Saturday, July 23, 2022

When You Play The Electric Bass—poem

"When You Play The Electric Bass." Psalms of the Alien Buddha, part 2. Anthology of music-themed writing. ALIEN BUDDHA PRESS. pp. 175. Summer 2022. Buy the paperback version here.


when you play the electric bass

play it hard

let the sound come from your fingers

not the amplifier

let the band follow you

set the pace

set the groove

take fills

but never let the bottom drop out

lead into the next section or movement

sometimes it doesnt take much

a note or two

which most people wont even hear

its not hard

to be better than most

but remember there/s always someone better than you—
be like them

play every day

listen every day

learn to read

learn to improvise

learn to trust yourself

if a song isn’t good

make it better w/yr contribution

but dont waste time w/beginners

unless its a paying gig

develop calluses

wash yr hands

remember a fifth string wont make

a better player

practice scales


but make sure you can lay down

a steady eight-note groove

dont lock yourself in one style

explore your curiosities

listen to other instruments

especially the cello

listen to Bach Hendrix

Jaco Billy Geddy

take bass solos

demand them

but support others

even stop playing sometimes—

the silence between notes is important

during sound check keep yr volume knob

set at half

for the gig turn it to full

let the guitar players and singers

enjoy the spotlight

but go ahead

dont be afraid to walk to the front of the stage