1955 – Bill Laswell, avant-garde bassist and co-author of Herbie Hancock’s “Rockit,” is born in Salem, Ill.
Bill Laswell born on This Day In Rock in Salem, Illinois and raised in Albion, Michigan, is an American bassist, producer and record label owner. He is married to Ethiopian singer Gigi.
Being involved in hundreds of recordings with many musicians from all over the world, Laswell ranks among the most prolific of musicians. His music draws upon many different genres, most notably funk, various world music, jazz, dub and ambient styles. He has also played or produced music from the more aggressive, noisier end of the rock spectrum, such as metal and hardcore punk.
“Laswell’s pet concept is ‘collision music’ which involves bringing together musicians from wildly divergent but complementary spheres and seeing what comes out”, according to music critic Chris Brazier. The tenet of one record label run by Laswell, and which typifies much of his work, is “Nothing Is True, Everything Is Permitted”.
Though projects arranged by Laswell may be credited under the same name and often feature the same roster of musicians, the styles and themes explored on different albums can vary dramatically: Material began as a noisy dance music project, but subsequent releases have been centered around hip hop, jazz, or backing spoken word readings by beat generation icon William S. Burroughs. Similarly, most versions of Praxis have featured guitarist Buckethead, but have explored different permutations with each new album.
Though some artists have chafed against Laswell’s distinctive production and recording style — most noticeably some of his for-hire production gigs including Motörhead, Swans and White Zombie — many other collaborations, such as with pianist Herbie Hancock and singer Iggy Pop have been lengthier and recurring.