Do you have an unsung hero of Bass? Is there someone who touched you musically, professionally, inspirationally, or educationally that made a difference to you, your playing, and your connection with the instrument and music associated with the bass? This forum is dedicated to your heroes of bass so you may sing their song about how they helped you stay connected and inspired to everything bass. Want to nominate someone? Connect with me on the Bass Musician Magazine Community (Membership is free).
Over the years I’ve been turned on like the rest of you by the big names in Bass (Stanley, Jaco, Squire, Entwistle, Carter, McCartney). I got their autographs, went to their concerts, and bought their Albums. They became part of me, but were not personal to me. These guys were the Heroes of bass just like Superman is to all of us.
In talking to my Bass loving peers over the past 30+ years. I realized that we all have something in common that keeps us magnetized to Bass. It’s that person who made the connection with me personally, and everything bass. This unsung hero of bass is what keeps us connected as a community and extends our passion to our daily lives and outlook. I’d like to tell you briefly about my Unsung Hero of Bass.
I’m 50 years old, and started taking bass lessons 3 years ago after 25 years of not playing. I got the name of this bass teacher Mike Frost, and immediately began connecting with him. He reset my outlook on how to approach the instrument, got my skills up to a basic level (when I was 18 I thought I was good; at 47 I knew I sucked) and gave me a comfort factor on how to approach the bass from a new perspective. He found a way to break the barrier and taught me how to feel the bass versus just playing it. He took me through theory and styles, and now I am reasonably competent to the point where I feel good about myself, and my playing. When I go to some of the lessons or transcriptions in this magazine, they now click in my brain…it becomes easier to absorb other peoples influences. When I play in my rock band, I get to drive the music like a bass player should.
Throughout this entire process I got to know Mike Frost personally as the player and artist he is. I get to sit in awe and see him rip his 6 string bass in ways that are inspirational. He took me through his early experiences with Fodera, Abe Rivera, and others in NY, and how he collaborated on the Clifford Roi basses he uses today. He gave me perspectives on sonic issues and tone. He exposed me to all his influences and input into how he absorbed music. When I see him play publically, I know what’s making him tick. I am connected to what I think is a superhero of bass.
And it goes both ways. In one of my lessons, Mike was helping me find a pocket…to play simply and leave space. We started a groove. It kinda of stuck, and Mike took it and made music with it which became the title track of his new CD that he just released called “Riddle me This?” (Find it on www.mcfrost.com). I helped him create music…wow!
So my Unsung Hero of Bass keeps me personally connected across many dimensions of Bass. I am now a much better player than I ever imagined being (and know I have a long way to go). I have a growing collection of instruments, and the proud owner of a Clifford Roi Bass. I’ve experienced different styles, techniques, and approaches to bass and made them mine. And I have a personal connection with an unbelievable superstar of bass, Mike Frost, and my contributions to him show up in what he does and plays.
So I have told you my story about Mike, my Unsung Hero of Bass. Who is your Unsung Hero? Please write in and let me know on the Bass Musician Magazine Community. I’ll bet that some of you have stories about the staff right here at Bass Musician Magazine & Community.
And here’s the secret. You can keep reading the articles about the same players over and over again. You’ll keep getting the same highly marketed information from the major manufactures. So unless you speak up and keep your peers connected to what’s important to you about bass, you’ll never really get the complete value and benefit from how YOU make our bass community something unique and compelling to us all.
I look forward to hearing your stories