When I was a very little kid, my grandparents took me to square-dances with live bands…. UGH! these bass players sounded and played nothing like John Entwistle!! I could not image that the slap and thump of this Bluegrass/Western swing band was the sound of my future, but it was.
I grew up listening and seeing Country, Bluegrass and Western swing bands, so of course I wanted to be in a punk band and that’s just what I did. I should mention here, that punk was brand new, especially in Kentucky. I was 11 and my dad made me watch 60 Minuets to see the punk revolution in England. He explained about how many young kids saw no future and the expression of their frustration was punk rock and pogo dancing.
I was a little kid, playing classical guitar. I got a cheap electric and starting trying to figure things out. My mom noticed that everyone I knew played guitar or drums and suggested I try bass. I reluctantly picked one up at Buddy Rodger’s Music in Florence KY. While trying it out in the shop, local cool kid and musician, Ritt Dietz and in and said, “cool, I didnt know you played bass? You want to be in my band?” I looked at my mom and she nodded. After he left my mom bought me a crappy Kay SG bass, two days later I was at my first band practice. And that led me on a great journey of learning songs, figuring out technical performance things, and running through a ton of gear.
In my 20’s I was a bass player and it the 1980’s. It was a time of great advances in basses, gear and players. Duran Duran, Kajagoogoo, Level 42… And my sound was a combination of all of them. I had learned to play like Entwisle and slap style and doing Pino fretless lines… I was going crazy with it. But I should have been spending my time running scales, learning modes and building groove.
But lucky for me, I did my time playing in a wedding band and was forced to learn Motown and classic rock and all that stuff that makes up the best of the fundamentals of bass playing. So, old-school… yup, I started off reeling against the music of my parents, and my older siblings and eventually ended up reeling agains myself to the point of basically giving up the electric bass and only playing the upright. It’s amazing how much one’s mind absorbs early on, especially in music. As I’ve become much older, I’ve actually gone back and studied the old-school stuff and found that I was never playing things right. So,40 years after I started playing bass, I’m just now getting around to really learning how to play the instrument and the songs that I’ve loved all my life.