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Artist Spotlight with Biscuit: Interview with Bassist Uriah Duffy

BISCUIT: Did you take bass lessons at the beginning, or did you just set out teaching yourself in the earlier years?

URIAH…It was all by ear really, although I did take one bass lesson at a local music store. It was a guitarist giving the lesson, but he really didn’t show me anything because I was already playing full Rush tunes by that time on the bass anyway. I did take a couple of lessons from a Jazz Bass player in 8th grade. I regret the fact that I did not continue, for the sole reason that the information I use from those few valuable lessons, I still use to this day. Chart reading was one of those lessons, and although I don’t use that on a day to day basis, I still ran with it and carried on learning to read on my own.

BISCUIT: Do you find that the guys brought up purely on reading music find it a little more difficult to just chill out and “jam it up”, so to speak?

URIAH: Some classically trained players who sight read can run circles around anyone I know, but when you talk about jammin’, that’s a different game, and many of them just didn’t grow up in that type of environment. I really think there is a place for both backgrounds in the world of bass, and music in general for that matter.

BISCUIT: What was the first bass that you owned, and do you still have it and play it to this day, or has it just disappeared?

URIAH: Yeah, It has kind of disappeared. Most of the basses that I have gotten rid of have either been destroyed, lost, sold, maimed, taken apart, or driven over by a truck. My first bass was a Cort Slammer, short scale, and I loved that bass. It was really easy to play, but I graduated to my next bass which was a Hohner B2A…you know, the Steinberger copy. But it had a bit more of a meatier tone being made out of wood. To me, my first “real” bass was an Alembic Spoiler, which is right behind me as I speak, and I would never get rid of that. I paid around $650.00 for that Alembic from some poor starving college student.

BISCUIT: Moving on to family matters Uriah, your mother is from Thailand and your father is an Irish American I believe, and they brought you up in Rhode Island if I’m correct. What are your fondest memories of growing up there in your early years?

URIAH: Yeah, that’s right. I grew up in Rhode Island, and later on my mum moved out to Berkley California, so I then travelled between both coasts. I fondly look back on the full change of seasons in Rhode Island—the fall, with those beautiful autumn colours, and riding my bike through the leaves, and also playing in the swamp with my friends. I really loved growing up in a small town, and I would have never traded that in for anything. I am in the San Francisco bay area at the moment, and I love it to death, but we don’t have such contrasting seasons as it’s a moderate climate here.

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