Bandgirl's Blog











{April 2, 2015}   Carol Kaye: my new inspiration

Although I have been actively performing for over ten years with Silverwing, I haven’t always been the bass player.  The bass playing has just been in the last two years, when our last bass player moved on.  At that point, the band consisted of my husband Mel on Lead Guitar and Vocals, Me on rhythm guitar and Frank on drums.

The most logical thing would be to hire a new bass player, but instead Mel asked me if I would consider playing bass, so we could add a different instrument, like steel or keyboards.  I’d done about 3 or 4 songs on bass, mostly plunking out root notes, but I was game.  And Mel is very kind and supportive, even when I hit some terrible note, he just cringes and smiles that smile, you know the one, the smile that says, “what the heck was that?”

So I take on learning about 75 songs on the bass, ugh.  When I use to strum an E chord for 4 measures now I’m playing a walking bass line for 4 measures, so it’s challenging.  But so worthwhile.  I feel like I contribute to the songs in a different way.  I can tell that my part is integral to the feel of the song.  I help it bounce or I drive the walking bass line or I subtly fill in around the edges on a slow ballad.  I’ve decided I really like bass playing and my poor guitars sit alone in their cases wondering what they did wrong.

As one of the few female musicians in our neck of the woods, I could feel special and be impressed with myself, but that is just not my style.  I know the only reason I play professionally is because I’m married into the band.  It’s easier and makes the band more secure when half the band is so connected, so egomania is just not my way.  I’m humbly grateful for all the opportunities that I get to enjoy.  I know when I’m in the old folks home, no one will believe me, but they can just push my wheelchair over in the corner and ignore me while I go on endlessly about my career as a rockstar. Ha!

But as I studied the bass, I discovered the amazing Carol Kaye, a studio musician who performed on over 10,000 recordings in her career.  From TV theme songs like Mission Impossible and Get Smart to iconic rock songs like La Bamba and Sloop John Be to film scores for Quincy Jones, Carol Kaye was part of a group of studio musicians who performed for the greatest composers on the greatest recordings of that era.

Legend has it that a fellow musician did not show up for a recording session, although Carol was hired to play the guitar, she picked up the Fender bass and played his part on the Beach Boys album “Pet Sounds”

She played for Glen Campbell on Rhinestone Cowboy and is credited with inspiring the introduction to Wichita Lineman.

Since we live in Fallon, NV the current home of Top Gun training school, I have to include Carol’s performance on “The Top Gun Song,”  You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling.  (And yes they are supposed to be in San Diego, but those jets are cruising through the mountains right outside my window.)

Well, it’s definitely time for me to practice. I hope you are inspired by Carol Kaye.

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