
03-18-2011, 07:06 PM
I kind of think Michael was (is) a far better singer than DLR. It's just that he didn't have the "frontman" qualities DLR had.

Agreed. I'd argue that DLR was the true 'relatively untalented' member of early Van Halen. Unless dressing up in ridiculous outfits and high kicking is a talent. Michael Anthony could play and instrument and sing reliably on key.

I really don't like David Lee Roth.

Snowboarder Bo
03-18-2011, 07:21 PM
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

Andy Summers was, besides Eddie Van Halen and Stevie Ray Vaughn, prolly the most influential guitarist of the 1980's. His ambient, sound-wash style defined the use of effects for the next 15 years, alongside The Edge (his partner in effects-laden crime, but without Summers' technical/jazz chops). Your assertion is simply factually inaccurate.

Not only that, FFS the guy was a session player throughout the late 60s and on thru the 1970s for the likes of Neil Sedaka, David Essex, Jon Lord, etc. He played with Robert Fripp (no slouch guitarist himself, ya know) as well as with Eric Burdon & the Animals. The guy is incredibly talented.

Snowboarder Bo
03-18-2011, 07:30 PM
Ginger Baker in Cream.

:confused:

WTF?

:eek:

astorian
03-19-2011, 08:30 AM
Oh don't get me wrong, I love Denny and what he brought to the band. Between Brian and Mike, the Beach Boys are the tightest-assed band ever to sing about fun in the sun. Somebody needed to be having a good time.

And of course most of their albums were produced by studio players - not just the drumming. But I have seen/heard enough clips of Denny playing live, and even saw him with the band shortly before his death, to know he wasn't a great drummer. But yeah, he could bang his way through "Fun, Fun, Fun" while 12,000 girls screamed so who really cared.

(mind you - with my screen name, I admit to being a big Hal Blaine fan)

It's worth noting that, when Dennis Wilson finally got around to making his solo album, Pacific Ocean Blue, he didn't play the drums himself- he hired Hal Blaine to do it!

Apparently, Dennis himself knew perfectly well that he wasn't a great drummer!

Jim's Son
03-19-2011, 09:21 AM
The story is that Noel Redding actually auditioned as a second guitarist for the Experience (I know it sounds crazy now, but they actually considered hiring a rhythm player for Jimi when they were first putting the Experience together)), and came out of his first jam session with Jimi saying, "I'm switching to bass. I can't see anybody else playing guitar with this bloke."

Jimi hired Redding largely because he could learn songs quickly, and pick up on Jimi's often convoluted chord progressions without much difficulty.


I think the people involved, possibly manager Chas Chandler, realized that Hendrix could add the rhythm guitar by studio overdubs. So they didn't need Redding for that. I don't know if finances went into Chandler's thinking but a three man outfit has to cost less than a four or five man group. Plus since Chandler had been the bass player with the Animals, he might have figured he was qualified to help Redding.

Speaking of the Animals and lack of talent, when the original lineup reformed and toured in the early 1980s, the had four other musicians with them. Singer Eric Burdon was upfront saying "look, us five just can't play as well as well used to, we need help".

Philliam
03-19-2011, 12:16 PM
Michelle Phillips was (in my opinion) the least talented of the Mamas and the Papas. Tragically, she's the only one still living (I have a feeling this will be repeated, and that Ringo will be the only Beatle left at some point).

Point taken, but John, Denny & Cass were a pretty high bar to jump. Ringo's songwriting and singing skills weren't exceptional, but try imagining a different drummer for the Beatles. As Miles would say -"Cat can play".

Jaledin
03-20-2011, 11:28 PM
Nothing againt Rick Danko, but despite his fine singing, he never stood out in The Band for me as a bassist, and he was a charismatic performer, I'll give him that. On the fence about Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson, but they're both fine keyboardists. Not sure what they did just about anybody else could have done, though.

Mixolydian
03-21-2011, 12:00 AM
Nothing againt Rick Danko, but despite his fine singing, he never stood out in The Band for me as a bassist, and he was a charismatic performer, I'll give him that. On the fence about Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson, but they're both fine keyboardists. Not sure what they did just about anybody else could have done, though.

:eek:

Well, I'll see your Richard Manuel and raise you a Gregg Allman.

