The sheer number of bassists named David Phillips represents a predicament that, like the appearance of 200,000 Zulu warriors on the horizon, requires reinforcements. Lab assistant Igor promptly answered the call for help and proposed an immediate course of action after looking over the scant recording credits for a particular bassist of this name.
"This guy recorded with someone from Milwaukee," Igor rasped while removing some dried toad skin from his cocktail. "That means we have to call one of the Violent Femmes for information." Bassist and multi-instrumentalist Brian Ritchie was chosen to tap for facts; Igor has a grudging respect for Ritchie based on the misconception that his tote bag full of shakuhachi flutes are actually wooden stakes ready to be set on fire when it is time for the peasants to storm the mad doctor's
According to Ritchie, fellow bassist Phillips was "a hippie who played bass in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. He was a vegetarian back in the '70s, so of course he got cancer and died." Ritchie further reports that Phillips was adept on both electric bass and the symphonic contrabass. On the former he made clever use of effects. One of Phillips' upright basses was particularly unique, described by Ritchie as looking like a "giant guitar." This artist was obviously influential on the Violent Femmes bassist and musical director who, among other things, is noted as being generous with bass solos. Phillips was "one of the first bassists I saw play live," Ritchie says, "a very interesting guy. Played a lot of solos."
Both Ritchie and Phillips participate in the 1999 Sigmund Snopek III album entitled Trinity. Snopek also did a version of an early piece by Phillips following his death, employing Ritchie to re-create the solos. Phillips willed his 17th century Galliano bass to Laura Snyder of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.