Bass players unite

project made by 

 

Julie Pavlova and

Kathy Loran

 

Part II

Brian Kimble

(plays with Danielle Taylor)

Brian Kimble1. 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 was a bit of a late bloomer…started playing when I was 17. I was always into music and loved it, but was usually preoccupied with sports or something else. In high school my love for music really took over and I ultimately decided I wanted to participate, rather than just attend and listen. It was relatively easy for me to learn the basics because I took a few lessons and joined a band right off the bat. Being in a band is really a good way to extend your abilities right away. It helps you stay in time, listen to the other instruments, want to get better for the purpose of the song, etc. Really helped me right away.

2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
A little bit of everything at this point. But above all, It’s definitely a lifestyle…I don’t think I’ll ever not play bass.

3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
There are several inspiring bassists for me, but my top 3 would probably be Les Claypool, Flea, and Geddy Lee.

4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
I wouldn’t say I play any other instruments…I dabble with an acoustic guitar I’ve got, but wouldn’t call myself a multi instrumentalist. If I were to start playing another instrument it would be the drums. Drums and percussive sounds in general really resonate with me. It’s usually where my head is at when it comes to the creative process.

5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
Well you’d think it’d be bass…but I always say I’m a drummer in a bass player’s body.

6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
I play bass with pop singer/songwriter Danielle Taylor. That’s the only project I’m currently associated with, though I played in a metal band for about 6 years and played with a jam band for a short period of time too. I just recently did some studio work for someone on a few rock tunes as well. But my main focus is recording and performing with Danielle. Our latest EP entitled „The Chase” is currently being mixed and we’re gearing up for a ton of dates in support of that release. We worked with Erich Talaba (Sara Bareilles, Fall Out Boy, Switchfoot, Yellowcard) on it and are beyond excited to share the final product with all of our fans and friends alike!

7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
I love performing live! There is no single greater feeling than putting on a great show for all the people that have spent their hard earned money or taken time out of the day to come see you live. I feel us as performers owe them our best. Being on stage is electric and gives me a rush like no other, but after a performance you’ll usually find me at the merch table hanging out and meeting all kinds of people. And that can be just as enjoyable as the show itself…always a great time!

8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
Other than music…I love to travel, wine taste, and eat bomb food…what more could you ask for really? I’m a huge basketball fan and never miss a Laker game. I also love stand up comedy. I can’t really imagine myself in other areas life though besides music. Music is and always will be a constant for me I think.

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?
For me, Fender is where it’s at. I love my Fender ‚American Special’ P-Bass. It’s perfect for the type of music I play with Danielle and just has a great overall tone. I use DR strings (gotta love the brightness!) and normally play out of my Markbass CMD 102P. It’s the most powerful, rich sounding combo amp out there in my opinion. It’s small and relatively light…but packs a serious punch. I’ll throw a Tech 21 SansAmp into the mix to add a little more depth and call it a day! I try to keep my set up as simple as possible with out compromising on the tone and power I’m looking for. I think the quality of music can be improved by a good bass or guitar sure, but does not necessarily depend on it. You of course want to use great gear, but if a song is not good..then gear isn’t going to help much in my opinion. The skill of the player is actually quite important I think when it comes to bass. A lot of people hear great songs and can’t really make out what the bass is doing…or just a hear a general low frequency moving along with the chord changes and assume it’s no big thing. But I would say it takes a fair amount of skill and practice to stay in the pocket, play what’s right for the song, keep a great consistent tone going and not be noticed. I’m talking about general bass playing…not virtuosos or bands that feature the bass more…those obviously take a great deal of skill. But the skill level behind simple basslines of great songs that we all love should not be underestimated.

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?
My musical dream is simply to continue to be a part of the creative process with great new music and tour the world. Continuing with my current band Danielle Taylor is my main plan for the future. I am very excited for the release of „The Chase” and look forward to performing the new songs live, meeting tons of new people, and making new friends!

Cleo Bigontina, France

(Mini Vague)

(English Version)

Cleo Bigontina1. La première chose, qu’on voudrait savoir, c’est quand as-tu commencé à jouer de la guitare basse?
J’ai commencé à 18 ou 19 ans ça fait donc plus de 10 ans … ça passe vite 🙂

2. Est-ce que jouer de la basse pour toi, c’est… un hobby? Job? Style de vie?
Actuellement, c’est techniquement mon job, mais au vue des difficultés du métier, je dirais que c’est plus un mode de vie.

