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Jump Head

PAZ LENCHANTIN MIKE INEZ ANTHONY ESPOSITO NORWOOD FISHER JOHN PATITUCCI

DAVEY FARAGHER & ELVIS COSTELLO JACK BATES & JIMMY CHAMBERLIN "TEEN TOWN" REVISITED

WE REVIEW L.E.H GUITARS OFFSET BASS BERGANTINO FORTÉ HP b a s s m a g a z i n e . c o m ;EXPRESS ISSUE 5 ; FENDER DOWNTOWN

BASS MAGAZINE

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Contents Artist Features

Gear Shed 84 L.e.H. Guitars Offset Bass By Jonathan Herrera

86 Fender Downtown Express By Jon D’Auria

88 Bergantino Forté HP By Jonathan Herrera

10 Paz Lenchantin

With a big role in writing the Pixies’ new material and capturing her favorite tone ever, Paz Lenchantin opens up about her recent pinch-me moments. By Jon D’Auria

18 Mike Inez

Rounding off a successful world tour in support of Alice in Chains’ latest album, Mike Inez discusses the powerhouse record and what it was like touring with Ozzy Osbourne, Slash, and Heart. By Freddy Villano

26 Teen Town

Keyboardist David Garfield welcomes 17 master bass players on board to honor and revisit Jaco Pastorius’ masterpiece “Teen Town.” By Chris Jisi

34 Jack Bates

Growing up with Peter Hook as his father, Jack Bates is no stranger to the rock star life, but he’s now living it first-hand as the bassist of the Smashing Pumpkins. By Jon D’Auria

39 Jimmy Chamberlin

Drummer Jimmy Chamberlin gives praise to his young rhythm section partner and discusses how it felt rejoining the Pumpkins. By Jon D’Auria

44 Davey Faragher

Elvis Costello & The Imposters bassist Davey Farragher talks about his longstanding role in the band and what it’s like working with a music icon. By Chris Jisi

49 Elvis Costello

The living legend himself gives his thoughts on what it’s like playing with Farragher and how some of his favorite bass lines were written. By Chris Jisi

52 Justin Chancellor

After 13 years, Tool has finally unveiled their highly anticipated album Fear Inoculum. Justin Chancellor discusses the long road to the release, his vicious playing on the new material, and the secrets of his tone. By Jon D’Auria

66 Anthony Esposito

We catch up with the veteran rocker to discuss his musical upbringing, his powerful tone, and his current playing in Red Dragon Cartel. By Freddy Villano

Lessons 76 Transcription: Doug Johns' “A Tall Order” By Stevie Glasgow

98 Jazz Concepts

More Than Something: How To Break It Up By John Goldsby

102 Beginner Bass Base

Dynamic Grooves By Patrick Pfeiffer

104 Partners

John Patitucci & Yamaha By Jim Roberts

Departments 4. From the Editor 6. 10 Questions With Norwood Fisher 8. Spins, Streams & Downloads Cover Photo by Travis Shinn

72 Ask Phil Jones

Phil Jones gives his expert insight on how different rooms impact your amp sound and overall tone. By Phil Jones

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From the Editor Cheer Inoculum

Bass Family,

L

ike many of you, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of the new Tool album for some time now. Thirteen years to be exact. Being a longtime fan, it’s become a fact of life that the band members work at their own pace and don’t care about outside agendas or anything other than their personal satisfaction in their artistic creation. Tool has built a larger-than-life and mysterious persona that is rarely unveiled publically, which is why the first time I met Justin Chancellor, I was astounded at how genuinely down-toearth he is. After all, when you have no idea what to expect in meeting someone you admire, the outcome could really go in any direction. It took place in Germany in 2016 at the Warwick HQ, and I was as shocked as everyone else that he was actually making an appearance at a bass function. He immediately proved to be a personable and thoughtful guy, and after sharing more than a few

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strong German beers, we wandered deep into the forests of Markneukirchen, sat on a log, and had an amazing talk about music, life, fame, and all things Tool. It was an intensely enlightening experience to say the least. Fast forward to continuing the interview at Tool’s Los Angeles studio, where I got to sit in front of his iconic bass rig while calling out songs from their catalog that he would then play for that audience of one. If I’ve ever had a greater fanboy moment, I don’t know what it is. Just being so physically close to him playing, I was certain that I had become a better bass player, as if some kind of voodoo magic had rubbed off on me. That same feeling resurfaced the first time I hit play on Tool’s new album, Fear Inoculum. I was pulled in, mesmerized, transfixed, and hooked. Some things are worth the wait, and this album was truly one of them. We’re thrilled to have Justin grace our cover this issue and talk about everything that went into this long-awaited masterpiece. On top of that, there are so many stories we’re thrilled to dish out this issue. From Alice In Chains’ Mike Inez, to Paz Lenchantin, to having Phil Jones deliver his deep sonic insight, to a star-studded revisit of Jaco’s “Teen Town,” to an in-depth transcription of Doug Johns’ “A Tall Order,” to talking with Davey Faragher and even having Elvis Costello himself weigh in on his playing, this issue is brimming with bass-tastic content for you. So dig in, and as always, send me your feedback and thoughts at jon@bassmagazine. com. We hope you enjoy this issue, and we promise not to make you wait 13 years for the next one.

Jon D’Auria Editor-In-Chief


Volume 1, Issue 5 | bassmagazine.com Editor-In-Chief JON D’AURIA Senior Editor CHRIS JISI Editor-At-Large E.E. BRADMAN General Manager TIM HILL Copy Editor KARL CORYAT Art Director PAUL HAGGARD CONTRIBUTORS Ed Friedland Jim Roberts Jonathan Herrera Freddy Villano John Goldsby Rod Taylor Patrick Pfeiffer Bill Leigh Stevie Glasgow Vicky Warwick Patrick Wong FOR AD INQUIRES CONTACT:

tim@bassmagazine.com ALL OTHER INQUIRIES CONTACT:

jon@bassmagazine.com chris@bassmagazine.com elton@bassmagazine.com All Images, Articles, and Content ©2019 Bass Magazine, LLC

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with

Norwood Fisher As co-founder of the heavy-hitting rock institution Fishbone, John Norwood Fisher is one bad mother funker who has been breaking down barriers and innovating the sound waves of funk, punk, soul, metal, reggae, and ska music since 1979. Fishbone’s seven full-length albums and slew of live records and EPs have steered the course of alternative music for over three decades,

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What was the first concert you ever attended? The Ohio Players and Graham Central Station at The Shrine Auditorium. Second to the last row, even! Watching Larry Graham playing that night made up my mind that I was meant to play bass.

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What’s the best concert you’ve ever attended? I’ve seen a zillion amazing shows, but nothing ever impacted me like Parliament–Funkadelic. They played “Bop Gun,” and Garry Shider flew out over the audience on a wire. They played until the power was pulled. That’s what’s playing a concert is about — playing until they won’t allow another note!

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What’s one element of your playing that you most want to improve? Going in on walking bass lines. I’ve been faking it forever, and probably not very well. Just as I was having major breakthroughs recently, I broke my wrist. I’m just getting back to it now, and it’s like starting from the beginning again. Otherwise, I’m practicing

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and a lot of that can be attributed to the funky and percussive slapping and finger work that has become Norwood’s trademark. Lately he’s been touring heavily with Fishbone and has taken on the role of music educator to help pass the torch to the next generation of 4-string groovers. Always happy to tell it like it is, Norwood popped by to answer our 10 Questions. chords and incorporating quadruplets into bass lines in the way I want to deliver them.

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If you could have lunch with any bass player today, alive or dead, who would it be? James Jamerson!

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If you could sub for a bass player in any band, who would it be? Whoever might be playing for Kate Bush. I’d love to rise to the challenge of filling that spot.

ALEX KLUFT

10 Questions


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What was your first bass? My first bass was a Fender Lead Bass II given to me by my cousin in exchange for a weight set on Christmas Day when I was eight years old. I played bass lines on an acoustic guitar before then.

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What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given about playing bass? I was given a Mel Bay book for beginners when I was first learning to play bass, and it suggested that you adjust the strap to where you are most comfortable. I stood with my arms fully extended to my sides and adjusted the strap as long as it would go. My positioning forced me to create different techniques that led to my own style.

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What the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you during a gig? I got too drunk to play in Chicago once. I drank tequila and Red Bull for over 24 hours before the show. I got onstage, and my muscles wouldn’t react with my thoughts. Our keyboardist played my bass lines while I lay on the floor wishing I could do something to change the situation. I’m glad I found my way to sobriety.

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What are four items that you absolutely need to have on the road with you? Running shoes, an Ab Wheel, Perfect Push Up handles, and Moringa powder.

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If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing? I liked the idea of being a trash man when I was younger. When I was an unruly 9th grader, a class was created for me called Custodial Engineering because I’d been kicked out of every other possible class. After lunch, I had to pick up after all my schoolmates!

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Spins, Streams & Downloads

Robbie Robertson Sinematic [UMe] Pino Palladino and frequent drum partner Chris Dave provide a vital but understated core for ex-Band guitarist Robbie Robertson’s atmospheric latest effort, which draws from autobiographical and cinematic themes (Robertson scored Martin Scorsese’s latest film, The Irishman, to which some of the songs here are connected). On tracks like “Hardwired,” “Walk in Beauty Way,” “Dead End Kid,” “Let Love Reign Down,” and “Shanghai Blues,” Pino’s bass lines are two- or three-note affairs, equally dependent on space, and with a deep tone (think Tony Levin with Peter Gabriel). He also provides his signature double-stops and other tasty fills in the vocal gaps throughout. L.A. session ace Reggie Hamilton and drummer Jim Keltner are onboard for two of the 13 tracks. —Chris Jisi

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Mike Stern / Jeff Lorber Fusion Eleven [Concord Jazz] Chick Corea, Christian McBride, Brian Blade Trilogy 2 [Concord Jazz] Concord Jazz remains one of the idiom’s most vital labels, giving voice to veteran and young artists, as well as issuing noteworthy collaborations — such as the pairing of guitarist Mike Stern and keyboardist Jeff Lorber, whose distinct, decades-born sounds emanate from opposite coasts. With the support of bassist/co-producer Jimmy Haslip and drummers Dave Weckl, Gary Novak, and Vinnie Colaiuta, the pair willingly and effectively adapt their styles to each other’s compositions. Among the highpoints are Stern’s gritty, modal, power-chord crawl “Slow Change,” his frenetic, Brecker Brothers-intoned “Ha Ha Hotel,” and Lorber’s equally pulsating reply, “Rhumba Pagan.” Trilogy 2, a follow-up to this stellar trio’s Grammy-winning 2014 outing, is culled from a recent world tour, with Christian McBride’s upright impeccably captured in the mix. Disc

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1 quickly displays the brilliance of the unit via their near-telepathic interplay and deep, three-way conversations. McBride steps up with propulsive support on “La Fiesta” and journey-taking solos on “How Deep Is the Ocean” and “500 Miles High.” Disc 2 includes a swinging cover of Steve Swallow’s “Eiderdown,” a swift-paced “All Blues,” and perhaps most creatively, a version of Stevie Wonder’s “Pastime Paradise” that encompasses classical, Latin, R&B, and a buoyant, bowed bass solo. —Chris Jisi


Jump Head

Quantic Atlantic Oscillations [Thru Thoughts] For two decades, Will Holland has been traveling the world and releasing albums under the alias Quantic, and all of those years of experience and collaboration have matured and manifested into his latest album, Atlantic Oscillations. While Holland is a beyond-skilled multi-instrumentalist, his music leads us to believe that he favors playing the electric and upright bass, especially on his tracks “Now or Never,” “Tierra Mama,” “Motivic Retrograde,” and “Is It Your Intention.” On an album that spans funk, triphop, jazz, Latin, bossa, and pop, Holland keeps the bass low and flowing through all of it. —Jon D’Auria

Spyro Gyra Vinyl Tap [Amherst] For their first record in six years, the venerable contempo-jazz vets go the cover-song route with sparkling results, anchored by the versatile, rattleyour-chest bass work of Scott Ambush. “Sunshine of Your Love” rides Ambush’s slapped tumbao and a salsified groove that gives the melody a comfy second home. A similarly percussion-intoned “Can’t Find My Way Home” is grounded by Ambush’s phat fretless long tones. “What a Fool Believes” is reimagined with an Afro 6/8 pulse, guided by Ambush’s growly, triplet-inclined fretless, while “Tempted” turns into a 12/8 bluesy ballad. Elsewhere, “Cisco Kid” has the original’s funk/reggae stride, but in 7/4. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” gets a softer, nylon-string guitar treatment, with Ambush’s fretless issuing some singing melodies. A bonus is Ambush’s blistering solo through Oliver Nelson’s angular changes on “Stolen Moments,” rendered here in 9/4. —Chris Jisi

David Finck BASSically Jazz [Burton Avenue/Green Hill] Are there any finer upright pizzicato and bowed tones in jazz than the ones that flow from the fingers of New York ace David Finck? Backed on his latest bass-centric effort by vibraphonist Joe Locke, drummer Cliff Almond, and pianist Jim Ridi, Finck explores the American songbook and Latin standards with equal aplomb. Bow in hand, he offers expressive melody renditions of “A Summer Knows” (with vocalist Linda Eder) and “When I Look in Your Eyes” (from Doctor Dolittle). Putting finger to string, his melody reading of “Walking My Baby Back Home” is rich in range, nuance, and swing, while a solo interpretation of “Alfie” is riveting, preceding an elegant ensemble entrance. Elsewhere, “Bluesette” (with vocalist Alexis Cole) intriguingly shifts from waltz to samba; up versions of “Moments Notice” and “The Song Is You” yield nimble bass solos; and in a rare lead vocal turn, Finck’s reflectively phrased “All My Tomorrows” is the perfect nightcap. —Chris Jisi

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The Pixies

FLOATING ON PIXIE DUST

Paz Lenchantin discusses her hefty writing role on Beneath the Eyrie, how she finally achieved her favorite bass tone of all time, and her real-life transformation into a pixie By Jon D’Auria |

“W

Photograph by Travis Shinn

hen I first joined The Pixies, I was about to turn the doorknob to enter my first rehearsal ever with the band, and I waited outside the door for probably about five minutes, maybe longer. I knew that right when I turned that knob, I was going to physically turn into a little fairy pixie and go into this totally new life and my whole world would change. I stared at that door and focused on the knob and when I finally turned it, that’s exactly what happened. I turned into a pixie. And now every time I leave to go home from a tour or a recording session, I stand outside of my door, turn the knob, walk into my house, and return to my normal form as Paz. That is my fairytale life now.”

Paz Lenchantin lounges in her Los Angeles home ruminating about the past whirlwind six years of her life and how joining The Pixies ended her lifelong search for her perfect band. Her gratitude is evident and her happiness infectious, as she gushes about her role in the iconic lineup of a band that she idolized for many years before joining them. In this moment, she’s even just happy to be home, which is a rarity for a September day — for her, typically it would be occupied with headlining festival slots, long stretches of touring, and the subsequent radio and television appearances that go along with it. But today marks the calm before that storm, and a moment of thankful reflection, having just released the second Pixies album she’s contributed to, Beneath the Eyrie.

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Paz Lenchantin

After replacing co-founding bassist Kim Deal in 2013, Lenchantin wasn’t sure what her role would be in the band beyond that of touring bass player, but her talents as a vocalist and songwriter were immediately noticed by frontman Charles “Black Francis” Thompson, who enlisted her vocals, lyrics, and playing for 2016’s Head Carrier. That same year, Paz was announced as a full-fledged member, and on the band’s new effort she co-wrote three of the songs that made the album. Paz’s charging lines serve as the propulsion of an eclectic record that breaks into unexplored territory, while still channeling the celebrated sound of Pixies past. Paz’s voice is featured on much of the album, as her reflective vocals add the perfect contrast to Black Francis’ raspy and familiar baritone. While her playing stays true to the unique vibe of The Pixies, her driving riffs and melodic moments are intrinsic to her own voice, which served her well in her time with her previous bands A Perfect Circle, Zwan, and The Entrance Band. Regarding tone on the

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new album, Paz is elated to claim that it’s her absolute favorite sound she’s ever captured. That’s saying a lot, having started playing music at age five, shortly after moving to the States from her Argentina birthplace. But beyond her tone, this album has solidified Paz’s role in one of the most influential alternative bands of the past three decades, and according to her, it’s literally transformed her into a pixie fairy. Who are we to doubt her on that? What was the writing process like this time around? For the most part, all of the songs come from Charles bringing in a chord progression with charts, and then we all start molding it together and finding the chorus structure and the bridge, and we start putting it all together. A lot of times, something will start as a slow song and then progress into a galloping fast song, or vice versa. Then Charles typically comes up with the lyrics and melody from working on the music first. There are songs that are different, where we’ll stay up until


Paz Lenchantin

five in the morning writing on scraps of paper and shooting ideas back and forth. We listen to a lot of music and bring new ideas to the table about tones for songs. We talked a lot about death and dying and suicide and murder, and we’d write about it all. You co-wrote “On Graveyard Hill,” “The Long Ride,” and “Los Surfer Muertos.” How did you compose those? Every song is really different; on the previous record, after I co-wrote “All I Think About Now,” Charles said it would be great to write more songs together. “The Long Ride” was a song we wrote for Head Carrier, but it didn’t hit all of the marks, so we brought it back for this record, and it fit well. Charles felt too hooked on the lyrics he had written then, so he asked me to take a stab at it. I wrote about my friend who passed away surfing, and I rearranged the melody and worked with him on it, and it came out really well. I’m so thankful for him believing in me and showing me his approach to lyric writing and how to fine-tune your weak spots. I shoot out ideas, and he refines them. I’ve always been about collaborating with people. I’m not a “me, me, me” type of person by any means. I love musical interplay in a similar way to hitting a tennis ball back and forth. When we chatted during the recording of Head Carrier, you discussed how you like using first takes because of the energy they have. Did you do that this time around? I do still love to do that. On a song like “Death Horizon” it was a one-take track where David [Lovering] and I played it together on drums and bass and nailed it on the first try. It was the one that made the album, and I just love that. It became even more powerful recording the drums and bass together like that, especially hitting it on the first try. I’m a big fan of that song, and it’s a great way to end the album. It’s almost visual in the way that it feels like the sun setting, so it’s very fitting. How would you say you’ve personally influenced The Pixies’ music? We influence each other. I’m definitely a spirit that is a color, and when you add

that color to the mix, it changes the color of the whole palette. However, we’re all moving forward together in the same spirit that they had from the past; bands work together and collaborate and have parts in the puzzle that are not just one singer–songwriter. We figure things out collectively and move along toward something. If we are going to compare the two records that I’ve done with this band, we’ve grown so much and have shown up stronger on this album. We came in with 20 songs, and then we narrowed it down to ten songs, and then we wrote an additional seven. Our producer helped us narrow them and started shaping the tone of the record by choosing a few songs, and then those songs influenced other songs. You get just fantastic tone on this album. Our producer, Tom Dalgety, killed it on this. I was going through a SansAmp DI through my Ampeg SVT, which I love, and you can really hear my Precision Bass through it. I love that bass like nothing else in the world. It’s my truest love. I feel sorry for any person who comes into my life, because they’ll always be second behind that bass; there’s just no competing. So for someone to really bring out that bass’ tone, I was just blown away. It’s never sounded so good before, and I’ve never been happier with my sound. You’ve used a SansAmp DI to record before, right? I used a SansAmp with A Perfect Circle, but I used a different Precision Bass back then, and it wasn’t my baby. It was an active bass, and it just wasn’t my vibe. When I finally found my bass, it was a natural thing for me. I don’t have to do much to it. But you can also diffuse what it can do if you put it through the wrong [signal chains]. There are really two elements that enhanced that bass’ sound, and that’s the SansAmp DI and my Ampeg. Your tone varies from song to song, though. Did you dial it in differently for each track? Each song definitely has a different vibe, so I tried to adjust accordingly. I used a chorus all over the album. I used a chorus for most of “On Graveyard Hill,” and I’m going

L I ST E N The Pixies, Beneath the Eyrie [2019, BMG] GEAR Bass 1970 Fender Precision, Luna Paz Lenchantin Signature, Hofner Club Rig Ampeg Classic Series SVT-CL, Ampeg SVT-810, Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout 15" combo Pedals Moog Taurus, MXR Bass Chorus, DarkGlass Electronics Strings Ernie Ball Slinky Mediums

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Paz Lenchantin

to bring one on the road because that’s the whole tone of that song. On “In the Arms of Mrs. Mark of Cain,” there’s a lot going on, and it’s easy for the bass to get buried behind overdubs and frequencies, but it still doesn’t get muddy and it pops out. Again, that’s just how good our producer is. Did you exclusively use a pick on this album? I’ve been pretty headstrong that the sound of The Pixies is in using a pick. When I was growing up and teaching myself bass, I decided early on that I was exclusively going to be a finger player, and I was very stubborn about it. Then I listened to some Joy Division with Peter Hook, and he captivated my heart — I wanted to play like that and get those cool sounds. Then when A Perfect Circle was writing material, it was obvious that some songs needed a pick tone to bring out the bass in a different way from fingers. Listening to the entire Pixies repertoire, everything is played with a pick; Kim even had a

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unique style where she struck the strings really high up, closer to the neck, like a guitar player. The one thing I changed in those regards is that I pick behind the pickups. I have such a pick-blistered finger and I love it so much. The thing with The Pixies is that on bass, you’re playing all the time. For three hours every day, I just don’t stop with my right arm. I’m the motor that’s on the entire show, so I’ve grown some big blood blisters on my thumb. And they’re not going way any time soon. They’re a part of me now. You recorded this album at Dreamland Recordings in Woodstock, New York. What was your studio experience like? What a dream that was. It’s a perfect name for that studio. Ever since I started listening to The Band — Rick Danko is one of my favorite bass players of all time, by the way — I always dreamed of recording in Woodstock and making records in a secluded place like that. When I got word that we were


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Paz Lenchantin

going to record in there, I was so excited. The building used to be a church, and it definitely looks like there are ghosts playing in every room and on every organ they have there when you go to sleep. It has such a haunted feeling, but not in a scary way. It was very inspiring to be there. In the back was a cabin that we called “the Hamlet,” where we lived and worked when we weren’t in the studio. The only time I would leave there was to be in the studio recording. Otherwise I’d be cooking in the kitchen or writing or playing. I was scared that something like this process didn’t exist anymore, and that everyone now just does their own tracks and emails them in to be pasted together. I love that we lived together and worked together like a real band; I strongly feel that records should still be made that way. Hopefully you can hear all of that in the songs. I know you have a huge amount of adoration for Kim Deal. Have you had any interaction with her since you joined the band? I’ve still never met her. We have some mutual friends, and they all talk about how awesome of a human being she is and how great of a person she is to be around. I’ve always really been into relationships that aren’t so traditional, and I feel like I’m in a relationship with Kim in a way that is completely abstract. You might wonder how you can have a relationship with someone you’ve never met, but it’s because music has its own dialogue, and that dialogue has nothing to do with physical form. The relationship I have with her is sacred, and it’s one of the most important relationships I’ve ever had with anybody. It’s with another female, and I’m learning her dialect through the channel of the thing I’ve been so passionate about all my life, which is bass and music. I find that relationship to be untouchable and very special. Do you have a greater appreciation for Kim’s playing, having performed her lines for six years now? It just feels like I’ve been playing them from the beginning of time. Even if I’m at a diner and one of their songs comes on from Surfer Rosa or something, I honestly think

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it’s me playing. I relate with it so much that I think I’m in it. I think it’s my song, and because I’m so connected to this music, it feels like it is. I feel that in playing these songs live so true to their original recordings, they’re embedded in me. Die-hard Pixies fans fully embrace you. Did you have any trepidation about that when you first joined the band? I was more concerned about tangible things, like learning to play the songs the right way and orders of setlists. My whole focus was that I had a huge amount of music to catch up on through their 25-year journey as a band. I had blinders on like those horses wear, and I just had to dig in and keep learning and playing those songs. I couldn’t have seen you flicking me off right in front of my face if you tired. I just wanted to learn the songs and play them well and care about every note I was playing. Even if people didn’t like it, I just had to do what I was doing. There were people who had never even heard me play a note before joining this band. I couldn’t help the people who couldn’t accept the psychology of change as it occurs, and you can’t win over everybody. But I am so happy that people are happy that I’m in the band, because I sure am. How have you become a better bass player since joining The Pixies? I was very challenged with the decision to join a band that’s already been super-established. I’ve never been a bass player who just learns someone else’s parts — I’m a player with my own sound and my own creation — but if there was ever a band that I would ever do that for, it would be the Pixies. This challenged me in all the right ways. I knew I could grow as a musician, and that there was a paved road that no other band could lay down for me. I knew it would complete me finally, and that I could stop searching for my dream situation at long last. But beyond that, to go in depth into the whole history of something and plunge it back out through yourself and your soul, it’s made me grow so much as a person, as a creator, as a musician, and as a bass player.  l


Jump Head

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Alice In Chains

MIKE INEZ

The Music Is Always Around You By Freddy Villano | Photographs by Scott Dachroeden

M

ike Inez is in the home stretch of Alice In Chains’ 2019 co-headlining tour with nü-metal juggernauts Korn. It’s been a year since the release of AIC’s sixth studio album, Rainier Fog, and Inez and his cohorts — Jerry Cantrell (guitar/ vocals), William DuVall (vocals/guitar), and Sean Kinney (drums) — have been touring almost nonstop ever since. “It’s been a really good tour,” he surmises. “We’ve just been all over this damn planet.” Indeed they have, hitting places like Moscow, St. Petersburg, and Athens for the first time, as well as countries like Estonia. But it’s also been a transformative kind of tour, according to Inez, who lost his grandmother recently. “We had births and deaths on this tour,” he concedes, noting that reality intervenes on musicians’ touring lives. He’s not complaining, though; he’s sim-

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Mike Inez

CO N N E C T CHECK IT OUT

SCOTT DACROEDEN

Check out Mike Inez live with Alice In Chains at Rock am Ring 2018.