Seriously, The Band were all about the whole being much greater than the sum of the parts.

Agree with Clayton/Mullen, & Donna "aaeeeiiiaaaaaaahhh" Godcheaux, although I love Keith's playing.

Princhester
03-21-2011, 04:41 AM
John Illsley, bassist from Dire Straits, was somewhat mediocre by the standards of the band. I seem to recall that there were grumblings about him from other members of the band in the early days but he was (is, I guess) a very good friend of Mark Knopfler and he never actually does anything wrong as such. ISTR hearing Mark Knopfler asked about Illsley's abilities and as Knopfler is generally a straight talker and not given to bullshit he was clearly a bit uncomfortable with the question. The gist was that Illsley was, ahem, a solid and useful part of the band not least because he had a much better head for management and business than Knopfler.

Ximenean
03-21-2011, 07:02 AM
I'm going to nominate Mick Fleetwood and John McVie of... of... the name of the band escapes me ;). I fully admit that I know very little about bass playing and wouldn't recognise a good drummer if he played a paradiddle on my own head. For all I know they are a perfectly decent rhythm section, so this may fall into the "relatively untalented", or "lucky" categories. But I was watching a Story of Fleetwood Mac thingy a while ago and it struck me how fortunate those two were with their careers. Peter Green was very much the star of version one of the band, but was somewhat averse to fame and fortune and was kind enough to name the band after its rhythm section, something that Fleetwood was humbly grateful for.

Green left, but Christine Perfect joined up and turned out to be a great songwriter. Then some years later, while the band was between guitarists, Fleetwood happened to overhear a searing solo coming from the next studio. It was Lindsey Buckingham, who agreed to join the band, on the condition that his musical partner and girlfriend, somebody called Stevie Nicks, came along with him. That was two more world-class songwriters into the band, and mega-success ensued. But Fleetwood and John McVie hardly have any writing credits to their names.

Discussing his song "Go Your Own Way", Buckingham mentioned that the drum pattern at the start evolved because Fleetwood just couldn't get the triplet feel that Buckingham wanted. So I got from that the perhaps unfair impression that Fleetwood was not a particularly great drummer.

Mister Rik
03-21-2011, 11:21 AM
Discussing his song "Go Your Own Way", Buckingham mentioned that the drum pattern at the start evolved because Fleetwood just couldn't get the triplet feel that Buckingham wanted. So I got from that the perhaps unfair impression that Fleetwood was not a particularly great drummer.

Well, speaking as a bassist, I have to say that McVie and Fleetwood are one tight-ass rhythm section. One of the most important things I've learned from playing bass for about 26 years is that in the rhythm section, what you don't play is often as important as what you do play. I've always thought Mick's drum pattern on that song was perfect. It creates so much musical tension during the verses, and then releases all that tension as he switches to a more straight-ahead groove for the chorus. It's possible that Mick just thought the song would suck the way Buckingham wanted (I mean, he didn't have any trouble with the triplet feel on "Don't Stop"). I'm reminded a bit of that scene in the movie, "That Thing You Do", when the band got the new drummer to sit in with them, and when they played the title song, he kicked it off much faster than the singer intended the song to be (he'd written it as a slow ballad), and it ended up much better.

aruvqan
03-21-2011, 12:03 PM
I'm basing my opinion on Ringo on each member of the Beatles as a whole, including their post-Beatles records. John and Paul were fantastic. George was very good, also. But poor Ringo couldn't sing as well as the other three, and his songwriting abilities didn't strike me as particularly brilliant. For those reasons, I make that statement.

Disclaimer: I'm not the world's biggest Beatles fan, nor do I claim that the above has any statement in fact. It's just the opinion of a casual observer.

Which is a silly way to determine if he was a good drummer. I suppose compared to a couple guitarists he is a great drummer but compared to other drummers he sucks? I suppose he is a sucky guitarist compared to Steven Vai....:rolleyes:

Baal Houtham
03-21-2011, 12:21 PM
On the fence about Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson, but they're both fine keyboardists. Not sure what they did just about anybody else could have done, though.

I don't have an opinion about Manuel's playing, but pretty much every note Garth Hudson plays makes my ears perk. Right now I'm remembering that spooky part in Stage Fright and smiling.

And of course Hudson was known as being the "classically trained" musician in the Band.

