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Bassist Danny Stewart – Why Is Music Important (The Panel Experiment) by Brent-Anthony Johnson



Bassist Danny Stewart – Why Is Music Important-1bBassist Danny Stewart – Why Is Music Important (The Panel Experiment) by Brent-Anthony Johnson…

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Danny Stewart, which is such a common name that I use my middle Initial, “M”, in an attempt to try to differentiate, or give my name a unique denominator…. Which is much needed in this Internet age!

Who are your primary musical influences, and at what age did you begin pursuing music as a vocation?

Nobody in my locality played bass. So, I volunteered at age 19 to play in a cover band. We did some Police, Yes, Hendrix, Marley, and a bunch of blues covers. So, I have to say, Sting and Chris Squire certainly touched my soul and inspired me.

Then the Jazz thang happened for me. A local pianist heard me playing and offered me work that I was not qualified to do at the time… I had limited knowledge of theory, at the time, and couldn’t read… but he took me on as an apprentice bassist! Playing with the pianist got me listening to Ray Charles, Charles Mingus, Tony Dumas and many upright players and the amazing musicians they backed! I also got into an Acid Jazz band called “The Root Source”! At the time, and we did JB covers, George Duke, P-Funk covers, originals and more…! Of course, I got into Jaco and John Patitucci by this stage, which incidentally turned me onto Afro-Cuban music and grooves – as Patitucci was well into that and has an AMAZING feel for it!

Rodney “Skeet” Curtis (who toured with P-Funk in the 80’s and 90’s) was such a monster groove player who I really looked into, and Stuart Zender (from Jamiroquia) also wrote beautiful lines that I loved to hear and learn from. He had a wonderful touch and great taste! Incognito / UK session bassist, Julian Crampton, (also a monster influence for me) was extremely inspiring. I remember trying to learn “Jacob’s Ladder” from 100 Degrees and Rising… and it was just killer! I learned so much from just that one track! Crampton’s technique and taste was just mind-blowing and pioneering to me.

Can you tell us about your earliest musical listening and performance experiences? Also, what projects are you participating in most recently?

Early, formative listening for me was Holst’s, The Planets. My mother would have it on a lot… and also the Moody Blues! Oh, and Stan Getz – which I loved to hear from an early age! During my teens, I listened to Hip-Hop, Metal and Reggae, and I got into Zappa at that point. Wow! Zappa just amazed me, and I loved Scott Thune’s sound as a bass player.

I never performed as a child. My earliest performance was when I was about 15-years-old when Rob Cass, from the US, came to stay as a guest and brought his bass with him – an 80’s G&L PJ. He saw that I was into guitar and showed me a few lines on bass, and I sat-in on a small, local gig, playing old R&B classics like “Knock On Wood”. I was bad! But considering it was my first gig ever… I did OK! At 17-years-old, my school entered me as the district Young Musician of The Year award. I played two Joe Satriani pieces and a Steve Vai piece on electric guitar I had learned from Tablature and listening. I actually had no real idea of what I was playing in terms of theory and harmony… and I won second place! All that practicing tapping and picking technique has been valuable for me right up to the present day!

Current projects I am involved in would be, firstly, Innobassion – which has drums, bass/vocals, and horns (trumpet / t-bone / Sax). I play all the chordal work, and sing. I also present demonstrations for STR and Bacchus Basses using this material – as the techniques utilizes the entire instrument. has a lot of the music for DL or on CD.

Another project is the Shu Ishikawa Quintet. “Shu-san” is an incredible saxophonist and flautist. He always selects very cool tunes and originals. I love his taste and style, and his collective of musicians are top notch! I am honored to play with them. I would say he is probably among the top players in Tokyo. has more details on him.

I also play regularly with pianist / vocalist, Jeremy Kuhle. He calls his style “Pop Up Jazz” because A: He selects pop tunes and puts them in a Jazz format. And, B: As we are a duo, are highly portable, and we can “pop up” anywhere! I have to play foot percussion and a percussive style on that gig – as there are no drums. It is a LOT of fun and a welcome challenge! We are relatively new, having only started a few months back, but playing wit Jeremy is one of my favorite gigs these days!

Bassist Danny Stewart – Why Is Music Important-2b

What are you listening to musically, in the past 12 months that has enhanced the way you think about music and your craft?

I’ve heard and played some of pianist Amina Figarova’s work, and I love it! Her sense of harmony really blows me away! She is a friend and acquaintance of the aforementioned saxophonist, Shu Ishikawa, and she is a fantastic musician and composer.

