Monday 2 July 2012

Tracey Pew Bass

I Haven't read the new Wire issue yet on bass but I thought I'd put my Tuppence worth in anyway. Immediately what sprang to mind was Tracy Pew of The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party. There's a reason why he's on the cover of that HITS compilation because he was the heart and soul of the band. He drove them and without him on bass they would have been nowhere and nowhere near as fucking great!

The first one I love is The Friend Catcher particularly when the guitar/clarinet/sax(?) end up following his bassline every now and then. I could post entire LPs but I'll spare you. Mr Clarinet and Happy Birthday are much tighter and clipped but no less effective. A Catholic Skin is so good for the most part it is just one bass note propelling the song forward. Hats On Wrong is a much looser Pew and an indication of what was to come, geez he was good.

Then there's The Red Clock where Rowland S Howard does the old Ozzy Osbourne trick of following his vocal melody with whatever Toni Iommi guitar is playing (or was it the other way around?), except with Rowland's vocals it's to Pew's bass.

King Ink is possibly Tracey Pew's finest moment of bass glory. It's just so fucking grimey, muck is pouring from his fingertips. Human Skin and electricity fusing for a pure expression of filth. How does he keep playing that bassline amongst the rest of the shitstorm that is going down in this song.

Zoo Music Girl's bassline is just dirty funky fun for all the family. I could go on. Tracey Pew's bass on Nick The Stripper and Figure of fun are killer. 

Lastly there's Yard off Prayers On Fire. This is fucking incredible. Pew plays the bluesiest and most lonesome bass I've ever heard in my life. I think it's the only time he ever played double bass on a Birthday Party record.                                                                            

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