Oops, just switched to thinking about Hudson's solo in All La Glory, smiling.

Superdude
03-21-2011, 12:35 PM
Which is a silly way to determine if he was a good drummer. I suppose compared to a couple guitarists he is a great drummer but compared to other drummers he sucks? I suppose he is a sucky guitarist compared to Steven Vai....:rolleyes:

Never once did I say that I was basing my thought purely on his drumming ability. In fact, if you had the ability to comprehend what you read, you would have noticed that I mentioned his singing and songwriting skills, as well. Much like my post about Michelle Williams, the rest of the band sets a bar too high for Ringo to be able to jump over.

Not to say that Ringo wasn't talented. Just that he wasn't as talented as the other Beatles.

Ogre
03-21-2011, 01:31 PM
Old joke:

Q: What does army coffee have in common with Ginger Baker?

A: They both suck without Cream.Masters of Reality - Sunrise On The Sufferbus. Ginger's best work, and I'm including the hot mess that was Cream in that.

Cluricaun
03-21-2011, 02:11 PM
I'm surprised that the thread has made it this far without mentioning Kerry King of Slayer. I know that he's kind of an icon in thrash metal for those.....solos....of his, but we're talking about a guy that the band made go take guitar lessions well after they were established and had released plenty of albums. No doubt that he has a ton of attitude and is a huge part of Slayer, but everything awesome guitar wise that's ever come from that band is straight from Jeff Hanneman.

Biffy the Elephant Shrew
03-21-2011, 03:03 PM
I don't have an opinion about Manuel's playing, but pretty much every note Garth Hudson plays makes my ears perk. Right now I'm remembering that spooky part in Stage Fright and smiling.

Garth Hudson has to be one of the most imaginative and just plain unique instrumentalists in all of rock music. That weird, swirly organ sound with the pitch slipping and sliding all over is one of a kind. (I'd hate to have to transcribe any of his stuff.) To suggest that any other keyboardist could have done what he did is beyond comprehension.

Baal Houtham
03-21-2011, 03:42 PM
I've always thought Mick's drum pattern on that song was perfect. It creates so much musical tension during the verses, and then releases all that tension as he switches to a more straight-ahead groove for the chorus.

Go Your Own Way has one of my very favorite rhythm tracks. If that's incompetent drumming, then I wish all drumming could be that incompetent.

Jaledin
03-22-2011, 12:19 AM
I felt like a shit about mentioning Garth Hudson earlier tonight -- he clearly had a great gift, superior training, and could work the synths as well as the Hammond (and his sax). He just never grabbed me on the records, and the whole "genius of the keyboards" thing kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I never cared for that kind of label, even with someone as clearly definitional of a master cat as Jimmy Smith. He's off the list, but so is Richard Manuel -- I think he was a damned good piano player (and Hammond player, too).

I'd just seen "The Last Waltz" for the millionth time last night, so they came up as easy targets. I guess I'll start playing "The Weight" for fun if I get stuck looking for a tune. But on "The Last Waltz," Garth and Richard switched keys -- Hudson on piano and Manuel on Hammond. I wonder if it was that way on the record.

foolsguinea
03-22-2011, 01:27 AM
Michelle Phillips was (in my opinion) the least talented of the Mamas and the Papas. Tragically, she's the only one still living (I have a feeling this will be repeated, and that Ringo will be the only Beatle left at some point).I would think that the Beatles averted this fate with the first death.

But hey, points for dogging Ringo in the FIRST REPLY.

foolsguinea
03-22-2011, 02:02 AM
That's because he didn't. ;) He did last a long longer. He's a better drummer than any of those other things as far as I'm concerned, which isn't to say he's not talented. I don't think I'd ever heard of anyone recording an album basically on their own before he did it for the Foo Fighters' first album.Or Nick Saloman?

(OK, you probably haven't heard of Nick Saloman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nick_Saloman). But he is pretty prolific and does tend to record everything himself.)Really? 'cos I immediately think of Tom Scholz/Boston & Trent Reznor/Nine Inch Nails.

Superdude
03-22-2011, 08:59 AM
I would think that the Beatles averted this fate with the first death.

But hey, points for dogging Ringo in the FIRST REPLY.

