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Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4287
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 4:59 am:   Edit Post

On Saturday night I went to see the wailers in concert with friends and we got backstage to meet Aston Barrett. We all had a great chat and took photos and I asked if he would sight my wailers tribute guitar. He agreed and I met him at his hotel on Sunday morning and we chatted for over ah hour about his music life his basses what he likes tone wise and apart from us having totally different tastes in bass we have remarkably similar aims in respect of our bass tones for reggae. (Not surprising since he is a big influence for me ). Anyway I showed him pics of my ALEMBIC and he said that years ago Rick james used to come to their concerts and brought his ALEMBIC for him to try out. He said the bass had 3 pickups and lots of switches. He said he felt the neck was too flat round the back and he prefers a deeper neck which he feel has an affect on tone. Also fender send him basses to try out and he does not think the new basses Sound or feel as good as the 70's basses. He gets his guitar tech to put a 1970'sneck on them to make more comfy to play. I did offer to bring him one of my 4 string maple Úlan basses to try out at sound check and when I described the tone of it he said if you bring it I may want to keep it. Anyway as it happened his son told me he was not going to sound check that day. Anyway he signed my strat. I will post a photo later as I can't see the size of the picture on my iPhone.

I'm still on a musical high from the meeting.

Anyone got good stories of meeting their inspiration?
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 804
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 5:51 am:   Edit Post

My 70's Stingray has the most fat neck of any bass I ever played and it just makes my hands more tired getting around it! I had to switch to a 90's model Stingray for gigging.

I saw Jimmy Page on the Letterman show this last week, that is as close to seeing him in person as I get. He looked good!
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2263
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 10:07 am:   Edit Post

Coming to playing age in the late 70's, there was a local guy I admired tremendously.

Steve in those days played the first NS Spector I ever saw. This would have been back when Ned himself was making them in NYC. Originally a fretted NS, Steve asked Stuart to pull the frets and install wood strips for markers (he was, like many in those days, a huge Jaco fan).

He was a phenomenally tasteful player. Fast when needed, big and fat when called for, made it look easy. I got to know him, and he was a very modest person, but very centered.

I saw him later in a new band with two fabulous guitar players and a great drummer. For this gig he was using a fretted two-pickup G+L. Called me up to sit in. I was mortified. I knew the several tunes, but felt like Twiggy subbing for Dolly Parton. Went OK.

On the break, I was very insecure about my playing when he complimented (!) me. He then got right in my stuff and told me I better never act like that in front of him or anyone else, say 'Thank You', and don't let anybody make you feel inadequate about your playing. 'You'll know it needs work, so do your homework and go on.'

Never forgot that. After that any time I saw him, he'd give me that look, and we both knew why, and he was real mentor to me.

That's when it dawned on me it was about way more than gear and practicing scales, the stuff you'll never read about in BASS PLAYER. Way more.

J o e y
Senior Member
Username: jazzyvee

Post Number: 4289
Registered: 6-2002
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 10:30 am:   Edit Post

Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3733
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 10:47 am:   Edit Post

All very cool !
Username: edwardofhuncote

Post Number: 97
Registered: 6-2014
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 12:47 pm:   Edit Post

I'm fortunate enough to still be in contact, not only with the guy who first inspired me to play bass, but also the guy who was (and still is) my mentor. Nobody you ever heard of... but in my mind, he's one of the best who ever played the instrument. Just a couple weeks ago, I went along on a gig with him, my job was just beating rhythm guitar and trying to hold down harmony parts, but I smiled all night listening to his playing.
Username: stephenr

Post Number: 13
Registered: 9-2014
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 1:20 pm:   Edit Post

Great story Jazzyvee!

I have a funny story about getting to meet Phil Lesh. I hadn't heard his playing yet when I got my first bass in 1965 so he wasn't my primary inspiration but my love for his playing and the Dead's music later became a huge part of my life.

In September of 1997 Gary Lambert asked me to participate in what was the first of many "Grateful Dead Community Center Benefits" held at the Ashkenaz in Berkeley, CA. The club needed a new PA and over time we raised enough money to pay off a new Meyer Sound system for the club. The concept was to have a Dead music jam with a rotating cast of players from the local scene.

