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Inspirations (Muses)


FunkyLemz

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Just curious to hear the stories of why everyone started playing. Any one individual (musician or non-musician) that made you want to start playing. Also, are there any stories about besides why you started to play that anyone would like to share.

Peace, Mike

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I swore since high school that I was going to buy a bass and learn how to play. Three years into college, I took a jazz appreciation course when the professor played 'A Remark You Made' by Weather Report.

 

It was a religious experience.

 

That song made me finally get up off my glutes and finally scrape up to buy a bass, and has been a constant inspiration for the past 16 years.

 

That moment in music class is in the top five life-changing moments of my life (Christianity, wedding, birth of child #1 and child #2 are also up there).

"Women and rhythm section first" -- JFP
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I had a similar experience. Back in the 70's, I saw a clip of The Who playing "My Generation" on the Smothers Brothers Show. Entwistle completely amazed me.

 

I said "Oh, I gotta try and learn how to do that!"

 

And I've been trying ever since.

Push the button Frank.
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I started in junior high school. We had a terrible infestation of treble g****r players and drummers. Still do. I simply filled a void.

 

As far as early influences go, I would have to say that my main one was Steve Harris (Iron Maiden). My bass will still "gallop" that way from time to time. There was also Billy Sheehan, Geddy Lee, Rudy Sarzo, John Paul Jones, and Geezer Butler. Those were my primary influences in the beginning.

 

On into high school I discovered Paul McCartney and Berry Oakly (Allman Bros.). Oakly is one of the most underrated musicians in rock music. I still listen to "Live at the Fillmore East" every Nov. 11, the anniversary of his death.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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In all seriousness, I just randomly picked up bass six years ago. I was going to buy a new Clarinet but ended up browsing the bass guitar section and decided I wanted to play that. I felt grown up spending all the money I had saved up on something totally random. However, upon hearing Chris Squire, my life was changed. My preconception of what a bass did, sounded like, and how it supported the band was completely and utterly changed from that point. I started getting into Fusion later on. I had a fascination with Stanley Clarke's hyper fast bass lines and was immediately sucked in. A ton of Prog bands and Fusion/Jazz groups are always a source of inspiration for me and continue to make me a better bassist. I also have a weird fascination with music that makes me go, err.what?. That includes everything from tribal music, to glitch techno, to anything and everything.

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First time I ever saw a bass, it was an upright. My (pastor) dad had a gospel singing group in, and they used an URB. He kept it in Dad's home office one summer while they were on tour.

 

He said to me, "Can you believe they play this thing in an orchestra with a bow?"

 

Next bass I saw was my friend Audie who played it. His dad was a country western bar singer, and he sometimes accompanied him. He built a bass cab as big as a refrigerator, put a 15" EV in there, and used to play with his head inside the thing. We actually gigged once; I remember his bass line to "Ventura Highway" as being cool.

 

I then travelled across the country to college. I enrolled in choir. The choir director wanted to tour with a choir "just like Jerry Falwell's" and he kept talking about the electric bass.

 

So, I offered to play bass. I'd never really touched one, but it couldn't be too hard.

 

So, I got a crappy bass and played and toured. I decided to give up my Michigan scholarship and stay in Texas and become a bass player and music major.

 

After my degree, I went to another college to get a choral teaching certificate. That choir director wanted to do a tune with choir and URB. I volunteered, even though I'd never touched one. I bought an old Englehardt for $250 and never looked back. I changed Universities, switched from choir to orchestra and studied classical bass.

 

Lookin' back, I'd say it musta been in my blood. Or maybe just something in the water.

Yep. I'm the other voice in the head of davebrownbass.
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It may sound sad but my mother was the one who inspired me to start playing music. She's been a musician since she was a kid and she sang, played french horn, several kinds of recorders and harmonica. I grew up going to occational Florida Orchestra concerts with her and watching concerts and musicals on tv. Yeah, I was/am definitely a momma's boy. But seeing how her eyes lit up when she was playing/singing or just around music left a lasting impression on me. I thought to myself "Man, I wanna be able to make people feel like that."

 

Probably more than famous bass players and funksters, I think my music teachers have had the greatest influence on my playing and perception of music. Many of them have been serious gigging musicians that would be playing in jazz clubs, bars, orchestras and other places while they weren't teaching. I listen to a lot of music and get a lot out of it that I can apply to my playing but I'd still have to say that my teachers have had a greater impact.

 

A quick thanks to all those like Dave Brown who devote their lives to teaching music to kids and take special interest in hopeless causes like me! :wave:

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Jack Bruce on the Cream farewell concert at Albert Hall. That was on TV one Saturday night. Felix Pappalardi with Mountain on a PBS TV show the very next evening. Both on the same weekend in 1970.

The next evening I had their albums but realized I couldn't relive the energy on a Sears acoustic guitar. That's when I started saving up for my first bass and amp.

 

Fast-forward to the early 90s. I hadn't played bass in a few years due to my career as a traveling systems analyst/programmer. On a Monday evening I was burned out, hated life and stayed home to watc the Who play "Tommy" on a rare TV broadcast. By Saturday afternoon I was back in the game, thanks to J.E. Haven't quit since. They're gonna bury me with a bass guitar.

