In the 1980s Duran Duran took the radio waves, television sets, and the world by storm. Platinum albums, Grammys, and multiple music video awards followed their gold record debut. Tens of millions of album sales and sold out venues worldwide became the norm for the newly dubbed “Fab Five”. Though some may have predicted that this band would not escape the ’80s and continue this kind of success, the band has shown decade after decade that they were here to stay, proving the point in 2015 with the Top 10 release of their latest album Paper Gods, and the multi-year, continually extended, world-wide tour that has supported it.
I spoke with bassist John Taylor during the recording of Paper Gods. He spoke by phone from his home in Los Angeles, California, on business in the US, away from the London recording studio for a brief moment. …continue reading »
I directed this part of the conversation with John Taylor of Duran Duran to their latest album and reflections on career longevity. At the time of this interview Taylor had no idea that their project, still being formed in the studio, would be a Top 10 hit in the US, the UK, and multiple other countries. He had no idea that the album would get rave reviews and worldwide attention. And he had no idea that the tour to support it would continue two years after the album release, with multiple tour extensions still happening. …continue reading »
We caught up with Tony Levin while he was on tour for the Sting & Peter Gabriel 2016 “Rock Paper Scissors” Tour. This is a unique tour with Sting and Peter Gabriel sharing the stage with a mixed group of members from both of their long-time touring bands. Tony was very generous with his time, as always, and gave us some interesting insight into the tour setup from his unique perspective, including some information on his legendary, road-worn equipment. …continue reading »
It was an honor to catch up recently with Tony Levin, the legendary bassist, who is an extremely busy man. Tony was the first bassist to answer our “Fretless Questions” many, many years ago, and has always been very approachable and friendly to FretlessBass.com. We can’t thank him enough for taking the time to tell us about the new album from LEVIN MINNEMANN RUDESS: From the Law Offices of Levin Minnemann Rudess.
FB: I’ve been listening to the new album from LEVIN MINNEMANN RUDESS: “From the Law Offices of Levin Minnemann Rudess” which was released July 15, 2016. I am very impressed! Much thanks for letting me listen to it pre-release.
How does the writing and recording of this album compare to the last album?
Tony Levin: We took a lot more time on this album, for the writing process. Partly because we were all on the road much of 2015, with various tours. Also, we’d got a sense on the first album of how the other players would react to the pieces, and so, at least in my case, …continue reading »
If you have never heard MuteMath I suggest that you check them out. I was first told about this Grammy nominated band from New Orleans by a friend of mine. I had never heard of them. I listened to “Chaos” and “Break the Same” from their MuteMath album and immediately purchased it.
This band is phenomenal, but being a drummer and bass player, the rhythm section caught my attention immediately. Darren King is an unbelievable drummer with amazing energy and creativity, and a real showman. But I was really impressed with bassist Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas. …continue reading »
Sting Police 8-String Hamer Explorer Fretless Bass
One of the nicest fretless basses ever made, in my opinion, is Sting’s red fretless Hamer 8-string Explorer bass with maple neck and unlined fingerboard, circa 1980. I don’t believe there is much known about this bass, but from various pictures it does appear that he played it live a few times. …continue reading »
For the past forty years the sound of Pedulla basses has been embedded in music of all genres. From Anne Murray to Eagles to Kiss. From Lynyrd Skynyrd to Elton John to Brooks & Dunn. From Mark Egan to Tim Landers to countless other players, Pedulla basses have been heard all over the world. If Michael Pedulla hadn’t combined his love for music, woodworking, and engineering in a small guitar shop near Boston in 1975, who knows how that music may have suffered? How would the musicians have been different, lacking the unique inspiration of a Pedulla, had he not committed his passions to building the best basses possible without compromise? Fortunately, as we enter into the year 2015, answers to those questions are not something to be pondered. …continue reading »
We first contacted Blue Canoe Records ten years ago, and in 2007 bassist and label founder Joseph Patrick Moore was gracious enough to participate in our “Fretless Questions interview”. Moore’s musical journey started at the early age of seven, when he studied the alto saxophone, followed by drums in his school marching band. But during his sophomore year in high school the electric bass took hold of him and has held it’s grip ever since. Moore attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville with a concentration on electric and double bass, majoring in classical studies and jazz performance, and then transferred to The University of Memphis. By 2003 Moore founded Blue Canoe Records where he continues his career as professional musician and label owner.
After many different solo albums and collaborations over the years, in September of 2014 Moore released the rock ensemble known as The RockTronix, featuring Wayne Viar on drums, Chris Blackwell on guitar, and JPM himself on bass. Though this is primarily a rock album, it has a nice variety of styles represented, making it a very interesting album, giving the listener many different experiences and variations in a solid group effort. From driving hard rock, to reggae, to blues, to funk, to flat out jams, there is something for everyone on this album. Amazing solos from every band member throughout make this an album to play loud, over and over again. …continue reading »
I recently interviewed Mark Egan, focusing on his latest solo album About Now, and also covering some new projects that he is working on. This particular project was released in the spring of 2014, and features long time collaborators Danny Gottlieb on drums and Mitchel Forman on keyboards.
This is Part 2 of the interview where we focus more on the songwriting process itself. …continue reading »
Jaco Pastorius was arguably one of the best bass players to ever live, if not the best. Metallica’s Robert Trujillo is producing a long overdue documentary film on the late great Jaco, and has started a pledge campaign, through PledgeMusic.com, to raise funds and complete the project. Robert considers Jaco to be a hero and one of his biggest influences, and he has formed a very special relationship with some of Jaco’s family members. Robert tells a story of …continue reading »
I have been in touch with the legendary bassist Mo Foster recently. I was telling him that I was a bit of a fretless bass collector, but assured him my collecting was not an addiction (I can stop any time I want to). His reply was perfect, “There is a concept known as Guitar Acquisition Syndrome, or GAS. It is a question and an answer: Q – What is the correct number of guitars? A – One more than you have already. Luckily I don’t suffer from it — the only instruments I have are the ones I play.”
The discussion started when I asked about his gear, and what fretless basses he has and uses. He told me …continue reading »
I’ve been working with the fine folks at Pedulla Guitars to learn more about their basses, and to learn more about their story. This year, 2015, happens to mark their 40th anniversary in business. The story is a very interesting one, starting with Michael Pedulla in the early 1970’s making banjos and guitars as a new luthier in the Boston area, and switching to building basses after being in the instrument repair business for quite some time. One of my favorite stories is …continue reading »
A dissection: Many people consider Jaco Pastorius to be one of the best bass players to ever live, if not the best. Though his life was short, his impact is practically eternal. But with all of the music that has come and gone in the last five decades, it can be easy to become numb to just how good he was. Listening to Joni Mitchell’s Hejira (1976) and Don Juan’s Recklass Daughter (1977) albums recently, reminded me again of his frightening ability and innovation. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be Joni Mitchell or the engineers working on these two projects. I chose to dissect “Overture-Cotton Avenue” as an exercise. This song is an outstanding example of several of Jaco’s signature styles. It has …continue reading »