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Mike Inez

ply reflecting on being a musician, or a “pirate,” as the AIC crew sometimes like to refer to themselves. Inez was plucked from relative obscurity by Ozzy Osbourne in 1990 and has gone on to play with Heart, Slash’s Snakepit, and, of course, Alice In Chains. He’s lucky and he knows it. But he’s also got the skill set to sustain those strokes of luck. His playing in AIC over the years is compelling yet understated, characterized by gritty, muscular tone and a melodic sensibility that helps to elevate the band’s material beyond typical rock and metal fare. This style was immediately apparent on his debut EP with the band, Jar of Flies [1994, Columbia], particularly the single “No Excuses” and songs like “Heaven Beside You” from AIC’s self-titled 1995 release. Both albums were also milestones for the band, in that each debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, with the EP spawning the band’s first #1 single on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart. Upon regrouping a decade after the death of original lead vocalist Layne Staley, AIC seemed to reignite its momentum, hitting a new stride with William DuVall on vocals and releasing Black Gives Way to Blue [2009, Virgin/EMI] and The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here [2013, Capitol]. These albums served not only to solidify Inez’s role within the band, but also to affirm that Jerry Cantrell continues to be the songwriting leader holding the secrets to the AIC sound. Last year, AIC released Rainier Fog, which saw them return to their Seattle hometown to record for the first time in 20 years. Whether he’s grinding away under riff-oriented tunes like “So Far Under” or “Drone,” or providing the sub-hooks on the mellower “Fly” and “Maybe,” Inez’s bass lines have become the fulcrum on which the rest of the band pivots. Lately, Mike has been reflecting on the state of the music industry. “There’s so little value on music these days. It makes everybody small. Every band now, you can look up on your phone and it’s the same exact font. It puts everybody on a weird, even playing field. But it’s bullshit. We were in that era of MTV, and it was such a special time and we didn’t

even know how great it was, you know? We thought, ‘Oh, we’ll always sell CDs and there will always be Tower Records.’ Even the shopping malls are empty now.” We talked to Inez at Jones Beach Amphitheater on Long Island, New York, where he was happy to discuss his life on and off the road, his newly designed Fishman pickups, his practice regimens, and his infectious, upbeat outlook on life. A year after releasing Rainier Fog, and with nonstop touring under your belt, has your relationship to the album changed? It has. There’s that old Joan Jett quote — I think she said that you record an album and go play it for a couple of years, and then by the time you get back home, you’re playing it the way you should have played it [laughs]. But I think our producer is great. It was our third record with Nick Raskulinecz, and we’ve learned to really trust him in the studio. They’re all kind of hard records to make. Records are hard. What’s hard about it? Each one, you go in with expectations, but it grows on its own, just like a child that has its own personality, and all the band guys will be in a different spot, good or bad. Did anything change about the tunes when you started playing them live? There are so many layers on the record, so live, we have to cheat — like, I’ll play guitar parts on bass in certain parts to fill in some spots. We work as a ball team. We’re really a good ball team; we’ve always got each other’s backs. We’re playing so good right now. I’m just really proud of our band. When you say guitar parts on bass, are you talking chords, harmonies? Some chordal stuff. Usually, on the song “Red Giant,” I switch to a guitar part. Like, when Jerry goes into a lead, I bring it up a 3rd and play some of his harmony parts. And William fills in a lot, too. It’s cool, because it happens kind of naturally. I’ll just do it and Jerry will go, “Oh, that’s good — do that.” Or, Jerry will ask William to do something, and William is super-fast at learning.

L I ST E N Alice In Chains, Rainier Fog [2017, BMG]; Mark Morton, Anesthetic [2019, Spinefarm] — tracks 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 GEAR Basses Two Warwick Streamer Stage I’s (moonburst & go-kart blue sparkle), Spector NS-2 (drop D tuning), Warwick Starbass II Pickups Fishman Rigs Ampeg SVT-IIPRO, 1969 and 1972 Ampeg SVTs (formerly owned by Van Halen), Ampeg SVT810E, Ampeg SVT18 (custom), Ampeg PN210HLF Pro Neo Series 2x10 monitors Strings Dean Markley Blue Steel (.050–.105) Picks Dunlop Tortex Pitch Black Standard 1.0mm Accessories Tech 21 SansAmp Bass Driver DI

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Mike Inez

Are you playing a lot of new material on the Korn tour? We’re playing “The One You Know” every night, and the title track, “Rainier Fog.” It’s kind of hard on this particular tour … I think we’ve got only 75 minutes to play, so we have to play the six songs everybody wants to hear: “Would,” “Man in the Box,” “Rooster,” and all that. We try to rotate as much as possible every night. I guess it’s a good blessing to have so many songs, but then you don’t get to play them all, and that kind of sucks, too. But I guess it’s like having extra gloves in your bag. Do you think having a background in saxophone and clarinet enables you to pick up on guitar parts or more melodic counterpoint with your bass playing? I don’t know what it is. When I joined Ozzy’s band, learning Geezer Butler’s lines and especially Bob Daisley’s lines … Bob had such a great sense of melody and parts, so I went to the “University of Ozzy Osbourne.” [Guitarist] Zakk Wylde and I would always say that. There’s only a handful of guys in the world who get to say they did that, and Zakk and I always approached it in the right way. We really appreciated it and worked really hard for Ozzy and tried to do our best for him. Then, playing with Heart, too — learning those bass parts really made me a better bass player. You’ve been blessed to jam with some cool people. Chemistry is so important, too. I was reminded of this last night, watching the Rolling Stones. They were sloppy, but “cool” sloppy, and nobody sounds like that. Was Darryl Jones playing bass? Yes! Before the show, their security guy, Chubbs, brought me and Sean onstage. Darryl had a couple of ’69 classic Ampeg heads up there and two 8x10 cabinets. It was just so beautiful. What are you using live on the Korn tour? The only amps I have onstage are two wedges on each side, the 2x10 Ampeg wedges with an SVT-IIPro [head] from the ’90s. The only real difference I got going on now is I’m using Fishman Fluence pickups. We’ve got a

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signature pickup line coming out, and I was their guinea pig. Frank Falbo, who used to work at Seymour Duncan, had this idea, and Larry Fishman gave him the green light to do it. So, they took my [Warwick Streamer Stage I] moonburst bass, which we found out had fake EMG pickups from the ’90s in it. A guy in Germany, who has passed away, was making them. I was always trying to match that tone, and I could never match it. It was just so growly and present, and it’s got all these harmonic overtones. Even when you’re sliding, or if you hit a harmonic by accident, it’s always musical — it’s such a musical bass. It’s my favorite bass. Ozzy bought it for me in 1990, and we put in new pickups in ’93 on a tour in Europe. They were the fake ones, so I could never match that tone [on other basses]. So, Fishman put my bass in this MRI-like machine that shows the magnetic throw off the pickups. It’s crazy. I’ve got seven prototypes, so I’ve been using those on this tour. That’s one of the good things about digital technology now [laughs]. It’s a weird world, isn’t it? Earlier, you were lamenting about what technology has done to the music industry. Is there anything else good to come from it? YouTube is great. I wish I’d had YouTube when I was coming up as a kid. I could have put on an instructional video and sat there for hours. It would have been a great tool. Did you get to check out the Fishman pickups before going on tour? I went into a studio in L.A., Dave Bianco’s old studio [Dave’s Studio, formerly known as Mama Jo’s], and Paul Figueroa, our second engineer, went with me. It was a two-year process, from getting the bass scanned, and then going into the studio, where they had this old P-Bass where they could just slide out the pickup, adjust it, and pop it back in. The signal went into a computer where they were trying to match all the waveforms. We got it as close as it’s ever going to get. So, we’re pretty excited about it. I’ve got them in seven basses now. Our front-of-house guy loves them. What do you do when you are not on tour?


Mike Inez

Do you have a practice regimen? I have a great guitar collection. Every place you can sit down in my house has some sort of instrument right next to it. In fact, I just bought a ’72 Tele. So, I’ll always have these cool guitars or basses around my house. I’m kind of fidgety. I’m just one of those guys — I don’t drink, I don’t do drugs, I don’t go out very much. I just kind of hang out with my dogs and play a lot of bass and a lot of guitar. I’ve also got a studio at my house. So, are you writing new tunes when you’re hanging out? I just tinker around and let it happen. A lot of guys try to force it, like, “Okay, I have to do a record.” Then you just jump in too much for the wrong reasons. I think you have to let music kind of just happen. The music is always around you; you just have to be in the right head space to channel it through your head and your fingers — through your new fancy pickups and your cool amps [laughs]. Keith Richards once said, “I realized a long time ago that you don’t write songs; you receive them.” It takes the pressure off, too, in a way. Music has always been a magical force in all of our lives. I wish people would turn off the news and turn off the internet and let the music take over. That’s all I did as a kid. I just love music and dogs; those have been the two constants in my life. My fear is that there’s a Kurt Cobain kid out there that’s not going to go into music because there’s no future in it, there’s no money for it, and it’s too hard, you know? Does AIC have any plans for a new album? When we get home, we’re definitely going to take a nice deep breath. I don’t think we’ll do anything this year; we’re just going to go home and chill out. But we’re always jamming and we’re always creating. Jerry will write a bunch of riffs, and then nothing will happen for a while. William has a solo album coming out, just one guitar and one voice. So, I think he’s going to jump into that in October. It’s good to do side stuff. I like to say that working with other people gets me out of my own hamster wheel. Last time I was home for a bit, Mark

Morton from Lamb Of God called and said, “Hey, will you play on a song?” I said, “Okay, where are you at? I’ll grab my favorite bass and meet you at the studio.” And he said, “I’m down in Orange County.” So, I said, “Well, I’m not going to drive to Orange County to play on one song, so I’m going to play on like, five [laughs]. Get me a hotel room and give me the address to the studio.” So, I went down there, and I got to track live with Steve Gorman from the Black Crowes — he’s such a great drummer — and Myles Kennedy [Alter Bridge] was singing on stuff, and I did tracks with Roy Mayorga [Stone Sour], who’s an amazing drummer, and [drummer] Ray Luzier from Korn, so I got to jam with these cool people. What’s your takeaway from those experiences? Every time I do that stuff, I’m really happy I did it. I always walk away feeling like that was a good thing for me. It’s all how you look at it, too. I’m blessed with a positive personality, I guess; I just really love music. It’s the best thing that ever happened to me. From an early age, I always knew I would be doing this for a living — not on this grand scale, but I always knew I would be a musician. You never seem jaded by this business. You still have so much enthusiasm and humility. I love that you [Freddy, the interviewer] go out and play Sabbath tunes. I’d be doing the same exact thing. It’s that feeling, though — I still have that well in my bones, in my DNA somewhere. When Ronnie James Dio’s Heaven and Hell came out, it was such a big event in my life. It’s like, “Oh my God, Dio’s in Sabbath!” And from a guy being in Ozzy’s band, I think Heaven and Hell might be my favorite record; I’m not sure. I love Masters of Reality, I love Sabotage. I love all the early stuff, but, boy, Heaven and Hell had such a modern twist. The tones, everything just came together. I thought that was just a fantastic record. AIC did some shows with Geezer Butler’s new band, Deadland Ritual. We did Rock am Ring [Mendig, Germany], Rock im Park [Nuremberg, Germany], these big Formula One racetracks. I thought

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Mike Inez

they were a really good band. It’s probably the same thing with Geezer: He gets home and he gets bored and is like, “God, I just want to play bass.” We’re totally unqualified to do anything else at this point [laughs]. I don’t even know what I would do. Do you ever work on bass technique when you’re at home playing? It usually comes naturally, but sometimes I’ll force myself — like, “I’m going to learn [Rush’s] ‘La Via Strangiato’ if it’s the last thing I do and it takes me four days.” And I’ll really get into it. I’ll pop the track into Pro Tools, and I’ll even loop parts just to make sure I’m playing them with the same kind of feel and inflection. Or, say, “Highway Star” [Deep Purple]. I’m going to play it exactly the way Roger Glover did it. It’s a fun homework assignment to dive into other people’s bass playing, and then it creeps into your playing, too — the way you slide into a note or use a different finger to slide into the note, and then you’re in position for another thing to come out of it. Do you ever utilize that information to refine songs you’re playing with AIC? I’m really picking apart my playing lately — where my fingers are, where I’m picking and what position I’m in, to go into the next run or something. I’ll try it every single different way, too. It’s a process of elimination. Tell me about your Warwick basses and why you like them. Warwick puts LED fret markers on the top of the neck. So, on these dark stages, I’ll reach down and click that little switch, and the fret markers light up on the top. I have a blue bass with blue lights and a white bass with white lights, and it blows my mind. I giggle onstage every time I see it. It’s the stupidest thing, but I just love it. That youthful thing, that childlike wonder, is important. It comes naturally to me, but I stress that to kids: Don’t ever lose that. It’s so important to see the magic of all this stuff. Have you ever thought about doing clinics? I would actually love that. I’ve never done it and I don’t know how to do it, but maybe we’ll do something for Fishman and Warwick

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when I get some downtime, and if they want to do a signature line with the Fishman pickups. But I have to be careful about what I say yes to — I say yes, and then I’m on the road for four months again, and it’s just me and my tech in Japan or whatever. But I think I would be pretty good at it. It wouldn’t be like I would go and tell people what to do. I’ve seen clinics that are a bit too professorial, but hanging out, asking questions, showing people stuff — I think that would be fun. Didn’t Zakk do them a lot, especially back in the days when you were in Ozzy’s band? Yeah. We’d be on tour in Japan, and he’d ask me and [Ozzy drummer] Randy Castillo, “Hey, I’ve got a clinic — will you guys play Allman Brothers with me for 45 minutes?” This was in the early ’90s, so we’d stumble in there after being up all night drinking, and Zakk would just kill it. It was amazing to watch. He plays guitar more than any other person I know. We grew up together in the Ozzy band. I related to Zakk in that way — like, “Wow, I’m so on it, just like you are.” The motivation is important. Like, why are you doing this? For me it was because I wouldn’t want to do anything else. I’m constantly listening to new bands — different flavors, too. We’ve got this band Ho99o9 [pronounced “Horror”] opening for us, with the drummer from Dillinger Escape Plan [Chris Pennie], and they play to tapes and use keyboards, but it’s the most punk-rock show; it’s so high-energy. I’m the guy that when Monster Truck was opening for us, I’d jam with them every single night. I’d go out and play a song called “Sworded Beest” off The Brown EP. I picked the most obscure, heaviest song, and that’s the one I wanted to play. It would kind of piss off my drummer — like, “Why are you going out there and playing with those guys?” And I’d be like, “It’s a good warmup.” And he’d be like, “You’re giving it away too soon.” And I’m like, “Dude, I’m doing it. I’m sorry. I don’t know what to tell you, but I love it. I’m going to go play with these guys every night.” I just feel the universe is always pushing me forward somehow.  l


Mike Inez

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“TEEN TOWN” REVISITED

Keyboardist David Garfield Gives The Bassists Some By Chris Jisi

“B

ass players are my favorite people in the world.” So says L.A. keyboard ace and solo artist David Garfield, whose credits include Freddie Hubbard, Cher, Smokey Robinson, Dave Koz, the studio supergroups Los Lobotomys and Karizma, and his longtime role in George Benson’s band. “They provide both the harmonic and rhythmic foundation that lifts us up as keyboard players and enables us to take flight. They’re also some of the nicest, most thoughtful musicians I’ve met.” In tribute, Garfield has recorded a version of the

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Jaco Pastorius Weather Report bass anthem “Teen Town” [Heavy Weather, 1977, Columbia]. The funkified, multi-groove update is a smile-inducing treat, both in recalling the brilliance of the Pastorius composition and Garfield’s ultra-creative adaptation, and for the guessing game of which bassist is playing what. There are 17 bass heavies onboard — 13 taking on the fierce solo section, a handful playing the melodies, and at least half of them adding sonic goodies throughout. Allin-all, the six-minute track boasts a whopping 27 musicians, including Garfield on


Clockwise from top left: Carlitos Del Puerto, Nathan East, John Patitucci, Will Lee, Ernest Tibbs & John PeĂąa. Opposite David Garfield

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Teen Town Revisited

CO N N E C T CHECK IT OUT

Watch the video for the new “Teen Town.”

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keyboards, drummers Steve Gadd, Abraham Laboriel Jr., Gary Novak, Jimmy Branly, and Khari Parker, percussionist Luis Conte, guitarists Michael Thompson and Soren Reiff, and saxophonist Steve Tavaglione. The 17 featured thumpers represent a cross section of the instrument: session heavies Nathan East, Will Lee, Abraham Laboriel, Jimmy Johnson, Carlitos Del Puerto, John Peña, and Jimmy Earl; jazz greats John Patitucci and Alphonso Johnson; L.A. first-callers Andre Berry [Brothers Johnson, David Sanborn, Rick Braun], Ernest Tibbs [Allan Holdsworth, Simon Phillips, Gladys Knight], and Sean McNabb [Quiet Riot, Dokken, Don Felder]; global upstarts Henrik Linder and Federico Malaman; and regional root royalty in Minneapolis’ Paul Peterson [Prince, Steve Miller, George Benson] and John King [Boom, Good 4 The Soul, Denise Thimes], from Garfield’s native St. Louis. The impetus for the track is actually part of a multi-album series Garfield has been creating for several years, which he calls “Outside the Box.” He explains, “It started out as a notion to record with all of the amazing musicians I’ve had the privilege of knowing. As schedules allowed, I would bring in great rhythm sections and artists and do a few cover tracks with each.” The results have been critically acclaimed sides like Vox Outside the Box, Jammin’ Outside the Box, Jazz Outside the Box, Alex Ligertwood Outside the Box, and the upcoming Stretchin’ Outside the Box in 2020, which will include “Teen Town.” The song was released as a single in August, with a YouTube video posted in October that reveals much of who played what (see Connect). As for the track’s spark and long development, Garfield recalls, “I got the idea to cover the song while on a long travel day with George Benson to Mozambique. I was sitting with Khari, our drummer, and I told him I wanted to do a hip-hop version of ‘Teen Town.’ When I got back to L.A., I went into the studio with Nathan East, who recorded a bass line below my scratch melody, and we cut to a click. Back when Los Lobotomys started, Nathan was the original bassist, and he had

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always wanted to cover Grace Jones’ “Slave to the Rhythm’ [Slave to the Rhythm, 1985, Island]. Remembering that, I told him, ‘Let’s use the groove for ‘Teen Town.’ I had Khari add drums next, and then I got the idea for the middle section to have a Latin feel, with solos from a bunch of different bass players. I sent all of them the files­ — with some key technical help from Jimmy Johnson — and I asked each one to contribute a four-bar solo.” Garfield, who reveals more about the track below, concludes, “I first met Jaco in 1976 at a jam session, when I was a 19-yearold pianist with Freddie Hubbard. He was tearing it up and I was in awe. I followed his career and loved his solo records, his work with Joni Mitchell, and especially his output with Weather Report. Moreover, I saw the giant influence he had on the next few generations of bass players. He was a true revolutionary whom we lost too soon. I’m honored to be able to pay tribute to him and to all of my bass brothers with my revisit of ‘Teen Town.’”

