Pat Bruders' seven greatest bass players of all time
“I love pioneers. Just some guy doing the job? For me that is OK, but you’re not really doing what you’re supposed to do.”
Yep, when it comes to bass players Pat Bruders sets the bar pretty high. The fearsome four-stringer, who earned his stripes with death metallers Goatwhore before replacing Rex Brown in the Phil Anselmo-fronted Down, is adamant that a bassist should not sit in the back holding down the groove. No, they should do that and so much more.
“Everybody has to bring something to the table,” he says. "As a bass player you should write riffs. You can be just as much a part of that as a bass player as anybody else. You can’t have any passengers, you have to do your job but be part of the band too. It’s important to be heard.”
With such lofty expectations of the bass player’s role, we laid down the gauntlet and asked Pat to pick out his definitive, greatest bassists of all time...
“When I was young and got into Maiden and I was inspired to play bass and learn it well.
"I’ve been influenced by all kinds of guys. I have always listened to all kinds of music and kept my mind open but it terms of bass playing it all started with Steve Harris. He is a driver of that band, he has a really strong business sense and is in on the whole writing process - he wrote a lot of the stuff.
"I like bass players that do more than just lay back in the background, I like guys that want to bring something to the table. I try to be that guy myself.
"I love Maiden’s early stuff the best. I love the Di’Anno days, they seemed a lot more punk rock driven back then. I used to sit down and learn all of those songs, that got my chops up and made me better as a player. Those parts are a lot more challenging than people think.”
“Of course, Sabbath. Geezer is a very influential bass player. He does more than just play bass, he writes lyrics as well. He’s still doing it too, man.
"I love the fact that he’s still jamming and they just put out that album . That album is kind of different, I haven’t heard the whole thing but I like what I’ve heard.
"Of course, they need Bill Ward back though. Everybody has been saying that though, you can’t do anything like that. It makes no sense to take an original member and not let him in and not pay him what he’s worth, especially when everybody is dripping in money as it is. I don’t see the big problem. There’s a lot of politics involved with that s*** that I don’t know about. But nobody plays like Bill Ward.
"I love Master of Reality, that is one of my favourite records. I love all of that early s***. I love Born Again too, it is a really good album with s***ty production. I love all of the Sabbath records, though.”
“Jack Bruce from Cream was really good and he was an innovator and he really played in the pocket, he played in that style.
"Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce were great. They were pioneers of their time. They just came out and shocked everyone. I’ve liked the stuff Jack has done down the years. He was on one of Zappa’s records, he jammed with Zappa on the Apostrophe album. I’d love to play with Ginger Baker, all of that stuff is killer!
"When I was growing up I started to listen to a lot of Frank Zappa stuff and that had some intricate styles and weird, obscure s***. You just take a little bit from everything that you hear and you make it your own. You make it your own and do the best you can to make it different and not copy any one person’s particular style.”
“I like a lot of underground punk and I like a lot of rock ‘n’ roll too. I get into these areas where something bores me so I will go to something else for a while.
"There are great bass players in all types of music, though. I like some country too, old country. Waylon Jennings, not many people know this, but Waylon Jennings was Buddy Holly’s bass player before they went down in the plane crash.
"That’s how he started and he was great, and he turned out to be a great songwriter as well. You don’t have to be rock ‘n’ roll or heavy metal, there’s a lot of good music out there.
"I think if you call yourself a musician and you just listen to one type of music then you’re not really a musician because you’re closing off other avenues that you could explore.”
John Paul Jones
“John Paul Jones, he don’t suck either! He was the real musician in Led Zeppelin!
"He was a major part of the band, but then he would also lay back and he wasn’t too into all of the attention. But he is a real musician and is another one of the greats.
"He grabbed me early on, it was always Led Zeppelin and then I started getting into heavier and heavier and heavier stuff. At first I didn’t like certain bands that were heavier and I thought, ‘Man, this s*** is noisy!’ But then as I got older I got it.
"John Paul Jones maybe doesn’t get his dues but when it’s all said and done they couldn’t have done it without him. He is definitely a musician’s musician kind of guy, in my opinion.”
“To me, what he does is a whole other alien, man. To be able to sing and play and work the keyboard pedals the way that he does, you’ve got to be a master musician to be able to do what he does.
"You’ve got to have this coordination to be able to pull that off else it’s just not going to work. I can’t sing and play…I can’t even talk and play!
"Those guys have been together for 30 plus, 40 years now, it’s incredible. They have a solid backbone, a solid foundation, as long as you have that and the guitar player doesn’t f*** up then you’re ok!”
“A bass player that never really got much credit was a guy called Felix Pappalardi from Mountain. He was a very, very good bass player.
"I used to listen to my dad’s records and he was one of the guys that stood out. That’s where my style comes from, all of these guys, it has to come from somewhere!
"I don’t worship any particular person but I take things I like from musicians and incorporate it into my own style. You have to add your own ideas and make it your own thing. It’s a blast, man.”