Mike Dirnt is an often-cited bass influence in these pages and beyond, responsible for drawing many a young player into the joys of bassdom. Furthermore, he blew away the definition of a ‘punk bassist’ years ago. The man has far more artillery in his cannon than that, as we discovered when we caught up with Dirnt for a much-needed update and some enlightening conversation.
With their new album Father Of All Motherf***ers recently unleashed on the world, Green Day are in a good place. The new record covers a lot of ground, as Dirnt confirms: “There’s definitely some 1950s rock’n’roll in there, and we’ve got some 70s glam in there, too; a little bit of Phil Spector and I’m playing with some newer tones that are pushing forward. What was nice was that I was able to play a lot lower, a lot of deeper notes, and drop more actual sub-low bass than I ever have before.”
Sounds intriguing... “Well, I’ve always gone back and forth between the punk side of where we come from and old-school rock’n’roll. Much of this album was split between one of my signature series basses and an old flatwound-equipped Fender Mustang, which gave me a kind of old-style Hofner tone. To record that, I was running through one of my Fender Super Bassman amps.”
Having been together for well over 30 years now, Green Day have a familiar way of working that seems just fine for singer and guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong, drummer Tre Cool and Dirnt. Even when they’re not recording or touring, the guys are still working together. “Up until the!Uno! !Dos! !Tre! albums that we did in 2012, we would practise together four to six days a week between tours and records. It shocked me when you’d speak to other bands. I’d be genuinely surprised, like ‘You mean you don’t practise every day?’”
He continues: “After the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction in 2015, I realized that we’ve been practicing four to six days a week for our whole f***ing career! But we don’t have to do that now. We know how to write together, and how to work on songs from different angles. Billie will send playlists of what he’s listening to, because it comes from Billie’s core as to what he’s feeling. He’ll work on songs and send us the early demos so we’re all in the loop. When we’re ready to lay down the proper demos, we get together, and then he can manipulate it from that point. Part of it is not overthinking it, because demos can sound really good these days. I’ve actually used stuff from my phone before. I’ve got a great collection of ideas, melodies, bass-line ideas, guitar riffs all on my phone—but you have to keep your ears open for new stuff too.”
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
THUMBS AHOY! MIX AND MATCH: ADVANCED SLAP
Welcome! For the last year or so we’ve been working on some very advanced slap bass techniques.
Cat Popper has earned her stripes as a bassist with a long list of big names—so a solo career is long overdue. We meet the reluctant star...
The Foo Fighters return with a new album, Medicine At Midnight, with the low end taken care of as always by the great Nate Mendel. Has he fallen for a five‑string yet? Find out here...
LAKLAND Skyline J-Sonic
A classically-styled Jazz with a sonic twist... does that sound interesting? You bet it does, says Mike Brooks
KIND OF BLUE
Fusion artist extraordinaire and sometime Pat Metheny alumnus Mark Egan brings us up to date with his new album, Electric Blue, recorded with his long-time drummer colleague Danny Gottlieb
I SPY…MIX AND MATCH ARPEGGIOS
Hey there, bass players! We’ve recently dedicated two columns to arpeggios, and for good reason. Whether you’re creating a groove or walking through changes, we do our jobs better by gracefully outlining the notes of the chord and clearly defining the harmony.
HONE YOUR SKILLS: DIG DEEPER WITH YOUR BASS THINKING
Last month we looked at inversions, which are chords where the lowest note is something other than the root. Using the third, the fifth, or even the seventh in the bass—in other words, the lowest note in the chord— offers us a whole lot more interesting options as bass players.
BASSIST Of The YEAR
Meet Danny Sapko, voted by you as Bassist Of The Year 2020!
Haim Sweet Haim
“It’s just me, with no bells and whistles,” explains Este Haim of the bass behind her trio’s acclaimed music
Stephen ‘Thundercat' Bruner – 'Bass Traverses Different Worlds'
Want to learn the secrets of the universe? Then you’d better join us as we sit down with Stephen ‘Thundercat’ Bruner, the pre-eminent bassist of his generation. This one goes deep!
Aukey EP-N5: Entry-level ANC that gets it (mostly) right
Good sound and decent active noise canceling for a wallet-friendly price.
BILLIE EILISH, UNFILTERED, IN NEW DOCUMENTARY
If you’re coming to “ Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry ” hoping for a primer on the music sensation, you’ve come to the wrong place. Filmmaker R.J. Cutler’s two hour and 20-minute documentary about the “Ocean Eyes” singer and songwriter is not biography or reportage. It’s a verite-style plunge into her life, her home, her concerts, her process, her Tourette’s, her brother’s bedroom where they famously write all their songs and even her diary in the year in which she became a star.
Grammy Awards Shift To March Due To Pandemic Conditions
The 2021 Grammy Awards will no longer take place this month in Los Angeles and will broadcast in March due to a recent surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.
POP CULTURE IN (UGH) 2020, FROM THE BIZARRE TO THE SUBLIME
And now, for our annual look at the year in pop culture…. Oh, wait. This was 2020. The year everything stopped cold.
The Girl With the Midas Touch
How Billie Eilish, Finneas, and Hans Zimmer rethought the James Bond theme for a new generation.
Billie Joe Armstrong – Mi vida en 5 canciones
El líder de Green Day cuenta las historias detrás de sus clásicos más grandes, desde el punk en West Oakland, hasta su fama mundial, corazones rotos y furia política
It 's Not Easy BEING GREEN
After a whirlwind year filled with highs and lows, superstar Billie Eilish is focusing on the bright side
La supervivencia del alma de Green Day
Billie Joe Armstrong estaba desesperado por un nuevo sonido. Tuvo que volver a las raíces del rock & roll para encontrarlo
Enemigo en casa. La batalla de las atletas mexicanas
En la escalada final para salvar su carrera la esgrimista Paola Pliego tuvo que tomar una increíble y dolorosa decisión que, de paso, evidenció un escandaloso estado de las cosas. ¿Cuál es el más duro de los rivales a vencer para una deportista de élite en México?
Billie Eilish y el triunfo de lo extraño
La nueva estrella más grande del pop es una adolescente de 17 años que saltó a la fama y no le importa lo que piensas, incluso si todavía le llama a su mamá cuando tiene una pesadilla