Here in Japan, I happened upon super bassist IKUO, who does crazy Rock-Funk Fusion stuff and has incredible slap and tap chops. You can check him out here:

Seeing IKUO perform really made me want to get back into wood shedding new techniques again! It has also lead me to check out some of the Visual Kei bands, some of which are hardcore, heavy, and technically skilled. I quite like the Visual Kei band “Thomas”, for example. I also really enjoy sounds of contemporary fusion bassists from around the world. It’s always great to hear Hadrien Ferraud, Frederico Malaman, or Janek Gwizdala. When I want inspiration, I often go to Richard Bona’s videos on YouTube. Another artist I listen to frequently is French-Morrocan flautist Magik Malik, whose incredible music blows my mind! There are too many to list here… But inspiration is very important for me.

How would you describe your perfect tone for the instruments your regularly record and perform on? Also, are there any particular gear choices you’ve made along the way that has enhanced your tone for the better?

I need punchy lows, round/warm mids, and clear highs on a reliable, lightweight and affordable instrument.

I find that the Bacchus Hand Made bass fit the criteria perfectly! They make affordable, modern Jazz Basses that have what I’m looking for sonically, aesthetically and playability-wise. I have been a keen advocate of Deviser instruments, and indeed have found STR Instruments to be excellent, as well! Having said that, there are so many great instruments and Builders in Japan that I have played a number of basses over the years. Among my favorites are the Bacchus Woodline DX range, the Dragonfly BD5 or CS5, the STR LS648, and the Tune Zi6. Right now I use a passive Tune Zi6 that is great, although I am considering moving onto an active STR LS648, when budget allows!

If we wanted to listen to you, which recordings would you suggest? Along with that, which recordings are your proudest of, and why?

Because I do commercial composition as well as review, demo, deal and play MIJ basses, there are many many recordings on my Reverbnation page and downloads on my site.

From my website DL store ( I’d recommend “Demons”, “Signposts”, “Running Away”, “Final Words” and “Fragile”. There is also Electronica stuff and Pop-Rock on my Reverbnation page:

Check out “Aura”, “See So Clearly”, and “American Vista”

I cannot say if any of the music will appeal to the bassist in you… But, one piece that most people dig is “Torn” – which is in the Acid-Jazz vein and has a bass solo in it. Make sure to scroll down the song list! “See So Clearly” has one of my better bass solos in it and some of my best bass parts (the genre is R&B / Tech-Soul). I’m very proud of all of the music I’ve mentioned because I put a lot of effort and spirit into them! The work I did in London, with revered trumpeter Kevin Davy, on his album “The Thoth Project”, is something special to me because we recorded in a few amazing studios, like Mick Hucknall and Simon LeBon’s top notch facilities and at BBC Maida Vale. I loved the pianist Alex Douglas’ interpretations, and the drummer Adrian Lawrence’s pocket on those recordings, not to mention Kevin’s warm, fat tone and great playing! You can hear that album here:

Are you involved in educating others? What is your teaching philosophy? Also, if you could change one thing about the way music students learn, what would that be?

Yes! I teach (mostly) online now, and to only a handful of students, at present.

My philosophy is similar to my first teacher’s, which is to give students the knowledge and tools to discover things themselves, and to give students the foundation on which to develop an individual voice… because music is expression. Whether you are working as a team player / sideman, or a soloist, your own USP and unique sound is an asset to you in the music world. I often site Pino Palladino as an example to this point!

Having said that, it is not the be-all and end-all to have a unique voice. I am adamant that students garner a good understanding of theory because even if they fail to expand in that area, a lot of creative doors will remain closed. Without strong theory understanding, professional work could be out of the question, and serious progress could be greatly hampered.

Theory and harmony is the groundwork of the Language of music. So both subjects must be studied, in my view. The ear is also a huge part of learning. But, the more you study… the more that develops in tandem.

If anyone is interested in my teaching page:

How does your personal musical voice directly relate to the function of the basses?

I use the bass as a groove, chordal, percussive and melodic voice… So, it uses almost all facets possible. This is probably because throughout my musical adventures I have learned guitar, piano and drums to varying degrees, and now I also sing (also something I need to dedicate more practice too)! I use all these instruments as facets in producing music for commercial projects. I have been lucky enough to be hired for my multi-part percussive bass playing style to back up soloists in duo formats. It’s very challenging…! But, that makes it more interesting at the same time!