THE BACK STORY

No revisit of “Teen Town” would be complete without first focusing on the original and the man behind it. The song, which Jaco named for a Fort Lauderdale spot he frequented with his buddies, captured the essence of both his early nickname, the “Florida Flash” (through the tune’s lizard-like, darting bass), and “punk jazz,” which is how Jaco described his music (and which became the title of one of his compositions on Weather Report’s 1978 Columbia album Mr. Gone). Within the twoyear span of Jaco’s landmark self-titled solo debut and Weather Report’s Heavy Weather, he cut Charlie Parker’s “Donna Lee,” revealing the influence of bebop horn players; “Come On, Come Over,” echoing his early R&B bass heroes; and the harmonics-infused solo bass pieces “Portrait of Tracy” and “Continuum.” “Teen Town” was something else again, with Jaco on his trademark fretless 1962 Fender Jazz Bass unleashing what can be dually described as the melody and the bass line, due to its range, pocket, short phrases, and in-your-face intensity. Jaco also


Teen Town Revisited

provides the sizzling drum track, returning to his first instrument. Will Lee, who knew Pastorius in Florida and later in New York City (and who has performed “Teen Town” with the late guitar great Hiram Bullock), notes, “The original track is perfection. It’s got every earmark of Jaco in it, starting with his intense feel. That’s how he lived his life — everything he did had an urgency, almost like he knew his time was going to be short, and he had to lay it all down now. He was into jazz horn players, R&B bass greats, and the Latin and Caribbean sounds around him in Florida, and somewhere between the three was where he existed. I first saw him playing with [Florida trumpeter/ saxophonist] Ira Sullivan around 1973, and he was using jazz licks and patterns, like cycles of 1-2-3-5, to mark time and construct his bass lines. He’d use them to find his way around the fingerboard and learn how to get in and out of the chord changes. I felt like I was watching someone who was in the process of figuring it all out in a very fast, urgent kind of way — and indeed, he was his fully formed self not too long after that. All these years later, Jaco still kicks every bass player’s butt. And as we aspire to reach his level, it’s a lot of fun being inspired by him.”

THE INTRO, MELODY & BRIDGE

“Teen Town” 2019 begins with 16 bars of greasy groove bass in C major, courtesy of John King (with some quick peek-outs from Andre Berry). Following a four-bar intro at 0:45, where East’s foundation bass line begins, the melody enters at 0:57. Garfield notes, “At first I wanted a non-bass instrument for the melody, and I had Michael Thompson cut it on guitar. But then I decided I wanted Will Lee to have prominent role, because of both our long friendship and him knowing Jaco from the Miami scene. So I had him double Michael’s melody for the first 16 bars and then play the last eight himself.” Offers Lee, “I wanted to do something different, so I re-strung my Sadowsky [NYC Will Lee model] ADGC, and when I doubled Michael’s guitar melody, I included the twist he added to

the end of one the phrases [1:17–1:20]. Then I kicked on my MXR M82 Bass Envelope Filter for the rest of the melody [at 1:41].” Example 1 shows Lee’s fill to end the melody at 2:00 and his soulful, improvised excerpts answering soprano saxophonist Steve Tavaglione’s transition melody and solo. The last phrase, in bar 5, echoes a theme from Weather Report’s “Mysterious Traveller” [Mysterious Traveller, 1974, Columbia], but Lee credits the inspiration of Herbie Hancock’s 1973 version of “Watermelon Man” [Headhunters, Columbia] for the lick. Moving to the bridge, at 2:25, Garfield switches from a funk feel to a stadium-rock vibe, marked by a pounding drum figure by Abraham Laboriel Jr. and Gary Novak, inspired by Queen’s “We Will Rock You” [single, 1977, EMI].

THE SOLO SECTION

With his idea for a Latin/Afro-Cuban solo section in place, Garfield chose a tempo modulation to pick up the pace. “We go from a quarter-note pulse to a dotted quarter-note pulse, so it’s about one-third faster than the opening tempo.” The section starts at 2:59 with eight bars of drummer Jimmy Branly and percussionist Luis Conte. Then the bass solos begin over the four-bar progression of E7-C#7-A7-F#7. Alphonso Johnson is up first with a deft dash through the changes (at 3:14), followed by John Peña, Garfield’s most frequent bass collaborator. Peña relates, “I first met Jaco at a Latin jam session in Fort Lauderdale. He was very into Afro-Cuban and Caribbean music. You hear a lot of those rhythms in his playing, but there were so many aspects of his style to draw inspiration from. I used my Miura MB2 5-string [with a low B], with the back pickup favored. I thought of Jaco and went for it.” Example 2 contains Peña’s solo (at 3:29), which unfolds as two two-bar phrases. Hearing Garfield’s choice of 13sus keyboard chords, he ascends with an E pentatonic shape, peaking with a “Teen Town”-nodding chromatic line (C#-D-D#), before descending into the montuno-like melody in bar 2. In bar 3, he mines the upper partials of the A13sus and

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Teen Town Revisited

Ex. 1

D13

F13

4

A13

C13

D13

= 86

Ex. 2 Straight 16ths

= 129

E13sus

C#13sus

F#13sus

A13sus

3

Ex. 3 Straight 16ths

= 129

3

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E13sus

A13sus

C#13sus

A13

F#13sus

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C#13

F#13(#11)


Teen Town Revisited

Ex. 4 Straight 16ths

E13

E13sus

= 129

A13sus

3

C#13sus

A13

F#13

F#13sus

C#13

E13sus

Ex. 5 Straight 16ths

= 129

E13sus

E13

A13sus

3

C#13

C#13sus

F#13sus

A13

F#13

Ex. 6 = 129

4

A13

C#13

E13

C#13

F#13

A13

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resolves it in bar 4 using modal-sounding 4ths that touch on all the upper color tones of the F13sus. Next up is Jimmy Earl, with a Latin-tinged four bars, followed by Jimmy Johnson’s singing fretless stepout. At 3:43, Ernest Tibbs breaks out with some bebop “language” via his Xotic Lightweight 5-string (with low B). He recalls, “I learned ‘Teen Town’ in the tenth grade. I was such a fan of Jaco that I used to wear a beret, like he did.” He credits his soloing approach to having studied and then taught at Musicians Institute in L.A., specifically under the tutelage of staffer/Sarah Vaughan pianist Carl Schroeder. “I come from the Pat Martino school of approaching dominant chords using minor chord shapes a 5th higher — so, for E13, I’m thinking Bm9. I also practiced the scales for all four chords in the progression on my 5-string in one position around the 12th fret, so that I could play through the changes without having to move my left hand much.” Example 3 shows Tibbs’ solo, which, like John Peña’s, unfolds as two two-bar phrases. Using two chromatic approach notes within the first beat, he ascends outlining a Bm9(11) chord and descends using a G#m9 arpeggio. His second phrase (again with a chromatic approach-note start) ascends through the A13sus chord and, in a cool bit of spontaneity, he reacts to Garfield’s one-time use of an F#13(#11) by employing notes from the C# melodic minor scale (C#-D#-E-F#-G#-A#-B#-C#). “David winked at me for catching that.” Following Tibbs is Dirty Loops’ Henrik Linder, craftily combining a chordal and jazz approach; Paul Peterson using a pick to pump out some tasty phrases; Sean McNabb unleashing a mini-storm of overdriven taps, hammers, and bends; John King returning for an expressive series of solo statements; and Abraham Laboriel Sr. applying his signature galloping rolls and slides. John Patitucci is next, manning his prototype Yamaha semi-hollow 6-string. He explains, “Jaco was an innovator who influenced and inspired every bass player. ‘Teen Town’ was amid the wave of his most creative period, and it messed everyone up — we all had to learn it.

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What makes it unique is it’s very bass-oriented. It doesn’t sound like a horn or vocal melody. It’s a series of funky, bluesy motifs articulated in Jaco’s unique, percussive way, due to his background as a drummer, and coming up around the R&B and Afro-Cuban/ Caribbean sounds of Florida. From his jazz influences, there’s his use of parallel harmony both on ‘Teen Town’ and ‘Havona’ [also on Heavy Weather], which employ unrelated chord changes moving in set intervals. That started in jazz with composers like [tenor saxophonist] Joe Henderson on his album Inner Urge [1966, Blue Note], as well as with Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock. All of them impacted Jaco’s writing.” Example 4 shows Patitucci’s solo at 4:29. Starting with some wide intervallic leaps through the upper partials of the E13 and C#13 chords, he hits upon a rising theme in the third measure that he develops right through the bluesy string bend in the last measure. “It’s a challenge to develop an idea in only four bars that are going by quickly. I tried to play motifs and tell a story. The key is to create melodies with linear integrity through harmonic motion and voice leading, so it doesn’t sound like you’re just playing a bunch of licks.” Patitucci is followed by Carlitos Del Puerto, who provides the track’s lone upright bass contributions. He remembers, “I was blown away the first time I heard ‘Teen Town.’ I couldn’t believe how powerful Weather Report sounded with the addition of Jaco. What excited me was the tune’s harmonic movement, which was so fresh, and the call-andanswer between Jaco’s bass playing and his drumming throughout.” Example 5 shows Del Puerto’s solo, at 4:35. Employing a classic Jaco device in the first two measures, he locks into a four-note descending groove figure (root-7th-5th-root an octave below) and repeats it four times with a 16th-rest in between, causing it to shift rhythmically over the 4/4 meter. He then climbs through the chord tones of the A13sus in the third measure, setting up a slick, syncopated polyrhythm for the last measure, as he ascends via an F# triad. He says, “I was trying to pay


Teen Town Revisited

tribute to Jaco and his spirit by playing from the heart and having fun.” Rounding out the soloists is Italian icon Federico Malaman, with a crescendoing, horn-like finale.

MELODY & OUTRO

Following the bass solos (and still in the Latin tempo) comes Tavaglione’s four-bar interlude melody and the first four measures of the returning eight-bar bass melody. The first two-bar phrase is grabbed by Patitucci, the second by Peña. Then the time shifts back to the starting tempo, with the return of the stadium-rock drum figure, as Jimmy Johnson plays the last four bars of the melody. Last, the outro is marked by a return to the original swung funk feel and the melody’s final seven notes (F#-F#-E-F#-F#-E-F#) repeated in unison by the ensemble. A handful of bassists contribute additional bits and pieces, but this is where Nathan East steps forward. He fills between the repeated melody beginning at 5:18, using his signature Yamaha BBNE2

5-string (as he did for his earlier bass line), this time with the back pickup favored slightly. Says East — who turned Eric Clapton onto the Heavy Weather album, which made such an impact that Clapton used “A Remark You Made” as an intro to “Layla” on his tours — “We can use the word genius without hesitation when it comes to Jaco. And ‘Teen Town’ stands as one of the most exceptional pieces of music ever composed and performed on bass. I got to meet Jaco at Devonshire Studios in L.A., where Weather Report would record, and he was fun to be around. He was into the brotherhood of the bass, and he was always enthusiastic about what he was recording and excited to have you check it out.” Example 6 contains East’s improv, which perfectly captures Jaco’s original “Teen Town” ethic of playing a series of melodic motifs. Especially “Teen”-like are the climb in bar 3 and the bop-ish descending phrase in the bars 5 and 6. “I just tried to honor Jaco by doing my version of his style.” l

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Jump Head

The Smashing Pumpkins, Peter Hook & The Light

Jack Bates discusses marathon performances, drop tunings, playing in an iconic band & what it’s like being the son of bass legend Peter Hook By Jon D’Auria Photograph by Travis ShinnBuder

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HOOK

OFF THE

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GEAR Bass Yamaha BB734A Rig Two Ampeg SVT Classic heads, Ampeg SVT 810 Pedals (With Peter Hook & The Light) Boss DD7 Digital Delay and GEB-7 Bass EQ, Electro-Harmonix Bass Soul Food distortion and Stereo Clone Theory; (With Smashing Pumpins) Radial Engineering SGI Interface, Master Effects Transmission 1200 preamp Strings (Pumpkins) Clear Tone Heavy (Peter Hook) Bass Centre Stainless Steel Elites Picks Dunlop Tortex 1.0 Accessories Mono Straps, Divine Noise Cables

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t’s a rainy day on the road amidst a long stretch of touring for The Smashing Pumpkins — but for England native Jack Bates, rain is something he’s used to. Playing over three hour-long sets in one of the most successful alternative bands, however, is something that Bates is still getting accustomed to. Having held the bass chair since a round of tours back in 2015, and rehashing his role when the band members reunited in 2018, Bates is starting to get used to the rock star life. You could say it’s something embedded in his DNA, being the son of legendary bass player Peter Hook of Joy Division, New Order, and Peter Hook & The Light, the latter of which Bates himself has been a member since 2010. And while the father–son bass duo shares similar looks, mannerisms, demeanor, and vocation, Bates has blazed a trail all his own with his role in the Pumpkins. Stepping out of his tour bus and into the rain to greet us, Bates sports a Manchester United team soccer shirt and a welcoming smile, although it’s quick to fade once I ask him how his team is currently doing. But stepping onto the stage to check out his vast collection of Yamaha touring basses, that smile returns with ease as he explains the tunings for each bass. It’s easy to tell how thankful Jack is to be in his current position as a member of the Pumpkins, a band that he idolized from a young age and which produced bass stars in his predecessors D’arcy Wretzky and Nicole Fiorentino. His iconic bandmates are quick to praise the 30-yearold, each eager to point out how reliable of a player he is and how instinctually he holds down the low end from a massive catalog that spans ten albums over 30-plus years. And while Bates has mastered playing his father’s high-end-heavy, frantic, and technical lines in The Light, he knows that staying true to the Pumpkins’ music is of utmost importance. Leaving the stage and walking into the green room, we’re greeted by drummer Jimmy Chamberlin and guitarists James Iha and Jeff Schroeder, who are each preparing for the night’s performance in their own ways.

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A door to a private room in the back opens, and through it steps frontman Billy Corgan. He greets Jack and props himself against a table with a wry grin. “I’ve written all of the bass lines for this band for years. Shouldn’t I be the one you’re interviewing?” Assuring him that I’d gladly oblige, the room quickly turns into a bass forum of sorts, where Billy, Jimmy, and Jack discuss the Pumpkins’ lowend history, which shifts into Billy excitedly explaining his adoration for Yamaha basses. “The BB734A is the only bass I used on our new album [Shiny and Oh So Bright Vol. 1 / LP: No Past. No Future. No Sun., 2018], and it’s the first time in Pumpkins’ history that I didn’t use a Fender bass to record. That bass has the tone I’ve been searching for. It has the low end I want in the mix, but it really cuts and comes through in the mids. Jack and his dad knew what they were doing using them all those years.” Later that night, once the curtain rises and the Pumpkins take the stage, it’s obvious that not only does Jack know what he’s doing in conjuring his tone, but that Corgan knew exactly what he was doing in enlisting his new bass player. Through a three-set marathon of a show packed full of beloved hits spanning decades to a fanatical crowd, Bates confidently nailed each of the songs while expertly locking in with Chamberlin. The rhythm section’s interplay brought energy to the wild barrage of guitar solos and instantly recognizable riffs, heightening the Pumpkins to an electric form that one imagines they had when they first blew up in the early ’90s. But this is a new era for the Pumpkins, fueled by the young and hungry talent of Bates, who is looking to make a name for himself in an industry that his father has long conquered. If there’s one thing Jack has taken to heart from his dad, it’s that you have to put all of yourself into the music you play, and do it really damn well. What led to you becoming the bass player for the Smashing Pumpkins? The first time I met Billy was when I was a little boy, when he was briefly a touring


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member of New Order in 2001. At that time I just knew him as a guy coming in to play guitar. I used to go on tour with my dad a lot, so I’d meet a lot of musicians along the way. Fast-forward to 2010, when my dad started touring on his own. I was a big fan of Smashing Pumpkins at that point, and Billy would come and sing with us when we played in Chicago. He had seen me play before, and then in late 2014, Mark Stoermer of The Killers was playing with the Pumpkins, but he had to go off to play with his band, so Billy asked me if I was interested. I agreed right away. It all started with Billy’s relationship with my dad, so it really feels like family at this point. The first time Billy met my dad was when he was a teenager, so it’s all kind of full circle. He’s always said that when he writes bass for the Pumpkins, he tries to play like my dad, so I guess I was a natural fit for this. How did it feel when you first stepped out to a sold-out arena with the Pumpkins? It was crazy, a surreal experience. I did the tour with them back in 2015, which was a co-headlining run with Marilyn Manson where we were doing amphitheaters, and that was the biggest tour I had ever done. This tour has just been huge with the size of the places we’re playing and the size of the crowds. Sometimes I get more nervous playing smaller venues, because it seems more intimate and you can see more of the fans. It’s a different feel, because when we started this tour we were playing sets that span about three and a half hours. What was it like playing those sets? It was tiring. I’m used to playing for over two hours with my dad, but the Pumpkins shows just kept going. When you look at the set lists before the show, it seems like a lot, but once you’re playing and into the set, it can really fly by. It came out to around 32 songs each night. On one song I would play the organ, and one song had no bass, so I got a couple of quick breaks. The trick is to pace yourself. The hardest thing can be just being on your feet for that long, but once you get three or four of those under your belt, you start to get used to it.

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This is the first tour in nearly 20 years with original members Jimmy Chamberlin and James Iha. How does it feel to be included in this lineup? It’s been incredibly cool. I had been a fan since I was a boy. The first tour I did in 2015 was with Billy and Jeff, and then Jimmy came back for it at the last minute. To be in the room when Billy, James, and Jimmy played together for the first time in 20 years was unbelievable. I just slipped back into fan mode and I didn’t even think about what I was playing, because I was looking at them the whole time wondering how I ended up in this room. The first song we played was “Cherub Rock,” and it was just like, Well, there it is. That’s the sound. You guys play in a lot of different tunings. Does it get hard to keep track of all of them? We’re currently using five tunings on this tour, and I have a different bass for each one. We go E, Eb, drop D, D standard, C#, and sometimes C as well. There are times when I learn a song in one tuning and play it for a couple of months, and then I show up the first day of rehearsals and figure out I’m supposed to play it in a different tuning, so everything is one or two frets off and I have to relearn it all over. Usually, the heavier the song is, the lower the tuning is. A song like “Today” has a lot of flat notes, but it’s actually played on a standard bass. So it can get confusing in that way. Do you try to honor Billy’s bass lines and the players who came before you, or do you put your own touches on playing them live? I’m literally trying to replicate what I hear. I don’t want to be one of those players who tries to put their stamp on songs, especially with iconic music such is that of the Pumpkins. That’s the thing funny thing about the guy who is playing bass in New Order right now [Tom Chapman]. I read an interview where he said he’s going to “put his own stamp” on those iconic bass lines. I just think if you’re a New Order fan, you’re going to want to hear those songs as you know and love them from the records. My dad changed the game when it comes to bass playing.


Smashing Drums With Jack you’re a rock drummer who grew up on alternative music, chances are Jimmy Chamberlin will be on your list of music idols. The 55-year-old co-founder of the Pumpkins changed the way that drummers approach rock music, given his technical playing, melodic instincts, keen ear, and background in jazz. We checked in with Jimmy on the Pumpkins’ tour to chat about his return to the lineup after his 2009 departure, and what it’s like playing in a rhythm section with Jack Bates. Does it feel good to be back on tour? It feels good and it feels like we never left. This has been such a huge chunk of my life that it really never went away. This configuration of the band is really special, and the addition of Jack has been a natural fit for all of us. The way he feels the bass and his pocket is perfect for this music. This has easily been the best the band has ever sounded, and a lot of that is due to his ability to recreate those parts. Having been away from the band for six years, how did it feel getting back into it? The time away was really good for me. I was able to explore a lot within my playing and get into some different projects that I had been wanting to do for a long time. But coming back to this band is so natural, because it’s what I’ve been doing my whole life. And having James [Iha] back in the

JON D'AURIA

IF

lineup feels like home in this band again. What’s it like playing in a rhythm section with Jack? It’s been such a pleasure to play with him. He is so spot-on and precise with everything he does. For so long I was reliant on listening to the guitars and following my cues by locking in with them. Now with Jack, and with bass being instrumental in time-keeping and as the band foundation, it makes my playing much easier, and the band sounds so much better because of it. In the past, the music was more of a manic presentation. Now, we’ve really tightened up and locked everything down tempo-wise and in being one machine together. Jack has an incredible sixth sense for knowing where things should be, and it allows me to not be concerned with subdividing things for people or putting the road map down — now I can play some quarter-notes or use displacement and modulation, and nobody freaks out because

Jack has it all anchored down. In the past when I would modulate, people would lose the one and fall offbeat, so this really frees me up within the music, like I used to be able to. What elements of Jack’s playing do you enjoy most? Definitely his pocket. What’s most interesting is that it’s reminiscent of the early bass playing on the Pumpkins records, because Billy is such a big fan of Peter Hook and he loved the Joy Division bass. So much of the pocket in the early Pumpkins music replicated that. Peter plays so high that it has a guitar profile; it’s not your typical laid-back bass. So, we would get bass players who tended to play behind everything, when the bass in the band is really on the line with everything. If you pull it back a bit it can get too bluesy, and Jack is always just right there. And he’s there instinctually — not just because we told him to move things up on the click or play on top of it. It’s a DNA thing.

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You’re not going to make them better. Billy Corgan is a polarizing figure in music. We’ve always had a great relationship. He’s really laid back when we’re on the road, and he’s a really funny person to be around. He has some great stories about touring back in the day and about everything. He has a story to tell about everyone, including my dad, some of which we won’t repeat. Musically, he’s such a hardworking guy and puts so much of himself into this. But he never makes it feel like a drag, because it’s so exciting. I get blown away every night when he plays these crazy solos. I just focus in on him and can’t believe how good of a guitarist he is. What’s it like playing with Jimmy Chamberlin? It is like nothing you could imagine; he’s the greatest of all time in my opinion. And he’s the nicest guy you’ll meet. I’ve learned so much from him. I can’t begin to describe how fun it is to play with him every night. If you can nail the bass down in this music, it lets him off the leash so he can just go off, and as a fan of his drumming that’s exactly what I want to hear every night in my in-ears. Most of what I play is the same every night, but his drumming is different in every performance. He always has new fills, and he switches time signatures mid-song and all kinds of crazy stuff that’s really exciting to play to. I can’t sing his praises any higher than I do. How does your playing in Pumpkins differ from your playing in The Light? My dad plays mostly on the high strings right on the top of the neck, with really harsh attack and a lot of treble. The Pumpkins playing is a lot different. Songs from Gish [1991] have the bass up in the forefront of the songs, but on a lot of the stuff, you’re following the guitars, and it’s more subtle than a lot of my dad’s songs. Jeff always jokes that in the Pumpkins you play bass on the lowest two strings, and with Peter Hook you play on the highest two strings. So, when you put those two together, you should meet in the middle and be a fairly decent bass player. Your dad is a certifiable bass icon. Do you ever feel pressure to live up to his legend?

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A little. Whenever I’m name-checked in a review, the writer will include that I’m Peter Hook’s son, which is cool and I don’t have a problem with it because I’m super-proud of my dad. But there is the expectation that because your dad is so good, you have to be that good. A lot of people ask me if my dad taught me everything about bass, and I tell them that he didn’t, actually, and I learned on my own. I’m used to it by now; I realize that if you’re writing an article, it’s a cool angle. I obviously won’t be offended if you include him. Definitely going to. I would expect that much. This is a bass publication. What was it like growing up as his son? It’s different for sure, but in a cool way. I was born in 1989, which was the peak of New Order, and then they broke up in ’93 when I was four, so I don’t really remember anything from that time. The first band I remember him being in was Monaco, which was a side project of his in 1997. Then New Order came back around 2000, and I was 11 or 12 when I started to understand what was going on. He was just my dad before that, and I didn’t really pay attention to what he was doing outside of the house. Then I started going to New Order shows all the time. And that was when I took an interest in bass, because they were laying around my house everywhere. Even when I was younger, he would let me pick them up and bang them around. How much of your bass playing came from listening to your dad at a young age? You can’t escape it. But it’s a cool thing to not escape. It’s not a burden or anything, and I’m really thankful that I’m in the unique position that I’m in with having him as my father. We argue most about his own riffs, which is kind of stupid. His thing is playing the albums chronologically on tour, so let’s say we get to Brotherhood [1986] and there’s a song that New Order hasn’t played since the ’80s — we’d show up to a rehearsal to play it, and I get into it, and he stops and says that I’m not playing it how he wrote it. Then we argue about it for a while, but it never gets bad. It’s just banter.


