Even so, enjoy my finale! And don't forget to check out my articles at www.bassmusicianmagazine.com. The month of October I catch up with Fieldy from Korn. Have fun reading this last (and most controversial) blog entry. Thanks!
When I mention to people that Henry Rollins is one of my favorite musicians/entertainers, I get a varied reaction. I think its fairly universal that a person either hates old Hank-- or they believe he is the last word on everything!
I lean towards the positive side because I have an affection for both his music and live "spoken word" shows. His books are pretty well thought out too- but they are an acquired taste. The honest approach of his music, spoken word and venomous writing is an anomaly in the pop world and popularity contest that Rollins seems to disdain.
My main reason for initially liking his music was the bass work of Andrew Weiss on the bludgeoning 1992 release "The End of Silence". The bass-lines are drenched in 'wah-wah' effect and overdrive- a thick assault throughout the release that features some impressive right hand finesse. Weiss's approach could be looked at as "lead bass" instead of the guitar work of Chris Haskett, who has a style that was bluesy and minimal.
From the opener "Low Self Opinion", you may get a feel of what direction the album will be careening towards; especially as Weiss draws out the heavy bass slide down the E string with that distorted 'wah' sound, commanding the listeners attention. Tracks like "Tearing" and "Blues Jam" (w/ the lyric- "Life will not break your heart- it'll crush it!") feature such bass dominant jams, that omitting them would alter the song's heaviness and impact. Weiss wrote the majority of the music, so his lines relied on being very busy at times, or as melodic as the song allowed.
Some of the strongest bass work comes during the guitar solos when Weiss moves in counterpoint to the guitar, almost pulling off solos himself (underneath the actual guitar solo!?). The initial root note is mostly a stepping stone and Weiss moves about most bridge sections with wild pentatonic flourishes and pulls and bends (check out the song "Obscene"). He sometimes pumps through songs recklessly and for me at least-- it works! It's amazingly unorthodox, but it works on every level.
Like Rollins himself, a lot of bassists might complain that Andrew Weiss is out of the pocket and way too busy for the majority of "Silence", but I think that he is making a statement. The bass is meant to be heard, appreciated outside of the the basic root-3rd-5th, and you're goddamn going to hear it on this album. The dissension between Rollins and Weiss was well documented in Henry's See a Grown Man Cry, Then Watch Him Die. Sad really, as Rollins would go onto replace him with chord heavy bassist Melvin Gibbs and then later; nimble fingered Marcus from the LA blues rock band Mother Superior.
Pitted against Rollins glaring self-effacing lyrical content, Sim Cain's technically-sound drumming and Haskett (probably wishing he was in on the mix of this album); Andrew Weiss flails the music with boldness and tenacity.
The glaring, tempestuous bass-lines on "The End of Silence" remain a standout illumination of my youth.
It was a pivotal record for me to see what could be accomplished with four strings in the context of a stripped down four-piece rock band.
Check it out!
Often unheralded, but no longer overlooked...