:wave:

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Well, I always thought it was way cool in elementary school when we'd have music class and the teacher would bring in some sort of instrument ... any instrument. I think one time I was allowed to play an autoharp. Later my stepfather taught me some chords on his acoustic g****r; when I showed an interest, he bought me my own. A year later I joined the school band. I wanted to play sousaphone, but they don't offer that in 5th grade band. :P So I settled for the next largest odd-ball thing, trombone. From there my elementary school teacher assembled a stage/jazz band from the best of her students from all the schools she taught in the district. Somehow I managed to get in. :freak: She played the bass because none of her 5th & 6th grade students did, but we had a kid that played a drum set and one that played electric g****r. I was curious so I asked my teacher what instrument she was playing. When I found out it was tuned like a g****r and the sheet music was in bass clef (just like trombone), I had to give it a try. I got the job, as it were. A little later my parents bought me a Fender Musicmaster, because my teacher's P-bass was a bit big for me at the time.

 

If anything in the chain of events had been different, would I be playing bass today? I don't know. If another student had been playing bass instead of my teacher, there wouldn't have been the opportunity. If I hadn't learned to read bass clef -- and I think trombone is the only instrument in 5th grade band that reads it -- I probably would not have been as enthusiastic to learn bass. If I hadn't had exposure to g****r first, I would have been happy sticking with trombone. If I hadn't joined the school band, I would probably only be playing acoustic g****r today.

 

So, yeah, your typical themes of serendipity with good teachers and being in the right place at the right time.

 

Oh, and I did get a chance to fulfill my early childhood dream of playing sousaphone starting in 8th grade. :thu:

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My story is vaguely similar to davio's, actually. My dad has been singing for close to 41 years now, and as a little kid I tagged along to his concerts.

 

Later, much later, I went along to rehearsals of his then bands, and thought to myself "I wanna do this too". Initially I wanted to sing, like him. Then, when I discovered Uriah Heep I wanted to play the Hammond, like Ken Hensley.

 

But one evening I was asleep and heard a low continuous drone and woke up saying to myself "bass" !!! It was really an epiphany of sorts :D Uriah Heep's Gary Thain became my first "bass hero", followed by their current bass player, Trevor Bolder.

 

I like both players, but do not even bother to try and play like them. I play covers and have a rootsy approach, but to me this is just a part of an ongoing process to find my own voice.

 

Thanks to this forum, I have found a lot of great bass players and bands to listen to, but it all boils down to my dad, Gary & Trevor ...

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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I listened a lot to Trevor's work when I was younger, particularly with Bowie but also with Heep. I'm always curious that the football team that I support has a player called Adam Bolder, who is from the same city as I have heard Trevor is from and whether or not they are related. Now, I have to play Bowie covers, it's been fun to be reacquainted with his playing.

My own influences were firstly listening nto chart stuff (the first single I got was September by EWF), then watching the bass players fingers at shows at Holiday Camps (a very British phenomenon).

Luckily, I had an uncle who was very into music and at a formative age lent me a selection of LPs. These included Led Zeppelin 1 and 2, the first two albums by Osibisa (a Britisg based Afro-rock group), and a few blues records, among others. I was completely smitten and it was probably listening JPJ who really inspired me to take up bass. From then on I used to borrow endless records from my local public library every week and it was a steep learning curve. I only wish I had thought of the possibility of playing an instrument before I turned 18.

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Started playing at 14 due to an excess of guitarists and an shortage of bassists (i.e. none in my circles). Promised my parents that I would continue to play the oboe even after I got my first bass ... yeah right. Can't remember the eureka moment when I made my decision, but it was 30 years ago. Davo
"We will make you bob your head whether you want to or not". - David Sisk
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My first Ah! moment was hearing the bassline on the Bee Gees "Gotta Get a Message to You" (for those of you old enough to remember them before they started ponsing around with their disco stuff).

 

Then I got hooked on James Jamerson. Although I never knew who he was at the time, I still get the shivers thinking about some of those Motown lines. He got me playing electric seriously.

 

Then came Stanley Clarke who I first heard with Return to Forever. That got me listening to URB seriously. It was Brian Bromberg who finally got me going on URB, though.

 

Now I simply can't stop.

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i had always wanted to play music and had tried stuff that just wasn't for me (i hate keyboards, by the by). my dad has been playing the bass for much longer than my short life, and if i may say so myself is quite the player. so obviously i was always exposed to music and the bass since before i could comprehend what a bass is. one day my dad mentioned how he hadn't played in a while beacause of things he had been doing and how he was going to start playing more often again. i asked him if he could teach me to play while he was at it, his eyes lit up and he said, "I have been waiting so long for one of you guys[referring to me or one of my two brothers] to ask me that.?" my life hasn't been the same since. in an incredible act of fatherly generosity he gave me my first(as well as my current) bass, an ibanez ergodyne, pretty sweet starter, huh? it's the greatest thing i have ever done and i have only him to thank for it.

maybe les claypool, flea, and eric wilson too...

hmmm...
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