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Bass Musician Magazine: Apr/May 2009 Issue Featuring Anthony Jackson

Certainly one of the gifts that most of us miss is starting early enough, and intensively enough to build a set of preferences and choose to be inspired so that when you run into close mindedness and bigotry in the arts, and artistic taste, you’re immune to it. No one should be able to make you feel bad and tell you, stop playing that crap, play this instead.

So we are kind of back to what we spoke of earlier, how do we change things, how do we change attitudes. I have to approach it the way I grew up. Is it magic, does it make you want a cry with joy, does it get your heart racing… that’s what it’s about. And what if it’s something you think you don’t like… you give it a chance, and if you like it, you play it. Eventually, there’s nothing you don’t like. When people ask me, what’s your favorite kind of music, I have a stock answer. I say, “Good” music. And they’ll say, ha-ha-ha, you’re trying to be funny, what’s the music you “really” like to play? And I’ll tell them, I don’t care, as long as it’s good. Well, who should decide if it’s good? Well, who did you ask……..? You asked me. If I think it’s good, I’m speaking for myself. Again, who am I supposed to be speaking for? You asked me what my favorite music is. Am I supposed to tell you what somebody else told me? Is my favorite music what I’ve been told to be my favorite music? Of course not! Just listen, and make it good… good writing, good playing, and let’s all sit down and spill our blood on the floor and make it come to life. I don’t care what it is.

That’s a point that I think needs to be considered much more these days. There’s nothing we can do to change the music scene. All we can do is be individuals. You as an individual voice should hold the standard high. You want to have it set up so whenever people think of you, they’ll say oh; this is going to be great. You can’t be responsible for what anyone else likes, or does. You just need to be responsible for what you do, and eventually it spreads. Other people begin to share that same principle. You shouldn’t be able to tell when someone is playing what their specialty is. You don’t want to be caught in this scenario: OK; we want Jake for this project. Well, what’s he do? Oh, he plays “this’ kind of stuff. No, I’m looking for someone that plays “this” kind of stuff. Again, you don’t want to be considered a specialist. If it’s for the bass guitar—you call me! That’s it. I defy anyone to tell me what my specialty is. Not because I’ve worked at hiding that, it’s because I don’t have a specialty. I just want to hear great music, and I want to play great music. And my archetype again was Steve Gadd. Plays with Chick Corea, brilliantly, and then plays behind Donna Summer playing disco, once again, brilliantly. You can’t say, this is a jazz guy, or this is a pop guy. That’s really what I wanted to be. I never wanted people to say, Anthony’s probably not your guy for this track, let’s call Eddie Gomez. I need to state that Eddie is a good friend of mine, and I respect him to death, but unless you’re in love with having an upright player, don’t replace me. Why would you… because I’m a pop player? And why am I a “pop” player, because I play on sessions? With keeping the kind of an attitude I spoke of, I believe the tide can be turned away from the shallowness of music that’s happening now. Sometimes I believe it can’t, but actually, I think it will.

Jake: I had a final question, but it seems to me that it might be a bit redundant with all that we’ve encompassed already within this interview.

Anthony: Please, go ahead.

Jake: Well, not that we haven’t touched on this, in great depth I might add, but here it is. What would have to evolve in terms of the industry to get us back to a point where we could possibly envision the potential of the “art” of a project actually being the “main” ingredient for its success?

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