Most of my friends know that I love classic rock. I’ve mentioned in previous postings my enjoyment of the music of the past and how it gains increased “texture” over the years as we hear it playing against the background of our life experiences. We remember certain lyrics of certain songs as they resonate with whatever happened in our lives then and is happening now. All of it – music and lyrics, past and present – blends in a marvelous mélange and becomes our personal soundtrack.
As I listen to people talk about their favorite bands (from whatever era), they can all remember the lead singer. The lead singer is, after all, the one who is out front and becomes for better or worse the “face of the band.” This person often doubles on rhythm guitar. Many can remember the lead guitarist, who plays the hot riffs while making distorted faces that lead one to believe that music is a painful experience. It’s obvious that we should be grateful for his/her sacrifice! On rare occasions, someone will recall the drummer. The drummer adds the exclamation point to the band’s lyrical statement. He/she also gets the most vigorous physical workout. I’m surprised we haven’t seen the “Rock and Roll Drummer’s Workout” video being hawked on cable TV.
With all of this, there is a question that screams to be asked: Who remembers the bass player?
Every band and musical group has or is looking for a bass player. Forget about what drummers say. It’s the bass player that gives a song its rhythm and keeps it moving. Take a look at every great band you can think of. Don’t look at the people in front. Look to one side. There’s the bass player, making sure that the song progresses as it should, creating the foundation on which the other members of the band build. Without the work of a good bass player, a band sounds like it has no substance. Their sound is just fluff being blown about in the wind, without direction or purpose.
I’ve seen a similar principle at work in the world around me. As we try to get our act together on this planet and make things a little better for everyone, people seem to fit into band-like categories. The world is full of people who want to sing lead. It matters little whether they can carry a tune or not. They just want to be the ones that stand in front and shout their words at the top of their lungs. To be fair, some folks are born to be lead singers and do a great job of it. Others, however, are just in love with the sound of their own voices and their rock and roll images. We see them in politics all the time. They think that if they shout the same song often enough and loud enough that we’ll be forced to sing along.
There are some folks who like to create screaming riffs or exclamatory beats in support of their chosen vocalist. They do this in the form of “analysis” or “critique.” They are not really being creative – they’re just adding to the din. If it’s catchy and can fit on a bumper sticker, they’ve done their job. It doesn’t matter if we’re really going anywhere or not.
Then there are the bassists. I love these folks! While seemingly standing to one side, they are helping the band progress toward a specific goal while keeping the music the main thing. The bassists of life do much the same. These are the people who remind us that we started this song with a purpose and that it really is carrying us somewhere.
It’s time to recognize the bass players in life. Who are the folks in your life that help keep you on track and moving forward without demanding a starring role or special recognition? Who are the people who understand that in order for us to achieve our purpose and potential as human beings, we have to keep playing in time with one another? Who are the people that see the needs of a world in pain and use their creativity to move us together toward a solution? All the while they are not asking to be stars or to gain great rewards for doing so. For them, it’s all about the music. It’s all about the song of life.
God bless bass players! They provide the heartbeat of the music. The same is true of the “bassists of life.” Without them, our own song would have no power and no sense of progression. If you have someone like this in your personal band, give them a hug! Tell them how important they are. If you don’t have one, it’s time to start looking for one.
Your song is waiting.