Maybe I'm just being thin-skinned on this particular issue, but I'm bowing out of this thread. Mostly because I'm tired of having to defend myself for having a goddamn opinion.

StusBlues
03-22-2011, 09:28 AM
That bass on Sympathy For The Devil is played by Keith.

Not Bill. Well documented in print and film.


.

That was my point in originally naming him. Every time I'd hear a great Stones bass line, it would turn out to have been played by someone other than Bill Wyman. If it wasn't Keith, it was someone from outside the band like Robbie Shakespeare. I'm not saying that Wyman NEVER played well, but I don't think I've ever heard of Charlie Watts or any of the Stones' guitarists so consistently deferring to outside players.

If I'm wrong on this, please educate me.

Philliam
03-22-2011, 01:45 PM
Well, speaking as a bassist, I have to say that McVie and Fleetwood are one tight-ass rhythm section. One of the most important things I've learned from playing bass for about 26 years is that in the rhythm section, what you don't play is often as important as what you do play. I've always thought Mick's drum pattern on that song was perfect. It creates so much musical tension during the verses, and then releases all that tension as he switches to a more straight-ahead groove for the chorus. It's possible that Mick just thought the song would suck the way Buckingham wanted (I mean, he didn't have any trouble with the triplet feel on "Don't Stop"). I'm reminded a bit of that scene in the movie, "That Thing You Do", when the band got the new drummer to sit in with them, and when they played the title song, he kicked it off much faster than the singer intended the song to be (he'd written it as a slow ballad), and it ended up much better.

Speaking as another bassist with the same level of experience, Mister Rik has 'hit the note' as Dwayne Allman would have put it. They didn't need 'flash' for Bluesbreakers or early 'Mac, just tight, solid rhythm. Oh, by the way, Rick Danko is way under-appreciated; try singing those lyrics while playing his iconic (funky and loopy) bass lines at the same time. Not easy, guys - not easy.

foolsguinea
03-22-2011, 03:01 PM
It's OK, Superdude. I went into the thread thinking Ringo would be mentioned, & it was the first reply.

Yes, Ringo is a goofy ridiculous person & musically meh beyond the drums. He was also a good pop drummer who was hired for his skills as a drummer. He's sort of the inversion of the trope, except he was really the least of the four as a songwriter.

WordMan
03-22-2011, 03:19 PM
It's OK, Superdude. I went into the thread thinking Ringo would be mentioned, & it was the first reply.

Yes, Ringo is a goofy ridiculous person & musically meh beyond the drums. He was also a good pop drummer who was hired for his skills as a drummer. He's sort of the inversion of the trope, except he was really the least of the four as a songwriter.

...but most important as the glue of the group...as mentioned upthread, that "intangible" can outweigh sheer musical talent by a huge amount...

The_Peyote_Coyote
03-22-2011, 03:36 PM
Yes, foolsguinea, but Ringo was instrumental in helping create Beatlemania. A lot of fans liked his personality, especially in the movie A Hard Day's Night. I've also read, possibly on this board, that he helped the Beatles stay together when things got rough since the other three respected him so much.

TreacherousCretin
03-22-2011, 05:14 PM
Yes, foolsguinea, but Ringo was instrumental in helping create Beatlemania. A lot of fans liked his personality, especially in the movie A Hard Day's Night. I've also read, possibly on this board, that he helped the Beatles stay together when things got rough since the other three respected him so much.

For whatever it's worth, I've always felt that of the four Fabs as instrumentalists, Paul and Ringo were the standouts- a virtuoso bassist, and a gifted drummer who made it look easy.

.

foolsguinea
03-23-2011, 12:32 AM
Well, Ringo was lovable, whereas at one time or another one should expect to get annoyed at each of the other three. To modify what I said, I think he was really just the least prolific as a named songwriter. George was, well, George Harrison; Paul knew how to write pop like nobody; John was able to play off Paul pretty well (and a little of his later stuff is quite good). Ringo was always the guy making their rhythm sections work, so when you hear a Ringo song, it seems like basic generic Beatles. Arguably he really did give them a basic sound, but the fan expectation is that he's a drummer, so how important could he be?

spymaniac
03-23-2011, 01:27 AM
Grant Hart from Husker Du...can't stand his drumming, don't like his voice, and his songs are mediocre compared to Bob Mould's...IMO. Even his drumkit sounds horrible on their earlier albums. I think the only song I really like by him is 'Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely'

diku
03-24-2011, 01:52 PM
Grant Hart from Husker Du...can't stand his drumming, don't like his voice, and his songs are mediocre compared to Bob Mould's...IMO. Even his drumkit sounds horrible on their earlier albums. I think the only song I really like by him is 'Don't Want To Know If You Are Lonely'

Thank you. Listen to Warehouse Songs and Stories. Almost all the Bob Mould songs are fantastic, you can skip the Grant Hart songs with no loss.

