Poll Results: Top 10 Alternative Rock Bassists

Poll Results: Top 10 Alternative Rock Bassists

Poll Results: Top 10 Alternative Rock Bassists As voted for by you!

The results for our Best Alternative Rock Bassists Poll  are in!

I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10. There were several ties; entries 10-8 were tied at 3%, 7-6 at 4% and 5-4 at 5%. For tied entries I listed in reverse alphabetical order rather than play favorites.

Here we go!

10. Billy Gould 3%

Billy Gould FNM

The Faith No More bassist offers pummeling riffs that straddle the line between funk and metal, giving them a crucial grove that makes them unique.

9. Flea 3%

<img src="Flea-Best-Alternative-Bassist.gif" alt="Flea Best Alternative Bassist"/>

The Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist has long been considered a virtuoso on the 4 string, so its little surprise he’d make this list (check out their recent Coachella set).

8. Kim Deal 3%

<img src="Kim-Deal-Best-Alternative-Bassist.gif" alt="Kim Deal Best Alternative Bassist"/>

Deal’s bass lines are usually hummable making her sound one of the Pixie’s sonic hallmarks.

7. Eric Avery 4%

Eric Avery

There’s a reason that Jane’s Addiction’s last two albums aren’t as popular as their early work, and that’s due to Avery’s absence. His lumbering yet melodic style is just as crucial to their song structure as Dave Navarro’s muscular riffing, and he’s sorely missed. Lucky for NIN though, as he has recently joined Reznor and co.

6. Les Claypool 4%


Claypool’s style is unique; he never goes for rudimentary rhythms, but plays front and center. His sound conjures tones of  jack hammers and stalled cars making Primus one of the most original bands in rock.

5. David J 5%

<img src="David-J-Best-Alternative-Bassist.gif" alt="David J Best Alternative Bassist"/>

Sensual, hypnotic, leathery and foreboding. J’s dark and brooding style encompasses all these textures in his work with Bauhaus and Love & Rockets.

Click here for my exclusive David J Interview

4. John Taylor 5%

<img src="John-Taylor-Best-Alternative-Bassist.gif" alt="John Taylor Best Alternative Bassist"/>

Duran Duran’s bass player has claimed disco band Chic and punk legends The Sex Pistols as his two primary influences, and it shows. Always funky with a decadent snarl, he gave the band a groove that their other new wave contemporaries often lacked. His work in The Power Station is worthy of mention too.

3. Simon Gallup 6%

<img src="Simon-Gallup-Best-Alternative-Bassist.gif" alt="Simon Gallup Best Alternative Bassist"/>

Gallup’s atmospheric, dark spectral tone is one of The Cure’s sonic hallmarks. He can offer playful high note interplay or funeral spidery textures. He’s the Cure’s secret weapon.

2. Peter Hook 11%

img src=Peter-Hook-Best Alternative Rock Bassist" />

Hook’s playing was a revelation. Through Joy Division to New Order, he redefined what a bass could sound like. Not content with playing 2nd fiddle to the guitarist, his melodic bass lines took the territory normally reserved for guitar riffs and solos. It’s this novel approach that made both band’s sounds so groundbreaking.

Check out New Order at this years Coachella (sans Hook, who left the band on bad terms.)

1. Steve Kilbey 33%

Steve Kilbey Interview 2013

Given the amount of Kilbey fans this blog attracts (read my recent interview), it should come as no surprise that he would prove popular, and he won in a landslide.

Kilbey’s style plays off harmony and dissonance. He can provide minor key unease or ambient bliss, making one of the most unique and singular bassists to grace rock and roll.

So that wraps up your Top 10 choices.

Trailing the end in the poll were Kim Gordon and Colin Greenwood (both at 2%), and Adam Clayton, Sean Yseult, Trevor Dunn, Tim Commerford, Paul Raven, Mark King, Chris Wolstenholme, Jeff Ament, Justin Chancellor, Robert Deleo, and Krist Novoselic, who all came in at 1%.

So thanks for voting and feel free to sound off on your choices below.

I’m also curious about the 7% who voted for ‘entry not included‘. Who do you feel was unfairly ignored?

Update; check out our new poll for best alternative rock drummers! Voting ends Sunday May 5th!


About SLIS

Middle Aged Gen-Exer obsessed with Alternative rock, metal, cult movies, comic books and cable TV.

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13 Responses to Poll Results: Top 10 Alternative Rock Bassists

  1. Johnny April 20, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Pete Farndon (Pretenders)
    Mike Watt (Minutemen)
    Klaus Flouride (Dead Kennedys)
    Daryl Jenifer (Bad Brains)
    Bruce Foxton (Jam)
    Jah Wobble (Public Image Limited)
    Steve Hanley (The Fall)
    Tony James (Generation X)
    Dee Dee Ramone (the Ramones)
    Joe Lally (Fugazi)
    Colin Moulding (XTC)
    Matt Freeman (Rancid)
    Dave Allen (Gang Of Four)
    Ali McMordie (Stiff Little Fingers)

    • SLIS April 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm #

      Johnny; those are some great picks! Glad you voted for Wobble and Allen. They both wound up with less than 1% which shocked me! And I now see some glaring omissions that I didn’t include. I love me some Generation X! I actually included James Stevenson on a list of underrated guitarists :-).

  2. Kristoffer April 21, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    Nelson (New Model Army)

  3. WeRFukt April 21, 2013 at 9:15 am #

    I guess Geddy Lee is too uncool to be legitimately recognized as a fantastic bass player?

  4. WeRFukt April 21, 2013 at 9:17 am #

    Oh, I didn’t realize the title was ‘Alternative’. My bad.

  5. SLIS April 21, 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    Yes I decided to stick to alt-rock given folks like Lee, Entwistle, Bootsy, etc. have all gotten their due in various sub-genres. Thought it’d be fun to give the lesser-discussed alternative bassists their moment in the sun. No worries!

  6. Chuck AzEee! September 1, 2017 at 10:24 am #

    I’m truly surprised that no one failed to mention these greats…

    Steven Severin (Siouxsie And The Banshees)
    Barry Adamson (Magazine)
    Mick Karn (Japan)
    JJ Burnell (The Stranglers)

    • SLIS September 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm #

      All great picks! Can’t believe those slipped my mind :-/


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