Shortly after I told Gary I wanted to be involved I got an invitation from Henry Kaiser to participate in a short set of music with him and Eric Thompson at the benefit. Eric was a friend of Jerry Garcia's from back in the jug band days in the early 60s. The idea was to pick some traditional songs that Eric and Jerry both liked that the Dead may have covered but never did.

Along with playing guitar David Gans was acting as stage manager and shuffling players on and off stage during the benefit. Jill Lesh was out of town so David was able to convince Phil to come down and take part in the festivities. At the time he had not been playing publicly.

It was exciting to see Phil up there playing with a group of local players. They did a few tunes and were in the middle of a jam when David jumped off stage and told Henry, Eric and me it was time for us to set up and play, we were the only self-contained act that day. We pointed out that the jam was still happening and he said to just go up and set up, they will end the jam.

So the first time I get to meet Phil I am coming towards him on stage holding my red Modulus bass (he was also playing his red Modulus bass). He looked kind of confused but by then the current jam was ending and he knew the format of the show. It was surreal to introduce myself and basically boot him off stage.

Phil had a great time at the benefit and later said that when he walked into the club it was the first time he had really heard anyone else playing Grateful Dead music. He asked David to put together a similar benefit show with proceeds to go to Phil's Unbroken Chain Foundation. That show was held at the Maritime Hall in SF and featured another cast of rotating players with three bassists including Phil and me. I re-introduced myself, he said he remembered meeting me at the Askenaz and I finally got to spend some time speaking with him backstage before the show. The show went well, almost sold out and Phil decided it would be fun to do one benefit a month going forward. We did three more UBC benefits but with The Broken Angels, a band Gans put together out of musicians that had participated in weekly Dead jam sessions at a club in Berkeley during 1997, as back up band. We opened each of the benefits with a short set of our original tunes and then brought out Phil to play Dead covers and finish the rest of the show. Due to Phil's participation Meyer Sound provided us with powered PA cabinets for the bass rig. We used my SWR pre-amp and for me it was amazing to get to finally play through a Meyer Sound rig let alone share it with Phil.
Advanced Member
Username: mtjam

Post Number: 223
Registered: 11-2011
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 1:59 pm:   Edit Post

Great stories, everyone!

Cool to hear that Family Man spent some time hanging out with you, Jazzy! The Wailers have played at a small theatre in my town, but it haven't been able to go see them the few times they have been here. I probably should.

I enjoyed hearing about meeting Phil Lesh also. He is definitely my number 1 bass influence, and I'm so glad he's still out sharing his music with everyone.

I don't know that I've ever met any nationally known bass heroes, but I have to say I am always inspired when talking with fellow Alembic players. Also, it was quite a thrill for me to speak with Mica and Susan on several occasions about the instruments they make and that I enjoy so much!
Advanced Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 230
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Monday, November 10, 2014 - 2:23 pm:   Edit Post

I had seats in the pit at Rush's 2010 Time Machine tour. I was no more than 15 feet away from Geddy and Alex, and no more than 20 from Neil. Any closer and I think they'd be cramping my style. They're already my biggest fans anyway... Seriously, I'm afraid if I actually got to have a conversation with Geddy, I'd be like "'d you get so good?"
Senior Member
Username: mario_farufyno

Post Number: 1075
Registered: 9-2008
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 7:09 am:   Edit Post

I met him some years ago here in Brazil, when we were the opening act for his Wailers Tribute Band. He was very kind showing me his Amp setup and insights regarding his impressive tone. Only the real greats seems to be generous like that...
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1327
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 12:54 pm:   Edit Post

My main inspiration was my 7th grade band director. I actually looked him up three years ago and stopped to visit him; he has some serious health issues and can only listen to music these days (he used to play trombone in the band What On Earth?, he also played with Jack Grassel and the Violent Femmes to name a few others).

I was able to sit with him and his wife in their kitchen and thank him for inspiring me to find the joy and power of music. The enlightenment for me was when we did a 'cover' of Hey Jude; well at least the best that a bunch of 7th graders could. I was playing bassoon in those early days and at the end of the song the bass clef instruments had a driving quarter note pattern. One day at practice we must have been clicking on all four cylinders, because when we hit that ending part I was soooo moved by it that without any thought, just pure adrenaline I popped up out of my chair and finished the song standing up (you ever try to play bassoon standing up?).

