Deep Cuts

Deep Cuts: Queen’s Dragon Attack

The intergooglewebtubes tell me that this is the Chinese Year of the Dragon.  I have no idea what that means, but it sounds a lot more fun than Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve Featuring Ryan Seacrest. White people holidays are so boring.

I’m going to have to send you elsewhere for Year of the Dragon news and relevance, but I do have a little something for you:  Queen’s “Dragon Attack.”  This cut appeared on The Game, which was the last in an uninterrupted streak of brilliant Queen albums.  Next came Hot Space, which was a total dog with exception to “Under Pressure.”

Like its much better known Game counterpart “Another One Bites the Dust,” “Dragon Attack” is a showpiece for bass player John Deacon.  Freddie and Brian were brilliant, but I don’t think that the Queen rhythm section gets enough love.  As much as I admire Deacon’s decision to step away from Queen after Freddie’s passing I would love to hear him hook up with Roger Taylor again, who has a brilliant little drum break in this track.

Enough.  I’ll shut up and let you enjoy what has always been my favorite cut from The Game. Happy Year of the Dragon to you.

3 replies »

  1. To the young and stupid, (did I mention I was young and stupid?) bass players seems like failed guitarists. Why would anyone choose to sound like a doo-wop backup singer over a sorcerer conjuring evil through a six-string?

    This Queen song made me think of other favorites with arpeggio-driven bass lines…

    “Three Days” by Jane’s Addiction opens with a bass line like an acolyte’s ritual, lighting candles for the aural seance about to start.

    “Orion” by Metallica is a masterpiece by the late Cliff Burton. Credited by the band for teaching them much about harmony and theory, his death left a vortex in the band that was never filled entirely. A moody, eerrie, completely shredding work.

    • Bass is an interesting beast — too noodly and its invasive, too simple and its mind numbing. Adam Clayton and Les Claypool barely play the same instrument. Between those two extremes are a bunch of bass players who rarely get noticed because they sit back in the pocket and drive the songs along effortlessly. It’s always cool when one of these guys — Eric A. from Jane’s, Queen’s John Deacon — steps away from the drum riser and builds a song around one of his bass riffs.

      And you’re right about Cliff Burton’s work in “Orion.” Goosebump music.

      (Full disclosure: I really enjoy noodly bass work, just not when it doesn’t serve the song. Rush’s Geddy Lee is a great example of “noodly but it fits.”)

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