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Bass Musician Magazine Featuring Troy Sanders / April 2011 Issue

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by Kilian Duarte –

Since their inception in 1999, a unique group of 4 eccentric and creative individuals have made a strong and lasting impact on the world of metal. With an enormous sound fitting their namesake, Mastodon has become one of the bands that are pushing the envelope for both progressive and heavy music. Serving as both bassist and lead vocalist, Troy Sanders has lead the Atlanta based outfit through 4 albums, tours with Metallica, Slayer, and Lamb of God among others, features in film and video soundtracks, as well as prestige among rock instrumentalists everywhere.

It can be argued that bands that retain longevity and timelessness march to their own rhythm and thus have a sound unlike others around them. Mastodon has been able to expand and retain a wide fan base due to their high energy metal sound, artistic concepts, and  the willingness to take risks in expanding their potential. Troy, along with Brann Dailor (Drums), Brent Hinds (Guitar), and Bill Kelliher (Guitar), saw their popularity reach a new peak with 2009’s Crack The Skye (Reprise Records), bringing back the concept album as a popular and well respected art form.

On March 15th the band released a live DVD/ CD entitled MASTODON: Live at the Aragonwhich is comprised of Crack The Skye performed live in its glorious entirety along with fan favorites from Blood Mountain (2006) and Leviathan (2004) plus a brutal cover of “The Bit” by Melvins. The DVD will also feature a 58 minute “tour film” that contains the films which were projected on screen, behind the band in performance” – Mastodonrocks.com

Troy was kind enough to answer some questions regarding bass, the band, and the future.

First of all Troy I would like to thank you for taking the time to talk to BMM today, we know how busy the Mastodon crew is these days so its very appreciated!

TRUE… BUSY AS BEAVERS… THE WAY WE LIKE IT!

As with all good stories, its best to start from the beginning, when and what first drew you to the bass guitar?

THE EVIL AWESOMENESS OF BASS CAPTIVATED ME AT THE AGE OF 15 AND ABSOLUTELY BLEW MY LITTLE MIND. THANKFULLY, I HAVE NOT LOOKED BACK SINCE.. GROWING UP IN THE WORLD OF GOOD MTV, KISS, PRIEST AND METALLICA GRABBED ME AND PULLED ME IN. I KNEW AT THAT MOMENT THAT BEING IN A BAND WAS WHAT I ‘HAD TO DO’!

As a member of a band that is going on 12 years together, how do you feel you have evolved as a bassist throughout the bands existence?

OVER THE PAST 12 YEARS, I’VE BECOME MUCH MORE HANDSOME, BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH BASS…. OR DOES IT?

ACTUALLY, I HAVE LEARNED TO BECOME ONE WITHIN MY BAND AND PLAY MY PART TO CONTRIBUTE FOR THE GREATER GOOD. KNOWING WHEN TO LOCK IN AND SIMPLIFY AND ALSO REALIZING WHEN TO TAKE THE BASS OUT FOR A WALK. MASTODON IS A UNITED FRONT AND I AM 25% OF THAT.

For all our readers out there who want to know what the “live” life is like one day, what is some good practical advice for a band going on their first tour?

GREAT QUESTION… UNDERSTAND THAT IT IS NOT THE MOST GLORIOUS LIFESTYLE. LIVING, SLEEPING AND PISSING IN YOUR VAN IS NOT FOR ALL PEOPLE.

IF YOU ARE DOING IT BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR BANDMATES AND YOUR MUSIC, THEN YOU WILL PREVAIL. BE PREPARED TO PLAY FOR SMALL CROWDS AND LITTLE MONEY.

HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT EXPECT THE WORST.

Crack the Skye was both a critical and commercial success, do you see the band delving into new territories creatively with the new album currently being written?

THE GREAT THING ABOUT CREATING MUSIC IS KNOWING WE ARE FREE TO TREAD ON NEW TERRITORY. WE ALLOW OURSELVES TO WRITE AND CREATE FROM THE HEART. I BELIEVE THAT IS HOW ART SHOULD BE MADE. THERE ARE NO PREDETERMINED THOUGHTS WHEN WE WRITE A RECORD. WHATEVER FLOWS FROM OUR SOULS AND THROUGH OUR FINGERS IS WHAT YOU GET. IT IS REFRESHING TO KNOW MASTODON WRITES FOR OURSELVES, AND ONCE THE FOUR OF US ARE HAPPY, THEN IT IS DONE. WE HOPE OTHER PEOPLE WILL LIKE IT, BUT THAT IS NOT OUR FIRST CONCERN.

How did you approach learning to both vocalize and play bass at the same time?

I HAVE SPENT MANY HOURS RUBBING MY BELLY AND PATTING MY HEAD. IT IS ALL ABOUT REPETITION. PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE.

HONESTLY!

Do you and Brann (Dailor, drums) ever jam out and write as a rhythm section by yourselves? How do you view your relationship as a rhythm section?