3. Qui est ton inspirateur musical chez les bassistes?
Tony Kanal du groupe No Doubt… Il y en a d’autres mais il reste celui qui me parle le plus dans le jeu et l’énergie qu’il dégage sur scène.

4. Joues-tu d’autres instruments de musique? Quels instruments? Quels instruments aimerais-tu jouer?
Je joue également de la guitare et je démarre la contrebasse.

5. Quel instrument de musique peux-tu t’associer à? Pourquoi?
Je ne suis pas sure de bien comprendre la question. Mais spontanément je dirais que j’aime jouer avec tous les instruments. Du moment qu’il y a le feeling.

6. Parle-nous des projets auxquels tu participes?
J’accompagne plusieurs projets de manière sporadique à Paris, mais le groupe dans lequel je m’investit beaucoup en ce moment s’appelle Mini Vague. C’est du rock Indépendant. On a un Facebook et un compte Tweeter avec toutes les infos nous concernant.

7. Parle-nous de tes impressions de live shows? Combien es-tu amical et ouvert aux fans?
Les lives, me remplissent d’une énergie unique. J’ai du mal avec le terme “fan”, et puis, je suis bassiste, personne n’est fan des bassistes 😉

Mais blagues à part, j’aime beaucoup échanger avec les gens qui sont venus nous voir après les concerts. Ça me touche beaucoup que les gens se mobilisent pour venir nous écouter.

8. Qu’est-ce que t’attire sauf musique? Tu te vois dans d’autres domaines?
Beaucoup de domaines m’attirent, mais je m’intéresse aux rapports humains et à ce qui les construisent… Alors de la psychologie ou de la sociologie peut-être.

9. Peut-être cet article sera lu par tes collegues ou bassistes débutants. Que peux-tu dire sur les marques et brands des bass guitares? Quelles brands et guitares utilises-tu? Est-ce que la marque de la guitare influe sur la qualite du son, ou tout dépend de l’habileté du bassiste?
Comme beaucoup de jeunes bassistes, j’ai démarré sur une petite basse d’entrée de gamme.

C’est suffisant, aujourd’hui, les marques proposent de bons instruments à petit prix.
Je pense que le son vient avant tout des doigts du bassistes, de sa condition morale, mais aussi de son confort. Donc oui, avoir du materiel de qualité participe au fait d’avoir un bon son. C’est un cercle vertueux.
Personellement, je suis chez Yamaha depuis quelques mois. J’utilise la BB1024 et j’en suis très contente. Elle est polyvalente tout en ayant une vraie personalité!

10. Parle-nous de tes plans musicaux et de tes rêves. Que devrions-nous te souhaiter?
J’ai quelques dates à venir, surtout sur Paris. On vient de sortir un clip avec Mini Vague, et on devrait enregistrer un album bientôt.

Sinon je travaille pour un magazine de basse qui s’appelle Bass Part. J’y suis intervenante sur le dvd pédagogique.
Vous pouvez me souhaiter de voyager et de continuer à faire plein de belles rencontres avec la musique…

Micheal Jennings, the US

Micheal Jennings1. 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.

Jime van Booven, the US

(John Zipperer&friends)

Jime van Booven1. 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 began on guitar first, when I was about 12 years old. Started a band with my brother and our bass player moved. So at 14, I switched to bass.

2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
At this time, playing bass is more of a life style. I’m currently playing in a band and sometimes I get called to play for others. I don’t think of it as a job, more like a hobby where I sometimes make money.

3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
There are many, but the one who got me interested in the bass is Paul McCartney.

4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
Guitar, as I mentioned before. I also play a little keyboard, have played the ukelele and also am working on the mandolin. I have some harmonicas, but have not yet put that much time into learning how to play them. At this time, I don’t think I should try anything else, until I can play what I have now.

5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
The Hofner Violin Beatle Bass. That is my main bass at the moment.

6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
I play bass and sing with John Zipperer & Friends. I started playing at the Veterans Hospital in the San Fernando Valley playing Jazz Standards for the vets. I sat in for John Cartwright for a couple of weeks. When he returned, I began playing guitar. I am also working a my songs, but I try to do them when I have some down time.

7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
I feel great every time I perform. It’s hard to play for a small (5-10) crowd, but I try to give my all. Large crowds are also great, but you must try to included them in your performance. Make them a part, let them know it’s ok to sing, clap, yell, whistle and most importantly, to have fun. I am very friendly, accessible and open with the fans.

