I'm a bass player of over 25 years so cool bass guitar playing is very much part of me. As for Chris, I find him quite rudimentary, though saying that he gives the songs exactly what they need. Some of his bass lines are very imaginative ("Reap The Wild Wind", and also "I can't stay long" from Systems of Romance in particular) and he gives the songs a strong backbone for the rest of the band to build on. Let us also not forget how good he was at playing keyboard bass lines long before most other electronic bands delved into that territory. I still love the Youtube clip of 'Slow Motion' where Chris is pounding away at his Mini-Moog
Bass players I rate highly and have inspired me are many. Glad to see Geddy Lee mentioned by others as he is a supremely talented bassist (and multi-instrumentalist/ singer!) Heck, all that he can do on stage as well as playing bass and the only Rush song I ever managed to completely work out was New World Man from the Signals album...
Other bassists include the likes of Bruce Foxton from the Jam. Fantastic bass lines, and Bruce along with Geddy were the men responsibly for me blowing too much money on a black Rickenbacker 4001 bass. Cool bass, cool bass players! I am also a big fan of John Taylor from Duran Duran (also a Rickenbacker player - check the Planet Earth video and I think he played one on most of the first album before switching to an Aria SB1000). John is an incredibly talented bassist, and up until recently vastly underrated. His bass lines are imaginative, fluid, funky and sound so simple. Yet try and play them - damn! There's a guy on Youtube who does a lot of bass lessons, including many Duran classics. When you see just how much is involved with John's bass lines you'll see what a talented player he is. Check the Youtube videos here: http://www.youtube.com/user/zumazmusic
More recently Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine I rate very highly. Another highly imaginative bassist with bass lines ranging from jazz to funk to hard rock and fusion but he never slaps! Often overlooked because the mighty Tom Morrello on guitar generally gets the focus of attention with the myriad of weird sounds and effects he manages to extract from a fairly innocent looking guitar.
I would also rate Eric Avery and Chris Chaney, both bassists from Jane's Addiction. Chris was only with them for one album and Eric, the original bassist, has now re-joined his band mates after leaving them in 1992. Chris came up with some great bass licks for 2002's "Strays", simplistic in a similar way to Chris Cross' style yet so effective. Eric meanwhile is much more fluid and melodic, often using arpeggios and chords, both not that commonly use in bass playing. Both contributed immensely to all three excellent Jane's Addiction albums (four including their début live album) and are well worth listening to for great songs and imaginative bass playing.
Last but not least, if you want to go to another level with bass playing check out the likes of Victor Wooten and Marcus Miller. Both are hugely respected on the jazz/ funk circuit, and I can certainly testify that Victor is on another planet when it comes to bass playing! Worth watching him just so you can hear your jaw hit the floor when you get to see his ability and virtuosity!
Anyway, I've rambled on enough about bassists! Check some of those mentioned above and enjoy some great music with some great bass playing