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Artist Spotlight with Biscuit: Interview with Bassist Uriah Duffy

URIAH: This was the band I mentioned earlier that I picked up the CD from the studio on the way back from the airport. It involves Thomas Pridgen, former drummer of Mars Volta, who has created his own monster project. He and guitarist Nick Brewer went into a studio with a vision and wrote all the songs in a week. They recorded them and then called me in. I was tired and unprepared for any kind of session at the time, but as a good gesture I told them I’d be willing to stop by for a couple of hours before I go to bed. So I went down to the studio at 9pm, and didn’t emerge again until 6am the next morning, having recorded the bass for the whole album! The album’s energy is very intense with crazy time changes, and I somehow managed to get through it all in this one sitting. I don’t even remember half of it! I do remember that was one of the most amazing sessions of my life, and that Thomas just shook his dreads at me holding my shoulders and said “play man, just play”, especially through challenging sections of music, preferring me to go on musical “auto-pilot” rather than taking the time to count out the rhythms! And I did just that, and now I am proud to be in “The Memorials”. It’s currently being mixed, and we’re scheduling shows.

BISCUIT: Indeed there are times when everything just seems to gel together perfectly, and I myself have personally worked with some guys where things just “click”. It’s when you are playing something together and then all suddenly look up at each other at the same time and grin, because you know that you are linked tight and locked right in there…I like to call those the “Smiley Moments”.

URIAH: (laughs) Yes, I know what you mean. It’s a kind of communication that’s faster than language… its telepathy.

BISCUIT: I’d like to wind down now if I may and just ask you what it is that you like to do on the rare occasions that you have some spare time, and if you have any hobbies, etc, that surface while your not in the studio or on the road?

URIAH: Within the past five to six years of my adult life, I have finally looked up from the bass and smelled the roses, and have become much more aware of the life around me. I have also been getting into things like cooking and eating good food, which go hand in hand of course. I believe that you can create a better custom type meal at home, rather than paying someone at an expensive restaurant for something you don’t quite know what you are going to get. I also like to ski as well, and my son recently taught me how to snowboard.

BISCUIT: If you were not a musician, what do you think you would have ended up doing as a working career?

URIAH: I probably would have continued my ongoing work with computers in some way, perhaps technical support or something like that. I’ve enjoyed taking apart Macs to repair or customize them since about 1989, and still hack electronic devices to this day. My latest victory was replacing my Mac Book Pro LED screen, which a certain unnamed drummer (of Whitesnake fame) inadvertently sat on while it was open. It really wasn’t his fault, but in learning to fix stuff yourself, you save a ton of dough. But even more-so, being able to adjust technology to work for you beyond someone’s imposed limitations is very empowering, to say the least.

BISCUIT: This my friend is my last question for you. If you were to find yourself on a dessert island for a week or two, what items would you “have” to take with you?

URIAH: I would take my bass of course, and then I could use it as a paddle (laughs). I don’t really think I would take any music with me as I don’t really listen for enjoyment as much as I should. I seem to use music more as a reference than a pleasure thing really, although that is changing as I get older. I am beginning to hear a whole story in the lyrics of a song in addition to the music. So I would just take my bass and take the rest of the time to just explore and totally relax, until rescue or death.

BISCUIT: It’s been a pleasure speaking to you my friend, and I thank you very much for taking the time out to talk to me for the readers of Bass Musician Magazine. You’re a real genuine, warm, and friendly guy, and I am sure that the readers will love finding out a little bit more about you.

URIAH: Thanks so much, and I will definitely hit you up when I’m on that side of the pond. All the best my friend.

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