“Even John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, Sting, and Steve Harris dig this guy”: Cordell Crockett of Ugly Kid Joe reels off 5 albums that shaped his sound

Cordell Crockett of Ugly Kid Joe performs at KK's Steel Mill on November 11, 2022 in Wolverhampton, England.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Forever famed for their none-more-catchy 1992 hit Everything About You California's Ugly Kid Joe continue to deliver their brand of funked-up rock in venues around the globe. 

Asked how he got into the bass guitar, bassist Cordell Crockett recalled that his father – Guitar Player magazine co-founder and music legend Jim Crockett – was an influential figure. “The first time I heard the sound of the bass it was the song Love Rollercoaster by Ohio Players. My mother told me it was a bass guitar, so we hit my father up for a bass. I started taking lessons from Jim Aitkin who wrote for Keyboard magazine. Jim taught me the blues and I never looked back.”

Thanks to the success of Everything About You, 1991’s debut EP As Ugly As They Wanna Be became the first short-form LP to be certified platinum. The band promoted the record in the US during a tour with Ozzy Osbourne and Motörhead, and signed with Mercury the following year, chalking up further hits including a 1993 cover of Harry Chapin’s Cat’s In The Cradle.

Here, Crockett reveals five albums featuring bass playing mastery that influenced him, which he admires or which simply sound good as a soundtrack for jumping off the sofa in the ‘swan dive’ position.

1. Beatles – Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

“I know it seems clichéd to mention Mr McCartney, but considering that he still plays his old Beatle bass better than 98 per cent of players today, I don't care. I chose Sgt. Pepper because as a baby I would stare at those satin suits for hours, while listening to this record (thanks, Mom!). Even John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, Sting, and Steve Harris dig this guy. Paul's basslines taught me how to use alternate roots to chords better than anyone else.”

2. Earth, Wind & Fire – Gratitude (1975)

“One of the greatest live records of all time, Gratitude's two-LP set is the most influential record in my life. You can learn so much about playing a groove by playing it with two drummers simultaneously. This album features two drummers and percussionists as well. Verdine White's fretless work is awesome. Many bassists of today owe him a lot of ‘gratitude’ see what I did there? If they stopped posing for a moment and thought about it.”

3. Stanley Clarke – School Days (1976)

“While my mom and sisters inspired me to play bass, my father gave me my first bass and amp. Since he was the publisher of GPI Publications, he had friends who offered advice to me from time to time. Stanley Clarke was one of those friends. He suggested I use an MXR Dyna Comp pedal, which I did immediately. Without that, attempting to learn what I heard on School Days would have been much more difficult. His solos transcend the bass: it just happens to be the instrument he chose. Lucky us!”

4. Brothers Johnson – Blam! (1978)

“When I was 13 I got to visit the Bass Institute Of Technology in its infancy. I got even more lucky when one of the students showed me how to slap the bass like his idol, Louis Johnson. Every gig I play with Ugly Kid Joe I use that technique with pride. I saw Louis live, and heard the most incredible sounds out of a bass ever! There’s a reason that Quincy Jones booked him as his go-to guy for Michael Jackson. Blam! showcases funk bass, on a StingRay, that’ll floor you!”

5. Van Halen – Women And Children First (1980)

“Probably one of the hardest gigs to have as a bassist is supporting the greatest guitar player of all time, Eddie Van Halen. Add to that, a singer who is as crazy as Patsy Cline, and a drummer who uses four kick drums, and you come up with a guy who clobbers his bass and sings like a lark – Michael Anthony. This, their third album, has the most high-energy performances of all their records, in my opinion. I used to always go for the fast tracks on those albums. Romeo Delight and Lost Control are the shit!”

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Joel McIver

Joel McIver was the Editor of Bass Player magazine from 2018 to 2022, having spent six years before that editing Bass Guitar magazine. A journalist with 25 years' experience in the music field, he's also the author of 35 books, a couple of bestsellers among them. He regularly appears on podcasts, radio and TV.