That my friends was the day that I fully understood that music was far more than notes on paper, and Bill Schaefgen was the director that led me. After telling him that story, he said he didn't remember that! However, he did appreciate me telling him how he made me discover the joys of sounds. . . .
Advanced Member
Username: 5a_quilt_top

Post Number: 389
Registered: 6-2012
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 3:00 pm:   Edit Post

Jack Grassel - wow - there's a name I haven't seen in a long time.

I saw him play a black Les Paul Custom while seated on a stool in a small club in Madison WI over 30 years ago. The fastest guitarist I have ever seen - impeccably clean technique. He could play single string arpeggios so fast they sounded like chords.

He taught the person who I consider to be my main inspiration: Roger Brotherhood. And Roger taught me that music is not rigidly divided into chord grips and lead lines, it's melody, harmony and rhythm all seamlessly flowing together.

Grasping that concept opened my mind to a new world of limitless possibilities and allowed me to become a more flexible musician.
Advanced Member
Username: smokin_dave

Post Number: 394
Registered: 10-2002
Posted on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 7:53 pm:   Edit Post

Back in the day when I was around 13 or 14 years old and shifting over from upright to electric bass I was enamored by the playing of Entwistle,McCartney,Squire,Bruce ect.

Fast forward to my late 30's and I find myself as house bass player for a local Blues jam.The bar was separated into two different stages in two different rooms and I would often be found in the front bar away from the back stage where the jam was swinging away.
One night I saw that it was getting late and time to wrap the jam up and started down the hall that separated the stages.The closer I got to the back bar I started hearing this awful playing and thinking that it was really time to end the night.

As I entered the back bar and looked on stage to see for myself who was responsible for train wreck blues playing I almost fainted.

There on the stage,behind the traps,was Alan White some guitar player I didn't recognize and playing my Epic 4 was the one and only Chris Squire.I was stunned.Here was a guy who taught me more than he could know about playing prog-rock bass or at least Yes songs as I played them over and over again while in high-school and my early 20's.

So they finished up making the leftover blues fans ears bleed and I went up onstage and shook the mans hand and we talked for a bit and he complimented me on my bass and headed back to where he and Alan and for some reason Vince Neil were sitting.I think both bands were in town and playing dates later in the week so this was an off and drunken night for them.

As Chris was stepping off the stage I picked up my bass and started playing
Yes songs that I knew and he stopped and started watching me and I started laughing for some reason as well as he and that was it.My meeting with with one of my bass idols.
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1423
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 2:00 pm:   Edit Post

Jazzyvee, that is so awesome! Especially that you got to spend so much time talking to him.

Now that I think about it, I have been quite fortunate. When I was playing actively in the genre that would become "Jam Band" in the early '90s, I was able to meet a lot of the musicians that were inspiring me, such as Mike Gordon of Phish, Dave Schools of Widespread Panic, and especially Oteil Burbridge of the Aquarium Rescue Unit (later of the Allman Bros.) - he even gave me a bass lesson when they played at our college!

I got out of music for several years, but having gotten back in, I have begun to see a lot of the major musicians that originally inspired me back in high school. The two big ones that come to mind are Stanley Clarke and Billy Sheehan, both at Yoshi's.

Recently I got to see another of my idols, Anthony Jackson, perform at Yoshi's Oakland with Hiromi. We were sitting in the bar before the show and I saw him walking down the street talking on his cell phone. My wife and friends told me i should go talk to him, but for some reason I was just happy catching a candid shot of him - I didn't want to bother him, plus I'm not sure what I would say!

aj yoshis
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2264
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Wednesday, November 12, 2014 - 11:04 pm:   Edit Post

But Harry, what was it like to see and hear him play? ? ?

