This morning, I logged on to Facebook to check and see what my friends were doing. Its a simple moment for the start of each day. It takes about five minutes normally. My emphasis is on my overseas friends, since our time clocks are a little different, and their daytime is usually starting in my night-time. Afterwards, I do a quick check of the news to see if there’s anything interesting to read, and then I log out to go feed my feathered and furred friends in the neighborhood. This morning was a little different. One of the first things I noticed was a story about the death of bassist Jimmy Bain.
Most people won’t know who Jimmy Bain is/was without a touch of context. He was the first bassist in Dio, the band that he helped form with the late Ronnie James Dio (vocal), Vivian Campbell (guitarist), and Vinnie Appice (drums). He was also the bassist for Rainbow in the mid 1970s (played on their “Rising” album, as well as the first live album that Rainbow released), as well as forming Wild Horses with guitarist Brian Robertson. He was also one of the two key figures in the heavy metal aid project Hear ‘n Aid which donated profits from album and single sales for the song “Stars” to hunger relief in Africa. The other half of that equation being Vivian Campbell – both were current members of Dio at the time.
Jimmy Bain, for me, was far more than just some yutz bassist for a rock group. His style and sound were based on the idea of simplicity for rhythm. The bass was not something that stood out and grabbed you by the throat, like Steve Harris with Iron Maiden. There was a necessity to maintain rhythm, keep a time signature moving in the undercurrent of the song – be the pillar on which the rest of the band can move around. In my youth, I idolized Metallica bassist Cliff Burton, whose style was very much an “in your face” methodology. For me, no bassist is above his style. After that, Geddy Lee, Billy Sheehan, and Les Claypool with their virtuosity with the instrument are near the tops. But players like Bain – smooth, steady, in the background at all times – are rarely mentioned. And yet their contributions to songs, both live and in the studio, provided the clean backdrop for the soaring style of guitarists, keyboardists, and vocalists everywhere. It took a while for me, a solidly poor amateur player in my own right, to understand.
Jimmy Bain was much more than all of that. He is a human being, and has his own personal story to be told. But I never knew the guy on that level. I only knew what I read in the tabloid style magazines such as Hit Parader and Kerrang – most of which can be discarded as utter tripe.
Currently, my morning is being filled with the sounds of Bain’s time in Dio and Rainbow. And having just visited his homeland – Scotland – I am remembering my time there just this past December. Many people will gloss over his death, including fans of the music that he played. He certainly wasn’t one of the “out front” members – but his contribution was a solid part of everything that you heard.
Jimmy, may you find rest beyond the veil. You will certainly be missed on this particular plane of existence. /|\