8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
I like to fish, camp, drive through the mountains and take pictures. There are many amazing things mother nature has to offer. It’s down time, from the rat race and a good way to recharge the batteries. I can’t imagine myself in any other life style. For me, and most other musicians, it’s a calling. That’s why, I didn’t have a different career. I’ve worked on and built computers and did inventory control. But I was always playing as much and as often as I could.

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?
The basses I had in the past, were an EBO short scale bass by Gibson. Then I began using the Fender long scale P-Bass. Now I use a Hofner Violin Bass, which is my current preference. The quality of music, in my opinion, may or may not depend on the brand (name) of the instrument. There have been some less expensive basses I used, that sounded and felt better, than a more expensive bass and vice versa. Skill lever is important, but you also have to feel (play) and hear the instrument as well. Each musician has a tone they are searching for and part of the tone, comes from the instrument. I believe that which ever model, size, cost of the instrument you pick. It must feel good in your hands, it must play smoothly, it must have a good tone off the shelf and you should be comfortable playing it. Then you can work on finding the tone, you hear in your head. Others may have a different approach or take on this subject, but this is my way and it’s been working for me so far. Try, hear, feel before you purchase. At the moment, my set up is The Hofner connected to a SansAmp (EQ’d and dialed in), then connected to an Acoustic B260 mini amp (also EQ’d and dialed in).

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 lived most of my musical dreams and I plan to continue playing for as long as I can. Since I don’t consider this a job and more of a hobby, I don’t think I will ever stop. I’m working to complete my solo project and hope that the music will help others, dealing with grief and letting them know, they are not alone. Wish me continued peace and happiness and pass it on the everyone.

Marten Andersson

(Lizzy Borden, x-Lynch, Mob)

Marten Andersson1. 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 actually started to play the guitar, I was about 13 when I saw Gene Simmons on some TV show and it made me want to switch to bass. I wanted to breathe fire and fly with bat wings on stage. I was pretty much begging my dad every day to buy me a bass, he eventually bought me a little Fender Mustang bass. I started taking lessons and figuring out how to play the music that was played on the radio. I don’t really remember this part, but when I run into people that were around then, they tell me I always had a bass with me or I was always practicing.

I was not one of those people where things came easy, some people do it once and they get it right off the bat. I worked my ass off, practiced all day and night and took lessons. Once it’s in my head it doesn’t leave – so I guess it’s a trade off. Plus, I became very passionate about playing, and you cant help yourself but to do it all the time, when you have passion.

2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
When I’m sitting at home a hobby, in the studio or at rehearsal it’s a job or responsibility, when I’m on stage or on tour it’s a lifestyle. I always tell people, getting paid to do your hobby for a living is the ultimate reward!

3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
I had so many different inspirations through out the years (many different musicians, bands and styles of music). I like all kinds of music and I am not one of those guys who is snowed in listening to just metal and screw the rest type (laughter). Like I mentioned, the initial trigger for me to switch to bass was seeing Gene Simmons on TV so I got heavy into Kiss, then all the 80’s bands, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, guitar gods like Schenker and Blackmore. I got into a lot of classical music and for a period of time a lot of the instrumental metal music (mainly through Shrapnel records and Mike Varney’s huge catalog of shredders). 

4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
I write songs on guitar. I always regret not learning the piano on a deeper level. It’s never too late to learn something new of course, but everytime I sit down wanting to practice the piano the phone rings or I get pulled elsewhere. So, obviously – my passion to do it is not there one hundred percent. Perhaps one day!   

5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
Bass!!!!!

6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?Marten Andersson2
Longtime bass player with Lizzy Borden, x-Lynch Mob and a bunch more stuff, to long to brag about here. I am playing bass on Dario Lorina’s (Black Label Society) latest instrumental CD (out on Shrapnel records, you can find it here) it has a ton of cool shredding on it if you are into that.  Also my old solo CD ‚Legacy’ was re-released digitally with bonus tracks and I just found out it on the Top 100 N1M metal Charts, which is mind blowling but it feels awesome. It can be found here: http://cdbaby.com/cd/Legacy15

7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
It’s amazing playing live. I like looking out and seeing the fans smiling, singing along knowing that our music is putting them in a happy place, even if just for a couple of hours. Make them forget about the issues and problem we all face in our daily lives. With Lizzy Borden we always do a meet and greet after every show (for free!!) like a gesture to thank the fans and we try and make sure everybody get their stuff signed. We just played in Russia and we went to the Red Square after the show with a ton of fans, something I will always remember, it was awesome. The fans are everything!