Describe your musical composition process.

First, I get the brief or concept… and if necessary listen to music samples for inspiration. Then, I go for a walk and actively try to hear a melody and/or riff in my head. I whistle or sing the melody into my smart-phone… and take that onto the guitar or bass and record a loop on the main theme adding whatever percussive / chordal ideas that materialize. I usually give this process about 20-minutes. Once I have a fully formed idea that I can translate into my DAW and record guitar / keys / bass / vocal parts and add drum programming after.

I edit the structure until I have reached the desired length. Finally, I fine-tune dynamics and feel, often rerecording parts to suit or adding more intricate programming. It takes about 1-hour to get a concrete sounding verse and chorus and bridge.

How does music affect your culture and immediate environment?

In Japan, music is used in commercial spaces and public areas all the time. For example, each subway station has it’s own music and all stores have their jingle playing. Supermarkets have mad techno or Euro house to make you shop faster! It’s kind of crazy! Some of the music here is so irritating but catchy… it gets under your skin!

What would you be, if not a professional musician?

An amateur musician! Maybe a carpenter or illustrator! But, for sure… an amateur musician.

What is the greatest sacrifice you’ve ever made while in the practice of being a musician, and how did that sacrifice affect you?

Moving to Japan to become a father was a huge sacrifice to my job and art. But, I was willing to make sure that my Japanese wife could be confident and comfortable being near her family for the birth of our first child. I left music and studio work behind, in England, only to end-up deciding to stay in Japan… it is so convenient, clean and reasonable, compared to London! I ended-up teaching English, and had all but given-up on music as a career. However, I did take an acoustic guitar with me to keep my fingers and ideas fresh. After the birth, my wife helped me find some composition work, in our second year in Tokyo, and I started getting out and about more as I became more confident with the Japanese language and culture.

It was then that I happened to start documenting my findings of Japanese basses in the multitude of music stores here in Tokyo – which led me to becoming a collector, dealer, demonstrator and endorser of new and used MIJ builds. So, what seemed like a huge sacrifice, initially, served as a catalyst to pursue another new way of being a musician/bassist! If it wasn’t for that I would never have known about STR, Dragonfly, Atelier and the many other fantastic hand built brands from Japan… let alone work with them as a demonstrator / dealer and exporter. So, I am very pleased (and blessed) with the way things turned out! Not that it wasn’t hard work…. It was! It took a lot of building relationships, gaining trust of partners etc.

Describe your standing practice regimen. Also, what technical (and musical) aspects of your playing are you currently working on?

My usual routine is to warm up with connected arpeggios, then move into voice and 8th note spiraling (improvised with scat vocals in unison) then into 16th note spiraling and into 8th and 16th note triplets… So, my mind is in tune with the bass. I also try to do this with my eyes closed.

I have a few set pieces like “Donna Lee”, “Blues For Alice”, “Freedom Jazz Dance” and “Teen Town” that I run as exercises to get my fingers moving.

One thing I really need to practice hard is “reading dots” and odd time signatures. Neither come naturally to me, so I have to work at them regularly. I usually do this in two ways! One way, is just reading rhythms, then reading rhythms and notes. I try this in both Bass and Treble clef – so when playing from lead sheets I wont get lost if I can read the melody. It also helps when it comes to improvising solos! For odd times, I try to break them down into easier divisions such as 11/8 becomes 6 (8th notes) plus 5 or 4 + 4 + 3 or 4 + 3 + 4 depending on accents, or 9/8 becomes 6 + 3 etc…

Another aspect I am focusing on is learning new articulations. I got to the point where I felt like I was doing the same stuff all the time and I was getting bored with my own sound. New methods or patterns would break that habit and bring out new flavors, textures and ideas. It’s all about expanding vocabulary / palette really and I have found that you can never stop learning! There is always so much more to learn and try! It’s a wonderful thing!

Bassist Danny Stewart – Why Is Music Important-3b

What does music, and being a musician, mean to you – at the deepest level of your being?

It’s an integral part of my being…! Without music in my life I’d be lost. Without playing an instrument, I’d become destructive. It’s an essential outlet both spiritually and emotionally. It’s my Yoga, my Mecca, and my peace and joy!

How important is it to understand the Language of music?

It depends what your goal is, if it is just to enjoy playing and experimenting with it then it’s not essential. To work with other people, or become professional, however… it is very important to know how to write and read, understand theory, and to have good sense, feel, timing, technique and attitude. Lacking too much in any area reduces the chances of achieving one’s objective.

