Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Now That I Know I Can Trust You, Here's My Heart

I've given you a few songs performed by Live Wire (aka Powerline) and you've accepted them with good grace and love. I thank you for that. And now that I know I can trust you, I give you my heart. My soul, really. I give you the song that meant the most to me, as a musician, during every gig we played. It is the song entitled Live Wire.

I would dig this as rock, whether it was me playing on it or not, but it contains my heart and soul because it also contains my nightly extended bass solo. As a hard rock bass player, you mostly stay in the background. Sure, you do some fills you might be proud of, or maybe you get a small solo spot here or there for four or eight bars, but most of the glory goes to the singers and guitar players. And rightly so. Their sound is usually more easily accessible, crisp and up front, whereas bass may be diffuse, a bit mysterious to some, steady but perhaps not exciting. Guitarists and singers are in your face, but you have to listen to hear the bass. When musicians are listed on the back cover of a CD or (showing my age) record jacket, singers and guitarists come first; bass players and drummers come last. No complaints; that's just the way it is, with rare exceptions.

Not every situation, nor every group, gives a bass player the opportunity to stretch out. I was lucky enough to be in a group filled with guys who appreciated what I could do and who didn't frown on experimentation. They allowed me the spotlight for as long as I wanted it during this song, and I thank them for that.

(At the birthday bash for the singer, Marty - which, I promise, I will show you some "before & after" photos from soon, probably next week - he opened my gift of the CDs I made of the group's performances, and when he saw the song "Live Wire" listed, he gave a good-natured laugh, and said to those present, "Oh, man. Yeah, I'd say, 'Here's Jim on bass!' and then the rest of us would go out for a sandwich, play a few hands of cards, do our nails, have some coffee, maybe chat up a few girls in the audience, and then start listening for his cue to us to come back in.")

The song is 7 minutes - really kicks in with the chugga-chugga at about the one-minute mark - and my solo begins at about 3 minutes into it. Steve accompanies on drums, and really it was a showcase for him, too. He and I worked out some set bits within it, but I'd say about half of it was improvised each performance. And he never missed what I was going for, always supplying just the right accents and fills. At the end of the solo, I play some chords - double and triple stops - leading into an ascending line that was the cue for the rest of the boys to come back after their sandwiches and whatnot. This particular performance certainly has a couple of small clams in it, but overall I'm proud of my playing. Considering the pace of the song, I... well, I threw the CD on the other day and tried playing along, with thirty years more playing experience to draw upon, and I had a damned hard time keeping up with my younger self.

Here's the lyric (as well as annotation of some mid-song stage patter):

LIVE WIRE (Bower, Frattasio, Giusti, LaRue, Murphy)

You're a woman full of energy
Your eyes sparkle with electricity
You're my idol, girl, you're my best friend
When we make love, you stand my hair on end
You're my live wire

I feel a sense of electrocution
Falling thunderstorm; there's no solution
When I wake up in the dead of night
Let you do the things you want to me - I won't fight
You're my live wire

[Ron Frattasio on guitar right here
We got Ronnie Bower on guitar, guitar Ronnie Bower
Steve Giusti on drums, Steve Giusti
On bass guitar we got Jim LaRue
Take it away, James]

You're my live wire

Live Wire
You're my burning desire
Live Wire
You set my soul on fire
Live Wire
See what you mean to me
You're my one and only one
Don't ever set me free
You're my live wire

And here is the song itself. I hope you enjoy it.


Soon, with more better stuff.


Hilary said...

Super cool! How fun it must have been for you to rediscover your recordings and reunite with the group. Even better that you shared. Thanks for that. :)

Tim Clancy said...

What a blistering tune! That's ROCKS!! I hope you are still better be!

Michelle H. said...

Uber-long bass solo. It really illustrates your playing back then. A great rock song. Hope you post a few more. Are there any where YOU sing in them too?

Suldog said...

Hilary - It has, indeed, been tremendous fun.

Tim - THANK YOU! Coming from a fine musician like you, that means a lot to me!

MDGF, Michelle - There is one where I take the lead vocal, but the recording is too nasty even for me to put it out here. The second half of the song truly got eaten up by the degrading of the tape, and the mix of the vocal was not that good to begin with. Thanks for asking, though!

Expat From Hell said...

Coming from a similar musical background, I couldn't help but think of who might have influenced your playing back on those days. I heard snippets of Jack Bruce, Tim Bogert, maybe even Felix Pappalardi. Am I close? If not, you certainly are. Notice I didn't say were. EFH

Daryl said...

Damn the firewall in the office blocks it .. gotta listen to it tonite .. but I love the lyrics ...

Suldog said...

Expat - Thank you, kind sir. While all of those people were certainly bass players I listened to and still admire, the biggest influence on me was probably Mel Schacher - for better or worse. After that, Geezer Butler, Roger Glover, and Dennis Dunaway.

It would probably be better for my reputation if I just said, "Yes. You hit it on the button." :-)

Suldog said...

Daryl - Your firewall has either great taste or none at all. I vote for 'none at all', but I'll await your opinion on the matter :-)

Sueann said... rock!! Great solo!! The fact that you have these recordings is priceless. Keep on playing!!

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

'Firewall' WBAGNFARB

Suldog said...

Sue Ann - Thank you. As a matter of fact, I'm getting together with the drummer and the two guitarists this Saturday, at the drummer's home. Should be fun.

Uncle Skip - Yes. So would "Uncle Skip", if it was folk rock.

Jinksy said...

That's a mean bass line going on there - wish my computer could do it justice, and dumb down the percussion section a tad! :)

CiCi said...

Oh, you really were (are) a musician. I am so glad for you that have the actual sounds you put all the energy into back then. This is really cool, my friend.

Buck said...

VERY cool. I really would have liked to have been around/in Boston when you guys were playing... not only are y'all good, but you're having an obviously great time doin' it, too.

järnebrand said...

Ah, the joy and power of music... :) Loved that!
Thanks for stopping by my blog...
Peace and love/ Jo.

Sandy Kessler said...

dang I'm 16 again

Angela Christensen said...

Maybe I'm not 16 again, but, damn! That's good fun for those of us who remember.
Love, love,
Angie at Eat Here

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Yup, you were SOME rocker, my friend!! And I bet you are just being modest, and that you can STILL play a really mean bass!! So glad that your sound wasn't lost...that you have these recordings...what a tragic loss it would have been! But now, you and the band have a permanent record...and we are able to enjoy as well! That's fantastic! Loved walking down memory lane with you! Just fantastic! Hugs, Janine

Shrinky said...

Okay, I've spotted the deliberate mistake, the so called live wire link that feeds me straight through to the Chinese Food post (scuse me whilst I kick you..). Least you had the good grace to feed us the real tune in the end.. and yeah, it rocks alright, hell, it even stands it's ground today - I reckon it could enter the charts today!

lime said...

that was fun! and i have to say, not just because you're my pal and the author of this blog, i liked the bass and drums best in this song. thanks so much for letting us hear it.