The students from my teaching gig at Leicester College music and sound department are putting on a gig at the Music Cafe on the 14th of March 2013. This is a great opportunity for learners to get a hands on experience of not only playing a live event, but also what it takes to run a successful night. Students will be performing, promoting, stage managing and running the live sound as part of this enrichment experience. Its shaping up to be great night. Doors at 6:30pm and Free entry!
Dave Marks (@Davemarks1 on Twitter) is an amazing London based Northern Irish bass player with a massive CV impressive musical and technical ability. His drive and focus coupled with his natural ability has seen him play some stunning music with formidable musicians. I have just been reminded of his reality check series of videos on YouTube which echo a series of lectures I have recently given. Here is Dave’s video let me know what you think.
A friend has just sent me the link to this excellent video by The Aristocrats (ft. Guthrie Govan, Marco Minneman & Bryan Beller) which was filmed at one of the best gigs I saw last year. If you haven’t heard of them The Aristocrats are simply amazing. I’m not normally a fan of guitar led instrumental music, if fact I would go as far as to say I normally avoid it. But The Aristocrats are in another league, they play real music! You can check to their music here.
A few months ago I switched to using a Mark Bass Alain Caron 121 lite combo. This amp replaced my usual gigging rig of a 500W head coupled to two 1 x 12 cabs. I still have bigger amps, however this tiny combo is now my main go to gigging and teaching bass rig. Gigging with smaller gear has been a bit of a revelation to say the least. This diminutive combo weighs 39 lbs which is 40% of the weight of my old setup! It’s light weight and huge sound coupled to its versatility has enabled me to walk into gigs with the amp in one hand and two bases over my shoulder (in a double gig bag) and a kit bag in my other hand. This has facilitated me booking more than one gig in an evening, which previously was a rare activity and now has become more frequent (and as such more lucrative). It’s a hassle free setup with a great sound. So far I’ve done about 60 gigs over the last few months, I’ll post a more in-depth review shortly. In the meantime here is a great video from Alain Caron himself to explain the design intention of the amp as well as some of its more cutting edge features.
At the tail end of last year the one man technical death metal machine Foul Body Autopsy (or Tom as I know him) invited me into the studio to track some bass for his forth coming release on UKEM Records. This is the first time FBA have used a real rhythm section to support Tom’s already strong guitar playing.
So with some trepidation and charts in hand I headed down to SOAN studios in Nottingham . The drums and guitars were already tracked when I added by bass parts. Its a challenge in extreme technical/death metal to produce a solid bass part that supports and highlights the guitars. The original track was a shade over 10 minutes long and is a technical tour de force as well as an endurance test to play consistently.
From a geeky bass point of view (and this is very geeky) I tracked my bass on a down tuned Sadowsky vintage P bass wearing stainless roundwounds in passive mode through an Aguilar DB680 valve pre. This was then sent through an API channel and reamped via a Sansamp bass driver for some added grit. Very Geeky.
After the tracking I headed off to a Miss 600 gig in Derbyshire, this required a very different headspace to say the least.
This December has been very busy to say the least. I have been gigging with original bands, corporate covers bands, a salsa band as well as depping for a variety of acts. Busy would be an understatement! And now it all has stopped. January is looking very quiet for live gigs indeed (as it always does), but I am lucky though as I have been able to schedule in a number of studio dates to fill out my timetable. It’s good to keep busy and be able to fit gigs and recording sessions around the day job in education.
It looks like this year will be very busy as well, with further gigs and recording sessions for Miss 600, Foul Body Autopsy, We Are Avengers, Emily & the Martens, lick as well as a number of pick up band gigs that I have been booked for. All this and I get married in August! It’s certainly going to be a fun, if a little hectic year. Bring it on!
Mean while here’s the excellent ‘She Makes War’ new video
Just back from a great dep gig with trip-hop band ‘We Are Avengers’. The support band Ujham were a fantastic mix of rock-steady and lovers-rock roots reggae. Stunning to listen to. I’ve been filling in with ‘We Are Avengers’ on a few dates recently. Its been great to play their deep soulful funky bass lines and really lovely to hang out with them. What a lovely bunch. Alas tonight was my last gig as their excellent bassist is back from his travels and (unsurprisingly) wants his gig back! Its been a fun few gigs though and thanks to the guys for looking after me.
During my musical career I feel privalaged that I have constant been in the position to work with fantastic musicians. Being versatile, dependable and doing my home work has enabled me to take part in some excellent musical adventures. A desire to constantly learn and improve has pushed me to try and better myself and expand my horizons.
Right now I seem to be doing a fair few deps for all kinds of bands; from pro cover outfits through to pop bands like Miss 600 and independent artists. Although I continue to play with my own bands and projects I am really enjoying sitting in one one off and short term gigs. It’s a great way to improve and maintain my chops and keeps me on my toes. I also dig the flexibility that a non-monogynous career brings. I can do what I want and when I want to do it. Playing full time in just one band can some times end up becoming a very insular and monotonous process. Fifteen hours a day in a van with the same guys will do that to you.
Developing the skills and contacts to facilitate this career move has been a very natural process. I’m also very fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive partner who understands my need for a creative output.
As I’ve just been working with Miss 600 here’s a couple of their videos