Monday, April 22, 2013


Not many words are required for this one... a private performance by Michael Manring


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Peck this and Peck that, Heck Peck everything

The Vulfpeck force is strong with this one.....

On February 6th 2012 things changed.  Notreble posted this link featuring Joe Dart and Vulfpeck.

and I watched this video...

....after my brain stopped vibrating and my heart rate returned to normal, I watched it again.  After my head stopped bobbing and my knees stopped bouncing, I watched it again.  After my fingers stopped tapping and my torso stopped grooving, I watched it again.  Then I sat back. 

Dumbfounded, as a bassist yes.. by Joe Dart's groove...and by the virtuosic - but wouldn't have it any other way - groovy bass licks, but ... also by the entire video..the entire band.  What did I just see?  I read something about a film score ... it didn't add up.  Why would a band film a live recording of a film score?  If it was indeed for a film score I wanted to pre-order my ticket.

Then I watched another video...

Then I watched another video...

and more and more and more...all with joy.  I fell in love with Vulfpeck music and their videos.  I was watching like a wide-eyed kid, not analyzing like a professional musician.  So it took me a while to notice something.  

I picked up my bass and starting picking away at Beastly trying to learn it.  I was playing it on Youtube and playing along.  On one of the many shots of Joe doing his bass fills it hit me... and this may seem obvious to some..but..

What I was watching and what I was hearing was ...the same.  The recorded version in all its glory ...every note seemingly perfectly placed.. it  What we were watching... was Vulfpeck in the studio recording the very version laid down, etched in, burnt in, saved, stored, reproduced, archived forever on tape or digital or whatever.  

I immediately thought back to the first year I started playing bass.  I was trying to figure out Duff McKagan's opening bass riff in Sweet Child of Mine (which I recorded onto VHS from MuchMusic so I could play it back over and over).  But I looked to the video for answers but in the dark of the video I couldn't tell what he was playing.  More and more with other songs and videos I went to the videos for a glipse of what they were playing but as I matured in my playing early on discovered that music videos were just big promos with bands pretending to play along with the music that was already recorded (duuh of course...but to a kid there is a time before you realize this! ).   

So when I thought of that... then re-watched every Vulfpeck video all over again and realized each video is a real-time representation of what the listener is hearing respect for these guys as musicians shot up ten fold.  Their honor of pure is truly inspiring.  

I immediately wanted to go back and rerecord every bass track I have ever recorded with the feeling that everyone is watching... and will always be able to watch.....this take.  

Mind blowing.  I look forward to my next recording project. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

I do and promise to love you, my new bass amp, forever

I'm trying out a new bass cabinet.  It doesn't matter which one.  But I've got that burning question in my mind... is this the right cabinet.  Is this the right amp setup for me?  Is this ...the one?

It's almost like a marriage.  You try it out.. you court the amp...or rather it courts you.  It seems sexier and promises to do things that other amps won't do.  But will that last?  Is it really..the one?  Do you give it a ring and promise to unconditionally love it and will it unconditionally love you at every gig, rehearsal, practice, etc, etc?

What methods do you use to be sure you're ready to settle down with the amp that doesn't mind you eating crackers on stage with it?

Friday, April 5, 2013

Kurt's Organized Confusion

Kurt Cobain died this day 19 years ago.  I was standing in the doorway of my living room when my sister called me and said "Kurt Cobain is dead.  He killed himself".  It was pretty numbing news for a then 16 year old Nirvana fan.  I turned on the TV and watched the footage of police walking around the greenhouse where his body was found.  What a waste.  Why?  I could never understand.  I could never understand suicide.

Since that time I've had more than one person close to me admit to suicidal tendencies - but thankfully none commit to suicidal tendency.   But even still..with those people I just couldn't understand - why?  What solution does it present - besides the obvious unfathomable ..

but that's the thing...I didn't understand because .. to was unfathomable....  I was lucky....fortunate...blessed... with relatively decent and stable mental health.  Sure like anyone things got dark in my life at points but there was no chemical imbalance or other to push me to the unthinkable ..

