Bassist Mike Sarkissian, Bass Musician Magazine Q&A
Born In What City:
New Hyde Park, NY
Current Band(s) I Play With:
Chevonne and The Fuzz
Former Bands I Have Played With:
The Better World
CD’s I’ve Released/ Been a Part Of:
(That actually matter…)
Fire At Will- Chevonne and The Fuzz
Describe The Way You Play Bass:
Hard, rhythmic and to the point. I wouldn’t consider myself a fancy bass player by any means, but I like to think all of my parts mesh well and compliment everything else in the song. My friend Kevin Walters (drummer for Those Mockingbirds) once told me he feels like I’m a drummer trapped in a bass players body. I think that’s because I’m more focused on bass drum hits and drum fills to line up with as opposed to the more melodic approach.
What Made Me Decide to Play Bass:
Growing up my brother Steve, from the time he was six years old, was playing drums. Excuse me, owning the drums. He is hands down one of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing, playing with, and in this case, being related to. My cousin Nick, who’s mainly a self taught guitar player, Steve and I wanted to start a band and you know, revolutionize music like every other twelve year old out there thought they would do. The bass was the missing link, so who better than the drummer’s brother to play bass? With some previous training on piano and Steve teaching me drums over the years, I picked up pretty quickly and instantly fell in love.
I’ve been subjected to all types of music over the years, which I think is one of the best things that could have happened to me. Classical with my aunt, 50’s doo wop with my nana, disco with my mother and everything from Latin to Metal with my uncles, has made me have such an appreciation for all types of music. But if I had to specifically name people they would be Alex Katunich (Dirk Lance) formerly of Incubus, Flea, Jaco Pastorius, Verdine White of Earth, Wind & Fire, Ryan Martinie of Mudvayne and Mark Klepaski formerly of Breaking Benjamin.
Favorite Musical Styles:
Anything that makes my head bob and anything progressive.
Warwick Thumb 5
Music Man Stingray 5
Music Man Stingray
Music Man Sterling
Fender Precision Bass
My Amps and Other Gear:
Ampeg SVT Classic
Ampeg SVT 410 HLF
Fender Rumble 350 2×10 combo
Tech 21 SansAmp Programmable Bass Driver
Ashdown Lomenzo Bass Hyper Drive
Mark Bass Compressore
Dunlop 105Q Cry Baby Bass Wah
Ernie Ball Volume Pedal
Boss TU-2 Chromatic Tuner
Best Bass Advice You Ever Received:
Simple and cliche, but stay in that pocket, man!
One Piece Of Advice For Other Bassists:
Surround yourself with exceptional musicians and try to learn, understand and listen to every instrument in your band. If you have time, jam on a guitar for a bit or have your drummer teach you some stuff. Being able to know exactly what’s going on with each instrument will make you be able to write the best lines for each part. And remember, we’re not lead guitar players. So there’s nothing wrong with just pumpin out quarter notes every now and again. However, we’re arguably the second most important element of the music (drums take first, sorry guitarists). So be creative, be experimental, don’t be afraid to hit a wrong note and just lock in with that drummer!
Favorite Quote or Life Philosophy:
“When life give you lemons, just say ‘F*#$ the lemons,’ and bail.”
Most Amazing Gig so Far:
I had the opportunity to play the Highline Ballroom in NYC a few years ago. Great stage!
I don’t care what city, what venue, who we open for or who opens for us. I just want to see Chevonne and Chris hold their microphones to the crowd and watch every face there sing our songs.
Most Embarrassing Moment on Stage:
I played guitar in a hardcore band in high school (surprising). There was a measure break in one song where the other guitar player and myself would throw our guitars around our bodies and catch them right as the next part came in. Well, in that first break, my wireless system went flying off my strap and the body pack just burst into pieces. I made a quick recovery, but then the same thing happened to the other guitar player later in that same song. Pros.
Favorite Tip to Share on Traveling With Your Bass:
Let’s face it, no one wants to show up to a gig looking like an amateur. We all want to show up looking like “the real deal” with our stacks of amps and triple tiered pedal boards. Now you just look impractical. Travel light, bring only the necessities for that particular gig and don’t be afraid to bust out your 2×10 combo, even though the guy after you is running two 8x10s.
What Would You Be Doing If You Weren’t A Musician:
Bartending at good old Restaurant L in Allendale, NJ.
The Question No One Ever Asks Me, But I Have Been Dying to Share:
The first album I bought: Millennium…Backstreet Boys….
What You Can Look Forward to From Me This Year:
Releasing “Fire At Will” with my musical brothers and sister, Chevonne and The Fuzz…and possibly a poorly lit sex tape.
Find Me Online:
Website – chevonneandthefuzz.com
Facebook – facebook.com/chevonneandthefuzz