If you know how to read music there is so much you can learn from just going through melodies and bass lines. I learned a lot about theory and phrasing from reading, in addition it is fun too! I am not a great reader by any stretch… But, I can do it and I enjoy it!

How do you collect the series of seemingly random influences and articulate them through music?

Good question, and one I cannot answer in any definite way! In my opinion, there is no one way… But, the closest example is that it’s like a Language. So, just like learning a Language naturally… we all develop vocabulary through listening, reading, absorbing, repeating, experimentation, and talking musically with others until, one day, you find your voice and phrases flow at will.

Can music ever truly become commercial? Why, or why not?

At the end of the day, I think it all boils down to what the perception of “commercial music” is. Some believe it (commercialism) to be any music that sells well and is a “commercial success”. Others say it is more specifically music written for advertising or music written for hire. Even so, some artistic license and creativity surely is employed. To that end, I don’t believe music can be truly “commercial”.

However, I would say certain sides of the industry are very “commercial” – like jingle production, for example. I don’t think a musician would truly find all that much artistic satisfaction in writing Yamada Denki, Wal-Mart or Mc Donald’s jingles! They’d surely only be writing that stuff for the money, and it is for a store chain identity or commercial slogan. That, in my mind, is about as commercial as it can get. In other words, if it is written purely to push a product and the composer / producer and performers are not into it from an artistic point of view, or would never want their name outwardly associated with the music… then it is truly commercial. If you write a successful jingle that is aired millions of times in many countries you’ll pay bills with it for as long as it runs, and buy yourself time to do your own music! I have an acquaintance who managed to pay off his mortgage thanks to a long running jingle and another acquaintance who could pursue his own music thanks to a high grossing licensed piece earning royalties galore. So, there are examples of commercial success leading to non- commercial pursuits. Music is never all about the money for these guys, it is always about the art… But, they had bills to pay and they were some of the more fortunate ones who hit the right wave, so t speak.

Name: Danny M Stewart

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Years of Professional activity: 20


  • Innobassion
  • Superjazzygroovilicious
  • KDQ Thoth Project

Currently Gigs:

  • Shu Ishikawa Quintet
  • Pop-Up Jazz
  • Michal Sobkowiak
  • Yoshiaki Kayano Group


  • Brunel Univ. Uxbridge – Music production & law

Favorite foods:

  • Sushi, Green Curry


  • Reading / Movies


  • Maroon


  • Panther

Super Hero:

  • Spiderman!

Visit online at


Alberto Rigoni On Unexpected Lullabies



Alberto Rigoni On Unexpected Lullabies

Readers have been fans of the composer, bass player, and Bass Musician contributor Alberto Rigoni for some time now.

In this interview, we had the opportunity to hear directly from Alberto about his love of music and a project near and dear to his heart, “Unexpected Lullabies”…

Could you tell our readers what makes your band different from other artists?

In 2005, I felt the urge to write original music. My first track was “Trying to Forget,” an instrumental piece with multiple bass layers (rhythm, solo, and arrangement), similar to the Twin Peaks soundtrack. When I played it for a few people, they really liked it, and I decided to continue composing based on my instinct and ear without adhering to any specific genre. In 2007, I released “Something Different” with Lion Music. The title says it all! Since then, I’ve released many solo albums, each different from the others, ranging from ambient to prog, fusion, jazz, and new age. I am very eclectic!

How did you get involved in this crazy world of music?

As a child, I listened to the music my parents enjoyed: my dad loved classical music, while my mom was into Pink Floyd, Genesis, Duran Duran, etc. These influences left a significant mark on my life. However, the turning point came at 15 when a drummer friend played me “A Change of Seasons” by Dream Theater, which was a shock! From that moment, I decided to play bass and cover Dream Theater songs, which I did for many years with my cover band, Ascra, until it disbanded in 2004. After that, I joined TwinSpirits (prog rock) led by multi-instrumentalist Daniele Liverani. Since then, I haven’t played any more covers!

Who are your musical inspirations, and what inspired the album and the songs?

My roots are in progressive rock metal, with influences from bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X, and many others. However, I listen to all genres and try to keep an open mind, which helps me compose original music. On bass, I was significantly inspired by Michael Manring and Randy Coven (bassist of Ark, Steve Vai, etc.). But I don’t have a real idol; I just follow my own path without compromise.

What are your interests outside of music?

