Authored by Dale Nickey:
Take a second and try that schoolyard trick of patting the top of your head while rubbing your tummy. After the expletives have died down, you can better appreciate the challenges of being a Lead Singer/Bassist. The Lead Singer/Bassist is another unique brand of musician that deserves a little extra combat pay. Singers who play guitar have the option of coasting, or burying their mediocrity in the mix. The Lead Singer/Bassist is the center of attention AND the center of gravity in the band dynamic. One false step and the house of cards comes tumbling down. No surprise that in successful bands, the Lead Singer/Bassist shows a distinct predilection for control freakery. Here then, is my top 10 list of the greatest down-low multi-tasker; The Lead Singer/Bassist.
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd)
When original Pink Floyd visionary Syd Barrett failed the ‘electric cool aid acid test’ and left the band to pursue his own fine madness, Roger Waters jumped into the gaping void and eventually seized control of the rudderless band. Keyboardist Rick Wright was a superior singer and capable writer, David Gilmour was a superb singer and wrote a bit. Roger Waters willed himself to be the lead singer and main writer of the band. Ultimately Waters, (in Ziggy Stardust fashion) morphed into the fictitious, megalomaniac, a-hole character ‘Pink’ whose pathology Waters chronicled in the super-sized slab of psychosis “The Wall”. Waters ultimately filed suit against the band, stating that (he alone) was “Pink Floyd” and the three other charter members were merely grifters not fit to sully the name. David Gilmour, Nick Mason and Rick Wright thumbed their nose at Waters, carried on with the Pink Floyd brand and made millions. Waters failed to prevail in court, but settled for sole possession of “The Wall” as a consolation prize. Waters is a modestly gifted bassist with an idiosyncratic vocal quality. However, the sum clearly added up to more than its component parts. Waters is an indisputable musical genius, and (by some accounts) a miserable bastard.