When I heard of Mick Karn‘s passing today it hit me really, really hard. It wasn’t only because I’m a bass player myself but because with Mick’s passing a part of my musical history had vanished too.
You see, in the beginning of my musical development there were two people who inspired me to pick up the bass and that was John Taylor (of Duran Duran) and Mick Karn, but it was Mick who inspired me to rip off the frets on one of my early basses and start playing fretless.
While everyone else was listening to Jaco, I was studying Mick.
For me Mick Karn is one of the most distinctive sounding, unique and amazing fretless bassists I’ve ever heard.
Mick Karn is best known as the bass player for art-rock band Japan. His sound was unique, distinctive and unmistakable and it was this sound that enabled Japan to stand out sonically and musically from the rest of the bands that were part of the New Wave movement in the late 1970′s and early 1980′s.
The video below is a really good example of how Mick Karn’s brilliantly rubbery and wobbly fretless sound made Japan a truly unique band. The song is called “Visions Of China” and the video is taken from their “Oil On Canvas” live video of 1983.
Oh, this takes me back. Bliss…
I always admired Mick’s approach to his playing. Being essentially self taught he never learnt to read music but he once said…
“I rely very much on my ears. If it sounds as if it’s the right thing, then I’ll keep it, even if it may not be.”
Amen to that Mick, your playing as well as your wisdom will be sorely missed.