TRAVIS SHINN

Jump Head

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Bates on stage with Smashing Pumpkins' Billy Corgan

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What does your dad think of you playing in the Pumpkins? His initial thought was, What do I do now that my bass player is gone? But then once we got past that, he just wants me to have fun. He comes out to watch us when we’re in the same city, and every time we’re in London, he’ll come out and either join us onstage or watch from the crowd. I know he’s really proud of me for doing this and he’s really supportive of me.

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How has playing in the Pumpkins impacted you as a bass player? It’s improved me as a musician so much. It’s taught me as a bass player when to play and when not to play — that’s such an important thing to learn. When I play with my dad, I’ll double up on his riffs a lot because I think it’s cool, but now I think maybe I shouldn’t and I should just let it breathe more. Playing with these super-high-level guys has helped me to be more of a well-rounded bass player. l


CLF Research L-2000

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DAVEY

FARAGHER Keepin’ It Real With Elvis Costello & The Imposters By Chris Jisi |

T

Photographs by Chris Jisi

he remarkable, 42-year career of Elvis Costello has basically been split between two bands, the Attractions and the Imposters, with the latter uniformly regarded as the more versatile quartet. That speaks volumes about the foundational skills of Davey Faragher, the lone personnel change in the four-decade association between Costello, keyboardist Steve Nieve, and drummer Pete Thomas — no relation to Attractions bass great Bruce Thomas. Since joining the band in 2002, Faragher’s role has grown to include singing and vocal-arrangement duties, in addition to putting his own stamp on Attractions bass lines, and creating sympathetic ostinatos to fit the wide range of styles that flow from Costello’s pen. Look Now, Faragher’s sixth studio recording with Costello, is inarguably his step-out moment on the fretboard with the Imposters. The 16-track double-disc finds Costello backlighting his bittersweet, sophisticated song gems with classic R&B and soul grooves, unleashing Faragher in a key countervoice role. And “sing” he does, filling holes with suitably syncopated, melodic responses, rich vintage bass tones, and a lyrical connectivity that drives the songs forward — whether pumping up the pocket from first position or peeking out from the upper register. Self-effacing despite over 200 recordings in his Los Angeles home base, Faragher is also blessed with an acerbic wit. He admits, “Sometimes I feel like I’m still trying to crack the scene at 62!”

Regarding a 2010 session, he laughs, “I was called in by a major producer for a collaboration between two major artists, and afterward he said to me, ‘Welcome to the team!’ And I thought, ‘I’m in!’ And then I never heard from him again!” Davey Faragher was born the sixth of eight children in Long Beach, California, on August 18, 1957. His family moved inland to nearby Redlands a few years later. With his older brothers all in bands, it was quite the musical household, and Faragher found his way to the stacks of rock & roll 45s at home. “My first love is doo-wop,” he states. “If you strip me down to my essence, you’ll find a doo-wop singer. Everything you need to know about basic harmony is in there, and if you zoom out a little to Little Richard and Chuck Berry, you’ve got a strong groove foundation, as well.” Faragher tried drums and guitar and took some piano lessons, but the one constant was

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Davey Faragher

L I ST E N Elvis Costello, Look Now [2019, Concord], The River in Reverse [2006, Verve Forecast], When I Was Cruel [2002, Island]; Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue [2008, Warner Bros.]; Buddy Guy, Sweet Tea [2001, Silvertone]; Sheryl Crow, Sheryl Crow, [1996, A&M]; John Hiatt, Walk On [1995, Capitol]; Andy Fraser, Fine, Fine Line [1984, Island]; Cracker, Kerosene Hat [1993, Virgin]

CO N N E C T CHECK IT OUT

Check out the website of Jackshit, Davey’s side project with Pete Thomas.

singing harmony in school and on the street. When he was 14, his older brother closest in age started a band and needed a bass player. “I didn’t really know what the bass was, but as soon as I keyed into it, I took to it like wildfire and got good fairly quickly because of my musical background.” Another brother gave him a Guild Starfire, and the guitarist in the band showed him some moves. The group played mostly Stax covers at school dances, making Duck Dunn Faragher’s first key influence, with the fretboard magic of James Jamerson and Chuck Rainey to follow. Eventually, all of the brothers’ bands consolidated into one band, dubbed the Faragher Brothers, and the pursuit of a record deal ensued. Davey laughs, “We looked like the Allman Brothers, sounded like the Spinners, and no one could pronounce our name. We did four records on two labels, the first of which was classic blue-eyed soul. We came close to breaking out a few times, but in retrospect, we were stubborn. For our second record, we were working with [famed producer and record executive] Richard Perry, and he wanted to have Ray Parker Jr. produce us, and we didn’t go for it! We didn’t make great decisions.” He continues, “In 1979 the Sex Pistols and the U.K. punk scene hit, and I was very affected by it. It created a rift between the younger and older brothers in the band, so we broke up.” Davey and his brother Tommy next joined a group called The Troops, with quitarist Calib Quaye and drummer Roger Pope, from Elton John’s band. The unit came up short, beginning a stretch where Faragher bounced from one project to the next, while starting to crack the session scene. This included touring with David Crosby, touring and recording with John Hiatt, and joining Cracker. Unfortunately, when the band finally had an MTV hit with “Low,” co-written by Faragher, he was already on his way out. But perseverance and word of mouth would pay off when a bespectacled Londoner came calling. How did you land the gig with Elvis in 2002? I was touring with Vonda Shepard, as well as doing the TV show Ally McBeal with

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her. She started seeing the producer Mitchell Froom, and he thought it would be a good idea to bring in Pete Thomas on drums. Pete and I hit it off right away, even forming a local cover band that we still have, called Jackshit. Meanwhile, he began whispering in Elvis’ ear about me. Finally, Elvis booked a solo show at Festival Hall in London, and there was going to be a big reveal at the end, rocking out with the full band, which hadn’t played together in a while. We were in Europe with Vonda, so I got the call to play bass for the show. I made sure I ’shedded and learned all of the songs and bass parts. We rehearsed for a day or two, and Elvis liked how the show went. Two weeks later, we were recording When I Was Cruel in Ireland. What was it like replacing Bruce Thomas? At first there were people in the audience shouting, “Bruce!” And I still deal with that on occasion. It’s understandable — the Attractions were an iconic band that made amazing records, and Bruce is a great bassist. I pay total respect to his well-crafted parts on those records; I just play them with my own spin. In learning them, Bruce has become an influence, in a way. When you get inside someone’s playing like that, you start to recognize patterns they use and even references they’re going for. It’s like, “Yup, I listened to that same Beatles record!” If I had to describe my style, I’d say I’m 60% R&B and 40% rock & roll. Bruce would be 70% rock & roll and 30% R&B, because he still charges ahead in that rock way. I have more of a laid-back R&B concept, but with an understanding of the rock attitude. How do you come up with your parts for Elvis, and how much freedom do you have? Elvis is great in the studio; he’s super-creative, which is inspiring, and he lets you do your thing. He pretty much leaves the bass line up to me, aside from a written line or riff that’s key to the song. But if he’s just showing us the chords to a tune on guitar or piano, I’m free to create my own part. As a singer, I’m acutely aware of the vocal line, and supporting it is first and foremost; from there, it’s about playing off it or around it. At this point in my career, it’s instinctual. I sort of have my


Davey Faragher

go-to places, so when I hear the song it will remind of some other song or groove and trigger what kind of bass line to play. Look Now sounds a little different from a typical Elvis & the Imposters record, with R&Bflavored songs and additional instrumentation. That’s what I thought when I heard the songs — it sounded like classic R&B to me. Elvis gave us the songs as guitar or piano demos, as he always does, but the producer, Sebastián Krys, had us sketch out our parts and make demos. That’s because things tend to go down rather quickly when the Imposters are in the studio, and the feeling Sebastián and Elvis had for this record was for it to be a little more thought out and arranged. That forced a discipline on a us that we don’t usually have, and it definitely paid off. I’m sure we’ll go back to bashing out another record, because there’s something cool about that method, too — capturing the moment and the spontaneity. What songs and bassists came to mind as you worked your way through Look Now? James Jamerson and Chuck Rainey, for sure; they should be in the credits instead of me, because I’m just trying to copy them! “Under Lime” is basically a psychedelic Motown tune. For “Burnt Sugar Is So Bitter” I was thinking [the Four Tops’] “Bernadette.” “Suspect My Tears” is [Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell’s] “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” both rhythmically and as my inspiration to use a pedal tone on the second verse. “Mr. and Mrs. Hush” is mostly Chuck Rainey, with some “Shotgun” [by Junior Walker & the All Stars] in there. “Why Won’t Heaven Help Me” is sort of Latin meets Steely Dan, with me using Chuck Rainey’s cuica-drum-like slides, among other moves. You had a chance to study with Chuck. When I was in my 20s, I took four or five lessons with him. I was so taken with his playing that just to be in a room with him was overwhelming. He was very nice and very committed to teaching. He had mimeographed sheets of his most famous bass lines and licks put in exercise form, and I recognized them all from his recordings. He’d play something and I’d try to match his phrasing.

It was amazing, and I probably grew five years as a player within that little span. What basses did you use on Look Now? Mostly my ’58 P-Bass, and a few others. When I started to get steady work on the L.A. session scene, I went for quirky basses, like my 1963 Hofner Club Bass, my 1963 Gibson Les Paul Jr. Bass, and my Danocaster P-Bass, all of which I used on the album. I recorded the basses both direct, through my vintage Tonecraft 363 Tube/DI, and via a miked Ampeg B-15. On tour I’ve been using a bass that I’m absolutely smitten with — a 2011 Mike DeTemple P-55 that looks like a Fender Telecaster Bass. It has two pickups, a single-coil and a humbucker. Mike is a legendary L.A. luthier who mainly builds custom guitars, but he’s built about a dozen basses, as well. I didn’t want to take my ’58 P-Bass out on the road, so I went over to Mike’s to try out his bass. I had my son with me, who is a terrific young jazz and fusion drummer, and he said to me, “I’ve never heard you play like that!” The instrument has inspired me and made me fall in love with playing all over again. Let’s discuss your technique, including how you incorporate your plucking-hand fingernails. I pluck with my two fingers alternating, and I use my fingernails to get a little click after the pads of my fingers pluck the string, which adds a point to the notes. I have my fingernails hardened with polish regularly at a salon. Fairly recently I’ve started plucking with my thumb, if I want a fatter, more staccato sound, but I don’t mute with my palm. Most of my muting happens in my left hand, deadening the strings. I’ve never taken to playing with a pick, and I can slap but I don’t do it much. I’m a lefty playing right-handed, so I was never going to be a “thunder thumbs” type of slapper. How would you describe your hookup with Pete Thomas? There’s a tension in our playing that’s interesting. Usually, the bass player is the one who sits on the back end of the beat, with the drummer leaning forward. With Pete, I’m more on the front end pushing, and he’s

GEAR Basses 1958 Fender Precision, 2011 DeTemple P-55, 1963 Gibson Les Paul Jr., 1963 Hofner Club Bass, 1955 Fender Precision, Danocaster P-Bass, Dan Armstrong wood-body bass with movable pickup Strings “I don’t endorse anyone, and there are mostly old strings on my basses: Pyramids on the Hofner, D’Addario roundwounds on my ’58 P-Bass, and La Bella flatwounds on my ’55 P-Bass.” Rigs Ampeg SVT-VR head with SVT-810E cabinet, Tonecraft 363 Tube DI, 1964 Ampeg B-15 for recording


Davey Faragher

leaning back, which creates this sweet spot in the middle. We both know each other’s style so well that we can sort of do our own thing while creating a nice pocket. You got to work with the late Allen Toussaint on Elvis’ album The River in Reverse. That record came out of doing some benefit shows for victims of Katrina. It was amazing to work with Allen. We learned a number of his songs and a whole lot about various New Orleans grooves. He was such a stately fellow, dressed to the nines, and with a great demeanor. He had this interesting way as co-producer. You’d come into the booth for the playback after a take, and he’d say, in his deep, resonant voice, “What do you think about what you’re playing in the bridge?” And you’d want to run and hide! But he was very complimentary to me throughout the project, which meant the world to me. You recorded Fine, Fine Line with Andy Fraser and then spent a year in his band. I learned a lot from him. He was the lead singer, so I played bass, but the way he wrote was the same way he played bass: big arena riffs, with dramatic use of space. The best lesson I ever got in taking a breath and leaving holes in the music was from Andy. He was the king of hitting the note and then letting off in a way that would suck the air out of the room. The way he let off the note was so accented that it had a major effect, and then the space afterward would be as important as the note. I definitely picked up some of that. Your use of fuzz bass on records with Buddy Guy and Sheryl Crow caught the ear of bassists. I’m really not an effects guy; I have a pedalboard on tour with Elvis, but I rarely use it. The main fuzz-bass project I did was Buddy’s record Sweet Tea. My buddy Dennis Herring was producing, and he sent me a Captain Beefheart track that had fuzz bass on it. Much of the record is a trio with me, Buddy, and Pete [Thomas], so Dennis wanted to go for a Cream–Led Zeppelin kind of sound. I played my ’63 Gibson Les Paul Jr., and I have this ’70s Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes overdrive pedal, so that’s what I used.

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In Praise Of Davey Faragher By Elvis Costello

D

avey was the perfect bass player for The Imposters, as the group came into existence during the making of When I Was Cruel — a record initially motivated by toy drum machines, until I accepted that the songs would be better realized by a new combination of humans. Davey could do everything we needed. He could lay it down hard, he could lay out when it was necessary, and he could invent with the best of them. I think that it would have been impossible for Davey (or anyone else) to enter into an alliance with three musicians who had played together for the best part of 40 years, had the three of us remained static in our conception of melody, harmony, or rhythm. We sense music differently than we did in our 20s and play songs that call for far more variation of dynamic range and nuance. In terms of the groove, I could sense the things that Davey took from lessons with the likes of Chuck Rainey. They have become more and more evident as The Imposters developed their own recording and performance vibe. Young groups are often insecure, wildly competitive, and confrontational; they flourish by taking unconventional roles. For example, the “rhythm section” of the Attractions was frequently Pete Thomas’ drums and my rhythm


TRAVIS SHINN

Davey Faragher

guitar, while the other two members played inventive counterpoint or melodic detail in support of my vocal. For our Imposters records, Davey brings his extensive studio experience in a rhythm-section team with Pete Thomas along with all his other recordings, from the Faragher Brothers Band as a teenager right through his time with Cracker, decoding then-current cues to his work on Johnny Halliday’s last sessions. He plays with a sense of swing that I had not enjoyed since the My Aim Is True sessions, which were more restrained and served by the groovy bass playing of Clover’s John Ciambotti, before some magic potion made me and the Attractions cut all that frantic new-wave music. Of course, there are some excellent bass parts on those early records, and Davey has respect for that, but also the respect for himself — so he retains the essential motifs and still plays the song as he feels it. Between 1985 and 1993,

I recorded or performed with Jerry Scheff, T-Bone Wolk, Nick Lowe, Paul McCartney, and Ray Brown. That’s a lot a great bass players, and when required, Davey has taken the blueprint of those recordings and made them his own, just as surely has he has done with Bruce Thomas’ parts from the Attractions’ early recordings. Since 2002, we’ve covered a lot of miles — recording in Mississippi, in New Orleans with Allen Toussaint, and in the best recording rooms in Los Angeles. Which brings to mind Davey’s other main contribution as a harmony vocalist: He told me that his harmonic sense came from singing with his older brothers and having to grab hold of the one interval that no one covered. With few notable exceptions, I had always dubbed all of the background [vocal] parts on my records since 1978. This sometimes meant allowing for the absence of those parts in live performance. Truthfully, some songs never could be ar-

ranged to good effect without other voices, and those tunes fell by the wayside. Once I was working with Davey, I could count on having a close high-harmony singer, and I swear sometimes he had some crazy tonal trickery that made it seem as if there was more than one of him singing on a chorus. When we came to revisit the most eccentric vocal arrangements for the Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers Tour, we enlisted the help of the singers Kitten Kuroi and Brianna Lee, and Davey’s other talent as a vocal arranger came into play, as he was able to work with Kitten and Brianna to distill these tracked blueprints into viable three- or even four-part live arrangements. Music that had originally seemed too complex to enjoy in performance became exciting to play, and for our current tour, Just Trust, we are casting the net wider and hoping to surprise again with unheard songs, just as we celebrate the tunes that have stuck in the heart or memory for 40 or more years to earn their place in the set. Davey’s highly attuned ear, both as a bass player and as vocalist, is as important as the invention of Steve Nieve, the drive of Pete Thomas, or that fact that I’ve written a few good tunes that I can enjoy singing with Kitten and Briana at my side in the finale. You want to work with people that you want to spend your precious time with, and the longer The Imposters continue, the more I value the friendship and care between us all, as much as the musical adventure we get to share.

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Davey Faragher

Before that record, I had brought and used it on several of Sheryl’s tunes on her self-titled album [“A Change Would Do You Good” and “Sweet Rosalyn” from Sheryl Crow], and she liked it so much that I ended up getting

Listen Now

D

avey Faragher happily mines his R&B and soul bass vocabulary for the sub-hooks on Look Now, with an added dose of rock & roll edge and Macca-like melodicism. Ex. 1 dissects the disc’s bass anthem, “Mr. & and Mrs. Hush,” for which Faragher plucked his ’58 P-Bass. Letter A has the written bass line of the verse (as heard at 1:08), bringing to Faragher’s mind the Motown instrumental hit “Shotgun” and numerous Stax bass lines by Duck Dunn. Letter B shows the pre-verse at 0:36,

credited for “fuzz bass.” Who are some of your favorite contemporary bassists? I love Pino [Palladino]; he’s incredible. Marcus Miller, Lee Sklar, Will Lee, Anthony

with Davey turning to Chuck Rainey-style 16th-note gallops to move the pulse along in an oh-so-funky way. Letter C is the chorus, at 0:56, where Faragher’s vocal aptitude leads him to double the melody via the upper note of his 10ths. Letter D occurs at the end of the bridge, at 2:09, with a return to vintage Rainey through the upper-register double-stop (Em7) against the open E and the harmony-outlining lick against the open A. Ex. 2 contains Faragher’s verse line on “Suspect My Tears” at 0:47, also played on his ’58 P-Bass. Here, Costello’s vocal melody, with held notes and open spaces, allows Dav-

ey to serve as a rhythmic and melodic countervoice in a syncopated Jamerson style. Listen as he subtly develops the part throughout the track, as well. Finally, Ex. 3 occurs at the third pre-chorus of the ballad “I Let the Sun Go Down,” at 2:57. Having twice previously played the descending guide tones basically as half-notes on his ’63 Hofner Club Bass, Faragher adds sextuplet arpeggio ornamentation to ear-grabbing effect. “That’s inspired by Dee Murray’s playing on [Elton John’s] ‘Rocket Man.’ I’m a big fan of his playing, and I got to meet him once at a party in the ’70s.”

Ex. 1 Med. R&B

F

= 110

5

8

50

G

Ab6

C

G

F

C/E

G

œ

Am

G

Em7

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A7sus

A7

œ

C

G/B


Davey Faragher

Ex. 2 Med. Soul

= 80

Bm7

4

Med. rock ballad

Bm7

Cmaj7

Am

Em7

Em7

Cmaj7

Cmaj7

G#aug

= 72

Jackson, Bob Glaub, who’s a friend. Through my son, I hear some of the newer players, and they all sound amazing. I was into Stanley [Clarke] and Jaco [Pastorius] when they came out, but vocal music always pulled me back in. Right now I’m working my way through John Patitucci’s 60 Melodic Etudes for Acoustic and Electric Bass [2005, Carl Fischer], and it’s kicking my butt! What’s the concept of Jackshit, your L.A. band with Pete Thomas and guitarist Val McCallum? The original concept in 2000 was just to have fun playing cover songs. We had all come up around the pressure of creating and playing originals, so it was a welcome change of pace to play covers and mash-ups from across the musical spectrum. We’ve developed a whole shtick around it — we’re characters from a fictitious town and we wear country & western outfits. It’s humorous, the repertoire is picked for comedic value, but we take the music very seriously. We do a long

C/G

Bm7

Em7

˙D/F#

piece called the “Ugly and Slouchy Medley” that we keep adding to. It starts with the title tune, a country song with a two-feel, and we wind our way through tunes like “GreenEyed Lady” [Sugarloaf], “Spinning Wheel” [Blood, Sweat & Tears], “Pinball Wizard” [the Who], “Jesus Is Just Alright” [Doobie Brothers], “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” [How the Grinch Stole Christmas], and “Scatterbrain” [Jeff Beck]. Val is in Jackson Browne’s band, so we try to play locally when we’re all off the road. We’ve done three albums on our own, and we want to do another. As someone who has had quite a versatile career, what advice can you offer young bassists? After all these years in the music business, I have very simple advice: Just say, “Yes!” If someone asks you to do something, say yes, and keep saying yes until your fingers fall off. Every time I’ve said no, I’ve seen the project jump from one opportunity to another, and thought, “Crap, why didn’t I do that?” Two words: Say yes! l

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Invin

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With the first Tool album in 13 years, Justin Chancellor discusses the writing process, his signature tone & his band’s many odd time signatures

ncible By Jon D’Auria |

Photographs by Travis Shinn

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TRAVIS SHINN

Justin Chancellor

T

hirteen years is a long time — maybe not in the bigger picture of human existence or from an existential standpoint, but for a gap in a widely influential band’s album-release schedule, it’s sizeable. For a little perspective on the matter, back when Tool released its previous album, 10,000 Days, George W. Bush was still president, Twitter had yet to exist, and current pop sensation Billie Eilish was only five years old. A studio hiatus of that length would mean certain career suicide for most bands, but Tool is not most bands. In fact, during that wait as the months and years went by, Tool’s rabid fan base only became more fixated and interested in the group’s happenings. Speculation turned into rumors, rumors into viral headlines, viral headlines into false leads,

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false leads into dead ends, and back to the beginning of the spiral cycle. But suddenly, the frenzy broke, and on August 30, 2019, it happened. Tool released its fifth studio album, Fear Inoculum. Boasting ten tracks with four interludes on the full edition, and all of the main songs exceeding ten minutes, the album has been received as a masterpiece by fans and critics alike. The first thing listeners hear when they cue up the opening title track are the brooding and ominous guitar sweeps of Adam Jones, met with the tribal percussion of drummer Danny Carey. As the intro starts to build steam, we’re greeted at the 1:37 mark with a sound that is so specific and familiar, it can be nothing other than the bass of Justin Chancellor: his Wal 4-string soaked heavily in delay and flanger, his picking cutting to the


