Wednesday, August 01, 2007

In praise of the female bass player

There is a fine tradition of rock and grunge bands in particular having female bass players.

It is nearly mandatory to mention above all for several reasons one Melissa auf Der Maur. Having played with bands such as Hole, and replacing D'Arcy in the Smashing Pumpkins, she's a great player, she's a redhead to boot, and (forgive me for being shallow here a minute) she's sexy while she does it.

The Forerunners

You cant even start this section without mentioning Suzi Quatro. Her career started in the 1970's and is still running. She is the archetypal female bass player. She rocks, and she loves doing it.

Of course, there are many other notables including, but not limited to:
Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads
Margot Olaverra and Kathy Valentine from The Go-Go's
Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth

From the 1970's to the early 1990's the female bass player started growing in stature (not literally, of course). And the Go-Go's are still playing to date as well.

The Second Batch

I've tried my best to arrange these in chronological order, so don't get stuck into me if I've duffed it. Some of these girls may have gotten into bands due to the names above, maybe not. Maybe they just decided that bass was what they wanted to do. Whichever, they do it well.

Michie Nakatani and Atsuko Yamano from Shonen Knife
Jo Bench from Bolt Thrower
Jennifer Finch, Gail Greenwood, and Janis Tanaka from L7
Michelle Leon and Maureen Herman from Babes in Toyland
Kim Deal from The Pixies
D'Arcy from The Smashing Pumpkins
Josephine Wiggs from The Breeders
Kira Roessler from Black Flag
Paz Lenchantin from A Perfect Circle
Nadja and Rayna from Coal Chamber
"Yoshie", Yoshiko Yamaguchi and Akiko Omo from The 5,6,7,8's

Many of these girls are still playing, and damn well. The latest couple that I've listened to and enjoyed their subtle work are:
Nikki Monninger from Silversun Pickups
Ginger Reyes from The Smashing Pumpkins

The Australian Connection

This is also a fine tradition in Australian bands, featuring forerunning all-girl bands of note, such as Nitocris and The Blitz Babiez. And it's some list:
Peggy Frew from Art of Fighting
Janet from Spiderbait
Kellie Lloyd from Screamfeeder
Patricia Young from The Clouds
Rayke Stapleton from Pollyanna
Vanessa Thornton from Jebediah
Stephanie Ashworth from Something For Kate
Irit from Cor'delle (shameless plug for my brothers band)

Of course, if you want a well put together, complete, comprehensive list, see

Insert tagline here...


brettok said...

I'm pretty sure the Blitz Babies had a guy in band played with them a couple of times, memories are hazy, but I'm thinking there was at least one sausage.

The Great White Hype said...

I stand corrected. Nevertheless, that doesnt stop them rocking.


brettok said...

They rocked pretty hard, from memory. They were cool people too, friendly and unpretentious, a rarity in the music industry.

ineedulalala said...

dont forget amanda tannen from stellastarr*, i love that bauty

monster paperbag said...

there's that cool gal from Sick Puppies..