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Peter Decuir of the San Diego Bass Alliance

by Editor, Jake Kot

What an honor to sit down with Peter Decuir to find out more about the history and workings of the San Diego Bass Alliance…

What was the original motivation for creating the SDBA, as well as events like Bass Bash and BassQuake?

San Diego Bass Alliance was organized by myself and JC Boissey (owner & founder of Groove DNA), after attending Gerald Veasley’s Bass Boot Camp. Our first event drew over 75 attendees and featured Alex Al, Tony Franklin, Norm Stockton and Jerry Watts, Jr.  I was overwhelmed by the response from the event.

Two months after that first event, I was contacted by Dan Elliott and asked to take over as director of BassQuake.  This organization has been around for five years, and has featured different artists such as Nathan East, Michael Manring, Bobby Vega and a host of other great players.

The (NAMM) Bass Bash was started by Mike Dimin about 6 years ago.  This event is totally performance based and has featured some of the finest musicians in the world.

In 2005, I was asked to organize the 2006 Bass Bash, which featured you, Alex Al, Brian Bromberg, Scott Ambush, Mike Manring, Dave Dyson, Trip Walmsley and Steve Lawson.  No need to say that my first event was an incredible success.

In 2007, the Bash featured you, Gerald Veasley, Steve Lawson, Adam Nitti, Trip Walmsley, Brian Bellar and Jerry Watts, Jr.  This event was captured in High Definition video and the house was packed. All the performances were amazing.

Give us a rough outline of what is involved in a typical one or two day session that the Alliance would present.

Our clinics include hands-on interaction with the clinicians in a classroom setting, round-table discussions, product demonstrations, give-aways, and of course incredible performances.

Your roster of players that are involved in your clinics is quite impressive. Tell us some of the players who have already contributed time with you, and what you feel they bring to the audience.

Some of the artists to participate have been: Rhonda Smith, David Dyson, Alex Al, Dr. Jerry Watts Jr., Norm Stockton, Tony Franklin, Oscar Cartaya, Trip Wamsley, Todd Johnson.

It is BassQuake’s endeavor to invite working bass players (clinicians) to our events.  Who better to learn from than the musicians that are out there doing it for a living?

We also stress the importance of inviting musicians that can teach.  It is my desire that everyone leaves our events with information that will challenge and inspire the attendees to become better musicians.  So we over-emphasize the hands-on approach.

Alex Al has been one of our guest clinicians.  His resume includes Herbie Hancock, George Duke, and Paul Simon to name a few.  He tends to focus on being a complete player, whether you’re in studio or live.  Another area that he stresses is being prepared for anything thrown your way.  Alex is extremely interactive with the attendees.  He’ll call students up to play, have them lay down a groove, then he’ll play the same groove and have them solo. After playing, he will give the student a few new ideas and will demonstrate different ways to approach that particular music situation. The students love this because they become a part of the clinic. So as you can see, attendees should come to our events prepared to participate.

Being in the “myspace-youtube” generation as we are, what steps have you taken, or do you plan to take with the Alliance as far as online presentation is concerned?

We are excited to announce that in January of 2008 we will be launching a new web site. And by the way, we have a few tricks up our sleeves so stay tuned. I believe we are going to create a little healthy competition with a few of the other online sites.

As a clinician myself, I see the value, as well as the need to create more of this type of educational venue. What do “you personally” see the audience walk away with that for you confirms this approach you’ve created for the bass community?

I would say that the repeat attendance is the biggest indicator that we maybe doing this thing right. We put together surveys asking the attendees directly what would make the events better, what artists would they like to see and what products are they most interested in.

The camaraderie and friendships that are developed at events like these are priceless. I receive email from some alumni’s asking, “Where’s the next event?” I believe musicians are hungry for interaction and we are here to help create that platform.

I know that Gerald Veaselys bass camps have been very well received by many players. He has a unique approach and brings in some of the top players in the business to work with him. I hear you’ll be teaming up with him soon–care to talk about that?

Gerald’s camp is where it all started for San Diego Bass Alliance. I met JC Boissey there (who I found out lived 10 minutes away from me in San Diego). The first thing that I noticed was Gerald being at the front door greeting everyone as they entered in. That really impressed me. I recommend that players of all ages, regardless of level or style attend at least one GO Bass Boot Camp.  You will go back for a second time.

Gerald is like the Godfather of Bass to me. He inspires all that he comes into contact with. I specifically remember a morning session where he told us to “Travel light.” Basically saying let go of some of that baggage that is keeping you from becoming the best musician that you can possibly be. By the way, Gerald performed at the (Namm) Bass Bash 07 this year and he killed it! I captured it on hi-def; so don’t forget to check out www.bassquake.org

I will be working with Gerald towards the end of this year to bring the boot camp experience to San Diego, CA in 2008. We are projecting a two to three day camp and want to consider making this an annual event. We will have more to come on this later in the year.

So what’s coming up for the rest of 2007, and into next year for that matter?

We have BassQuake coming up in September 2007 in Saratoga, CA at West Valley College featuring: Michael Manring, Joel Smith, Rhonda Smith, David Dyson, Doug Johns, Todd Johnson and The incredible Ms. Kristin Korb. I’m also working with Oscar Cartaya, planning to do a clinic in San Diego, CA later this year. Then of course we will start out next year with the (NAMM) Bass Bash 08, Pasadena Bass Day at Los Angeles Music Academy in July 08, Bass Quake in San Jose in September 08 and we are projecting to end the year with Gerald’s Boot Camp.

For more information about us and our upcoming events, please visit www.bassquake.org

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