Ted Russel Kamp, the US
(Shooter Jennings, Calico, Wanda Jackson, James Intveld, James Byous, Chase Cohl, Peach and Knife, the Cherry Bluestorms and Funkyjenn)
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 bass when I was 13 in my first year of High School. I loved it right away and played all the time so it was pretty easy for me to start playing. I had played trumpet in school bands since the 4th grade so I already understood scales and reading which definitely helped.
2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
I have been a professional musician for almost 20 years now so the bass/music is my job and lifestyle and still is my hobby too. It’s always been fascinating to me how you choose your instrument but it kind of chooses you too. Whenever a band meets another band on the road, the drummers always hit it off, the bass players hit it off, the lead singers end up hanging out together … it’s not just talking about gear, but has more to do with the personality types we have and the roles we have chosen in life.
3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
Paul McCartney, Jamey Jamerson, Carl Radle, Leland Sklar, Duck Dunn, Carol Kaye, Sting, Kenny Gradney, Ray Brown, Scott Lefaro, Ron Carter … too many to name. Doug Miller is a great jazz player in Seattle I used to study with. Taras Produniak is an amazing player in L.A. I look up to. George Reiff is another out of Austin.
4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
Yes, I play guitar and dobro, some keyboards and trumpet and trombone but bass and singing are my main things. I have been messing around with the harmonica recently. I’m at the cool simple and out of tune Neil Young level now but I’d like to get better at crossharp bluesy playing/
5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
Bass all the way.
6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
I have my own solo project. Sometimes I gig and tour solo. Sometimes I hire a band to play with me when I travel. I also play a lot locally in L.A. and do some touring with other artists. Some of my favorite people I have been playing with are: Shooter Jennings, Calico, Wanda Jackson, James Intveld, James Byous, Chase Cohl, Peach and Knife, the Cherry Bluestorms and Funkyjenn.
7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
I love playing live and do it many times every week. It is not uncommon for me to have 5 or 6 gigs a week. In fact, next week I leave for a 3 week solo tour in Europe – it’ll be 19 shows in 21 days in Holland, Germany, Sweden and Finland. Also, I love meeting audiences and music lovers and talking about music. Our mutual love of music makes for a lot of inspiring conversation and turns me on to a lot of great new music too – and without the fans, we wouldn’t have a job, so it’s never been too hard for me to talk to the fans and people in the audience.
8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
All I really do is play music and spend time with my family. That’s the way I like it. I do try to make time to read and watch old movies.
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 think every instrument has it’s own personality just like every person does. So there is not an ideal brand or kind of instrument, there is just what suits you. There are definitely higher quality instruments though, so once you get to the range of pretty good instruments, anything can work as long as you are comfortable on it. But if you have something to say, you can say it with even the cheapest level of gear. A great singer can sing through any microphone and still sound like themself. Players and instruments are the same. Some of my favorite basses I have are: Fender P-Bass (I have a 1983 Elite PBass which is the first bass I ever owned and I still play it a lot), Fender Jazz Bass, Gibson Thunderbird, Epiphone Jack Casady, Danelectro Longhorn, a cool old Crown (it’s a Japanese Hofner copy from the 60’s and it has a great pillowy warm sound). I also have an upright acoustic bass I play a lot which is a German made Gutz from the 50’s that I bought in Seattle about 20 years ago.
10. And the last question is about your musical dreams and plans. What are you planning for the future?
I am working on my next solo record which I am hoping to release next Spring or Summer. I also play a lot of local gigs in L.A. both with my band and as a sideman for other artists. I have been producing more records for other artists and band that I have been playing with and have been loving that too.