(Schwarzenator, Dinosaur Dick)
1. When did you start to play the bass guitar? Was it easy for you to learn bass?
My sister wanted to play the electric guitar so my father went out to a pawnshop and bought one for my sister and picked out an electric bass for me. I was 13 years at the time. He was very supportive of our musical direction and put us through lessons with Ron Jarzombek (Watchtower, Spastic Ink, Blotted Science).
2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
At the age of 15, I wanted bass playing and music to be my life. It has always been my career and I try my best to live by playing music. However, sometimes you have to do other jobs to get by and support the music that you really want to play.
3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
For bassist; John Patitucci, Geddy Lee, Cliff Burton, James Jamerson, Steve Harris and Alex Webster.
4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
I can play quite a few instruments but I choose to devote myself to the bass.
5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
Bass, because it is always stable, steady and consistent…but can be very crazy at times!
6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
I have two original bands that I invest my own time and money into. The first one is Schwarzenator. It is an Arnold Schwarzenegger parody hard rock comedy band. It is different from Arno Corps and Austrian Death Machine in a sense that we are not punk nor brutal death metal. We all dress up as different Arnold characters (I’m the Runningman), play music and do comical bits live on stage. It’s all in good fun and the music is a little more artsy.
The second is Dinosaur Dick. It started out as a joke between a few of my music friends. We wanted to make a punk band that performed wearing dinosaur masks. The music evolved into a genre that we call Dinocore. Each tune is about one to two minutes long of concentrated art-rock mayhem. It’s kind of like Dillinger Escape Plan meets Dead Kennedys meets Volt. We have been receiving a lot of great compliments about this project so we continue to perform when we all have time to do so.
I also perform freelance bass for the following projects, too.
An Endless Sporadic – Progressive rock and fusion influences. Very challenging music to perform.
John Meadows – Think Bowie meets Franz Liszt, Queen blending with Beethoven and Elton John crossed with Frédéric Chopin.
Shim Sham – Very rhythmic and aggressive riffs like Tool meets Disturbed.
The Humble Hooligans –Irish band that plays originals, traditional and modern standards
The Ploughboys – Celtic folk music; originals and traditional standards.
Big Red Sky – Country band that performs originals and standards.
7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
Playing live is my favorite part of being a musician. I get a great deep-down feeling within my body as I express myself on stage. I make sure to get to venues early to support other acts and appreciate it when they reciprocate. After packing up my gear, I always hang out for a bit to support the next act and talk to anyone there who’s looking for me. I’m a very approachable person and love talking music and tech talk.
8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
I appreciate a well crafted beer and support the craft beer movement. The beer industry has always fascinated me and I do plan on getting involved with it. It is such a great pairing; craft music and craft beer! Those are two things that the outcome depends on if you put your heart and soul into them.
9. Maybe other bass players or those who start to learn bass are reading this article now. Let’s talk about technical stuff. Which brand do you prefer? Does quality of music depend on the guitar’s brand or of the skill of the bass player?
I am a huge fan and advocate of Carvin Guitars (San Deigo, California USA). They make a great line of basses to fit many musical styles and importantly, your band image. However, when it comes down to it, guitar brand doesn’t really matter. Buying a high dollar bass isn’t going to make you sound any better than a cheap bass. Tone comes from your hands first. Any skilled bassist can make a cheap bass sound great. And, an expensive bass doesn’t mean that you’re going to sound great either. Once you’ve figured that out, then you should decide if you want to invest on that high dollar bass.
10. And the last question is about your musical dreams and plans. What are you planning for the future? What are you dreaming about? What should we wish for you?
I will continue to play music for as long as I can. It gives my life meaning and self fulfillment while bringing income to afford my living and life enjoyment. Gigs come and go and I’m always trying to get bigger and better ones. All I ask of anyone reading this is to take a step back and realize the importance of live music. If you don’t support it by going to gigs and shows it will go away. Live music venues are shutting down faster these days because of this. If you really love music think twice next time you decide to stay in and not go to a show.