Justin Chancellor

front of the mix, and his intricate lines locking in with Carey’s drums in a mesmerizing fashion. This is what we’ve been waiting for. The album is everything a Tool fan hoped it would be, as each song patiently rises and peaks with crescendo after crescendo, led by the beautifully haunting vocals of Maynard James Keenan. While all four members play a crucial role in every moment of the record, Chancellor commands a large chunk of aural force, serving as key propulsion to myriad odd time signatures, abrupt changes, and disorienting cadences. His chordal work on “Pnuema” dances around a repetitive figure of seven, which serves as a reoccurring theme as far as time signatures go. His plucking fortitude on “Invincible” barrages the verses and choruses until the all-out riff assault that takes over with Jones’ precise and speedy strum work, reminiscent of his playing on 10,000 Days’ “Jambi.” The powerhouse track is undoubtedly “7empest,” an almost 16-minute movement that alternates between the

extremes of rancor and serenity. with a long solo section written by Chancellor that he prefers to count in 21. For Chancellor, Inoculum etches another notch on his progression as a bass player. Fluidly jumping from complex picking to beastly strumming within phrases, he pulls off wild moments throughout the record, while still serving as the foundation of a band that has one of the most formidable drummers in rock. But Chancellor’s stability allows Carey to meander, explore, and subdivide in ways that only he can, and the duo show the deep connection they’ve built together for the past quarter-century. While Chancellor kept his rig and massive pedalboard primarily the same on this recording, for the first time ever he decided to use a few different basses in the studio, including his 1963 Fender Precision, his Music Man StingRay Classic, and even a Hamer 12-string bass borrowed from his good friend Mike Inez of Alice In Chains. But rest assured, his signature Wal tone still grac-

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Justin Chancellor

L I ST E N Tool, Fear Inoculum [2019, Tool Dissectional] GEAR Bass Wal 4-string basses, 1963 Fender Precision Bass, Music Man StingRay Special, Hamer 12-string Rig Two Gallien-Krueger 2001RB heads, Demeter VTBP-201S preamp, Mesa Boogie 4x12 and 8x10 Pedals Boss GEB-7 EQ, Boss DD-3 Digital Delay, Boss BF-2 Flanger, Boss LS-2 Line Selector, Boss CE-5 Chorus, TC Electronic Tonebender, DigiTech Bass Whammy, Tech 21 SansAmp GT2 Distortion, Guyatone BR2 Wah, Prescription Electronics RX Overdriver, ProCo Turbo Rat distortion, Guyatone Vintage Tremolo, Foxx Fuzz Wah, MXR Bass Octave Deluxe Strings Ernie Ball Super Slinky .045–.110 Picks Dunlop Tortex 1.0

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es almost the entirety of the album, as Justin generates some of his most dominating bass tone on record to date. Preparing for the first tour in support of the album, Chancellor is in full dress-rehearsal mode with Tool’s new video show and stage setup, preparing the songs that are making their setlist debuts. He’s thrilled to be playing these songs live for the first time, but his nerves are mounting for the sold-out shows ahead. He combats the bouts of nerves by sprinting back and forth through the arena hallways before the band hits the stage — he likes to keep his adrenaline levels high and his energy levels higher. The anticipation has been met. The tension has been released. Thirteen years may be a long time, but the wait is finally over. How does it feel to have this album released to the world? It’s hard to describe, but it’s a massive relief. First of all, just finishing it, having it mastered, and then going home on the plane with the finished CD in my hands was a tremendous feeling of unburdening and accomplishment. Then actually releasing it and getting it out into everyone’s hands, with nothing we could do about it anymore, was amazing. And then having success with it and having people like it and it doing really well really has me on cloud nine. I was telling my friends that sometimes you have a birthday party and you’re supposed to be really excited about it, but it doesn’t quite come off as you envisioned it. But this was the real deal. I actually feel a natural high from releasing this album. What were the weeks like leading up to the release, with all of the anticipation swirling around? It wasn’t that bad, because the record was already finished; all we could do was hope for the best. We were excited that it didn’t leak — we were checking every day to make sure it didn’t, because we wanted the impact of it being put out all at once. But we did have the excitement of releasing our full catalog to the web just before it, so that was a great pre-

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emptive strike, almost. It distracted everybody for a moment and took some tension off us; we were able to enjoy that step for a little while. We were hoping to release the album a little earlier initially, but we had some hiccups with the artwork, and we wanted to time it right with releasing the catalog. We were actually out in Europe and did a tour, and we made the decision to play a couple of new songs live, which is something we had never done before. We fought a bit about it, but we ended up agreeing on doing two of them. We usually don’t play material before it’s put out, but it worked out really well. People were excited, and that kind of boiled on to the album release. Every song feels very complete. Do you feel that you were able to achieve your full potential, front to back? When you’re in the studio, there’s always the element of asking if a song is exactly how we want it, and you can change a million things before everyone is truly happy with it. We’re four people who hear things differently and have different visions of ideas and how to mix them. I wouldn’t say that it’s always exactly individually the way that each of us would want it all to be. The finished product ends up being a compromise between all of us. If we each released our own version of the album, you’d probably hear quite a different mix from each of us. But regarding composition, sounds, and arrangements, we were all totally happy. It felt complete. But then we go and play it live and we realize, damn, maybe we should have done this this way. That’s the beauty of getting to play these songs live — you give them new life, and they live on. The album is never the end of the road for the composition. Tool writes from a deeply focused, spiritual place. What was the deeper journey for you in this long process? The deeper journey involved us realizing how special our relationships with each other are, and how fortunate we are to come into this situation: getting through our differences, finding ways of communicating better, and not letting the whole thing fall apart at


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Justin Chancellor

times — understanding that it’s worth it to keep going and strive to get to a new point in our career where we achieve something great. The benefit of taking so long over something is that you get to grow up while you’re doing it and evolve into a new person through the process. As you’re trying to work these things out, you’re gaining skills to deal with it. It’s a time for relationships and communication to strengthen more than anything else. Per usual, the material jumps through a lot of time signatures, but there’s a central theme of playing in seven. Did that come out naturally? In the same way that the music you listen to subliminally inspires you, in the way that you write a riff of your own and you can pinpoint where it emerged from based on the things you’ve been absorbing, that was happening to us within the band. It’s like when you have a dream and you analyze it and figure out what experiences from your past few days your subconscious was drawing it from. The same thing happened with playing in seven on this album. One of us came in with a riff in seven, and subliminally someone else would write a riff in seven, so then we have two songs in that signature, and so on. For the song “7empest” I wrote a riff that was so weird, and I seemingly counted it out to 21 beats, and then of course, Danny listened once and said it’s in seven. That’s the best thing about having such a master drummer like Danny: I can never throw him off or fool him with time signatures. He can always just latch right on and make it feel right. So he divides that part into seven, and Adam and I perceive it more as being in 21. What is it that you like about playing in that time signature? I like playing seven because it has a certain urgency. Everyone is used to hearing songs in 4/4, which is very comfortable because that’s what we’re used to. Playing in seven sort of restarts and cycles back again before you’re ready for it, and I love that vibe. I love that about playing in five, as well. It kind of rushes you along, but if you spread it out long enough, you can find some amazing rhythms within those feels.

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Do you count odd time signatures as you play them? I more so just feel the riffs, because it’s all more rhythmical than it is math to me. I always think about things in rhythms, and then even the melodies come in much later for me. I tend to come up with patterns when I’m out running or hiking, and I draw upon my breath and come up with different rhythms — and if they get in my head long enough, I’ll write to them. Once I have something that comes naturally and feels good, then I try to count it out, because you have to map it out in order to be able to describe it to someone else. You’ve got to put scaffolding on it, and then you can actually handle it and move it around. By doing that, you can start to relate it to people’s other ideas. We have a lot of complex parts where we’re all hearing things differently. Danny and I will often hear where the downbeat is differently, and it’s a bit of a mind-fuck sometimes. It can really turn you upside down. It’s interesting when you’re all standing there trying to come up with a common language that everyone can relate to. That’s when we get out the old blackboard and start charting things out. I’ve seen those blackboards in your studio. They look like they’re written in an alien language. It would definitely seem that way to someone outside of the band. Over all of these years playing together, we’ve definitely come up with unique systems and dialogs in channels of conveying messages to one another. You have such a signature sound like very few bass players. Did you do anything different to enhance your tone this time around? We went through a bunch of different options, and we tried to do new things and try new amps, but we mostly ended up coming back to the same stuff I always use. We even tested maybe ten different new DIs, and we would just come back to the Demeter, which is the same thing I’ve always used. It’s a little harder to be experimental with the bass; it’s fundamentally part of the foundation, to have that consistency. Everybody is relying on that


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Justin Chancellor

being the path, which is why it needs to be a signature sound within this band. Everything else grabs onto it. Adam has a lot more freedom to experiment being a guitar player, but he still has a specific sound that he ends up getting no matter what he uses, because of how he is as a player. But I have to keep my tone steady through everything. It’s part of my role. You played a few different basses, though. The Wal wasn’t sounding as good as it could have in a couple of parts, so I broke out a few other basses and got experimental with the amp settings — but that was only a few minute sections. My fundamental bass tone comes from my Wal bass, so I used the other three basses to just add a bit of sparkle in various places. We were messing around with 12-string, and it had such a cool vibe, but it was almost too much, you know? It smothered the other instruments in most parts. But I ended up using it and reversing the bass line in the mix, and it became the intro for “Mockingbeat,” which was the interlude that I made. The very first thing that happens in that song is the backwards Hamer bass. It came out trippy. We basically split it up so that we each got to make our own interlude. We were all involved in the production and mixes, but each one is an individual creation from each member. Maynard came up with “Legion Inoculum,” “Litanie contre le Peur” was Adam’s, mine was “Mockingbeat,” and I bet you can guess which one Danny created [the drum-heavy “Chocolate Chip Trip”]. I took mine to an electronic realm and used the Arturia Drumbrute analog drum machine, so I got to jump into the musical world that I’m fascinated with for the moment. Have you been inspired by electronic music lately? Yeah, I listen to electronic music pretty often. When I get home from rehearsal, I don’t put on much heavy rock. I find the purity in electronic music inspiring because it’s all digitally created, and the frequencies are perfectly crafted — you can’t really get that with a bass guitar or any analog instruments.

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But you can aspire to play like that sometimes and get that really pure tone. It’s just a difference in the gear you’re creating with. Speaking of gear, you have a signature pedal in the works with Dunlop. What can we expect from that? It’s going to be a wah with my own version of the sweep, but it’ll have a fuzz element, as well. We started on it a long time ago, but it’s been really fun to listen to different wahs and distortions and think about the people who inspire me and the core bass players who made crazy sounds that I aspire to. For me, that awesome bass wah always goes back to Cliff Burton and how he could make noises that sounded like pulling teeth. That’s what I wanted for this. It’s not going to be exactly that, but it’ll have the ability to crank on the distortion and just make insane demonic frequencies. It allows you to get a little outlandish if you’re a bass player. It’s going to be quite a fun pedal. And the team making it has been just outstanding. It’s not quite there yet, but it’ll be out soon enough. It felt so good to hear your familiar bass come in on the opening track, “Fear Inoculum.” How did that main riff come about, and what effects did you use? I used a delay and flange pedal, which is something I like to use often. We worked backwards on that track. The second half is in a weird time; that was the original part of the song, and we started with that when it was first written. Then Adam suggested that we simplify it, and we went backwards and took the same themes, but made them in a regular 4/4 kind of swing. That’s how that riff came about. We had already written the crazy complicated part, so then we got to really pull back and play a straightforward, familiar-sounding thing. It worked out beautifully how that then turns into the crazy part. “Pnuema” has a great bass-driven riff with some crazy phrasing. Adam actually came in with that main riff. I couldn’t tell you how he wrote that, but it goes back to that playing-in-seven concept where it trips up on itself a little. A lot of times, if you come up with something that


Jump Head

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TRAVIS SHINN

Justin Chancellor

sounds cool, you can make it more interesting by adding or subtracting little fractions of it. We played with repeating the last phrase or taking it out and adding it somewhere else within the riff. It’s like playing with Legos, moving them around to build an abstract structure. Then you have to have a drummer like Danny Carey who can make the whole thing groove and work. You get to unleash and go pretty nuts in “Invincible.” Was that written with bass in mind? In that song, it’s hard to pin down when exactly everything happened. The original

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idea was really basic, but most of the composition came together in the studio with all of us and those blackboards and an incredible amount of exploration. We will jam on one idea for hours and then take it home and listen to it, and everyone comes back with different opinions the next day, or a new idea will come out of it. It comes from literal years of experimentation together on it. “7empest” is such the powerhouse song. I love that song so much. In this band, you’re in a groove and you keep taking it into whole other worlds, but we keep the idea of


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TRAVIS SHINN

Justin Chancellor

taking our time and enjoy a certain atmosphere that you get into within it. For that song, we ride out the parts for a while, and then we find a cool transition and take it to a whole different place, and then we take it back to the original idea, but in a bold way. I just love that about being in this band; there’s no limitation, so you can take things to the edge and back. That song really represents that concept. Do you have a favorite song from the album at this point? I think “7empest” is my favorite song right now. I love “Fear Inoculum” because it has a simplicity that’s quite satisfying. But I just get so into “7empest.” I love Adam’s guitar playing and his soloing. That whole section was fueled by the original riff that we wrote in 21, which comes between the verses and the beginning. I found a way to groove that out. We joke that it’s like a prog-rock version of [Ted Nugent’s] “Stranglehold.” It goes into this immense groove that is in a really strange time, but it rolls along nicely, and then we just gave Adam free rein, and he went nuts on it. I love listening to things that allow you to take your time, and they just wash over you, so they’re not just over in the blink of an eye. What has it been like playing these songs live so far? It’s exciting. We played “Invincible” and “Descending” in Europe, which was nerve-racking, but a really fun thing for us to

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do. That was the first time we had ever played them in front of anyone, so they’re a lot better now. It’s always exciting to play new songs, especially when you put them in with your other songs so that they’re in the landscape of a whole set. It presents something different for the audience. Adam and a bunch of the guys that worked on the artwork have been putting together new visuals for all of the tracks, so there’s a whole new show that we’re unveiling for this tour. It’s looking pretty damn epic. The new album, and all of your previous records that went online for the first time, did astoundingly well in sales. How did it feel to have your entire catalog top the charts? It was so lovely to experience that. It felt so encouraging and supportive to have our fans embrace it so much. And for new fans to embrace our older albums was really the icing on the cake. We put so much work into this and just hoped for the best at the end of the day. It was no secret that we were working on it and that it was coming. It became a bit of a joke, and there were even memes online about it — even one with Beavis and Butt-Head that said they’re still waiting on the new Tool album. To be rewarded in that way was so appreciated by us, and it made it all worthwhile. It made it seem worthy of all of the effort we put into it. What ideally would you want a listener to say after hearing this album for the first time? Fuck me [laughs]. Our sentiment exactly. l


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Red Dragon Cartel

ANTHONY ESPOSITO Power & Resonance By Freddy Villano |

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Photograph by Joe Gorelick

nthony Esposito has carved out quite a career for himself by being the go-to bassist for some of the most prodigious guitar heroes in hard rock and heavy metal. He landed his first professional gig at age 21 in 1989 with Lynch Mob, led by ex-Dokken guitarist George Lynch. Esposito’s tone and musical temperament on the debut Wicked Sensation [1990, Elektra] provided Lynch with the perfect rock-solid foil to his guitar histrionics. Since then, Esposito has gone on to play with former Kiss guitarist Ace Frehley, Guns N’ Roses axe-man Richard Fortus (in Pisser, a monster New York rock & roll band that never landed a record deal for some reason), and now Jake E. Lee, in the ex-Ozzy Osbourne axe-slinger’s Red Dragon Cartel (RDC). But what makes Esposito so in demand isn’t just his approach to bass: He’s also a crafty songwriter and arranger and a well-respected producer/engineer, owning and operating the recording studio Obscenic Arts in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania. These skills are invaluable to his collaborators, all of whom (particularly Frehley and Lee) have relied upon Esposito to help craft arguably the most relevant records of their solo careers. RDC’s latest release, Patina, is a perfect example. It was recorded entirely at Obscenic

Arts with Esposito at the engineering helm, beginning with the songwriting and pre-production process, through to tracking drums, bass, guitars, and vocals. The only thing Anthony didn’t do was mix it, a task he handed off to esteemed engineer Max Norman (Ozzy, Lynch Mob, etc.). “It took a year and a half to make Patina,” Esposito proclaims. “Nothing was quick. We took our time.” The result of that gestation period, and Esposito’s sonic craftsmanship, is a mesmerizing tapestry of riffs, hooks, grooves, and tones that define the in-your-face, badass attitude of tunes like “Speedbag,” “Havana,” “Bitter,” and “Crooked Man.” We spoke with Esposito as he was wrapping up the first leg of RDC’s North American tour in support of Patina. He was candid and even a bit self-deprecating about his musical upbringing, articulate about his gear choices, and revelatory about his recording techniques. How did you land the gig with Red Dragon Cartel? My son Tyler is an audio engineer. He moved out to Las Vegas to assist Kevin Churko at his studio [the Hideout], where they cut the first Red Dragon Cartel record. That was when my son first met Jake, and they became

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Anthony Esposito

L I ST E N Red Dragon Cartel, Patina [2019, Frontiers Music Srl] GEAR Basses Fender 1957 Reissue Precision, fretless Fender Tony Franklin Signature Rig 1969 Ampeg SVT & 8x10 cabinet Speakers Eminence Strings DR Strings High Beams (.055– .110) Picks Dunlop Tortex Standard 1.14mm (purple) CO N N E C T CHECK IT OUT

Visit Anthony online for Red Dragon Cartel tour dates, videos, and more.

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friends. Some drama happened with the first bass player, so they got Greg Chaisson [Jake’s ex-Badlands bandmate] to fill in until they could solidify the position. Eventually Jake asked my son, “Hey, would your dad be interested in doing this?” And, of course, I immediately said, “Yes!” How did you track your bass on Patina? I love the Demeter Tube DI, so I went from there into an Avalon 737 Mercenary Edition mic pre. That was my direct line. For the amp I used a 1969 Ampeg SVT head with an old flat-back birch cabinet from 1970 or ’71. It’s loaded with CTS speakers. I miked it with a Beyerdynamic M 88 TG, which is a killer kick-drum mic. I threw a Sennheiser MD 421-II on the amp as well. What about basses? I have an early-’90s Fender 1957 Reissue Precision that I used on most of the record. It blows away all of my vintage ones. You know when you get one that’s just magical? I’ve played every gig since then with this bass; it’s incredible. I used it for most of the record. For the fretless parts, I contacted Fender and asked for a fretless Precision, and they sent me one of those Tony Franklin Signature basses. I didn’t use the J pickup; I only used the P pickup. I treated it like a P-Bass, even though there were other options. How are you deploying the fretless? It isn’t overt. There’s a lot of fretless on this album. I’ll do fretless in the verses, and then when we get to the chorus or the middle-eight section, I’ll go back to fretted to add a dynamic — add more brightness and attack. Jake and Ozzy did a lot of that when they were tracking with Bob Daisley, [going from] fretless to fretted [and back] to add a dynamic. Do you play exclusively with a pick? It’s whatever the part calls for. It’s usually dictated by the guitar part. If Jake is getting aggressive, I might need to play with a pick to cut through, or if he’s going open tuning, the fingers will work. Anything that I can do with a pick, I can do with my fingers. But I can’t slap — I can’t slap worth shit [laughs]. When we play live, there’s this one funky

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part at the end of the set in the song “Feeder” where I’m doing chordal stuff, and I use a really thin .073mm because I want to get a little Nile Rodgers play in the pick. Your rock career seems defined by playing with guitar heroes. Ace, George Lynch, Jake E. Lee, Bumblefoot, Richard Fortus … I played with Jason Hook from Five Finger Death Punch. I’m basically providing a foundation for them to shine. But I always play “song first” because I’m a songwriter as well. With Jake, he pushes me to expand what I’m saying rather than just nailing the bottom. He’s very musical, and he wants me to be musical. We always discussed options on bass approaches when we were making this record. How so? When he would come up with a lick and we would jam in a room, my first question would be, “Jake, what are your hearing underneath? Are you hearing walking? Are you hearing any movement? Are you hearing driving? Do you want me to play behind? Do you want me to play ahead? What’s the tension and the vibe of the part that you want to exhibit here?” And then we would go from that approach and build and expound upon that. You owned Schoolhouse Studio NYC in Chelsea, Manhattan, for 15 years. Did that experience factor into making Patina? I recorded everybody at Schoolhouse — Joan Jett, the Misfits, the Ramones, Green Day. The last record we did there was Ace’s Anomaly [2009, Bronx Born], and then I moved the studio to a horse ranch in Pennsylvania. RDC got back from Japan in 2015, and everybody came to the ranch, and we set up in a room and started jamming. Jake was presenting all of his ideas, and the songs started to formulate musically. We would just jam out the parts and try to get what Jake had in his head down onto a boom box. Eventually, drums went down over two weeks, we did bass in a day and a half, and then guitars and vocals. Tell me about what you refer to as the “wheel” or “holy grail” of bass tone.


