“It's a disgrace to the bass player in me, but it's hard to write on the bass. Playing power chords on a guitar is much easier”: Melissa Auf der Maur looks back on a life in rock

Melissa Auf Der Maur performs at Highline Ballroom on March 3, 2011 in New York City.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

You probably know her as the bassist from Hole and the Smashing Pumpkins, but Melissa Auf der Maur’s career has extended far beyond the rock songs of the 1990s. Luckily, in Courtney Love and Billy Corgan she had two dedicated role models. “Courtney and Billy were both very different,” she told BP. “But I have so much respect for both of them. My time with Hole was more character definition, creating me as a person, and then my crash course in music, one on one, was with the Pumpkins, who refined and defined my musicianship.

“Billy in particular: his level of efficiency and musicianship and his commitment to art was pretty remarkable. He was a real mentor in that way. With Courtney it’s a different female bond, simply because there aren’t that many women in the rock landscape, so we have a real unspoken loyalty to each other based on that fact alone. We’re on a similar mission to put a female perspective out there. With Courtney it enhanced my commitment as a woman to keep on rocking!”

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Nick Wells

Nick Wells was the Editor of Bass Guitar magazine from 2009 to 2011, before making strides into the world of Artist Relations with Sheldon Dingwall and Dingwall Guitars. He's also the producer of bass-centric documentaries, Walking the Changes and Beneath the Bassline, as well as Production Manager and Artist Liaison for ScottsBassLessons. In his free time, you'll find him jumping around his bedroom to Kool & The Gang while hammering the life out of his P-Bass.