As many of us know... one wonderful byproduct of finding music and getting lost in its powers as a teenager is displacing those bad thoughts and feelings ...getting rid of all the static and noise in our heads..our problems are gone... temporarily.  It's wonderful.  But I also wonder if it gives a false sense of freedom and resolution from mental health problems : a dichotomous look at the effect of music for sure.

I would venture to guess that Kurt understood and used this to its fullest potential.

Kurt Cobain playing the bass he used in his earliest demos
Just look at the name of Kurt's band Nirvana  ...which is defined by as:
a place or state characterized by freedom from or oblivion to pain, worry, and the external world.
Take a minute to remember Kurt Cobain as a human.  Take a minute to check out these links.

Now take a minute to think of anyone, possibly including yourself, that might benefit from help.  Check in on them.   Check in on yourself.

Stay healthy.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

If You're On Time, You're Late

Musician self awareness reality check time.....
  • You've got a gig at 8pm this Saturday.  Soundcheck is at 6.  What time do you show up?
  • You've got a rehearsal tomorrow at 7pm and it's 30 minutes away.  What time do you leave?
  • Your first lesson with a new teacher is today at 4pm.  What time do you arrive?
  • You're meeting for coffee at noon with an old friend who is now a booking agent to discuss their interest in your band.  What time do you get to the coffee shop?

Your history-defined answers to these questions may sum up your general level of respect for other people's time.  Or at least uncover to you how it is perceived by any of the above people that may be affected by your time: your bandmates, your teacher, the booking agent, etc.

If you're the type of person that is still on the couch watching the last 15 minutes of a Who's The Boss rerun when you have a soundcheck that's 20 minutes away ..well....

If you're the type of person that shows up to a lesson just as the lesson is about to begin, and you need to take off your jacket, unpack your bass, locate your music, tune your bass, use the bathroom, check your favorite social media site, respond to your BFF's text messages, etc, etc.. well...

If you've setup or been called to a meeting to sell your band and you're not ready to instantly give your pitch or first you need to wait in that long lineup to get your double mint chip mocha frappa num num...well... are disrespectfully wasting one or more person's time.  Did I mention disrespectfully?

now... if you're the type of person that plans it out and knows that for a soundcheck at 6 you need to give yourself at least 30 minutes from the time you walk on the stage to be able to play a note after setup and the venue is 30 minutes away, it's raining so people will be driving slower, give yourself an extra 15 mins, plus it's Friday night so downtown will be crazy...extra 10-15 for parking.... then you know you're going to need to leave at the very least 4:30 or 4:45pm to get there with plenty of time to setup and be ready.

You want to be a professional?  This is how professionals work.

Yes you may be early and have time to kill before everyone else shows up and is ready .... but... oh'll be early and have time to kill. That's good.  It means you're setup ..and ready to groove..or ready to learn...or ready to sell.

No.. you probably won't get a pat on the back because you're early and setup ready to go or an award for Most Punctual Musician of the Year but.... people will know you're reliable, professional, and they'll want to work with you.


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Namm Groove Maschine and the Lowest Pair

Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, and David "Fingers" Haynes at NAMM 2013.

3, of the many, things I love about this video:

  1. The amount of groove that David can get with the Native Instruments Maschine
  2. Fretless Bailey lovlieness 
  3. Victor Wooten, who we so often hear playing virtuosic solo bass parts, laying down the low end groove as a "simple" bass player.   

Monday, April 1, 2013


So I was just messing around with my recording software to satisfy a curiosity of mine ... the bass Solo in Paul Simon's You Can Call Me Al played by Bakithi Kumalo  ..... was it truly Palendromic? Did they reeeeeeally use the the 1st half of the bass solo and just reverse it for the 2nd half .

Well... to my surprise... no... it wasn't.  I loaded the tune into my software ... reversed it... waited for the solo and the 1st half now sounded nothing like the 2nd half and to my even greater surprise ... the 2nd half of the bass solo is a sample of Jaco's Chromatic Fantasy from the Word of Mouth album - sounds like from the 2:45 mark of the tune.

Crazy.  I'll post an audio sample later.