JOE GORELICK

Anthony Esposito

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Anthony Esposito

When I first joined Lynch Mob as a 21-year-old kid, I called every bass-amp manufacturer under the sun — SWR, Trace Elliot, Eden. All of those boutique amps sound really good on their own, and Ampegs don’t sound very good on their own, but when you play them in rehearsal, in the context of a band, they magically fill the frequencies that you want to hear. A lot of people go into Guitar Center to A/B amps, and they’ll say, “Whoa, this sounds incredible” — but then they play it with a guitar player and keyboards, and the amp doesn’t move the air and fill those frequencies that the Ampeg magically gets. Until you get into a rehearsal room or onstage, you don’t know how it’s going to interact with the other instruments. How did you learn to play bass? I grew up in New York City. In sixth, seventh, eighth grade, they start offering electives, which are either music, drama, or art. I couldn’t draw and I didn’t want to act, so I was like, “Okay, I’m going to go into music,” and the choices were brass, woodwinds, or strings. I wanted to play saxophone, but I had braces, and the teacher said, “You can’t play sax with braces — you’ll rip your lips up. You have to play a stringed instrument.” I was a sixth-grade boy at this time. The last thing I wanted to do was play violin and get ridiculed [laughs]. So, I was like, “Give me the biggest instrument you’ve got.” The first time I ever bowed an upright bass, it was an experience. You feel this cannon, this massive instrument right up against your body. You can feel the resonance and the power, and I just fell in love with that frequency and the warmth and moving air. I was attracted to bass from the first time I touched one. Did you play any upright on Patina? We did a bonus track for Japan, a version of “Havana.” My friend Mike Morrison — a great guitarist in Dillsburg, where I live — has a full-on Celtic band where he plays mandolin, and there are bagpipes and frame drums and stuff like that. And so, we had them guest on the track. Jake played acoustic guitar, and I played upright. We doubled my upright with some cellos. There’s a violin and

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viola section playing the melodies. It could be the soundtrack for Braveheart or something [laughs]. What about electric bass guitar? When did you first pick that up? I didn’t get a bass guitar until probably the eighth grade. It was a Japanese P-Bass copy where the action was like five inches off the fretboard, and my fingers were bleeding. I didn’t play hard rock or heavy metal music until I joined Lynch Mob in 1989, and before that, I was into punk rock, but I played jazz, if that makes any sense? [Laughs.] In New York there were amazing bands, like the Lounge Lizards. New York was the epitome of jazz perfection. You could just walk down the street — Jazz 55 on Christopher Street, or the Blue Note, with amazing music emanating from these bars onto the sidewalk. Besides school, did you ever take formal lessons? I studied with Jerry Jemmott. When I was in high school, I used to do his laundry as a way to pay for my lessons. I’d take the Staten Island Ferry and the train all the way uptown to his apartment and clean his house, and he would teach me. He introduced me to Jaco. I took a couple of lessons from Jaco, as well. I read that you don’t play covers or like to play in cover bands. Is that true? I never really played in cover bands. I don’t consider playing Kiss songs with Ace Frehley being in a cover band. I can understand musicians wanting to play live, but to me it’s a waste. There are so many talented musicians that have a voice, and instead of writing their own songs and finding their own voices and saying what they have to say that’s pertinent to them, they’ll play cover songs. I feel that the skill and artistry of being a musician, and expressing one’s feelings, is a dying breed. A lot of these tribute bands and cover bands are prevalent now, and they do get paid a lot of money, so I understand picking up some extra bread on the weekend by playing covers. But to me it’s the same as being in a wedding band. When I started out, I had a desire to express what I do, not play somebody else’s song. l


JOE GORELICK

Anthony Esposito

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ASK PHIL JONES

Why Does The Sound Of My Amp Change In Different Venues? By Phil Jones

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Phil Jones is the founder and president of Phil Jones Bass, a leading manufacturer of bass amplifiers and cabinets. Check out PJB’s product line at pjbworld.com.

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obody has to fight room acoustics in venues like bass players. The primary reason is that the acoustic waves produced from a bass guitar start at one inch in length for snappy high-end overtones all the way up to 37 feet for an open B string. If you go even lower, the sound waves are massive — 65 feet in length for the C# fundamental below open B. Personally, I feel that maybe A0 (the A one octave below the open A string) is the lowest note that works in amplified music, as any frequency lower than that almost becomes low-end noise, as in thunder, waterfalls, and earthquakes. Almost no commercially available bass rigs can produce these subsonic fundamentals, anyway. The thing that makes your sound, the loudspeaker, is physically tiny in comparison to the size of the sound waves, and this is one reason why it is so hard to get rich, deep bass economically. The better-quality bass sound you want, the more it will cost you. My goal here is to help you get the most from what you have (or what you intend to pay for) by understanding, in simple terms, how sound waves work and how your amp interfaces with the acoustics of a venue.

WHY GOOD SOUND GOES BAD

In the mid ’70s I was a full-time bassist, and one thing that constantly frustrated me was that my sound would change from venue to venue, and even in the same venue depending on the number of people in it. (It seemed to improve if I added some alcohol to the mix!) On some nights, my bass would sound thin, and

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no matter how much I boosted the low end, I could never get that weight I wanted. On other occasions, the bottom end was muddy and bloated, or the vocalist would tell me to turn down, even though I could hardly hear myself. Bass playing is what really got me into learning about acoustics; I wanted to understand and control my own tone, regardless of where I played. If this has happened to you, it’s not your fault or maybe not even your gear’s fault. As soon as those sound waves leave your cabinet, they are airborne and at the mercy of the environment they happen to be in. You spend your hard-earned dollars on a beautiful bass and get the best amp for your needs, but after that, everything goes out of your hands. I will explain why and tell you what is going on and some possible solutions to fix or at least improve your bad sound. So, let’s talk about what makes good sound go bad. First, every room you play in has its own sonic signature. Complicating matters, things change depending on where the sound source is and where the listeners are; the sound is different from the front to the back and also side to side. One example from my own experience: I was touring the U.K. with the legendary Chuck Rainey. We were doing a clinic in Cardiff, Wales (both Pino Palladino’s and my home town). Chuck had set up his bass and amp, and standing next to him, I could hear he was getting that rich, smooth “Chuck Rainey tone.” I went to the back of the hall to greet Marc Palladino (a drummer friend of mine and Pino’s brother), and some other bassist friends standing around asked me, “Phil, what happened to Chuck’s tone?” I noticed that it


was profoundly muddy at the back of the hall. This had nothing to do with Chuck — it was the result of all of the reflected sound in the room merging at the spot we were standing in. Why was this happening? Yes, the venue had lousy acoustics, but what does that mean? What was happening was that the room was highly reverberant, and the sound from Chuck’s amp was combining with the reflections from the room’s walls and ceiling. Reverberation refers to the persistence of sound in a space after the sound is produced. In acoustical terms, it has a value expressed as Rt60. This stands for reverberation time and how long it takes for a sound to diminish 60dB (decibels) below its initial level. Typically, the highest frequencies decay the fastest, which means that the low frequen-

cies linger on a lot longer. That’s bad for us bass players! A good auditorium may have a reverberation time of one to two seconds in the midrange. Acousticians try to get this time even across the frequency range, but the low end is always problematic. Materials with high sound-absorption coefficients, such as rock wool or foam tiles, are often used to acoustically treat halls, and the thicker the material is, the better it is for attenuating lower frequencies. Nearly all sound-absorption techniques work above the 300Hz range, but below that, it gets exponentially more expensive to treat a room (even a small recording studio), and invariably, the cost exceeds the budget. The result is always longer Rt60 times for bass — no matter what space it is. Unfortunately, there really is no remedy

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Ask Phil Jones

to fix over-reverberant halls, except to avoid playing in them. I have found that just reducing the low midrange (from 200Hz–500Hz) can bring back some clarity, but it can also take out the body of your tone. My advice, if you’re playing in a highly reverberant room, is to get someone to play your bass during soundcheck while you walk around. If reverberation is muddying it up, try cutting frequencies anywhere from 160Hz–300Hz. That should clean up some of the mud that the audience will be hearing. Reverb, though, is not all bad; it can actually enhance your overall sound, and it makes everything louder. I have taken really large loudspeakers into my anechoic test chamber (which absorbs everything with a flat response down to 30Hz!), and even 1,000 watts doesn’t sound very loud in there — and the overall tone is actually awful. Our ears need a reverberation field for anything to sound good. Having absolutely no reverb sucks the life from music. Still, for decent bass sound, you want the Rt60 for the low end to be under three seconds. (By the way, there are many phone apps you can install to test the reverberation of a venue, such as RT, Reverberation Time, and SabSound Reverb calculator; most are free.)

HOW SOUND WAVES PROPAGATE

Bass guitar cabinets become increasingly omnidirectional below around 200Hz (near the fundamental of the G string on the 12th fret). In other words, they push low-frequency sound waves in all directions — not only side to side but up as well as backwards. Walls, floors, and ceilings guide the wave and in some ways act as acoustical mirrors. Here’s why a speaker cabinet is omnidirectional at the bass end of the audio spectrum. At sea level, sound waves move at approximately 1,117 feet per second, and I say approximately because the atmospheric air pressure isn’t constant (just look at any weather report). Sound waves have a specific length that depends upon on the frequency. The open B string on a 5-string bass is almost

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31Hz, so to find out the wavelength, you just divide the speed of sound by 31Hz, which equals a wavelength of 36 feet. But, consider the largest dimension of your cabinet. If it’s a 4x10 cab, it may be 30 inches across — this is 14 or 15 times smaller than the wave it is trying to produce. As the speaker cone moves forward, the pressure wave literally rolls across the baffle and wraps around the cabinet, resulting in an almost identical pressure wave in all directions. So, the energy of the sound wave at this frequency is propagated as much backward from the cab as forward. This effect of the wave bending around the enclosure is called diffraction, and it physically distorts the wave front. All bass cabs suffer from diffraction, and this means that the shape and size of the venue, and the location where you position your cabs, will drastically affect your bottom end. Conversely, midrange and upper frequencies beam forward like car headlights, so you can pretty much control where they are going — but stand beside your cabinet and you’ll notice it sounds much duller than standing in front of it. The worst-case scenario of losing the bottom end is at an outdoor event, where there are no walls or ceiling near your cabinets. Since the lower frequencies are going in all directions (other than down into ground), with no reflections to bring them back toward the audience, the wave’s energy loses its punch over a shorter distance. Acoustically, this is the simplest kind of situation you’re likely to encounter, so let’s analyze what’s happening to the waves. The waves are basically hemispherical, spreading out from your amp at the center over the area of that hemisphere. For any given distance, we can use the formula for the area of a hemisphere (2πr2, where r is the distance from the cabinet) to find out how much the wave’s power has diminished. For example, at ten feet, the area of the hemisphere is about 628 square feet; at 50 feet, the area is 25 times greater, or about 15,700 square feet. This means that if your amp was pushing 200 watts into the speaker to produce 100dB at a distance of ten feet, then at 50 feet your amp will sound like


Ask Phil Jones

it was pushing only eight watts! Unless you have a wall of subwoofers with a massive baffle area, your wave front won’t have the power to propagate effectively. (Keep in mind that’s the worst-case scenario, and at an outdoor event, let’s hope your bass is being reinforced through a PA system.)

ACOUSTIC LOADING IN VENUES

Let’s talk about how loudspeakers react in rooms. The sound waves in a room are constrained by walls, the ceiling, and the floor, so they will be guided along these boundaries. Low ceilings will turn the sound field to a vertical cylinder (rather than a hemisphere), so the sound wave will still radiate backward and sideways but be at the mercy of the reflections off the walls. Suppose you position your cabinet around six feet from the back wall in a venue. There will be a reflection from the back wall that combines with what your speaker is reproducing, and depending on the frequency, those waves will combine both in phase and out of phase and everything in between. When sound waves combine in phase, they add to each other; the opposite is true when they are out of phase, resulting in some notes being louder and some quieter. At a distance, the fundamentals of some notes may be nonexistent, because the wave reflected off the back wall is out of phase almost exactly and therefore is fighting with what your speaker is doing. Placing the cabinet closer to the wall will give you a smoother low-end response, but as a tradeoff, it will affect upper bass notes. Putting the cabinet right up against a wall will allow all the low-end energy to move forward only, resulting in a smoother bottom end. In this case, the sound is radiating outward as a quasi-quarter-sphere, and that means you need less power to get a good bass response. It’s even better if you can place your cabinet in a corner, where the walls almost start to act like a horn loading on the cabinet. If you are ever in a position where you can do this, it will mean your amp needs to work even less hard. When I was growing up in Cardiff in the

’70s, my older brother Steve and I played in rock bands. Occasionally we had gigs at the New Moon Club, located in a seedy part of town. The building had a flatiron shape, with the stage at the pointy end. One of the local bass players had left a massive custom-built 4x15 on the stage as the house bass cab. One night, when I was playing for Paul Chapman, the guitarist in the rock band UFO, I got to use this cab with my Acoustic 370 head. The bass sound was just crushing, and I was easily able to keep up with Chapman and his very loud Marshall stack. A 4x15 cab is going to move air, but I had never expected just how much! The primary reason why the bottom end was so powerful had more to do with the room than the cabinet: The side walls were at 30 degrees to each other, so the only way the bass wave could travel was forward. Also, the ceiling was only about ten feet high, so there was very little energy lost at the back of the venue, and that was why the bass sounded so good.

USING AMP EQ

If you want to get a fuller and more even bass response from your rig, it could come down to where you position your cabinets. But on many gigs, it may not be possible to have a choice of where you put your bass amp. In that case, you may have to resort to using equalization (EQ), which is nothing more than frequency-selective gain controls. In other words, when you boost your bass control or EQ slider, the amp will deliver more power to your speakers at those frequencies. Likewise, when you cut back a control, your amp will produce less power in that range. Boosting your bass control by, say, 6dB will make your amp work four times harder at that frequency range. Excessively boosting your EQ will not only rob your amp of power, it can also cause damage to your loudspeakers from to much cone excursion or overheating the loudspeakers’ voice coils. Getting great bass is indeed a challenge. I hope that my knowledge and experience can guide you on the path to great tone and therefore better gigs. l

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Complete Transcription

DOUG JOHNS’ “A TALL ORDER” By Stevie Glasgow

D Doug Johns, Doug’s Party Mix [2019, independent]

76

oug Johns’ pocket-perfect grooves, stellar technique, and killer compositions have long attracted accolades — but his commitment to interacting with other musicians is what marks him out in the world of “solo” bass. This collaborative approach is readily apparent on his sixth studio release, Doug’s Party Mix, released in April 2019. “For me, it’s all about the song, the whole sound,” he says. “But as a bas sist, I guess no matter what you release, it’s going to be called a bass album. Let’s just say it’s good, funky, groovy music written by a bass player.” Johns grew up in a house where music was always in the air. Among the artists to make a strong impression on him, he cites Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Thelonious Monk, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Weather Report, Tower Of Power, and Earth, Wind & Fire. Originally a drummer and guitarist, Doug switched to bass as a young teen to cover a vacant slot in one of his earliest bands, and “everything fell into place,” he says. His 40-plus years with the instrument have resulted in a highly individual playing style that includes slapping and popping, guitar-like strumming, three- and four-note chords, and an ear-grabbing, highly percussive righthand fingerstyle. Johns’ ongoing romance with the bass permeates the new album, an eight-track offering that also showcases the Ohio native’s talent for arrangement. “I’ve recently been

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

experimenting with eight- and nine-piece bands, which is just brutal, by the way — like herding cats,” he laughs. “A lot of the tunes on the album are brand new and were written with a big band in mind.” The opening track, “Blues MFR,” is a twisting 13-bar blues featuring a brief wah-wah-inflected bass solo. “‘MFR’ stands for ‘mad for real’ — at least that’s what I tell the audience,” says Johns with a chuckle. Other highlights include “Jacquelyn,” a semi-tapped ballad that melds into a cool, mid-song groove; “Just Play,” a bluesy 90-seconds-long bass-and-congas romp that subtly evokes Jaco’s version of “Donna Lee”; and “In the Loop,” a loop-pedal number that grooves full-on for three and a half minutes. We’ve transcribed the album’s third track, “A Tall Order,” which neatly encapsulates the vibe of the whole disc: upbeat, funky, and hella swinging. “I had a vision of a big band playing the song in a small club. I love clubs where you’re right up against the bandstand, with eight or nine guys crammed onto the stage and they’re just blowing your face off. You know, it’s sweaty, it’s hot, and you’re never going to get your drink — that kind of thing.” Doug strapped on a Pedulla MVP 4-string to record his parts. “It’s a newer bass, four or five years old. My [Pedulla] Buzz Bass is getting so old its intonation isn’t worth a darn.” He strung up with his favored DR Strings Pure Blues and plugged into a Genzler Magellan amp that fed into Ableton Live via a MOTU interface.


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SANDRA BENYAK

Doug Johns Transcription

DOUG JOHNS ON MIKE PEDULLA “Mike retiring is a trip, man. I still wanted another couple of Pedulla basses, but there’s no chance of that now. But I’m really happy for him. It’s a much-deserved break; I think he was doing it for 45 years or so. When he first told me he was retiring, I just said, ‘Congratulations.’ Think about that — to get to the point where you’re like, ‘You know what, I’m done. I did it enough.’ That’s pretty awesome; you’ve got to celebrate that. The horn on my latest [MVP] bass extends farther out, and the balance is much better. He kept improving his basses, just when I thought they were perfect. So keep an eye open for me for some damn Pedullas; I guess I’ve got to find some on Ebay.”

78

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Despite boasting a full rhythm section and horns, Doug finds enough sonic space for four separate bass tracks within the song — sometimes sounding the full quartet simultaneously. We’ve combined two of these tracks onto one staff (Bass 2 and 3), although Doug originally tracked these parts separately. Interestingly, for Bass 2 and 3, he restrung with DR Strings Sunbeams and used tenor tuning (ADGC). “The high C string just adds that bite!” he enthuses. Following Jordan Simmons’ short drum intro, the bass enters in bar 4 with a rising, major-3rd figure that recurs throughout the piece. (Doug employs an upward index-finger rake to play this line.) Note how he squeezes extra juice from the phrase by playing it on the D and G strings, resulting in a trebly sheen that’s hard to get when playing the same line on the A and D strings. Harmonically, bars 5–16 (A1) follow a standard 12-bar blues sequence in F  major, during which Johns outlines the harmony against a simple drum backing. Note the subtle swing inherent in the main groove (from bar 5). “A lot of times, when you’re multi-tracking and don’t have everybody on the floor, it can be hard to make something swing,” Johns observes. “It can get vertical and sterile after adding other instruments. So, it’s all about the rhythm section.” As Doug himself concedes, the principal bass riff is a blues staple. “That bouncy, funky blues line has been played everywhere; it’s so common.” Nevertheless, he brings the line to life with nuanced flair. For example, check out the trademark use of ghost-notes in bars 8, 10, and 16, the double-stopped slides in bars 8 and 12, and the slick 5th-based triplet line in bar 14. Bar 16 in particular offers a good insight into a key element of Doug’s style: strumming. Pull up any number of his YouTube videos to check out his highly ergonomic technique, in which his thumb stays anchored on a pickup while he flicks his fingers across the strings. The song bursts into life going into bar 17 (A2) as the horns and full rhythm section enter for the first time. “I always try to record the rhythm section on the floor, but these days, that’s becoming financially im-


Doug Johns Transcription

possible. For ‘A Tall Order’ I tracked the whole rhythm section and then brought in parts. For the horns, I usually let the players find the right harmonies that work with my sketches.” Here, Doug reiterates his part from A1, hinting little at the multi-tracked bass delights just around the corner. With a switch to the parallel minor key (F minor) at letter B, Johns layers two high bass parts (Bass 2 and 3) over a low, rising line that features strong accents on beats two and four. “I’m kind of slapping that low line with my index and middle fingers,” he explains. Note also how Doug further enlivens Bass 1 with sliding 10ths (bars 33–34 and 41–42) and a tricky-to-finger line in bars 35 and 43 that adds a melodic passage over the root of the Bb chord. The song kicks into overdrive at letter C — a double-time blues section — during which the guitar and Bass 4 team up for a breakneck unison line bursting with chromatic inflections, hammer-ons, and pulloffs. “That line is obviously a Bird- [Charlie Parker] inspired thing. I grew up on the blues and listened to swing a lot, too, so I think I’m pretty good at copping that feel. My choice of notes probably isn’t the best in the world, though. It’s probably more about the notes being comfortable on the bass guitar rather than being harmonically astute,” he laughs. Observe the deft, upper-register chord work preceding the final turnaround before letter D (bars 54–56). “There, I’m just comping guitar lines,” says Doug. For the basic chord shape used in this section, think root–7th– 3rd, with a double chromatic enclosure of the 3rd providing the color. Letter D is a scaled-down callback to B, with the addition of a 4-string voice (Bass 4) that contributes a non-swinging melody line high up the neck. “I’m trying to learn how to play all those parts simultaneously for live shows, because I can’t always get a second bass player,” says Johns. Tip: To cop the punchy feel for the descending syncopated figure in bar 60, pluck the notes with your thumb and index finger. The track returns to a laid-back 12-bar

W H AT ’ S I N A N A M E ? “The title of ‘A Tall Order’ came from the middle unison line [C]. I had put it all together and charted it out for the horn players, because I wanted them to play that line. But my sax player, Kenny Anderson, whom I love, looked at the part and said, ‘Dude, this is a tall order!’ So, it never happened.”

blues in F at letter E, leading to Oz Noy’s lengthy guitar solo at F. “Oz has got that Albert-Collins-meets-Jimi-Hendrix thing going on,” Doug says. Note how Johns holds back on introducing any new material or fills in the back end of the song (bars 73–104), preferring instead to let the guitar solo and horn section shine. A short coda built around the song-opening riff leads to an exuberant ending in bars 107–108. Regarding tips for learning “A Tall Order,” Doug advises, “You have to nail that low intro part [A1, etc.]. It may seem like an easy line, but to me, that’s the hardest one. To play that all through a song and have it bouncing and swinging — that’s harder than that middle section [C], because that’s just a vertical line. Get that low line, man. Get that swing with the drummer. Make it groove.” Johns has already started work on his next album and is itching to get out on the road. “I’m working on new material at the moment, but they’re just sketches. Right now, I’m looking to play more dates, hopefully with this new music, which I’m starting to bring out to the audience both as a big band and as a duo. You can imagine my challenge trying to get ‘A Tall Order’ together with just bass and drums. It’s a big challenge, but I’m up for it. Actually, I’ve submitted Doug’s Party Mix for a Grammy Award [Best Contemporary Instrumental Album], so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.” In October, Doug played the Annual Rocky Mountain Bass Slam in Colorado. “I do that every year — it’s a really cool thing. I’m just always recording and looking for the next gig.” l  See music. next page

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Doug Johns Transcription

A Tall Order By Doug Johns | Transcribed by Stevie Glasgow Intro

= 106

Bass 1

A1

0 1

1 2 2 3

3 5 3

0 3 4 5

3 3

H

5 3

3 5 3

1 1 3 4 5

0 3 0 0 1

0 3 4 5

3 5 3

3 3

5 3 5

3

H

5 3

3 0

3 5 3

1 1 3 4 5

0

0

0 0 1

1 2 2 3

0

0

3 4 5

Bb

C

13

1 2 2 3

3 3

3 5 3

0 3 4 5

5 3 5

S S

H

3

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

3 0

3 5 3

2 3 2 1 0

0 2 3 2

F

Bass 1

Bass 1 0 3 5

6 7

8 7

5 7 5

S

S

H

9 8

1

0 8

3 3

3 5 3

H

3

5 3 5

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

6 3 5 3 5

0 3 4 5

7 6

0

S

10 0 8

S

11 9

10 8

11 8

0 3 4 5

3 5 3

3 3

3

5 3 5

3

7

3

3 5 3

Eb7

F

8 0 0 7

5

6 0 0 5

0 4

5

S

4 3

5

4 3

C7(#9)

Bb7

S

S

4

0

0 0 5 5 0 0 3 3

4

3

2 1

A2 F7

Bass 1 0 3 4 5

3 3

3 5 3

5 3 5

3

H

5 3

3 5 3

1 1 3 4 5

0 0 0 1

3

1 2 2 3

H

0 3 4 5

3 3

3 5 3

5 3 5

3

H

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

3 0

3 5 3

0 0 0 1

1 2 2 3

0

Bass 1 3 5 6 7

S H 8 9 5 7 5 7 8

H

3

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

0 3

0 3 4 5

6 3 5 3 5

S

7 6

0

10 0 8

S

11 9

S

10 8

3 4 5

11 8

S

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

3

3

3

3

3 5 3

5 3 5

H

5 3

Eb7

0 3 4 5

3 5 3

3 3

5 3 5

3

7

3

2

0

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

5

5

0

3

S

3

2 1 0 2

6 0 0 5

Basses 2 & 3* 17 18

17 15 13 18 15 15

*Two basses arranged for one bass

19 20

H

20

H

19 20 20

18 17 18 15

H

0 4

18 20

5 5

S

4 3 4 3

0 0 5 5 0 0 3 3

4

3

2 1

Fm

S

6

6

*H

18

S

C7(#9)