Living in Italy, I love good food and wine! Beyond that, I have a deep interest in art in general and history, not just of my country. I enjoy spending time with friends, skiing, biking, and walking in nature. This is how I spend my free time. The rest of my time is devoted to music and my family!

Tell us about the new album.

It is definitely an out-of-the-box album. When I found out last year that I was going to have a baby girl, I decided to compose a sort of lullaby album, but I didn’t want to cover already famous lullabies. So, I started composing new tunes with the goal of creating an album that was half-sweet and half-hard rock. I did include some covers like “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra, sung by Goran Edman, former lead singer of Malmsteen. It’s not exactly a lullaby, but I felt the lyrics fit the album, as does the instrumental version of “Fly Me to The Moon.” There are also tracks with just bass and piano (Nenia) or two basses (Vicky). It was definitely an interesting creative process!

What is the difference between the new album and your previous releases, and will there be any new material from your other outfit called BAD AS?

BAD AS is essentially a metal band with several influences including prog. My solo genre is quite different, although there are some metal songs on a few albums. It’s always difficult for me to categorize my music… let’s say it’s a mix of prog, ambient, fusion, and new age.

Where was the album recorded, who produced it, and how long did the process take?

I produced my last album entirely by myself, including mixing and mastering. Unlike other albums I’ve produced within a few months, this one took much longer, perhaps because I was very busy or maybe because I wanted it to be perfect for my daughter, who is now three months old. In any case, I am satisfied. Once again, I did something different from my previous albums.

What is the highlight of the album for you and why?

My favorite song is the first track titled “Vittoria,” named after my daughter. It’s the intro to the record and isn’t very long, but the melody stuck in my head. Another standout track is the instrumental version of “Fly Me to The Moon” by Frank Sinatra, where I used fretless bass. The first part is sweet, the second part definitely rocks!

How are the live shows going, and what are you and the band hoping to achieve?

With BAD AS, this year we shared the stage with David Ellefson’s (former Megadeth bassist) band and talented young singer Dino Jelusik (White Snake). We plan to continue performing all over Europe!

What’s in store for the future?

I am working on an instrumental project called Nemesis Call, a progressive shred prog metal album with various influences. It will feature guest appearances from famous musicians like drummers Mike Terrana and Thomas Lang, as well as young talents like Japanese guitarist Keiji from Zero (19), 14-year-old Indian drummer Sajan Young, and guitarists Alexandra Zerner and Alexandra Lioness, Hellena Pandora. It’s scheduled for release at the end of the year or early 2025. As an independent artist, I have launched a fundraising campaign with exclusive pledges at And no, I am not begging; the album will be released anyway!

What formats is the release available in?

Unexpected Lullabies is available both as a Digipack CD and on streaming platforms.

What is the official album release date?

June 4th, 2024.

Thanks for this interview Bass Musician Magazine and for the continued support to my career!

Visit Online:

CD Track Listing:
1. Vittoria
2. Fly Me to the Moon
3. Azzurra
4. Dancing with Tears in My Eyes (feat. John Jeff Touch)
5. Out of Fear
6. Veni Laeatitia (feat. Alexandra Zerner)
7. Nenia
8. Slap Lullaby (feat. Karl Clews)
9. Saga
10. Vicky (feat. Michael Manring)
11. Ocean Travelers (feat. Vitalij Kuprij)
12. Strangers in the Night (feat. Göran Edman)
13. Peaceful
14. Un uomo che voga (feat. Eleonora Damiano)

Band Line-Up:

  • Tommaso Ermolli arrangements on “Vittoria”
  • Sefi Carmel on “Fly Me to the Moon” (Cover) (except for the keyboard solo by Alessandro Bertoni)
  • Piano and keyboards by Alessandro Bertoni on “Azzurra”
  • Leonardo Caverzan, guitars, and John Jeff Touch, vocals on “Dancing with Tears in my Eyes” (Cover)
  • T. Ermolli keys on “Out of Fear”
  • Alexandra Zerner everything on “Veni Laetitia”
  • Daniele Bof piano on “Nenia”
  • Karl Clews, piccolo bass on “Slap Lullaby”
  • Jonas Erixon vocals and guitars on “Saga”
  • Michael Manring bass on “Vicky”
  • Vitalij Kuprij, keyboards and piano, and Josh Sapna, guitars, on “Ocean Traveler”
  • Göran Edman, vocals, Emiliano Tessitore, guitars, Emiliano Bonini, drums, on “Strangers in the Night” (Cover) everything by Alberto Rigoni and vocals by Federica “Faith” 
  • Sciamanna on “Peaceful”
  • T. Ermolli, guitars, and Eleonora Damiano, vocals, on “Un uomo che voga All drums programmed by Alberto Rigoni
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Bass Books

