I have always thought that the bass is just the coolest instrument. It is what adds weight and heft to the music. It's what drives the song. There is also so much freedom when it comes to playing bass. You can make it as simple or as complex as you want, both approaches are correct. I can't think of any other instrument where you can have so much opportunity to play with or against the beat, to play along with the melody or provide counterpoint... The sky is really the limit, as long as you can maintain that groove and drive the song, you are in the zone.
2.Do you think it is unfair or just lack of knowledge bass gets so little credit?
I think it's a bit of both, to be honest. I think bass players by nature are comfortable hanging back and supporting the song. There is only one FLEA. I have always thought the bass is the most crucial piece of the puzzle. It's like the secret ingredient in a song - if it's not there, everything is off. I always approach bass playing like it's my job to bridge the gap between the drums and the guitar. Like Derek Smalls in Spinal Tap, I try to be lukewarm water hahaha
3.What kind of bass do you use? Model , color , year , And why
I play an Ibanez Soundgear 4 string that I bought many years ago from a pawn shop in South Dakota. I am not sure what year it is, I can tell you it's probably a good 15 years old at this point. I've maintained this bass well and been nicer to it than some family members! It's got a natural blond woodgrain finish on it. I've picked up and played different basses, but I always return to this one. It just feels right for me. It's got the perfect size and weight for me, I love the different variety of tones that I can get out of the bass. It is just an extremely comfortable bass to play.
4.Tell us about your amplification
I use an Ashdown MAG300 which is absolutely killer. 300 watts, loud as hell. It has great EQ options, as well as a "DEEP SWITCH" which really makes it boom, as well as a subharmonic generator I can use if I want that will play an octave down. I don't mess with that too much in drop tunings though. I like having some real power and weight but still having that great tone and clarity. I like playing with a little bit of distortion, maybe a little bit of chorus and that's it. A good bass, a good amp and great note selection will serve you well.
5. With all of that being said do you feel tone is an important thing for bass?
Great tone is paramount! We've all heard those records where the bass player was playing something really cool, but it sounds like it was muddy, just not enough clarity to really set itself apart. Depending on the situation, I will mess with my EQ to make sure I am sitting right in the mix. When I am playing live, I might push those lows a little bit just to really rattle your guts and have some weight. When I'm recording though, I tend to push the mids a bit. Between the drop-tuned guitars and the kick drums, that can eat up a lot of sonic real estate for the bass. We can too easily get into "...And Justice For All" territory where the bass just drops out of the mix. I absolutely love that album, but it would be so much better with some bass to it. Damn you, Lars!
6.Do you prefer 5 strings over 4 string?
I actually prefer 4 string these days. In Torn Away, my 4 string Ibanez Soundgear suits me perfectly for what we are doing. I used to play in a sludgy doom metal band, think Cathedral meets Eyehategod with death metal vocals. In that band, my 5 string bass was a great choice, that B string was heavily used. In Torn Away, the 4 string just makes the most sense.
7.Who is your favorite bassist?
Oh jeez... Giving you just one is impossible. I'm going to be that guy and give you my top 5.
1.) Jason Newsted. My favorite Metallica bass player. He was THE GUY when I was growing up. I love Cliff. I love Rob. But the way Jason plays just really resonated with me. His style. His note selection. His groove. He made Metallica a better band when he was with them. *AMEN!!
2.) Geezer Butler. It's Geezer. He invented heavy bass playing. Enough said.
3.) Duff McKagan. I really like the way he plays. He is a little bit of a busier player, but everything he does serves the song. He does some really cool melodic flourishes without being too much of a show off. Just really tasty playing.
4.) John Paul Jones. He was absolutely the secret weapon for Led Zeppelin. The very definition of unsung hero. He was the guy who shunned the spotlight in a band of superstars and drove the songs forward. You have to be an absolute badass to play between Jimmy Page and John Bonham... plus the stuff he did on the mellotron was amazing.
5.) Alan Robert of Life of Agony. Kind of a dark horse selection, but if you listen to those classic Life of Agony songs, you will see just how important the bass was to those songs. Alan has groove for days, he's an extremely creative bass player. I love everything he does.
8. Who is your least favorite bassist?
That's a tough one. There aren't too many bands that I despise. There are people in other bands that we've played shows with that have been real douchebags, so I guess I would nominate them. I'm not the guy to name names, but at this point in their life, I really hope they know how much they suck. Does Nicki Minaj or Cardi B own a bass? They are my least favorite at anything and everything.
9.Why do you think women seem to be attracted to playing bass?
There is something inherently sexy about the bass. It's sets the groove to make you move. It sets the pace. I hate the concept that women should play the bass because it's "easy." Look at Jo Bench from BOLT THROWER. She is an absolute bad ass. Any band would be lucky to have her playing for them. It's 2020, there are great bands with women filing every slot. Liz from Electric Wizard is terrific. Veronica Bellino of Life of Agony kicks so much ass, she makes the drums look effortless, she has so much fun when she's playing. We are far past the days of a band having a female bass player as a novelty.
10. What bassist dead or alive would you like a private lesson with?
David Ellefson from Megadeth. I've watched a ton of his videos on Youtube. He is articulate enough to explain his mad scientist ways and humble enough to make it fun. I would love to pick his brain and just learn how he writes his basslines, develops his songs, and cultivates his ideas.
11. Bonus question
Bobby Doll , Nikki Sixx , Les Claypool , Billy Sheehan which is more ridiculous and why
Bobby Doll. I hate Poison. Always have. Motley Crue was my first concert so Nikki Sixx will forever get a free pass. Les Claypool is extremely talented, you can be as eccentric as you want when you have those chops. Billy Sheehan played with David Lee Roth along with Steve Vai... If that's not a glowing recommendation, I don't know what is. Bobby Doll had hairspray. Poison falls so comically short.