Bb7

8 0 0 7

4

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

7

5

6

6

5

5

3

4

4

29

80

S

0 2

Ab/Eb Bb/D Ab/C

S

4

S

5

3

3 5 3

1 1 3 4 5

Bb9

Ab13

Bass 1

3 5 3

3 3

F7

H

1

F7

1

0

Bb7

C7

B

5 3 5

F7

Bass 1

25

3 3

3 5 3

0 3 4 5

Bb9

21

29

3

5 3 5

Bb

9

17

F7

22 20 22

*PO

22 22 20

20 19 18 20

*On the recording, Johns uses slides rather than hammer-ons and pull-offs

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2

1


Doug Johns Transcription

Ab13

Bb9

Ab/Eb

F7

33

Bass 1

1 1 1

S

4 1 1

1

1

1

3

5

10

4

4 4

4

4

4

4

4

PO

8

6 6

6

6

7

6

6

Fm

Ab/C

Bb/D

S

5 6

6

6

5

6

6

6

5

6

5

3

5

4 4

3

2 1

33

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

17 18

15 13 15 15

19 20

F7

37

H

H

20

H

H

19 20 18 17 20 18 15

18 20

Ab13

Bass 1 1

1

1

1

1

22 22 20

20 19 18 20

Bb9

S

1 1

PO

22 20 22

18

Ab/Eb

S

3 3

4

13

19 20

4 4

4

4

4

4

4

4 4

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

6 6

6 6

Bb/D

8

8

7

5

Ab/C

7

5

5

3

Fm

6

3

5 3

37

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

H

17 15 13 18 15 15

13 15

H

F7

41

Bass 1

1 1

1

1

1

4 1

1

1

H

20

S

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

Ab13

Bb9

5

10

3

4

13

19 20

4

4

4

4

4

4

4

8

6

Fm

Ab/Eb Bb/D Ab/C

6

6

6

7

PO

6

5 6

6

6

6

6

6

5

5

3

4

4

3

2

3

41

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

H

17 15 13 18 15 15

13 15

H

H

20

19 20 20

H

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

18

PO

22 20 22

22 22 20

20 19 18 20

41

Bass 4

45

C

13

F7

Bb7

Bbdim

Bb9

F7

Bass 1 3

0 0 3 3 2

1

2

1 1 2

2

0

3

1

2

3

0

1

3

2 1

0

3

H

0 2 2

D7(#9)

F7

0

1

3

2

H

3

3

1

0 2

1

2

0

4

loco

45

Bass 4

3

H

14 13

15 13

15

17

15 15

15

15

13 14

15 13

H

13 12 11 12

15

15 15

13

13

12

H PO

11 12 11

13

15 13

15

13

T 1

H

0 15 16 17

H

15 17 15

PO

H

15 0 17 19 17 15

17 15

15

15

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13

81


Doug Johns Transcription

Bass 1

H 0

3

0

1

0

2 2 3 3

0

D7(#9) G13

F7

C7(#9)

G13

49

1

0

2

3

0 4

6

5

C7(#9)

0 2

Bb7

PO

H H

5

F7

3 4 5

4

3 0 1

0

14

15 14

6

0

S

S

7

5

F7

6 6

5

6

6

7 7

8 8

5

5 6 6

8

8 8

8

6

5

8 0

S

7

49

Bass 4 12

15 13

15

12

13

H

13 12

PO

H

PO

14 15

11 15 16 1513

0

F7

Bb9

53

Bass 1 7

S

6 6

0 19

15

5 6

8

7

9 7

86

8

8

8

7

8

8

0 17

0 17

0

8

6 8 8

8

13 16

6 6 5

8 0

S

9

7

8 8

13 15

11

13

13

7

8

8

0

S

7

7

5

6 6

S 13 11 10

F7

Bb13

C13

D7(#9)

85

16 15

10 10

6

S

4 0

4

5 5 5

13 11

11

11 11

S

4 0

11

11

G13

D7(#9)

4 4 5

10

4

3

12 12

C7(#9)

2

3 3

12

3

3

0

2 1

53

H

Bass 4 13

57

13

12 13 14 13 14 15

0

0 17 19 19 20

20 21 22

19 20

H

21 20

17 19

22 20 21 20 20

20

19 18

20 20

18

Ab13

D F7

Bass 1

1 1 1

4 1 1

1

1

1

3

H

20 18 19 18 18

18

S

16 16

18

16

17 17 17

Bb9

S

16 0 17 0

16 16

S

17 16

15 15

15 13

15

13

Ab/C

Ab/Eb Bb/D

S

5 4

4 4

4

4

4

4

4

5 5

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

6 6

6

6

5

5 3

4 4

0 0 1

1 2 2 3

57

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

17 18

15 13 15 15

H

20

H

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

57

Bass 4

H

13 14 13

15

13

61

19 20

E

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

18

18

15 20 17

18

17

15

13

16

15

13

12

F7

Bass 1 0 3 4 5

82

16

3 5 3

3 3

5 3 5

3

H

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

3 5 3

3

0 0 0 1

1 2 2 3

0

0

3 4 5

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

3 5 3

3 3

5 3 5

3

H

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

3 5 3

3

0

2

0 2

S

3 3

S

2 1 0 2


Doug Johns Transcription

Bb9

65

F7

Bass 1 0 3 4 5

3 3

5 3 5

3

5 3

C

69

3 3 5 6 7

F

3 5 3

1 1 3 4 5

3 0

0

0 0 1

0

1 2 2 3

0

0

3 4 5

Bb

Bass 1

73

3 5 3

8 5 7 5 7

S

0 8

1

0 3

F7

4 5

6 3 5 3 5

S

7 6

0

10 0 8

S

S

11 9

10 8

11 8

1 1

1

1 1 1 1 1

1

3 3

H

3

5 3

1 1 3 4 5

Eb7

3 5 3

0 3 4 5

3 3

3

5 3 5

3

8 0 0 7

5

S

4

0

5

0 4

S

4 3

5

4 3

C7(#9)

Bb7

S

7

3

3 5 3

0 0 5 5

6 0 0 5

0 0 3 3

Ab/Eb

Bb/D

5

5

4

3

2 1

Fm

Ab/C

S

S

1

5 3 5

Bb9

Ab13

Bass 1

3 3

F7

H

9 8

3 5 3

4

4 4

4

4

4

4

4

5 5

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

6 6

6

5 3

4 4

3

2 1

73

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

17 15 13 18 15 15

19 20

20

H

19 20 20

H

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

73

Bass 4 15

77

H

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

16

18

18

15 20 17

18

Ab13

F7

Bass 1 4 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

1

1

3

3

S

S

4

4 4 4

4 4 4

4 4 4

4

15

13

16

15

13

12

Ab/C

Bb/D

Ab/Eb

Bb9

5

17

15

13

Fm

H

5 5

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6 6 6

6

6

5

6

6

6

6

5

5

5

3

4 4

3

2 1

77

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

77

17 18

15 13 15 15

19 20

H

20

H

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

PO

22 22 20

20 19 18 20

straight

Bass 4 15

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

16

18

18

15 20 17

18

17

15

13

16

15

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15

13

83


Doug Johns Transcription

81

F7

Bass 1

S

1 1

1

1

1

1

1

Ab/Eb

Bb9

Ab13

Bb/D

Ab/C

Fm

S

3 3

4

4 4

13

19 20

4

4

4

4

4

5 5

6

6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

6

6

5

0 3

4 4

3

2 1

81

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

H

17 15 13 18 15 15

13 15

H

20

H

H

19 20 18 17 20 18 15

18 20

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

81

Bass 4 15

85

H

13

15

12 13 15

15

Bass 1 1 1

1

1

3

1

3

16

18

18

15 20 17

Ab13

straight

F7

18

0 1 3

1

S

5

S

Bb9

3 4

4

4

4

4

4

17

18

4 6

6 6

6

6

6

6

6

6 6

15

13

16

15

Ab/Eb

Bb/D

6

5

6

13

12

Ab/C

5 3

6 6

85

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

85

H

17 15 13 18 15 15

13 15

19 20

H

20

H

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

18

22 20 22

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

Bass 4 15

84

13

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

16

18

18

15 20 17

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18

17

15

13

16

15

13

12

15

13

Fm

5

4 3


Doug Johns Transcription

89

F7

G

Bb9

Ab13

Bass 1

S

1

1

1

1

1

1

3 3

Ab/Eb

Bb/D

5

5

Ab/C

Fm

S

4

4 4

4

4

4 4 4

4

5 5

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

6 6

6

5 3

4 4

3

2 1

89

Basses 2 & 3 17 17 15 13 18 18 15 15

19 20

H

20

19 20 20

H

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

89

Bass 4 15

93

H

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

18

18

15 20 17

Ab13

F7

Bass 1

16

1 1

1 1

1 1 1

1

3 3

S

4

4 4

4

4

4 4 4

4

17

15

13

Ab/Eb

Bb9

S

1

18

16

15

Bb/D

13

12

Ab/C

15

13

Fm

S

5 5

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

7

5

6

6

6

6

5

5

5

3

4 4

3

2 1

93

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

93

17 18

15 13 15 15

19 20

H

20

H

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

Bass 4 15

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

16

18

18

15 20 17

18

17

15

13

16

15

bassmagazine.com ; ISSUE 5 ; BASS MAGAZINE

13

12

15

13

85


Doug Johns Transcription

97

F7

Bb9

Ab13

Bass 1

S

1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 3 3 3

Ab/Eb

Bb/D

6

5

Fm

Ab/C

S

4

4 4 4 4

4 4 4

4 4 4

4

5 5

6

6 6

18

22 20 22

6

6

6

6

6

6 6

6

5 3 3

4 4

3

2 1

97

Basses 2 & 3 17 18

17 18

H

15 13 15 15

13 15

19 20

H

H

20

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

PO

22 20 19 22 20 18 20

straight

97

Bass 4 15

101

13

13

15

15

12 13 15

F7

18

18

15 20 17

S 1

1

1

1

1

3 3

4

13

19 20

18

Bb9

Ab13

Bass 1 1 1

16

18

4

4

6

4

4

4

3

4

4

3

4

15

13

16

15

13

12

Ab/Eb

Bb/D Ab/C

6

5

15

S

S 6

17

5 5

6

6 6 6 6

18

22 20 22

6 6 6

6 6 6 6 6 6

7 7

6

5

8 4 4

101

Basses 2 & 3 17 17 15 13 18 18 15 15

H

13 15

H

20

19 20 20

H

18 17 18 15

18 20

H

PO

22 22 20

20 19 18 20

straight

101

Bass 4 15

105

H

13

15

15

12 13 15

18

16

18

18

15 20 17

Coda F7

Bass 1 0

86

3

4

5

3

5

3

3

3

5

3

5

3

5

0

10 8

S

11 9

S

10 8

11 8

8

18

Eb7

Bb7/D

6

5

0

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

0

4

17

15

13

F11

3

4

3

3

1

1

1

16

15

13

12

0 1

13

1 2 2 3


Jump Head

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Gear Shed

L.e.H. Guitars

OFFSET 5-STRING By Jonathan Herrera

IT’S PERHAPS A TROPE, BUT I HAVE occasionally noticed an abstract relationship between a luthier’s location and their design philosophy. The oil-finished alt-woods that often constitute a contemporary MTD bass exude the upmarket lumberjack-chic vibe that represents the urbane side of Upstate New York. By contrast, the flamboyant and quasi-psychedelic flourishes and filigrees of a top-

88

of-the-line Alembic are as Northern Californian as redwoods, vegan bakeries, and $3,000-per-month “studio apartments.” This relationship between place and perspective hit me as I got to know the L.e.H. Offset bass. Built by longtime Sadowsky shop manager L. Ellis Hahn in New York City, the Offset is so New York. New York defies description, sure, but my point demands I try:

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

NYC is a place where hard-working people go to compete with other hard-working people, but unlike in other hard-working places like West Virginia or Guangzhou, many New Yorkers are conspicuously fashion-forward. New York City is a utilitarian place, but with aesthetic panache. People go there to do stuff and look the part. Which gets me to the L.e.H. bass. It is a draft horse of


SPECS L.E.H. GUITARS OFFSET 5-STRING Street $4,474 Pros Gorgeous; clever and thoughtful design; superversatile tone Cons Neck might be a bit chunky for some, but they do offer a slimmer profile option Bottom Line The L.e.H. Guitars Offset is one of the more appealing instruments I’ve played in a while. Its clean and thoughtful design is backed up by flexible, gig-owning tone.

a bass, capable of dutifully nailing just about any gig — but unlike most instruments, the Offset oozes the sort of poised, Instagram-ready design knowhow that adds a few extra points to your fashion quotient every time you strap it on.

UPTOWN

The Offset gets its name from its Fender Jaguar-like body contour, which offers an elongated upper horn and blunted lower cutaway. Its cloverleaf tuners, bulky headstock, and pickguard exude a trad vibe, but its beautifully flamed top, modernist-typeface logo, and fader-based EQ controls are très elegant. The electronics package also shows a design knack that’s sorely lacking in a lot of high-end basses. A pair of excellent Nordstrand Audio pickups (a P-style NP5 and a soapbar BigRig) are mated to a Nordstrand preamp that L.e.H. modded to be boost only. In one of the coolest touches I’ve seen in a while, the 3-band EQ is controlled via three high-quality fad-

ers, rather than knobs. Super styley. Our test L.e.H. was flawlessly constructed. While it’s not an especially exotic design (save the aforementioned faders), it is obviously the work of an expert. The instrument’s fit and finish were top-notch, as was the delicate contour of its ergonomically beguiling body. The electronics installation was neat and orderly, and the control cavity screws utilize threaded brass inserts (I love threaded brass inserts). The hardware was excellent, too, although if I’m being nit-picky — which is my job — I’d say that it’d be cool if the gloss-finished bridge matched the matte finish of the Hipshot tuners. L.e.H. nailed the Offset’s playability and balance. The body contour, coupled with the appropriately proportioned upper horn, made the bass sit just-right on a strap or in my lap. The gently radiused fingerboard felt familiar and comfortable, and there was superb high-fret access for a bolton bass. My only gripe — and this is subjective — is with the depth and gen-

SPECS Construction Bolt-on  Body Alder Neck Maple Fingerboard Rosewood Frets 21 medium Bridge Gotoh Tuners Hipshot Ultralite Scale length 34" Pickups Neck, Nordstrand VP5; bridge, Nordstrand BigRig Weight 8.8 lbs Made in USA Contact lehguitars.com

bassmagazine.com ; ISSUE 5 ; BASS MAGAZINE

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L.e.H. Guitars

eral chunkiness of the neck. While the neck was expertly shaped, with perfectly rounded corners and well-filed kerfs, I personally prefer a shallower neck contour. The L.e.H. neck is definitely on the beefier side of the continuum.

DOWNTOWN

The L.e.H. proved itself an exceptionally competent companion on a couple of gigs and in my studio. Moreover, it earned more than a few approving nods and comments from bandmembers. People like the way this bass looks, as do I. Thankfully, it sounded just as good. Overall, the instrument is more versatile than many. Between its P-style pickup, beefy bridge humbucker, and well-voiced preamp with accompanying tone control (this should be a standard feature on all active basses, FYI), the instrument can cop an impressive array of tones, from thumpy and dark to authoritative and bright. No matter the setting, the Offset is articulate and clear. There’s a shimmering texture and dense

overtone palette throughout the instrument’s range, but it never feels fussy or harsh. I like boost-only preamps when they sound good, and the Nordstrand sounds as good as any. There’s something about boost-only preamps that makes you less sensitive to your settings’ technical impact, instead allowing your ears to guide where to set the controls. L.e.H. emphasizes this further by placing them on faders — it’s a remarkably intuitive system that I’m sure more builders would copy if it weren’t for the challenge of its implementation. The Offset’s clarity and burnished sound makes for an excellent B string, too. The L.e.H. is a lovely instrument. It’s just eccentric enough to be stimulating, while firmly grounding itself in tradition. It exhibits an attention to detail that never compromises its utility. It’s sophisticated enough to hobnob uptown, and more than hip enough to mix it up downtown. L.e.H. is an exciting new company, and I look forward to seeing what comes next. l

GHS short scale bass strings are more than just smaller versions of traditional strings. After extensive player input and research, the result is a 32.75” winding length that fits more short scale basses than any other string brand. Read our story at www.ghsstrings.com/strings/bass

WE WENT TO GREAT LENGTHS TO CREATE THE RIGHT STRING. 90

STRINGS

P L AY WITH TH E BEST ™ ghsstrings.com

SUPER STEELS PROGRESSIVES BASSICS BASS BOOMERS

Evan Marien Photo by Eric Silvergold

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ROUND CORE BASS BOOMERS PRESSUREWOUNDS BALANCED NICKELS BRITE FLATS PRECISION FLATS


Jump Head

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Saturday, November 2, 2019 4 String Ranch • Austin, Texas

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91


Gear Shed

Fender

DOWNTOWN EXPRESS BASS MULTI-EFFECT PEDAL By Jon D’Auria

WHEN IT COMES TO FIRSTS FOR A company as influential as Fender, the primary landmarks that come to mind are the introduction of the Precision Bass in 1951, followed by the release of the Jazz Bass in 1960. Of course, there’s all of that bril-

92

liant innovation on the guitar side of things, too — but that’s not really our point of interest in these parts. Regardless, with all of those decades of monumental releases in the realm of instruments, it’s surprising that Fender would wait to unveil its very

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

first bass effect pedal until 2019. Wanting to strengthen its foothold in the realm of effects, Fender has dished out quite a few stompboxes in the past few years, but finally the company has given us one of our own with the introduction of the


SPECS Downtown Express Bass Multi-Effect. Offering three effects in one box, the Downtown Express features a compressor, 3-band EQ, and an analog overdrive. Each effect can be used on its own or combined with the others, which is when this pedal truly shines. But even at first glance, the sonic options this pedal provides will make tone junkies giddy.

EXPRESS LANE

To fully experience each function of this pedal, we first explored each effect individually, so we decided to give the compressor a spin first. With three knobs to control the blend, gain, and threshold, the truerms compression can be dialed in with either a light touch to tighten up the sound of slapping and plucking, or given a heavy hand by increasing threshold and blend to get an almost muted feel that sounds stellar with more of a staccato approach. Even when dialed in with all three controls at high levels, each note maintains its clarity, making this an excellent tool for tightening up the sound of your groove. The equalizer has your basic bass, mid, and treble controls, but the great part about the middle band is that it includes a conductor that cops some serious amp tone similar to that of models from the ’60s and ’70s. Boosting the mids in this setting gives your bass a full and cutting tone, with tons of vintage-sounding gain. “Scooping” the EQ (by boosting the lows and highs and cutting the mids) produces a full-bodied, almost dub sound — some serious rumble, but without the pitch center being compromised. The overdrive is a fairly standard setup with your basic level, tone, and drive controls, and it sounds remi-

niscent of similar drive boxes. With all three knobs cranked, the distortion cuts loudly, with a solid amount of depth. However, the drive function really shines when you activate the EQ and boost the low, mids, and highs — this gives the drive phenomenal body. Boosting the EQ changes the game for the overdrive, making this element of the pedal invaluable for players who want a full-bodied overdrive with a heavily customizable range. To continue exploring the combined effects, we paired the EQ with the compressor. This provided a wonderland of tonal options, from tight and plucky to low and punchy. The pedal’s easy navigation and layout makes it simple to adjust your sound on the fly; it’s immensely fun to toy with, yielding a plethora of sounds that complement both passive and active basses. The low-B rumble of a 5-string pumping through the overdrive and EQ, and the tight, muted-palm punch of a shortscale sent through the compressor, show how much range this diverse box has. With its first foray into the world of bass pedals, Fender has proven that some things are worth the wait. You’d be hard pressed to find a 3-in-1 pedal as diverse and precise as the Downtown Express, and for its price, you definitely get a lot of bang for your buck. This pedal is sure to become a cornerstone in the pedal chains of bass players everywhere, as it’s rare to find a multi-effect that has a multitude of settings that you’d be happy to leave on through your entire set. Rather than reinvent (or rather, invent) the wheel, as Fender has done so many times, the company simply put basic sounds that bass players want into one convenient box — and knocked it out of the park. l

FENDER DOWNTOWN EXPRESS Street $250 Pros Three dynamic effects in one pedal, great range in merging effects for specific tones, perfect as an overall DI, lots of bang for the buck Cons None Bottom Line Fender’s first-ever bass pedal offering successfully rolls three effects into one box to give bassists a wide array of tone options. SPECS Controls Master Volume, Overdrive Level, Tone, Drive; Compression Blend, Gain Threshold; Equalizer Bass, Mids, Treble, O/D Comp Switch, DI Signal Path, Grounf Lift Switches Mute, Equalizer, Overdrive, Compression Jacks Input, tuner input, output, XLR DI out Power 9-volt 400mA power supply (sold separately) Lights LED backlit knobs Weight 1.2 lbs Body Anodized aluminum Made in China Contact fender.com

bassmagazine.com ; ISSUE 5 ; BASS MAGAZINE

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Gear Shed

Bergantino

FORTÉ HP By Jonathan Herrera

TO THE BASS-GEAR COGNO­ SCENTI, Massachusetts amp and speaker-cabinet designer Jim Bergantino needs little introduction. After a long and varied career in electrical engineering and professional audio, Bergantino founded bass-focused Bergantino Audio Systems in 2001. Since then, his products have consistently enjoyed a sterling reputation among players (and bass magazine editors) because of their top-shelf materials, durable construction, exceptional engineering, and most important, superb tone. Of the many thought-leaders I’ve been fortunate to befriend and talk shop with over

94

the years, Jim Bergantino has always been among the most passionate and single-minded in his pursuit of sonic excellence. While Bergantino made its name with a broad range of high-end speaker cabinets, the company took a huge leap forward a few years ago with the B|AMP, a high-tech (by bass amp standards) analog/digital hybrid head that I reviewed in the March ’17 issue of Bass Player. The B|AMP was a notable departure from nearly every other bass head primarily because of its extensive use of digital signal processing (DSP). The DSP allowed Bergantino to implement pre-

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

cise frequency-compensation curves that enabled flat frequency response when the head was paired with Bergantino’s cabinets. Beyond the B|AMP’s “Speaker Profile” function, the digital preamp meant the head could integrate a variety of other features that would be more difficult, costly, or impossible with an analog circuit. The B|AMP was an important milestone in the technological history of bass amps, because it was the first serious and successful implementation of a digital preamp in a pro-quality bass head. Analog-purist opinions aside, the advantages of DSP are legion — as the popularity


of state-of-the-art digital hardware from Kemper, Axe-FX, and Line 6 affirm, not to mention the near ubiquity of analog-emulating plug-ins from Universal Audio in almost every serious recording studio. For some players, the B|AMP may have had one drawback: The user experience is more tech-y than with most other bass heads. Instead of pots, it has rotary encoders. An LCD dominates the front panel. Knobs serve multiple functions and interact with the screen, while programming and patch-saving necessitate a small learning curve. When I was writing the review, I recall thinking that it’d be so cool if Bergantino made a head that offered some of the B|AMP’s superb tone and flexibility, but in a more traditional package. And then along comes the Forté HP. It’s basically the muscle-car variant of the B|AMP — fewer bells and whistles, with a way bigger motor.

