The next interview in the Bass on Broadway series features Scott Petersen, our BMM June 2014 cover.
Scott is very well known on the local Broadway scene in Nashville, and can be spotted quite frequently playing the local clubs when he is not out on the road.
At a youth bible camp, my counselor taught me to play Dream On (Aerosmith) and Stairway To Heaven (Led Zeppelin). When I got home, I sat with my dad’s Led Zeppelin record and worked up Stairway on the guitar. While doing that, I listened to the rest of the record and was mesmerized by what John Paul Jones did for the band. My dad also turned me on to Grand Funk Railroad. That rhythm section was explosive for me too. So I saved up some cash for a bass. My parents matched me dollar-for-dollar. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my parents.
Do you play any other instruments?
I dabble with mandolin, acoustic guitar, keys, and bass kazoo. I played trombone in high school.
The lower Broadway scene in Nashville is very active. How long have you been performing gigs there?
I played my first downtown gig about 8 years ago on the Billy Block show. I’ll never forget it; Billy actually played drums with us.
Are you performing with your own groups, subbing, or both?
I usually have one or two regular gigs at any given time and then fill in the holes with subbing and last minute calls. I estimate at least 25-50% of my gigs I find out about in less than a couple of days notice. It keeps me on my toes.
How much do you work on lower Broadway compared to other gigs, sessions, etc?
It’s constantly changing. One week I might play 8 gigs in a week on lower Broadway, or I might be on the road for a couple weeks straight. One great thing about Nashville and lower Broadway, there is always local work when the road gigs and sessions are scarce. I’m glad I picked bass!
Any insight on basic etiquette, what to bring to the table?
I agree with Michael, Zach, and Jon Q. There are a ton of players in town, so be humble and recognize the hang factor. Do unto others as you’d have them do to unto you. Let the band before you strike the stage before jumping up there. If you are in that band, try to pack up and strike quickly. Don’t leave bottles, spit cups, and empty pitchers for the next band to throw away. Save drama for after the show. The crowd can spot scowls and frowns. Smile…you’re playing music for a living.
How do you handle gigs when you are called to fill in on short notice?
About half my gigs downtown are last minute fill in gigs. I bring an Android tablet with tons of charts on it, but I try not to use it unless necessary. I’d rather use my ears and eyes. Though, if someone wants to tip $100 for some Vern Gosdin rarity I’ve never played, the band usually appreciates that I have the chart to use to direct traffic. I like to bring my own mic to offer the option of singing background and some lead.
Who are some of your influences?
That’s a tough one to narrow down. To name a few: John Paul Jones, Mel Schacher, Victor Wooten, Mike Gordon, Billy Sheehan, and many others. Also, as Zach Sturms mentioned in his interview, I find influence and inspiration from my Nashville Bass colleagues.
I love the musical community in Nashville, but even more so, the Nashville Bass Hang. It’s truly heartwarming to see all of us help each other out. Jon Q mentioned I helped him when he came back to Nashville. I feel it’s my duty because of all the great guys that helped me when I first started… Johnny Stanton, Scotty Schultz, Bobby Turk, too many to list.
Over the next year I plan to take a master class at Adam Nitti’s MusicDojo. I believe our musical education is never over. I also plan to expand what I have to offer by co-writing with some colleagues and learning more songs I can sing to give singers a break.
I’d like to thank DNA Cabinets, Schroeder Cabinets, and MXR/Dunlop for excellent products and support. Also JD at Corner Music and Greg at GC Nashville.
I’m honored for the interview. There are so many great bassists that play Broadway. I’m honored to be a colleague and friend.
Visit Scott online at: