Are you a bass nerd?

If you’re into it, do it, no matter what people say

By Jon Liebman
Week of December 13, 2021

There’s an old joke that goes like this:

When you’re 20, you worry about what people think of you.

When you’re 40, you don’t care what people think of you.

When you’re 60, you realize… no one’s been thinking about you at all.

Suppose you’re learning bass and you find yourself really into a certain style. Then you discover that some of your friends or family really hate that music and they can’t believe you actually like that crap. 

Are you going to stop liking it? 

Of course not. 

Are you going to stop playing it?

I hope not!

Why do you want to learn bass? I assume it’s because you think it’s fun. Playing music you like is fun!

The subject came up in an interview I did last week with Michael McKeegan of the Northern Irish band Therapy?

The band recently celebrated its 30th anniversary, so Michael is no stranger to stepping out and playing music in front of lots of people. In fact, he even describes the band’s music as “noisy rock.” 

In listening to him talk, I just loved his perspective on the love of music as an outlet, regardless of what other people think.

“I think hobbies should be applauded,” Michael says, “especially if you’re playing music.”

Certain hobbies, like, say, learning bass, can inspire deep dives, even “nerdiness” about something very special and meaningful to you.

“People always go, ‘Oh, you’re so nerdy,’” Michael says, “but I love being a nerd about stuff. I love discovering an old heavy metal record I happen to find, or getting back into something.” 

Some music, admittedly, is more fun to play than it is to listen to. But that outlet can still be cathartic.

“I just say go for it and do it,” Michael. “Just do what you want to do because, at the end of the day, if it’s your thing, no one can take that away from you.”

We’re not talking about commercialism or trying to win a Grammy. We’re talking about learning bass, playing music and having fun.

“Don’t worry about what people think,” Michael says. “Follow your own path. You’ll make yourself happy. That’s one of these things in life you do have a bit of control over.”

What about you? Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Michael here.

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