FWIW I agree pretty strongly with Boobs here.
If you read my follow up I think you'll get a different perspective. He and I have a different idea of what the words "crazy" and 'Tasteful" mean in a musical context.
I agree with pretty much everything Boo Boo has said so far in this whole discussion about 'crazy'. I also to some extent assumed when you said 'crazy' you were thinking more Squire/Wetton/Claypool/etc.
Well I hope you realize that I agree with much what you are saying here but I think there is a tendency for fans of busy, adventurous playing to dismiss more traditional reserved playing to be some how "inferior" so it goes both ways (your description of such playing being "boring" for example). That is simply not true. It takes just as much skill to add just the right notes in just the right time while leaving space to good effect (I'm not talking about someone like Sting here who I think plays too simple and is boring). I say this as a bass player who was one who overplayed a lot in my earlier years (and was criticized for doing so) until I learned the art of subtlety. I still tend to play busily though. I think the best players are skilled at both and is one thing that made Jaco so great. Most people are impressed by some of his machine gun complex lines but I was just as impressed at how he could make the bass sing in delicate ways.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bSuCOcL39U
I didn't mean to characterize all subtle/in-the-background playing as boring. If I gave that impression (it seems I did), please allow me to modify what I said. I have a ton of respect for Bob Babbitt as a musician because he's got a near-divine ability to make his notes sing and groove with feel, and an equally near-divine ability to use space between notes as a compositional tool as a bassist. That shit's sick. The problem is that most - not all, but *most* - 'background' players really are boring...Ian Hill, Cliff Williams, pretty much every indie rock player ever, yada yada. Those who treat 'background' playing as an art form with the appropriate seriousness can often end up amazing, amazing players.
What you said about Jaco is very valid, I think. I feel that way about Entwistle: he could do crazy and fricking brilliant stuff like The Real Me and Won't Get Fooled Again, and also very subtle, emotional, moving playing with lots of space in songs like Behind Blue Eyes and especially it seems to me, "How Many Friends" from The Who By Numbers
(seriously, check that shit out).
As per usual you bring up some excellent points, and I appreciate your chiming in to this particular line of discussion again