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Kenneth “Gizmo” Rodgers, Bass Musician Magazine Q&A

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Bass Musician Magazine Q&A with Bassist Kenneth “Gizmo” Rodgers…

Name:
Kenneth “Gizmo” Rodgers

Born In What City:
Willingboro, NJ

Current Band(s) I Play With:
Currently I am putting a lot of time in with my own band. A lot of the people were on the record. We are preparing for some shows and the release tour which will start off in Philadelphia, New York, and Boston at the end of September when the record comes out. I’m really excited about performing a lot of the record live. The reception so far has been amazing.  Can’t wait to share.

Former Bands I Have Played With:
I’ve played with a few bands over the years, but most recently I’ve had the pleasure of playing with the Miguel Atwood-Ferguson ensemble. He is a crazy violinist and arranger from LA. We’ve done festivals in LA, NYC with artists like Bilal, Talib Kweli, Meshell Ndegeocello, Quadron, Zap Mama, Pharoahe Monch, Karriem Riggins, and this is all on one bill! Music is arranged with strings, harps, horns, etc. I’ve also music directed an ensemble at Berklee College of Music where I’ve arranged shows with Lalah Hathaway and Bilal. I’m actually arranging a show now for the Beantown Jazz festival on September 29.

CD’s I’ve Released/ Been a Part Of:
I’m releasing my first solo record, “Red Balloon” in late September. I’m playing bass, singing and playing some keys and percussion. It was co-produced by Derrick Hodge who is an incredibly bassist and musician. It features Derrick, Casey Benjamin, Jamire Williams, and about 20 other amazing musicians and friends. The single came out last week. It took a couple years to work on, but the product is definitely honest and a good representation of many musical influences.

Describe The Way You Play Bass:
I play bass from my spirit. Emphasize on reacting to the musicians around me and trying my absolute best to service the song(s). Always groove oriented. I try and provide a strong foundation above anything else. My style isn’t particularly technical, I have a slightly raw sound and incorporate some different had positions to produce the different sounds I want.

What Made Me Decide to Play Bass:
I tried to play drums in elementary school, but the teacher said my hands were big so I should play bass. Later in life I saw a Victor Wooten concert, and that was that!

Musical Influences:
Meshell Ndegeocello, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Richard Bona, Gil Scott Heron, James Blake, Tracy Chapman, James Taylor, Ambrose Akinmusire, Deantoni Parks, Stevie Wonder, Nick Hakim, Daniel Woods, Joy Daniels etc.

Favorite Musical Styles:
It’s hard to really narrow things down in favorites for me. There are so many musical influences in me. I grew up playing jazz and hip-hop, but loving the sounds of  blues, Rnb, Latin, Folk, Soul, and Rock music. It’s all relative. Primarily though, I like music that either provides a lot of atmospheric textures and colors and/or provides a solid interesting groove (regardless of specific genre).

My Bass(es):
Main basses.

  • MTD six string custom
  • Fender 5 string jazz bass

My Amps and Other Gear:

  • Aguilar DB 750/751 head
  • 2 4×10 gs410 cabs

Endorsed By:

Aguilar Amplification, Dean Markley, MonoCase, Levy Leathers

I’m really thankful to these companies for their support. They are amazing. Special thanks to Aguilar. Dave and the crew are like family. They look out beyond belief and I honestly think that their amps are the best in the world.

Best Bass Advice You’ve Ever Received:
Don’t think too much. Work hard, and play each note with love and respect. -Derrick Hodge

One Piece Of Advice For Other Bass is:
Make the music feel good. Learn the lyrics to the songs you are playing. It makes a difference!

Favorite Quote or Life Philosophy:
“I must feel the fire of my soul so my intellectual blues can set others on fire.” -Cornel West

Most Amazing Gig so Far:
A year or so ago, I music directed a Meshell Ndegeocello tribute show with students at Berklee College of Music. It was an incredible growth experience on so many levels beyond music. Extremely inspirational.

Dream Gig:
My dream gig would be to play for Coldplay. I think they are an awesome band and their connection and vibe is out of this world.

Most Embarrassing Moment on stage:
I had a show in Boston with Jazmin McCray, a dope singer. I was playin with a pianist and drummer. During the gig, the keyboards stopped working and we played the whole show with just bass, drums,and vocals! Turns out afterwards that I had unplugged power chord multiple times with my feet!

Favorite Tip to Share on Traveling With Your Bass:
Regardless of your “zone”, get on the airplane first or ask the attendant ahead of time. Do whatever is necessary to not have to check your bass whenever possible. Use MonoCase.

What Would You Be Doing If You Weren’t A Musician:
One of my biggest goals in life is to open a private high school. I would love to teach English or History in high school. I believe that education is very important and very undervalued. I would like to hopefully help to make positive change in society regarding this matter.

The Question No One Ever Asks Me, But I Have Been Dying to Share:
Nobody ever asks about preparation for shows, and I would like to enforce the importance (at least for myself) of being mentally prepared and centered. I started practicing some Buddhism a year or so ago, and the quality of my performance, bass playing, singing, and comfortability grew exponentially. Even aside from religion, it’s important to feel comfortable and balanced before making music, especially if you believe in what you are doing.

What You Can Look Forward to From Me This Year:
I’m planning the album release and tour. Playing bass on a few amazing records that will be coming out within the next year or two!

Find Me Online: 
Website gizmosound.com 
Twitter @gizmoagent
Facebook.com/gizmosound

 

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

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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

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