Seeking a little advice on our bass player ... he's a founding member of the band, a great guy and a terrific musician, but we're struggling with a couple of issues.
First and foremost, we can barely hear him onstage; he insists on using in-ear monitors attached to his rig so he can hear himself, which keeps him glued to his amp and constantly fiddling with the controls, but he won't turn up his amp loud enough so we can hear him, he says we're all too loud and he won't sacrifice his hearing. Our sound men are always complaining that they can't get enough signal out of him to get him into the house mix. He plays a variety of basses (lately a Modulus Flea bass) through an Alembic preamp, and they've taken directs out of the Alembic, directs before the preamp, miked his cabinet, to no avail. His tone is great, when you can hear him, which is rarely. He's almost never on the board tapes, barely audible in the mics we put in the house regularly, etc. When he can't make a gig, we have someone else sit in, and he shakes the stage with his bass, lays bombs, plays all over the place, and it's great. We don't really know what to do about this.
Secondly, while he's a talented guy, the spots where we want him to step out, he lays back too much. We did a rare rehearsal a few weeks ago and ran through that 73-74 Eyes of the World jam, then played it at the gig a week later. We told him, "crank it up, step out all over the E maj 7 portions, this is your moment" ... and he didn't take advantage of it, or if he did, he stayed in a lower register so it's barely there. This is a similar thing on, say, the opening of Help on the Way, jam in Unbroken Chain, the vocal breaks in "That's What Love Will Make You Do," etc. etc.
Here are recordings, you can hear him (miraculously) on these boards, just to give you a reference. He's a fine bass player, we just can't get him to crank it.
(Please excuse the roughness of the Eyes jam, first time out with just one quick rehearsal, and I don't know what the rhythm guitarist was doing on the riff, but it wasn't right. I don't think I'm playing it right either, I can't really tell what note it starts on. But I digress, this is about the bass.)http://playingdead.net/092008eyesjam.mp3
If you want to suffer through the entire song:http://playingdead.net/092008eyes.mp3
Any band is a dysfunctional family, but after countless email threads and conversations about it, we're not getting any traction. I'd like to see him ditch the ear monitors and crank it up, but he's unwilling.