Huerta88
03-24-2011, 02:04 PM
[CITE????]
ISTR hearing on some television program that at one point, Bon Jovi (okay, not a very otherwise-talented band as things go) fired their bassist for being bad at playing the bass, which would be one of the less rock n' roll ways ever to be thrown out of a band. I don't think I made up (hearing that at least) but no details (and if it happened on day 2 of garage band practice, hardly very germane to the OP). Anyone remember any more detail?

WordMan
03-24-2011, 02:42 PM
[CITE????]
ISTR hearing on some television program that at one point, Bon Jovi (okay, not a very otherwise-talented band as things go) fired their bassist for being bad at playing the bass, which would be one of the less rock n' roll ways ever to be thrown out of a band. I don't think I made up (hearing that at least) but no details (and if it happened on day 2 of garage band practice, hardly very germane to the OP). Anyone remember any more detail?

Alex John Such was the bass player and he was fired after a few albums. Can't recall if it was due to bad bass playing, not being a good enough member of the Bon Jovi family (apparently they take pride on their All-for-One approach)....maybe he spoke to the media out of turn??

ETA: Wiki link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alec_John_Such)

According to interviews with Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in an episode of Behind the Music, Such was dismissed from the band for unsatisfactory performance during live concerts. Also his quality of session recordings during the Cross Road album were a contributing factor to his dismissal from Bon Jovi. However, viewers were not able to hear his side of the story; he declined to be interviewed by the show.

On Bon Jovi's Biography special Richie Sambora claimed that Alec "was tired" and that with Bon Jovi's ambitions "you need to keep up". Whether Such was fired for subpar performances, quit on his own merits, or left for other reasons has still not been definitively answered. It is still a heated topic for debate among Bon Jovi fans to this day.

Such gave an interview with David Ling for a magazine and gave details of behind the scenes information and was asked to leave. Bon Jovi once said "what goes on in the family, stays in the family". Jon tried to sue David Ling over the controversial quotes at first stating Ling was exaggerating, but Ling had the entire interview with Such on tape to back up the story.[2]


Ah, that last paragraph was what I was thinking of about the "stays in the family" part of the issue...

Argent Towers
03-24-2011, 03:07 PM
A great rock drummer is one who plays beats that don't overpower the rest of the band. For these purposes Ringo is perfect. A showy drummer would have been a detriment to the Beatles.

cjepson
03-24-2011, 04:33 PM
I suppose I should mention Anthony "Top" Topham, the first guitarist in the Yardbirds... not that he was bad, just that he got replaced by three blokes named Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page.

TreacherousCretin
03-24-2011, 08:58 PM
A great rock drummer is one who plays beats that don't overpower the rest of the band. For these purposes Ringo is perfect. A showy drummer would have been a detriment to the Beatles.


"13 Reasons to give Ringo some respect"

http://medisinmusicforthemasses.wordpress.com/historically-influential-drummers/

TreacherousCretin
03-24-2011, 09:18 PM
That was my point in originally naming him. Every time I'd hear a great Stones bass line, it would turn out to have been played by someone other than Bill Wyman. If it wasn't Keith, it was someone from outside the band like Robbie Shakespeare. I'm not saying that Wyman NEVER played well, but I don't think I've ever heard of Charlie Watts or any of the Stones' guitarists so consistently deferring to outside players.

If I'm wrong on this, please educate me.

I think you're absolutely right. Back in the 60's I read some reviewer who referred to Bill's bass playing with the Stones as "utilitarian"; I agreed then, and still do. I don't know how well Bill can or can't play, but I think that for whatever reasons, his heart was never in the Stones, and it showed.

And as you obviously know, the list of Stones songs with Keith on bass is longer than many people might expect.

.

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