Tina Weymouth

Tina Weymouth playing bass

Martina Michèle or Tina Weymouth is an American bassist most known for playing in the New Wave group Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club.

Life

Born in Coronado, California to Laura Bouchage and Ralph Weymouth. As her father was in the US Navy, she travelled around the world from a young age.

Her musical beginnings started when she toured with the Potomac English Hand Bell Ringers aged 12. Tina taught herself how to play guitar at 14. She is also self-taught in Flute and piano.

Tina studied art at the Rhode Island School of Design. While there, she met David Byrne and Chris Frantz. Frantz urged her to learn bass for Tina to join their band so she took lessons from Byrne. Tina had only been playing bass for five months when the Talking heads opened for the Ramones in the famed punk club CGBG.

Three became four when Jerry Harrison joined on keys and guitar in 1976. Soon after Sire Records signed them and released their debut album Talking Heads:77. It produced their major hit Psycho Killer, driven by Tina’s pumping staccato bassline.

They released 8 albums in total and in 1991 they officially broke up. Talking Heads’ influence has reached Radiohead, Eddie Vedder and many more respected artists.  In 2002 they reunited for one night to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tom Tom Club began in 1981 while Tina and Chris were on hiatus from Talking Heads. They are a dance new wave pop and have had more commercial success than Talking Heads. Genius of Love was a major hit and is one of the most sampled tracks of the 80s.

Gear

  • Custom Veillette-Citron
  • Höfner 500/2 Club
  • Fender Mustang
  • 1963 Fender Jazz
  • 70s Fender Precision
  • Fender Musicmaster
  • Steinberger L-series
  • Les Paul Triumph Bass
  • Ampeg Classic
  • Gallien-Krueger 400B head
  • Custom 2×15 cabinet NYTD Pro audio
  • MXR Flanger
  • Ibanez Auto Filter
  • Roland Pedalboard

Techniques

Some of Tina’s basslines are inspired by horn lines by creating short bursts of bass. In the early days she used her thumb and forefinger held together and then transitioned to the pick. She also uses two finger alternating. Carol Kaye, James Jamerson, Duck Dunn are all cited as her major influences.

Notable Tracks

Psycho Killer
Talking Heads: 77, 1977
Genius of Love
Tom Tom Club, 1981
I Zimbra
Fear of Music, 1979

Find more of your favorite bassists


Pic By Jean-Luc [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

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