Boston Berklee 26 th July 2001
This, most assuredly is my recording. It was a super gig in a great venue. The best part was when a young lady came up to give Weller a rose and, for some reason, an Elvis Presley CD of which PW replied, "Elvis has left the building." He then politely handed it back to her. Classic!!
1) Honest, I’ve always been more fascinated by bass player than guitarists but how did you come to the bass? Except Bowie’s Bass player, Gail-Ann Dorsey, it’s not a very attractive instrument for women and for many people who asks very often What is the bass for?
Wow it’s a strange thought that the bass might not be a very attractive instrument for some people. For me it’s so very important, the bass line can make track the best thing or really blow it. I think bass has evolved recently into being a mainly supportive instrument. So much so, that it’s almost always there but a lot of the time people don’t notice it. It seems as if the days of actually being able to sing the bass line are over with producers forcing bassists to play notes which only support the harmony with no real stand-out riffs mostly.
2) What are your influences? you have a very special way to bring the groove, very personal, mixing strong bass foundations for the band and very melodic too. Jamerson and Marvin Gaye as a first influence?
I think my main influences as a kid were Bob Marley and the Wailers, a lot of reggae, soca and Soul music. I noticed specific bass riffs when I listened to Luther Vandross and heard Marcus Miller for the 1st time. I’ve been a fan since then because he plays a very tastefully, both his slap style and a great sound and exceptional feel. All the best elements you’d want in a bass player. I did do a music course, where I made some life-long muso friends and had fun while I was figuring out what I wanted to do.
3) Well, you’ve been Paul Weller’s Bass player, how did it happen? Meeting? Relations?
I met Paul while working on a TV show and he was a guest. I was 22 then and had done very few sessions and really only toured with bands I was actually in. It was a shock to the system, being a backing musician and not having an emotional investment in the music or being a co-writer of the songs. At first I thought it was the better thing as there wouldn’t be too many people involved creatively who might disagree about stuff. One boss and you just play and do as you’re told, it’s only better if you don’t mind being passive creatively. I learned a lot and it was a great experience to have had.
4) When you played for him (and for others…) do you have a melodic and rhythm base to work on it or you can do what you want?
When you are playing on other people’s records you are always working towards finding a part that they like for their music. Sometimes the riffs/parts are already written, they just want you to play it with your feel and sound. Sometimes, but very rarely, they want you to come up with the parts with your melodic sensibility and taste, but that’s rare because you can’t expect to do “your thing” on other people’s music. The balance is right when you get asked to re-interpret a bassline with your feel and taste, but the original idea and direction has come from the producer/writer, so it’s clear what they want from you.