2012: New Year, New Basses, New Places
I will be kicking off 2012 with a tour to Japan with the Narada Michael Walden Band. I spent much of the second half of 2011 recording with Narada on 2 new albums. The first is an EP of fusion tunes including remakes of songs that Narada wrote during his days with the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Jeff Beck. The second album titled Thunder, kicks off with an EXTREMELY funky track featuring yours truly and is due for release any day now. As everyone knows, Narada is a force to reckoned with on the drums. Getting to spend these last 6 months recording and jamming with him has proven to be one of the greatest learning experiences of my musical career.
When we started discussing what tunes were going on the set list, I realized that bringing just a 4 string wasn’t going to cut it. I wanted to add some texture to the set. It was the perfect reason to make two purchases that were long overdue: an upright and a fretless. For travel purposes, I ended up opting for an electric upright and found a beautiful ’83 Clevenger that sounds just like the real thing. Seriously. This is the kind of instrument whose tone inspires you to play things you wouldn’t normally play. As far as the fretless electric, I was on the fence between a Pedulla and a Fender. I tried a Pedulla Pentabuzz years ago and instantly fell in love with it. I never shook the memory. Unfortunately, it wasn’t in the budget this time around and with the help of good friend, we found a fretless Fender Jazz that is making me very happy. Now if I can just get my intonation up to speed!
Before delving full steam ahead into 2012, I had to pause and take a look back at 2011. Being a full-time musician is incredibly rewarding on so many levels, yet it can also have its more challenging moments. Each year, it seems to get better and better though. The projects that roll in are more and more interesting and my joy and appreciation for playing is stronger than it’s ever been.
In 2011, I joined Zepparella– an all female Led Zeppelin tribute band. Having spent much of my career playing in original projects, this was a new thing for me. Studying John Paul Jones was epic. A genius mix of rock and Jamerson styled bass that I both relate to and admire. Also, having the opportunity to play with all women was a new experience for me. Unfortunately, girls can be catty at times and I was a little concerned about this before having met everyone. This was definitely not the case. The ladies of Zepparella are a more down-to-earth, supportive and musically determined bunch than I could have ever wished for. Someday, I’d love devote an entire blog to what my experience has been playing in this band. It has been enlightening on so many levels, not to mention the number of highly entertaining stories we all have.
Aside from Zepparella, I also had the opportunity to record on Gretchen Menn’s new album Hale Souls. When I first heard the track, I was immediately thankful I had played with Flametal for all those years. Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have had the chops for Gretchen’s very technical and totally shredding composition, “Scrapmetal.” The musical fit was pretty obvious and we played a few shows opening for Y&T that ended up at the top of my list for Most Fun Gigs Ever. I’m looking forward to more of that in the coming year!
To top off the year, the Eoin Harrington band was invited to play Alice’s 97.3 Now and Zen Festival in Golden Gate Park. It was perfect timing considering we had all been in the studio a few months earlier recording Eoin’s new album Confess, which was released just weeks before the show. I have played with Eoin for a number of years now and the band is like family. I love it.
Well, this first blog is way too long but there was so much to say!
Stay tuned for more details on my new GHS string endorsement as well as pictures and stories from the Land of the Rising Sun.
Love and Low End,