Nicki Tedesco, 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 started playing around 17. Was it easy? YES! The reason is that I loved it so much so I WANTED to practice. As with anything, it’s not EASY, it just depends upon how much you put into it. I was a 6 hours a day player for a few years and that got me up to speed pretty fast. I was in bands within a couple of years touring. It was my life. I wanted nothing else but to be a great player. Of course, I remembered hearing “Longview” by Green Day or Freaky Styley by the Chili Peppers and thinking “I wish I could play bass like that”, now I can pick up the bass and do those from remembering the bass line, but back then, it seemed like an arduous task. I was humbled by their greatness, but it just made me work harder. Regarding of learning how to physically play the bass, knowing the ROLE of the bass in a song or in a band, is something you can only learn with time. That function is what I think people struggle with the most. Even though it has the same string intervals, it’s not a guitar with 4 or 5 strings. It plays a completely different role. It’s all about the POCKET, yo!
2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
LIFESTYLE! The bass saved me from a lot of bad places I could have ended up in my teens and to this day, helps me have patience and hope. I know that might sound silly, but it’s really not. When the whole world feels like it’s falling apart, I can play some deep growly low end notes and everything lightens up just a little bit. Regarding it being a job, it depends on the time of year. It depends if it’s a tour or just playing at the weekly gig at the Rainbow on Sunset. Basically, I’ll never stop playing bass whether or not I am of retirement age. It’s just part of who I am. I am a songwriter and my view of music has become more holistic. It’s not just about the bass, it’s about the whole unit of a song, it’s about the message, the feeling, the vibe…
3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
Geezer Butler hands down, love his tone and his style. He taught me how to play just by listening to his lines. I learned the blues scale from his playing! (I just had a dream about him last night, I had to decide, should I jam with Geezer or film the music video! What a choice to make). I also love Tony Levin as well: King Crimson tone. Carlos Dengler from Interpol, his lines are just infectious. Paul Barker from Ministry and Revolting Cocks was a huge influence as well as Klaus Flouride from the Dead Kennedys, his bass lines were so playful and had a ton of melody. He was another one that I would not even TRY to play those lines for YEARS! Now I teach them to students and say: don’t come back until you learn this and can play it with heart! …needless to say: I have less students now…lol!
4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
I play double bass, guitar, and flute. I would like to learn more piano. It’s so wonderful and holistic. The cello is another love for me, it’s so SEXY! It’s just that I have never even touched one! They are not always just hanging around, you know?
5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with (if you could BE any instrument, what would it be)?
…This is the weirdest question ever! What instrument would I be, if I could be an instrument? hilarious question, but ok I’ll answer it. 🙂 Well at first, I was thinking the HARP cause I could get a tickle massage all day, but then I realized, how boring to stay static, so..I would be a VOICE, so I could travel through the air, and not be a stagnant piece of equipment living in a flight case. 🙂
6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
FRANTIC GINGER is my band along with the incredible drummer TOSHA JONES! She blows my socks off! Check out her website: toshajones.com She hits so hard, has great timing, and just is a great all around person and friend. I’m so lucky to be working with her. We just released an album called: Inside Your Wasteland (available on iTunes)
7. What do you feel on live performances?
I LOVE to play live. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!
How friendly and open are you with your fans?
Well, I’m not that rock star image person that hits the last note, holds up my arm and waits for the love…I’m part of the audience too. I feel like we are all there together. Yes I put on a show, but it wouldn’t be a show if they weren’t there. I try to reach out to each fan and make them a part of this whole artistic venture. When you are a band with no backing, you HAVE to do this, cause there are 2 fans here, 2 fans there, I’m starting small since I have always been more of a hired gun for other people. But when I get a real fan, they are a REAL fan! They LOVE our music. It’s not for everyone. It’s got a punk edge to it that’s a little difficult for some people, but that’s what it is, and it’s for a particular niche of people, and those are MY PEOPLE.
8. What do you like except music?
Nature…I’m a hippy punk basically, so being outdoors and being healthy is a love of mine.
Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
Not always, but I guess I have to! I try to live a balanced life, be healthy, have good communication with the people around me, to connect, and be of service. If that includes my bass and my songs, even better!
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?
Spector Basses are my favorite. They are my absolute favorite in versatility. I have some other loves, but Spector is my “go to” for the tone that I want. It has that growl that caught me with the first note I ever played on one.
Does quality of music depend on the guitar’s brand or of the skill of the bass player?
I truly believe a great player can make most basses sound good. It IS in the fingers, however, if the intonation is horrible and it’s a piece of junk, good luck with that. I still recommend getting a good quality instrument. Also, new strings on a crappy bass still sound pretty damn good as long as the intonation is properly set up. Don’t let a piece of junk bass hold you back, get a guitar tech to set it up, put new strings on it, and START PLAYING. Think about a better bass later, just START PLAYING.
10. And the last question is about your musical dreams and plans. What are you planning for the future?
We are shooting a video end of September, so that will be out shortly. We plan to continue to write music and put out records that people LALALOVE!
What are you dreaming about?
I dream about writing songs with greatly talented people that push me. I love collaboration. To be respected as a great songwriting and lyric writer is a wonderful feeling and i would like more of that, please.
What should we wish for you?
This is a really sweet question! Well, please wish for me that my music will get out to multiple tons of people and they will love and embrace it and support local music because that’s all we have…computers are taking over and we can’t let that affect true art, just enhance it.