WE DO GET TOGETHER AND DO OUR OWN THING WITH ONE ANOTHER. MOST OF OUR TIME IS SPENT WITH THE FULL BAND LEARNING ALL THE INSANITY FROM OUR GUITAR PLAYERS. I AM FORTUNATE TO BE SANDWICHED IN BETWEEN TWO VERY TALENTED GUITARISTS WHO SCHOOL ME EVERY DAY.

BEFORE WE ACTUALLY RECORD, I LOVE JAMMING WITH JUST BRANN. LOCKING IN AND LEARNING EVERYTHING HE IS DOING. I FEEL THAT IT MAKES ME A BETTER PLAYER.

How did the Atlanta scene, usually known for more of its hip-hop music culture, influence your music?

GROWING UP IN THE ATLANTA UNDERGROUND SCENE WITH BANDS LIKE KYLESA, LEECHMILK, DAMAD AND TWEEZER BROUGHT A UNITY OF DIRTY, HEAVY ROCK. WE WOULD PLAY ANY WAREHOUSE, BASEMENT, KITCHEN, ETC… PERHAPS THAT WAS AN INFLUENCE.

Many people ask what gear you use but it is seldom asked why, as someone who could play any bass that you would want, what makes you call on the gear you use to deliver the goods?

MY RULES ARE SIMPLE: IT MUST FEEL GOOD AND SOUND GREAT. COMFORT IS THE KEY.

What is your view on achieving a good bass tone for metal?

I AM ALWAYS IN SEARCH OF AND HUNTING FOR GREAT TONE. I OWN SEVERAL AMPS AND BASSES AND LOADS OF PEDALS TO TOY WITH. IT IS A NEVERENDING QUEST FOR KILLER SOUND.

IT’S LOADS OF FUN, TOO.

Live at The Aragon seems to be a statement of a band that gained their fans through touring and hard work, how do you view the importance of your fanbase, and what made you choose that venue to showcase your live act to the world?

OUR FANS ARE EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO US.

WITHOUT THEM THERE IS NO MASTODON.

WE CHOSE THE ARAGON IN CHICAGO BECAUSE OUR CROWD THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN VERY RECEPTIVE TO US. VERY HIGH ENERGY COMING BACK TO US FROM OUR FANS THERE. ALSO, THE ARAGON HAS AN OLD MASONIC HAUNTED HISTORY… SPOOKY IS GOOD!

How does Mastodon usually go about the writing process?

WE ALL BRING IDEAS AND MELODIES TO THE TABLE.

BRENT HINDS IS A MAJOR SONGWRITER WITHIN THE GROUP. HE WILL SOMETIMES BRING AN ENTIRE EPIC SONG INTO REHEARSAL AND BLOW OUR MINDS! THE MAJORITY OF OUR SONGS COME FROM SOMEONES RIFF THAT BEFRIENDS SOMEONE ELSES RIFF. WHEN THESE RIFFS BECOME FRIENDS AND GET ALONG WITH EACH OTHER, WE HAVE A SONG!

What do you guys do as a band to warm up before a show?

WE GIVE EACH OTHER A HIGH-FIVE AND SAY ‘HAVE A GREAT ONE!’. WE TRY TO MELT FACES.

Apart from the new album what will the near future hold for the band?

WE ARE CURRENTLY WRITING THE NEW RECORD AND HOPE TO HAVE IT RELEASED SOMETIME LATER THIS YEAR. IN THE MEANTIME, WE HAVE A SUMMER EUROPEAN TOUR SUPPORTING IRON MAIDEN ON THE SONISPHERE TOUR. THEY ARE AMAZING AND WE WATCH THEM EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

Thanks for your time Troy!

YOU GUYS RULE… CHEERS!

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Bass Videos

Brian Bromberg, Paying Tribute to Scott LaFaro, April 2024

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Brian Bromberg, Paying Tribute to Scott LaFaro, April 2024 - Header

Brian Bromberg, Paying Tribute to Scott LaFaro, April 2024…

Brian Bromberg, Paying Tribute to Scott LaFaro, April 2024

Brian Bromberg is one heavy-hitting bass player and I am in awe of his talent as one of the few individuals who is equally proficient on electric and upright bass.

You might remember our conversation back in 2018 when he released his powerhouse Funk album. Brian’s “A Little Driving Music” album is a staple on all our road trips and his Jaco and Jimi Hendrix tribute albums are mind-blowing… and I could go on and on.

Now, Brian has taken on the arduous task of producing an album paying tribute to the late, great, Scott LaFaro. He teamed up with pianist Tom Zink and drummer Charles Ruggiero and Brian delivers a commanding performance on upright. The entire album is a masterpiece and a real treat to listen to track after track.

Join us as Brian shares the details behind this project and more.

Photo, Michel Bocandé

Visit Online

brianbromberg.net
FB @BrianBrombergBassist
YouTube

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Leland Sklar, Over Half a Century of Bass, March 2024

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Leland Sklar, Over Half a Century of Bass, March 2024

We all have enjoyed Leland Sklar’s Bass lines for over half a century.

You might remember that we had him on our cover back in 2017 and did an update when he launched his book “Everybody Loves Me” in 2020. It was exciting to hear that The Immediate Family had got back together in the studio to work on their own music in 2019 and are now up to two albums.

