Thursday, September 26, 2019
OFF THE DEEP END SERIES : James Pera of Corners of Sacntuary
1. Why Bass?
James Pera: I was not cool enough to play guitar…I started playing in a band right out of the gate. I was always interested in playing in a band so when I had the opportunity, I jumped on it. They needed a bass player. I was in 8th grade. Bass was my ticket in, so I faked it till I made it so to speak. That is the honest truth of how I got started. Having said that, as time went on, I quickly found myself really digging the back end and rhythm section of the music. Bottom end…the heart of the song so to speak. During the recording process, the song does not seem rounded out to me till I hear the bass track dropped in…brings out the power of music
2. Do you think it is unfair or just lack of knowledge bass gets so little credit?
James Pera: Honestly, I never really thought of it being fair or unfair. My mind does not work that way at all…credit or not credit. I have been in bands my entire life. If you want the attention, well step up to the edge of the stage I suppose. I don’t think the casual fan really knows the difference of what instrument is in my hands. They like being noticed and they like interaction. I appreciate the fans very much and they want to feel like they are part of the show. The musicians in the crowd notice, but in the end they really want to hear a great band. Each instrument, to a musician listening, has its own story to tell. Some good, some bad I suppose, but in the end, it’s about the band’s performance. I dig interacting with the crowd, not because I want credit or love…I just dig that they dig our stuff.
3. What kind of bass do you use? Model, color , year , And why?
James Pera: I have many different types of basses, however, my player is a Hohner Professional. I bought it in 1994. It has a maple top…red. My buddy owned a music store, and he gave me a deal on it. I played it, and love the action and tone. That was the number one reason for buying it. I have played it since. I have other Hohner Professional basses as well, about 6 of them. I rehearse with one that is a touch slower than my player, and use it as my backup. I have found that rehearsing with a slower bass helps to build your muscle memory…just a thing for me. Having practice basses also helps extend the life of your live player. Definitely keeps the miles down.
4. Tell us about your amplification
James Pera: I use Carvin as both my main head and back up head…BX1500, and BX250 micro. If I have to travel via plane, I use a Trace Elliot 200watt micro. I keep it pretty simple. No effects, etc. I have my setting memorized. I use it with all my heads…with a few tweaks here and there. I have found that you don’t need huge gear. Either the room is small and you don’t need it, or it’s large and you have a sound system. The tone is key, not the size of the gear. I barely move the needle on my 1500…a touch past quarter way and it is screaming.
5. With all of that being said do you feel tone is an important thing for bass?
James Pera: 100% it should complement the music but it should also round out the bottom end. People move their heads to drums and bass. It is what they react to spiritually throughout the song. People dance to the beat. Having said that, super important that it mixes well with the band and what you are trying to achieve. For me, a fat, round, punchy sound is the way to go. I love the progressive sound for a bass.
6. Do you prefer 5 strings over 4 string?
James Pera: It’s 4 strings for me…5 confuses me….Hahahaha. Keep it simple and drive it home I say. Less is more in my opinion, but again, it is what complements the music best in my situation.
7. Who is your favorite bassist?
James Pera: Geddy Lee I suppose…but more because of his overall music talent and ability. I mean, he is aces as a bass player for sure, but an even better well rounded musician. His style complements Rush as a band. Fits perfect with Neil’s style and perfectly with what the band is trying to achieve. That’s what makes them great. Having said that, the best players I have seen over the years have been nameless…great local musicians doing their thing.
8. Who is your least favorite bassist?
James Pera: I don’t really have one…never thought of who I don’t like. I can tell you that as a musician, I don’t like when a bass player grand stands over the music…whether it be via volume or tone. I see guys dragging in two bass stacks, one on each side of the drums. They crank their bass up and kill the song, especially when the tone does not complement the music. Less is more in my opinion…just me though.
9. Why do you think women seem to be attracted to playing bass?
James Pera: Hmmm. Not sure that is 100% accurate across all genres of music. Plenty of country, folk and rock guitarist that are women… We just opened for the Iron Maidens…Hahaha However, I do understand the context of your question. Not sure really…I think it might just be a cultural thing in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. Recently we have played with women that played drums, bass and are lead singers. But not too many lead guitar players. The traditional lead guitar player has typically been white, male, tall and thin. Certainly no short, fat lead guitar players out there in Metal…hahahaha.
10. What bassist dead or alive would you like a private lesson with?
James Pera: Roger Waters…hands down. Mostly because I want to see what is in his mind.
11. Bonus question
Bobby Doll , Nikki Sixx , Les Claypool , Billy Sheehan which is more ridiculous
James Pera: I dunno, but they all seem to have made a good to great career… maybe I can take some pointers.