8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
I am a pretty normal guy aside from my music. I like hanging out with my friends, good dinners and wine, interesting conversations, watching hockey and motorcycles. I often think about where to go from here and what to do after my touring/playing days. So far I’ve got nothing, music is my life..

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 play ESP Bass guitars and have been playing them since I was 18, I have some Fenders and a few other basses but ESP is the company I am loyal to and play in the studio and live. I feel their products are superior, reliable and they provide great customer service. They have not let me down in 20 years so why switch.  

Marten Andersson3Skill is always a plus (laughter) but I think its part of a bigger question, and it’s a tricky question. Why? Well, because so much can be created and fixed in the studio now-days. I recorded in situations where the producer goes: „OK play a verse, play the pre chorus and a Chorus, OK DONE!” I am like, what? He copies and paste them in (fly in the parts in the song) and bam it’s done. I am definitely not use to work like that but with the technology moving so fast it’s the way of the future.    

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?
We are currently finishing up the Lizzy Borden 30th Anniversary, we have played in places like South Korea, South America, U.S.A., Europe and Russia, it’s been a crazy last couple of years and there are still many countries I would like to see and play in. I am still waiting for Blackmore or Schenker to call me (Laughing) some things haven’t changed since I was 14 years old.

Music wise there as are still many bands and musicians I would like to play with. Some have already died, but since you asked me about my dreams. In other aspects of life I have the same daily issues as you do, we all do. I try to do my best in whatever I do. I hope we all can figure out a way to live on this planet in harmony, wishing people the oppertunity to have a happy life without poverty and health issues. Yes it sounds like a Facebook post or meme.

James Gould, the US

(Madlife)

James Gould1. 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 got my first bass about a month before my 16th birthday. It was easy based on the idea that I really wanted to know how to play. So, it wasn’t like work and I wasn’t forced into doing it.

2. Playing on the bass for you is… Hobby? Job? Lifestyle?
Bass is my life!! Aside from about 6months of playing lead guitar in a band, I’ve always played bass..It just feel natural for me to play it..

3. Who is your musical inspiration among bassists?
There are so many amazing bass players out there that inspire me.. But, for the most part, I am interested in good songwriting over technical playing abilities. And, I do try to find inspiration in every band I see, from a cover band in a small bar to an international touring band in a arena..There should be something you can take away from every performance you see or hear.

4. Do you play any other musical instruments? If you start to learn another one which would you like?
I have taught myself to play guitar and some beats on the drums. I really wish I learned how to play piano growing up. I can play some chords on it, but it takes me a while..And, I should have been in the chior in school so I could have really learned how to sing.

5. Musical instrument with which you can be associated with is…
As I said, I’ve been a bassist almost my whole musical career..

6. Tell us about the projects in which you participate?
I have played in a few bands, most notably Madlife. We had a few songs on the radio and did a few tours around the US.

7. What do you feel on live performances? How friendly and open are you with your fans?
Live performances are awesome. It is such a great feeling to see someone getting into the music you are playing and creating..I always try to meet with fans at shows. They are the reason why we all keep doing this, right?? And, it still amazes me every time a fan asks for my autograph..That’s such a cool thing!!

8. What do you like except music? Can you imagine yourself in other areas of life?
When I am not playing music, I am usually just hanging with friends.. Maybe watch some games on tv or catch a movie.. And, like everyone else, it seems we are all tied to our phones.. HA!! If I weren’t to be playing music, I would like to be doing something in the music business.. Maybe studio producing/engineering or live sound or something in the field. And, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable if I weren’t doing something in music.

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 have a few different basses, a few custom made ones, some high end Zon basses, and a couple Epiphone Blackbirds. I use Ampeg amps and cabinets and a few effects to make noises.. To the second part of this question, I don’t think the guitar’s brand name has anything to do with the quality of music. I have seen some famous bassists play different basses through different amps and always sound the same. It is more about the player and what comes from their hands..

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 am currently putting together a new band with some friends. We have about 10-15 demoed as of now. We are trying to put the finishing touches on the band and then release it to the world.. It would be great if something broke with this act. I think we are in the process of writing some really great songs..

Eloy Palacios

(Schwarzenator, Dinosaur Dick)

Eloy Palacios

Photo credit by Alex Solca

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.

Nicki Tedesco, the US

(Frantic Ginger)

Nicki Tedesco

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) 

Nicki Tedesco2

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.