Just last December, Magnolia Pictures released a documentary titled “Immediate Family” where we got a behind-the-scenes look at the massive contributions Danny Kortchmar, Waddy Wachtel, Ross Kunckle, Leland Sklar and Steve Postell have made in countless songs that are the very essence of our daily personal musical soundtracks. Seeing the astronomical roster of performers they have supported over many years is very eye-opening. It is a must-see for any music lover!

Now, I am thrilled to bring you a special chat with Leland Sklar where we go more in-depth into the bass side of his musical journey.

Photos: Header, Rob Shanahan – Cover Photo, Jay Gilbert/Chris Schmitt

Skin In the Game – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhbnzIrdjJ8 
from new album Skin In The Game

The Toughest Girl In Town – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVQLZIRfLjU 
from new album Skin In The Game

Fair Warning – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1DN18DYwLsU –
from the self-titled album The Immediate Family

Visit Online

www.immediatefamilyband.com/
www.facebook.com/TheImmedFamily
www.instagram.com/theimmedfamily/

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Bass Videos

Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More – February 2024

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Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More, January 2024

Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More…

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

I have always been a huge Styx fan. Their music kept me awake during countless nights studying and gave my imagination a place to escape when I had a moment to take a break. 

I had the immense opportunity to chat with STYX bassist Ricky Phillips for our August Cover in 2017 and follow his projects as time passed. Now, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with Ricky as he has been super-busy over the past six years. 

Join me as we take a deep dive into the band’s most recent album “Crash the Crown” and EP “The Same Stardust”. Ricky shares some insights into the herculean team effort behind the scenes and the musical process that keeps them ever so busy and how he has updated his sound. 

Without further ado… Here is Ricky Phillips!

Photo: Jason Powell

“Crash of the Crown” lyric video

“Reveries” lyric video

“Save Us From Ourselves” lyric video

“Sound the Alarm” lyric video

“Too Much Time On My Hands” Zoom video 2020

Visit online:

www.Styxworld.com
FB & IG @styxtheband

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Bass Videos

Jeff Pilson, Foreigner Low End – January 2024

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Jeff Pilson - Bass Musician Magazine - January 2024

Jeff Pilson, Foreigner Low End – January 2024…

Those of us who were around back in the 70’s remember how certain songs on the radio resonated with us. It turns out that many of these iconic melodies came from Foreigner and they were part of our personal soundtracks! 

After all these years, the band is going as strong as ever with Jeff Pilson firing away on bass midstream into a 2-year farewell tour. 

I am excited to be able to bring you all the details about Jeff’s musical Journey, the farewell tour in progress, how he gets his sound and his plans for the future.

Cover Photo: Krishta Abruzziini / Video Photos: Krishta Abruzzini, Karsten Staiger, Gina Hyams

For more news on FOREIGNER and upcoming Farewell Tour dates, fans can visit:
foreigneronline.com
facebook.com/Foreigner
twitter.com/ForeignerMusic
instagram.com/foreignerlive
youtube.com/user/FWebTeam
Also on FB @officialjeffpilson

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Bass Videos

Rodney O’Quinn, Rockin’ Hard Through the Years – December 2023

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Rodney O'Quinn, Rockin’ Hard Through the Years – December 2023

Interview With Foghat Bassist Rodney O’Quinn…

Rodney O'Quinn - Bass Musician Magazine - December 2023-v2

Many rock fans have enjoyed music by Foghat, who originally formed in London back in 1971.

Over the many decades of playing, the band members have changed, leaving behind only Roger Earl as the only original member. Bassist Rodney O’Quinn left the Pat Travers Band and joined the group in 2015 and has been laying down the low end for this iconic quartet keeping the Foghat legacy alive. With a new album titled “Sonic Mojo” which dropped on November 10th, the band is as busy as ever and there is lots of very tasty music to come.

Join me as we learn of Rodney O’Quinn’s musical journey, how he gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photos:
Cover,
Jake Coughlin
Video Thumbnail, Tom Apathy
Photos used in the video: Kerry Quinn, Chuck Lanza, Kim Granger, Kenneth Strohm, Jake Coughlin, Jay Jylika

1st Single from Sonic Mojo – Official “Drivin’ On” 

2nd Single from Sonic Mojo – “She’s a Little Bit of Everything Official Video

 “Road Fever”- California Mid State Fair – Paso Robles, CA – 7-27-22

“Stone Blue” – Rodney O’Quinn Bass/Lead Vocals – Don Odell’s Legends – Woonsocket, R.I – 10/15/22 – The Stadium Theater

The Earl’s Court – Season 2, Episode 7: Funny Guys 

“I Just Want to Make Love to You” – CasinoRama – 6-9-23 

FOGHAT “Somebody’s Been Sleepin’ in My Bed” – Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT – 1/28/22

“I Just Want to Make Love to You” – California Mid State Fair – Paso Robles, CA – 7-27-22

Visit Online:

www.foghat.com
www.facebook.com/Foghat
www.twitter.com/FOGHAT
www.instagram.com/foghat_official
www.youtube.com/user/FOGHATMUSIC

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