STRONG

Beneath the somewhat conventional exterior of the Forté HP lies the same basic architecture as the B|AMP, i.e., a digital preamp is coupled with a powerful Class D/SMPS module (in this case, an ICEPower 1200AS2). Peeking at the Forté’s clean and well-engineered layout reveals three primary circuit boards, populated mostly with surface-mount components. The preamp board is mounted to the front panel with beefy standoffs and houses all of the digital circuitry. Unlike in most bass amps, a few digital chips can be found inside the Forté, including a Burr Brown A/D/A converter. The Bergantino’s front panel is exceptionally well designed. Almost every function is clear and well labeled, although the secondary status of the right-hand side’s three indi-

cator LEDs could be more legible. Unlike with the B|AMP, the Forté hides its digital brain behind an analog-style interface: All of the amp’s functions are accessible in real-time via an associated control. I dig the giant master volume knob, and it’s accompanied by LEDs that help achieve appropriate gain staging. In addition to the simple 4-band EQ, the Forté includes variable lowpass and highpass filters — a useful addition for broad-stroke contours on the frequency spectrum’s extreme ends. The frequency center of the bright filter is switchable between 2kHz and 7kHz, while the punch filter offers a 4.5dB boost at 100Hz. The Forté also offers a one-knob variable-ratio compressor (vrc) as well as a drive control that adds more distortion as it’s turned up. The versatile Forté has even more tricks up its sleeve when it comes to real-world usability. In addition to a ¼” input, a mini aux input is available for play-along practice duties or, in my case, doubling with a synth on a key bass gig. The Forté’s digital brain enables all kinds of cool stuff, particularly the use of an optional rechargeable Bluetooth footswitch that can switch the onboard filters and mute the amp from up to 30 feet away. Also cool is the ability to update and upgrade the firmware via the front-panel USB port — let’s see your vintage tube amp do that! There’s a ton of I/O options, too: In addition to the post-power-amp Speakon outputs, the rear panel has three other ¼" outputs: tuner, an effect send, and a headphone out.

SPECS BERGANTINO FORTÉ HP Street $1,400 Pros Seriously loud and seriously hi-fi; excellent front-panel layout; digital integration Cons None Bottom Line The Forté is like a louder and much simpler iteration of the celebrated B|AMP. It’s well designed, louder than you can ever need, and is as musical an amp as there is. SPECIFICATIONS Power rating 1,200 watts @ 4Ω or 2Ω; 600 watts @ 8Ω Preamp Digital Power amp topology Class D Power supply Switchmode Input impedance 1MΩ; aux input, 20kΩ Outputs Two parallel Speakon speaker, ¼" effect send and return, XLR balanced line out, ¼" headphone Inputs ¼" instrument, 1/8" aux Tone controls bass ±10dB @ 65Hz; lo-mid ±10dB @ 250Hz; hi-mid ±10dB @ 1kHz; treble ±10dB @ 3.5kHz; bright +6dB @ 2kHz or +8dB @ 7kHz; punch +4.5dB @ 100Hz Weight 6.5 lbs Made in USA Contact bergantino.com

FORTISSIMO

Since the player experience is essentially identical to that of an analog amp, the Forté is easy to get up and running. I simply found the gain set-

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Bergantino

ting that worked with my test basses (which included a ’66 Fender Jazz, F Bass BN5, Moollon P-Classic, and a Callowhill MDM 5-string), and then I used the master knob to bring the loud. And loud it was. Paired with my Bergantino HT-322 cabinet, the Forté immediately demonstrated its ungodly power and seemingly limitless headroom. While Class D/SMPS amps of yore sometimes didn’t live up to their on-paper specs, the Forté felt every bit the 1,200-watt amp it claims to be. I cannot imagine a setting that would require swifter and more compliant power delivery on tap. With the tone controls set as flat as possible, I found the Forté to have a dry sonic texture, with exceptional evenness and clarity throughout the frequency spectrum, and laser-sharp transient response. The bass range of my instruments was especially well supported by the Forté’s abundant power reserve, allowing even repetitive B-string slap lines to ring true, clear, and loud. As I also observed with the

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BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com

B|AMP, the Forté’s EQ is thoughtfully voiced and musical, without any nasty phasing artifacts or overly harsh impact at judicious settings. The drive control adds a pleasing grit; at lower settings it can help add a touch of warmth to the amp’s personality, as can the variable lowpass filter, which is almost like a passive bass’s onboard tone control, except on the amp. With its class-leading fidelity and enormous power, the Forté did seem to faithfully convey my basses’ essential tone, even at ludicrously high volumes. After spending quality time with the Forté, I’ve concluded that it would be a challenge to find a more capable amp for the money, and the opportunity to continuously upgrade as Bergantino designs new firmware ensures it will retain its value over time. While I might not recommend it to players who prefer the grind and syrupy response of tube amps like the Ampeg SVT, it’s an ideal amp for anyone who wants high-fidelity tone bolstered with massive power.  l


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Jazz Concepts | By John Goldsby

More Than Something: How To Break It Up Implied Time & Stated Time

T

hroughout the history of jazz rhythm sections, one key element can be analyzed: the balance between stated time and implied time. In certain styles of traditional jazz, the bassist supplies a steady, repetitive, obviously stated pulse that hooks up with the drummer’s groove. In more adventurous styles, the bassist can imply a steady pulse and time feeling, creating a spontaneously orchestrated, contrapuntal bass line. Let’s first listen to a couple of examples of rhythm sections from two different eras where every instrument locks into a groove using repetitive patterns — stated time. On any recording of the Duke Ellington Orchestra in the late ’20s and early ’30s, you’ll hear bassist Wellman Braud chunking out halfnotes and quarter-notes in perfect sync with the choke cymbal and snare drum combinations of Sonny Greer and the 4/4 banjo of Freddie Guy. The grooves are undeniably

swinging. Every rhythm-section player is obviously stating the time, with a big smile, right in your face. Jump ahead to the pop-jazz-fusion era. Compare the rhythm-section style of the early Ellington band to a track like “On Broadway” [George Benson, Weekend in L.A., 1978, Warner Bros]. On the Benson classic, bassist Stanley Banks and drummer Harvey Mason are locked into a deep groove that takes root — and gives Benson his wings — over the course of the 5:16 track. The rhythm section is stating the time with an unflappable commitment, nailing every beat with hypnotic steadiness. In the post-bop era of jazz (1950s–’60s), a new rhythm-section style emerged where the bassist did not always have to play rhythmically repetitive lines. The interactive or conversational style of rhythm-section playing allows the bassist to play a fluid

CO N N E C T

John loves to lay it down or break it up, as long as the music is grooving! Check out his new video lesson series at DiscoverDoubleBass. com and johngoldsby.com.

98

CHECK IT OUT

Listen to John play “More Than Something,” an 32-bar jazz tune that moves from a ballad groove to an interactive, broken-time feeling.

CHECK IT OUT

Listen to the emperors of the modern trio sound use implied time and interactive improvisation: Bill Evans, Scott LaFaro, and Paul Motian.

CHECK IT OUT

Check out Brad Mehldau, Larry Grenadier and Jeff Ballad — masters of collective improvisation.

CHECK IT OUT

Listen to a young Ron Carter in 1961 with pianist Bobby Timmons on the record In Person. Ron plays a lot of grooves with a two feeling.

BASS MAGAZINE ; ISSUE 5 ; bassmagazine.com


role with other instruments: adding melodic and rhythmic counterpoint, functional pedal notes, spontaneous solo statements, and rests. The conversational style lets every rhythm-section player improvise on an equal basis with all of the other players in the ensemble: horn players, guitarists, pianists, and drummers. It was pioneered most notably by the Bill Evans Trio with Scott LaFaro on bass. Some say that LaFaro liberated the bass from the constraints of functional time-keeping. I contend that LaFaro expanded the role of the bass and framed his ideas on a larger musical canvas. Listen to the Bill Evans Trio on Sunday at the Village Vanguard [1961, Riverside] to experience the magic of the conversational rhythm-section style. LaFaro constantly improvises melodic and rhythmic counterpoint to Evans’ piano solos. Drummer Paul Motian plays steady time quite a bit, but his multihued style allows LaFaro and Evans to float over the implied groove. Everyone is playing in time, but no player is tied to the role of timekeeper. Let’s look at a composition of mine, recorded in the style of the Bill Evans Trio. This video track, “More Than Something,” is part of my new course Stretching Out, available at

DiscoverDoubleBass.com. In the video, I play with an interactive accompaniment style — first in a ballad tempo, then in medium-tempo swing. I wrote “More Than Something” in a 32-bar, AABA form. I wanted to create a “standard-sounding” melody and harmonic progression with just a couple of unique twists and turns to give the improviser musical landmarks to visit. The track starts in a ballad feeling. Note that I’m sometimes subdividing in straight eighth-notes and sometimes in triplet eighthnotes (Examples 1 and 2). Even when I’m playing basic half-notes, I’m still feeling either straight or swing (triplet) eighth-notes in my head. The choice whether to play in a triplet- or straight-eighth feeling can be decided beforehand or in the moment of the performance. In this video performance, I mix straight and triplet eighth-notes. When we play the first chorus of the melody, from 0:00 to 1:15, the piano, drums, and bass are collectively improvising in the ballad tempo. I am striving to create a spontaneously orchestrated counterpoint line to complement the delicate melodic line in the piano. Sometimes I step out front with a soloistic phrase, and then I withdraw into a supportive bass line. I am intently listening for

Ex. 1 Ballad feeling

= 60

Eb6/Bb

Gbdim7/Bb

Fm7/Bb

Bb7(b9)

Think straight eighths

Ex. 2 Ballad feeling

= 60

Gbdim7/Bb

Eb6/Bb

Fm7/Bb

Bb7(b9)

Think triplet eighths

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Jazz Concepts

Ex. 3 Broken swing

= 136

J

Gm7

œ

C7

F7

Fm7

Bb7(b9)

1:31

Ex. 4 Broken swing

= 136

Eb6/Bb

Gbdim7/Bb

Fm7/Bb

1:38

the spots where I can add my own ideas and move the music forward without disturbing the flow. At 1:16, the piano sets up a medium swing feel in the last four bars of the 32-bar form. At 1:30, I jump on the line that I hear the pianist play, and I mirror his descending melody with a C7 arpeggio down the neck (Ex. 3). At 1:38, I use a technique reminiscent of Scott LaFaro: triplet figures underpinning the pedal Bb. Al-

though I’m lightly fingering the note Eb in the middle of each triplet, the sound of that note has a muted, percussive effect (Ex. 4). At 2:20 I take a half-chorus bass solo, and the piano comes in at 2:50 with the melody on the bridge (B section). Watch and listen to the video to see and hear where I use special thumb-position fingerings, articulations, slurs, rakes, and open strings (Ex. 5). To become fluent and comfortable im-

5 E X A M P L E S O F I N T E R AC T I V E B A S S P L AY I N G CHECK IT OUT

1. Paul Bley, with Gary Peacock on acoustic bass [Paul Bley with Gary Peacock, 1970, ECM]

CHECK IT OUT

2. Chick Corea, with Miroslav Vitous [Now He Sings, Now He Sobs, 1968, Solid State]

CHECK IT OUT

3. Bill Evans, with Eddie Gomez [Some Other Time: The Lost Session From the Black Forest, 1968/2016, Resonance]

CHECK IT OUT

CHECK IT OUT

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4. Don Cherry, with Henry Grimes [Where Is Brooklyn, 1966, Blue Note]

5. Charles Mingus “What Love,” with Eric Dolphy [Charles Mingus Presents Charles Mingus, 1960, Candid]

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Jazz Concepts

provising in a conversational style, listen to representative recordings, and practice the techniques with other like-minded musicians. Play along with my track of “More

Than Something” from Discover Double Bass, and be sure to explore the music listed in the sidebar, 5 Examples of Interactive Bass Playing. l

Ex. 5 Broken swing

= 136

Eb6/Bb

œ

Bb7(b 9)

Fm7/Bb

Gbdim7/Bb

Gm7

2:20

6

C7

10

Gbdim7/Bb

14

Cm7

Fm7/Bb

œ

Bbm7

Adim7

Bb7(b9)

Rake

F7

Fm7

œ

Bb7(b9)

D7(#9)

Eb6/Bb

D7(#11)

˙

Gm7

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Jump Head

Beginner Bass Base | By Patrick Pfeiffer

Dynamic Grooves

V

Patrick is a professional bassist, bass educator, clinician, composer and author, having published several classic bass books, among them Bass Guitar for Dummies, Bass Guitar Exercises For Dummies, Improve Your Groove: The Ultimate Guide For Bass, and Daily Grooves for Bass.

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ilkommen to zis latest Pfeiffer column. Vat vill ve play today? Why, akzents, of course! Okay, let me drop this faux-German accent before my throat burns from rolling all the R’s. Accenting a musical note means striking it slightly harder than you do a regular note, making it louder. When you use dynamics, emphasizing and de-emphasizing notes within a musical phrase or groove, the music becomes far more interesting. It’s a fabulous tool for breathing life into grooves that would otherwise be too one-dimensional to excite your adoring fans. Take a look at the rather ordinary groove in Ex. 1. In this example, the root is played for three beats in a 16th-note rhythm, and then a little ascending line is added on the fourth beat. Every note is played at the same volume, and the only variation in the line comes at the end of the measure in the form of the harmonically ascending line. By adding dynamics in the form of accents and deadnotes, you can turn this ordinary groove into an extraordinary groove without changing any of the notes’ pitches. While accented notes are louder than the regular notes, deadnotes are softer. They’re more like a rhythmic “thud” with no pitch. For the sake of this particular column, I use only regular notes, accented notes, and dead-notes in order to create the greatest contrast. Accented notes have a wedge-like symbol above them; dead-notes have an “x” in place of the note head. Bass players routinely accent the first note of each measure as a natural way to reinforce the beginning of a phrase. But you need to be able to accent or deaden a note anywhere in a measure, even on the offbeats. Example 2 is an étude that helps you develop the ability to accent any note in a measure. Turn on

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a metronome and set it to about 60 beats per minute. Then play four evenly spaced notes for each click, which are 16th-notes. (If you need a refresher on this type of beat subdivision, look at the Beginner Bass Base column in Bass Magazine Issue #4.) Now accent the first 16th-note of each beat, the one that coincides with the click, and keep the subsequent notes in the beat at normal volume. If you would like more contrast between the accented note and the regular notes, try playing the regular notes a bit softer so you don’t have to play the accented notes so hard. Example 2a gives you the proper picture. Next, using the same tempo and the same notes, accent the second 16th-note of each beat. Keep all of the other notes at regular volume. Check out Ex. 2b for this one. Continue by accenting the third 16th-note of each beat, as shown in Ex. 2c, and finally, accent the fourth 16th-note, as in Ex. 2d — all while maintaining the same tempo with the metronome. Practice these accents until you’re comfortable placing them on any 16thnote of a beat. While accents are created with the striking hand, dead-notes are created mostly with the fretting hand. Play them by placing your fretting-hand fingertips onto the string without pressing the string onto the fretboard. Then strike the same string with your other hand, creating a pitchless thud. You need at least two fretting-hand fingers on that string to properly “kill” the pitch. Practice going back and forth between regular notes (with the fretting hand pressing the string to the fretboard) and dead-notes. The études in Ex. 3 help you develop this technique. Turn on your metronome, set to about 60 beats per minute, as before. Play four evenly spaced notes per click (16th-notes) at normal volume. Next, play a


Beginner Bass Base

Ex. 1

dead-note on the first 16th-note of each beat, followed by three 16th-note at regular volume, as shown in Ex. 3a. Once you’re comfortable doing this, move the dead-note to the second 16th-note of each beat (Ex. 3b), then the third (Ex. 3c), and finally the fourth 16th-note (Ex. 3d) — all while maintaining regular volume on the other notes. The magic of using dynamics really kicks in when you combine accents and dead-notes along with regular notes in the same groove. Example 4 offers you insight into the interplay among the three note types. The accented notes are confined to the root of the groove, always repeating the same pattern throughout the first three beats. Example 4a shows the accent on the first two 16thnotes, Ex. 4b on the first and third 16thnotes, and Ex. 4c shows the accent on the first and fourth 16th-notes. The dead-notes are confined to the fourth beat, which consists of a chromatic line up to the 5th of the groove. Pay close attention to which notes to play as you move the dead-note from the first 16th-note to the second, the third, and finally, the fourth 16th-note. Notice that the pitches change to accommodate the musical flow. I hope you enjoy your dynamic workout with these études and use them in some of the grooves you’re already playing. To hear how ultra-hip the use of dynamics is in real life, check out Jaco Pastorius’ groove on the chorus of “Come On, Come Over” [Jaco Pastorius, 1976, Epic], or Gary Willis’ groove on “Otay” [Outbreak, 2002, Shrapnel]. These grooves are simply phenomenal and demonstrate to what extremes you can go in exaggerating the dynamic differences among regular notes, accented notes, and dead-notes — and make it sound oh so funky. Until next time … auf Wiedersehen! l

Ex. 2a

Ex. 2b

Ex. 2c

Ex. 2d

Ex. 3a

Ex. 3b

Ex. 3c

Ex. 3d

Ex. 4a

Ex. 4b

3

3

Ex. 4c

Ex. 4d

3

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Partners | By Jim Roberts

John Patitucci & Yamaha

W

Jim Roberts was the first full-time editor of Bass Player and also served as the magazine’s publisher and group publisher. He is the author of How The Fender Bass Changed The World and American Basses: An Illustrated History and Player's Guide (both published by Backbeat Books/Hal Leonard).

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hen he was invited to play in Chick Corea’s Elektric Band in 1985, John Patitucci decided it was time to move from four strings to six. “Anthony Jackson inspired me,” he says. “And I felt like the new music we were playing with Chick would benefit from having a low B string. At that time, the synthesizer players were trying to take over the world, playing lower notes than the bass players, so I thought, I need that B. And also, because of my interest in becoming more flexible as an improviser, the high C string would give me some tenor saxophone range.” Patitucci went to Ken Smith’s shop in New York City, played a 6-string bass, and ordered one, which he played on three Elektric Band albums and his first two solo albums, John Patitucci and On the Corner. Patitucci’s growing mastery of the instrument caught the ear of legendary Yamaha artist-relations man Takashi Hagiwara, who contacted Ken Dapron, a guitarist who was working as a Yamaha product manager, and told him to go see John. “I went to a show — I think it was in Irvine [California] — and went backstage,” says Dapron. “We met there for the first time, and I invited John to come to Yamaha.” Patitucci and Dapron connected immediately. “Ken is an amazing guy,” John says, “and we just hit it off.” Dapron told Patitucci that Yamaha was developing a TRB 6-string and invited him to visit the company’s facility in Buena Park, California, to check it out. He did — and quickly decided to work with Yamaha going forward. John remembers, “What appealed to me was that I would have a lot of say in the design

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of the instruments, and they would work with me and make things for me.” It wasn’t long before Patitucci had an array of Yamaha basses for his touring and studio work. In my May/June 1992 Bass Player cover story about John, he told me, “All of my electrics are Yamaha TRB models; I’ve worked closely with the company on their development, and my basses are prototypes.” At the time, John had three 6-strings, including one with a whammy bar, and a 5-string with a body modified to facilitate string popping. Those prototypes led to the first John Patitucci signature model, the TRBJP, which was introduced in 1994. While Yamaha had favored a neck-through-body design for its initial TRB 6-strings, Patitucci encouraged Dapron to use bolt-on necks for his instruments. “At one point,” John recalls, “I said, ‘What is it about the old sound that we like?’ It’s the bolt-on.” Dapron confirms that John’s input was influential in product development, and that thanks to his request, Yamaha eventually created a new bolt-on system that has been used in a number of models. That’s just one example of the ways that Patitucci and Dapron have collaborated over the years to refine and improve Yamaha basses. Another key project was their development of a new onboard preamp. “Yamaha had come out with this digital parametric EQ,” says Dapron, “and we were in John’s studio one day for a good eight or nine hours, trying to dial it in and get the right sound.” That painstaking research led to the new 3-band preamp that was incorporated into Patitucci’s improved signature model, the TRBJP2.


Partners

CO N N E C T CHECK IT OUT CHECK IT OUT

Check out Patitucci’s and Yamaha’s websites.

John Patitucci rips on his Yamaha TRBJP2 signature 6-string. “That’s the preamp in my red bass, and I’ve been playing that bass for 20 years,” he says. “Yamaha has always been very open to me making suggestions,” says Patitucci. “I’ve been frank about what I wanted and what I liked and what I didn’t like. They were very strong in their ability to implement. If I said, ‘Try this,’ all of a sudden — boom — I had two prototypes. Ken has been instrumental; he understands a lot about sound and has always been super-helpful.” Dapron says: “I’m a little older than John, and I grew up listening to a lot of the same cats that he loved. We became instant friends. It’s such a great relationship; I can’t remember a single stressful time, and we’ve been working together for more than 30 years.” Dapron is quick to point out that he’s not a luthier and that the actual work on Patitucci’s instruments has been done by series of builders in Yamaha’s custom shop. He cites Leo Knapp and John Gaudesi for their work on the TRB signature models, and he praises Pat Campolattano for his exceptional craftsmanship on John’s latest instruments, the semi-hollow 6-strings that he has been playing for the past four years. Patitucci says he had played different

semi-hollow basses over the years and had always admired the archtop instruments favored by jazz guitarists — “So I went, Wow, maybe that’s the direction to try.” Dapron reports that they designed three versions, two using the double-cut TRB body shape and one that was a true “jazz box,” with a single-cut body. “We had never done that, and we weren’t sure how it was going to come out,” he says. “With an instrument like that, you’re always worried about feedback. We were just experimenting, and it came out great.” Patitucci describes the single-cut bass as “unbelievable,” saying it has “the biggest, fattest sound of any bass I’ve ever had.” He featured it on his stunning 2015 solo album, Brooklyn. He’s also been playing the other semi-hollow prototypes recently, saying, “I’m learning about the smaller ones, which I dig, but I’m still in love with the big one.” Dapron says that Yamaha has no plans to market the semi-hollow basses, citing production difficulties and cost factors, but he’s confident that more low-end R&D innovations will be forthcoming from Patitucci. “John’s always exploring,” he says, “and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t come up with more great ideas.” l

TELL ME A B O U T YO U R BASS If you have worked with a builder to create or customize a bass to suit your playing style, I want to hear from you. Send me your story — with photos, video, sound files, or other supporting material: jim@ bassmagazine. com.

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Profile for Bass Magazine

Bass Magazine – Issue 5  

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