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  • stephcurran

Bass Diary: the Prequel

Dear Bass Diary,

So, you're probably wondering what the heck this is, and why should you read it.

I started teaching myself how to play bass guitar in November of 2021. I borrowed my friend Jody's bass, my friend Mike's amp, and I went home and tried my very hardest to learn Feel Good Inc. As soon as I played through the iconic Gorillaz riff, I knew I was in for a ride.

I have been playing ever since, but there was a moment where I thought I gave up. I had a pretty detrimental back injury in the Spring of 2022, completely eliminating my mobility for upwards of a month. Without being able to practice, I just lost interest. Lucky, I was able to recover and get back on my feet, but my bass wasn't in my hands right away. It took a real nudge.

The urge for me to pick up the bass sprang from influences from two major artists; Sammy Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet and Vic De Angelis of Maneskin. While many bass players have inspired me throughout my life and love of music, these two artists were very predominant in my life in 2021, and I took it as a step forward into truly being someone who I idolize and look up to. What is it Ru Paul says? If you can't idolize yourself...

Kiszka and De Angelis are two very different bass players, both with a wide range of ability and talent. Kiszka, whose playing on The Battle at Gardens Gate, Greta Van Fleet's third studio album, inspired me to actually listen to bass lines. I've always heard them, but I've never heard them, you know? I always think back to when I was eight years old, and I picked up my brother's copy of Californication by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, popped it in my CD player, and heard Get On Top for the first time. Flea is an idol of mine, for so many reasons, but hearing him and watching him physically play the bass was something I always was in awe of. I didn't understand the importance of the bass guitar and the difference it makes within a band. Yet, it took listening to Caravel, a bass heavy song on The Battle at Gardens Gate, to finally be delusional enough to go... "maybe I can do this?"

De Angelis inspired me partly because she has a solid, indestructible playing style which is intoxicating to watch, but also because she is the sole female in Maneskin. Watching a female bass player kick rock and roll ass and bring out the heaviness in the bands signature sound made me feel like I was missing something. I was missing that piece in my life that fulfilled my need to be heavy. As a sketch comedian, I am often creating music, but the opportunity to get heavy isn't something that happens often. I have learned a large percentage of Maneskin's discography, including over 50% of the Rush album released in 2023, but my favourites are Own My Mind, Mamma Mia, and ZITTI E BUONI. When I watch De Angelis perform with the rest of the band, I see some version of myself looking back. You know, a thinner, richer, hotter, better bass player version, but still a version nonetheless.

So, back to the whole back situation.

I'm watching Stranger Things, and the scene that literally overtook the internet with character Eddie Munson (played by Joseph Quinn) shredding to Metallica's Master of Puppets, came on. I was in awe. I had a rough childhood growing up, creating a lot of inner anger issues, and I used to love listening to Metallica to release that pent up emotion (even though at the time I didn't realize that was what I was doing.) I wasn't a thorough fan, however, only really listening to Metallica (the Black Album), and Garage Inc. (fake fan, I know, sue me! I love Turn the Page.) It wasn't Master of Puppets that took me though, it was For Whom The Bell Tolls. As I got older, I became more obsessed with really deep diving into all of the bands I loved, really studying who they are and where they came from. Funny enough, I had just started reading Birth School Metallica Death written by Ian Winwood and Paul Brannigan, and I started my discography dive with Ride The Lightening. Thus began my absolute obsession with Cliff Burton, and the ever evolving story of Metallica's bassists.

More about that in later posts.

I picked my bass back up in the Summer of 2022, and since then have clocked in almost 200 hours of practice.

My Bass Diary is meant to not only be inspiration for myself to keep pushing myself further, but also to inspire other people who may feel like they are too old or not ready to pick up an instrument and start learning. This diary will go month by month in exploration of my journey and how it has changed me, for better or worse, as a bass player.

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