Connect with us

Features

Maya Ford: A Real Thunderbird

Published

on

For more than a decade The Donna’s, a Bay Area all-girl rock band, have been face melting around the world. Quite an impressive achievement considering that most bands, let alone all girl bands can say they’ve been around nearly that long. According to them this is due to the fact that they’ve more or less grown up as a family. Though they are publicly recognized as being from Oakland, California, but if it hadn’t been for the suburbs the two founders Allison Robertson (guitar) and Maya Ford (bass) would have never met.

As a young girl Maya idolized bombshells like Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, “Which isn’t very punk rock of me, I guess”, she says. But none-the-less it was ambitious women that first got Maya interested in music. She soon met her partner in crime Allison Robertson, the Donna’s main songwriter. They met in 5th grade and became great friends after realizing their similar musical interests. Allison was already a guitar player so it didn’t take long before they started jamming. In the early stages they only had a keyboard and acoustic guitar at their disposal so they did what they could in terms of songwriting. However not too much later Maya purchased her first bass guitar and when things started getting punk they considered themselves a band under the name Ragady Anne.

The tunes really started coming together once they had a full line up, even a local college radio DJ got so interested that he put out their first 7inch. He took them under his wing and started exposing them in the Bay Area rock and punk scene.  At that time being girls who played heavy music was rough and according to Maya they didn’t really fit in anywhere, “Kids at school made fun of us because we were weirdo’s that wore used clothes and the Gilman kids [punks] probably thought we showered too often.”

In due time they developed a cult like fan base and huge stardom all while keeping complete artistic control (for the most part). The nature of the Donna’s music doesn’t give Maya complete freedom or much room to improvise, with that said she takes her supporting role as bass player very seriously. Usually her bass part will only consist of only a few notes, in order to really solidify the groove and support the guitar driven riffs. If you didn’t already know that Maya is a long time Gibson endorsee her response when asked if she has experienced any sexism sure gave it away, she explained “ If I had a nickel for every time someone said ‘You guys are pretty good for a girl band’ I would have a thunderbird shaped swimming pool.” Her Gibson bass of choice is obviously the Thunderbird, although she would really like a “Diet-Coke” bass, when the Thunderbird isn’t present it safe to assume her three-quarter scale vintage 1965 Epiphone Coronet is. Maya is a tone junkie with clear preference to the vintage sound.

Being in the Donnas exposed Maya to amazing opportunities such as being able to play on MTV and SNL stages. Over the years it also gave them the space to write a significant amount of original music. Unfortunately the complete artistic control that had originally attracted them to Atlantic records was lost when Atlantic asked them to write a top-40 hit with a Swedish co-writer. This lead to the Donna’s terminating their contract. Maya says, “We just want to be a rock band, write our own songs and sleep in all day.”

The Donna’s have a classic “no BS” attitude that more women should probably adopt, and Maya sure is pioneering the frontier for us! When I asked her if she would ever consider playing for another band her response was simple, “Donnas Always and Forever. Everyone is Lame.”

For more information, visit online at thedonnas.com

 

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Published

on

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Published

on

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Published

on

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner…

I am pretty sure that everyone is aware of Malcom-Jamal Warner’s work as an actor. What may be less known is his work as a director, poet, musician, and most importantly for us, a bass player. With four albums of his own, Grammy nominations and wins, as well as a sizable amount of ongoing live gigs, Malcolm is dedicating a serious amount of his attention to his music.

Join me as we hear about Malcom’s musical journey, projects, his gear choices, and plans for the future.

Here is Malcom-Jamal Warner!

Photos: Dwain Govan @dwain_go / Conrad Montgomery Mckethan @eyeconimages

Visit Online:

malcolmjamalwarner.com
IG @malcolmjamalwar
Twitter @malcolmjamalwar 
Facebook: Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

Published

on

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

Interview With The Labex Funk Project…

Time really flies when you are having fun! Just over a decade ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michel “Labex” Labaki for our July 2013 cover.

At that time, much of our conversation concerned his personal approach to bass playing and his techniques. Fast forward to now and I am pleased to discover Michel’s new endeavor, the Labex Funk Project.

Join me as we meet the band:
Kynion Lanier on vocals
Pablo Batista on percussion
Jake Brightman on Guitar
Daniel Gonzalez on Drums
And Michel “Labex”Labaki on bass

As a bonus, we have the band’s producer Phillippe Dib in on this video chat as well.

Here is the Labex Funk Project!

Visit online:

michellabaki.com
www.facebook.com/MichelLabexLabaki/
www.instagram.com/michellabaki
www.youtube.com/c/MichelLabaki
FB @LabexFunkProject
IG @ Labex Funk Project

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

Published

on

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

Bassist Tony Newton…

I am always learning new details about Bass history when I get the opportunity to talk with seasoned players like Tony Newton. Tony, a Detroit native, came up in the golden years of Motown and laid down the low end for countless performers and studio sessions; he has performed on over 25 gold and platinum hit recordings.

As time went by, and the whole Detroit scene dwindled, Tony relocated to LA where he worked a busy schedule, even going back to school to learn about music theory and composition.

Over the years he performed on many historic hit recordings and tours with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson(music Director), the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Funk Brothers and more, as well as working with veteran rock guitarist, Gary Moore in the British group G-Force.

Presently, Tony is super busy and on the verge of releasing a movie titled “Mars Quest” among his numerous other projects.

Join me as we get to enjoy all the history and knowledge that Tony has to share along with the details about his new Signature bass from BITE Guitars named “The  Punchtown Bass”.

Here is Tony Newton…

Photos: Mary K. Brand, Mitch Snyder, Haneefa Karrim, Hans Adamsen

Visit Online:

tonynewtonmusic.com/
FB @ TonyNewtonMusic Artist
YTB @ antoniotonynewtonmusic

Continue Reading

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Facebook

Trending