Micheal Jennings, the US
1. For the first question we want to know when did you start to play the bass guitar? Was it easy for you to learn bass?
I must have been around 15 years old when I first started learning to play the bass. I didn’t know how to play anything musical, so my parents made me get lessons from a local instructor. Actually, I really lucked out and got a great instructor. He made learning to play a blast, and because it was so much fun, it made learning seem easy. Yet, in hindsight, it came easily because I spent so much time practicing. I’d practice every spare minute I had. I probably had a bass in my hands anywhere from 4 to 10 hours every day. It must have drove my family crazy!
2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
I’d call it a lifestyle. But it’s been a hobby and even a job at times. When I started out, it was just a hobby, that’s all. It was something fun to do and I had absolutely zero ambition to take my music any further then that. But as time went by I started being asked to play shows for friends, and then started doing studio work. Eventually I started getting contacted by bands and artists I didn’t even know. That’s around the time when I made the choice to try and make a career out of it.
3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
Over the many, many years I’ve been playing, I’ve been influenced by numerous players. Of course I’ve been influenced by the big name guys like Sheehan, Wooten, Geddy Lee, Jaco, Palladino, John Paul Jones, and so on. Seriously, the list could go on and on. But, I remember just 3 players who inspired me to want to play, want to learn to play, to want to be a bassist. That being Flea (Red Hot Chili Peppers), Paul D’Amour (Tool), and Rex Brown (Pantera). I actually remember watching Headbangers Ball one saturday night and Pantera came on. It wasn’t one of their usually played singles at the time, I think it was something off of „Cowboys From Hell” like „The Art of Shredding” or „Primal Concrete Sledge”, and I remember watching it and thinking, „Whoa, I want to learn to do that!”. The next day I asked my parents if I could get a bass, and the rest is history.
4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
I also play Guitar, Drums, Piano, Synth, and Vocals. Currently I’ve been putting a lot of my extra time into improving my vocal ability and range. Vocals are such a difficult instrument to do, and do well. My hat’s off to those true vocalists out there. Kudos.
5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
Most would associate me with the Bass Guitar, and rightly so. That’s what I prefer to play and thoroughly enjoy playing. And that’s what I play live in front of crowds. So yeah, I think I’m mostly associated with the bass.
6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
Lately I’ve been working with my good friend Sean on a new project that we look to release real soon. But, until it’s completely ready to be released, I have to keep all the details under wrap. It’s all hush, hush. Sorry. But I am constantly being asked to tour, or play shows for one band or another. So in the meantime I’m sure you’ll see me out there, somewhere.
7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
Oh, playing live, playing in front of crowds, that is why I’m a musician. That’s my happy place. I enjoy being on stage more then just about anything else in life, and it’s the fans that make being on stage possible. So I try my best to be friendly to every one of my fans, and to give them, every one of them, the best show possible.
8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
I’m always trying new things. I’ve actually done a lot of things way outside the music industry already. Like, I’ve owned a few bars, a couple restaurants, done Civil Engineering, Land Surveying, and Architecture, and even restored classic cars. I tend to get bored easily I guess.
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 use/endorse Schecter Guitars, Line6, Hartke Amps and Cabinets, Audio-Technica Wireless Systems, and Dunlop picks and strings. For someone who’s looking to start out I recommend a bass and a small practice amp that should only cost about $300-$700. Because starting out, that’s all you really need. Now later, when you have a band, then you’ll probably want to scale up your rig and get something like a half-stack. But until then, keep it simple. Also, one thing I seriously recommend avoiding when starting out are the extremely cheap guitars like the China knock-offs or the kind you find at a place like Walmart. The reason those guitars are so cheap is because the quality is really bad. Many will have problems with intonation, the action, or neck problems, and any of these problems can make the guitar very tough to play. It’ll just make learning that much harder, if not impossible. And that’s no fun.
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?
Well the other night I had this great dream. It was Kristen Stewart, Emma Watson and I, and… Oh wait. That’s not what you meant by dreams huh. Oh. Well i guess currently, my plans are to keep working on my new project and to get all the last little details finalized and done. After that, then the real work begins. Touring, Promoting, the whole nine yards. But this is also the most enjoyable time of the whole process for me, because personally, I absolutely love touring. The new places, new people. It’s the best. So if you’d like to make a wish for me, wish that my dream with Kristen Stewart and Emma Watson comes true… Or, I guess you could always wish me safe travels. Thanks.