J o e y
Intermediate Member
Username: wfmandmusic

Post Number: 126
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 4:33 am:   Edit Post

At least twice I have had the pleasure of meeting idols. The first was when I was a younger man. I grew up in Saginaw Michigan for a time period. Well before every tour Rush would rent our local civic center for a week and practice for their tour. My uncle was a police officer and he would work overtime as security. He use to sneak me in and I would sit high up in the seats and listen to the band practice. I made sure I wouldn't bother anyone. One week it was the third night in a row and the band finished a song. Geddy looked up at me and said " Hey you, what do you think of our new song?" I looked around like he was talking to someone else. He said " Yes you, you have been listening for 3 nights and I want to know what you think of our new music. Come down here". I was really embarrassed. I walked down and he said we have closed practices why are you here? I said I was sorry, I don't want to bother anyone, I am a huge fan and you are a great inspiration to me. I also said that I never talk to anyone about being here. He started laughing and said it's okay now tell us what you think about our new music. I told them it was totally amazing. They had just played spirit of the radio. I never went back.
The second time was dinner with John Entwistle. It was 1999 and my Dead cover band got contracted to play at the High Times Magazine Whee 3 festival or the freedom fighters festival. The show was at the Buckeye Lake Music Center. I rolled in back stage to set up camp for the week. A huge bus parked right next to me and Melvin Seals jumped out with the girls from the Gerry Garcia Band. On the bill this weekend were so many idols of mine. Andrew Tosh, Mearl Saunders,Jefferson Starship, Rick Danko, Richie Havens, Country Joe McDonald, The John Entwistle Band and many more. We had the worse time slot scheduled to play Sunday morning at 11:00 but I was just honored to be on the bill. So Saturday I was in the food tent to get some dinner and ran into John. I told him how much I admired his playing and how it inspired and challenged me to be a better bassist. He invited me to sit with him and chat. Later that night I was standing in front of him watching him play Boris the Spider.
Advanced Member
Username: stout71

Post Number: 232
Registered: 7-2011
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 4:41 am:   Edit Post


That is a really great Rush story and I am supremely jealous!!!
Advanced Member
Username: jcdlc72

Post Number: 396
Registered: 11-2009
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 4:44 am:   Edit Post

+1 on Rush jealousy here! :-)
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1333
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 8:04 am:   Edit Post

+2 on the Rush story.

I would have a very hard time being restrained in front of them. Alex seems to be a total cut up and rather gregarious (cameos in Trailer Park Boys), Geddy seems very personable also . . .
But Neil is a different animal; he openly wants distance between his 'fans' and himself. I have read three of his books and feel like I know him; also being a motorcycle enthusiast I feel a deep connection. Plus my wife has a crush on him . . .

So here is a freaky fanatical fanasty - last time Rush was in town I rode my motorcycle to Schlossman's (a local BMW shop)the day before their show hoping to see him and thinking that if I did I would play dumb and just talk motorcycles with him. He wasn't there when I drove by so I kept on riding, all the while on the look out for a red R1200GS . . . . sick.

On a separate note; once at Shank Hall I was going number 1 in the restroom and a guy came in next to me with Chuck Taylors, a knee brace on his left knee, his hood pulled up and wearing a backpack. I was there to see Mike Watt and had recently seen a youtube video of him and he was wearing a knee brace. . . . OMG!

Well etiquate dictates that you do NOT speak to the guy next to you at the urinals. I washed my hands, he finished and approached the sink, as he did I said "Thanks for stopping in Milwaukee again". We talked briefly. After the show he signed the inside brass plate from my Distillate, the sweat on his forearms smeared Stanley's signature that was already there.

Not sure if it is cool or creepy but as fate would have had it - I peed with Watt!

Intermediate Member
Username: wfmandmusic

Post Number: 127
Registered: 1-2012
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 12:19 pm:   Edit Post

That's a good one Paul!
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1425
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 1:39 pm:   Edit Post

"But Harry, what was it like to see and hear him play? ? ?"

J o e y, it was great! I had been listening to the new Hiromi album pretty obsessively leading up to the concert. His playing now doesn't excite me as much as his playing on Al DiMeola's "Casino" album did back when I was in college, but I still loved seeing and hearing him live. He was using his new fully hollowbodied Fodera - could have been a little louder but was still great. One of the things that he did for me when I was younger was validate playing with both pick and fingers, and he switched back and forth a lot during the show.
Senior Member
Username: bigredbass

Post Number: 2265
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Saturday, November 15, 2014 - 7:05 pm:   Edit Post

As much as I admire the genius of the Stanleys and Jacos, etc., it's just not my cup of tea. Guys like Anthony and Jimmy who bring a commanding presence while playing to the song were always way more meaningful to my notion of playing bass.

But Harry, what kind of rig was he playing thru? His Meyers and the Millennia preamp?

J o e y

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