Interview With Barker Bass’s Inventor and Writer Lee Barker



Interview With Barker Bass's Inventor and Writer Lee Barker

If you are an electric bass player, this is an exciting time to be alive as this relatively new instrument evolves around us. Some creative individuals have taken an active role in this evolution and made giant leaps in their own direction. Lee Barker is one of these inventive people having created the Barker Bass. 

Fortunately, Lee is also an excellent writer (among so many talents) and has recently released his book “Plausible Gumption, The Road Between a Christmas Toolbox and The Barker Bass”. This book is a very fun read for everyone and shares a ton of details about Lee’s life in general, his experiences as a musician, a radio host, and a luthier. Now I am fortunate to have the great opportunity to gain even more insights into this renaissance man with this video interview.

Plausible Gumption, The Road Between a Christmas Toolbox and The Barker Bass is available online at 

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Bergantino Welcomes Michael Byrnes to Their Family of Artists



Bergantino Welcomes Michael Byrnes to Their Family of Artists

Interview and photo courtesy of Holly Bergantino of Bergantino Audio Systems

With an expansive live show and touring, Mt. Joy bassist Michael Byrnes shares his experiences with the joyful, high-energy band!

Michael Byrnes has kept quite a busy touring schedule for the past few years with his band, Mt. Joy. With a philosophy of trial and error, he’s developed quite the routines for touring, learning musical instruments, and finding the right sound. While on the road, we were fortunate to have him share his thoughts on his music, history, and path as a musician/composer. 

Let’s start from the very beginning, like all good stories. What first drew
you to music as well as the bass? 

My parents required my sister and I to play an instrument.  I started on piano and really didn’t like it so when I wanted to quit my parents made me switch to another instrument and I chose drums.  Then as I got older and started forming bands there were never any bass players.  When I turned 17 I bought a bass and started getting lessons.  I think with drums I loved music and I loved the idea of playing music but when I started playing bass I really got lost in it.  I was completely hooked.

Can you tell us where you learned about music, singing, and composing?

A bit from teachers and school but honestly I learned the most from just going out and trying it.  I still feel like most of the time I don’t know what I am doing but I do know that if I try things I will learn.  

What other instruments do you play?

A bit of drums but that’s it.  For composing I play a lot of things but I fake it till I make and what I can’t fake I will ask a friend! 

I know you are also a composer for film and video. Can you share more
about this with us?

Pretty new to it at the moment.  It is weirdly similar to the role of a bass player in the band.  You are using music to emphasize and lift up the storyline.  Which I feel I do with the bass in a band setting.  Kind of putting my efforts into lifting the song and the other musicians on it.

Everybody loves talking about gear. How do you achieve your “fat” sound?

I just tinker till it’s fat lol.  Right now solid-state amps have been helping me get there a little quicker than tube amps.  That’s why I have been using the Bergantino Forté HP2 –  Otherwise I have to say the cliche because it is true…. It’s in the hands.  

Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that you’d like
to explore on the bass.

I like to think of myself as a pretty catchy bass player.  I need to ask my bandmates to confirm!  But I think when improvising and writing bass parts I always am trying to sneak little earworms into the music.   I want to explore 5-string more!

Who are your influences?

I can’t not mention James Jamerson.  Where would any of us be if it wasn’t for him?  A lesser-known bassist who had a huge effect on me is Ben Kenney.  He is the second bassist in the band Incubus and his playing on the Crow Left the Murder album completely opened me up to the type of bass playing I aspire towards.  When I first started playing I was really just listening to a lot of virtuosic bassists.  I was loving that but I couldn’t see myself realistically playing like that.  It wasn’t from a place of self-doubt I just deep down knew that wasn’t me.  Ben has no problem shredding but I was struck by how much he would influence the song through smaller movements and reharmonizing underneath the band.  His playing isn’t really in your face but from within the music, he could move mountains.   That’s how I want to play.    

What was the first bass you had? Do you still have it?

A MIM Fender Jazz and I do still have it.  It’s in my studio as we speak.  I rarely use it these days but I would never get rid of it.  

(Every bass player’s favorite part of an interview and a read!) Tell us about
your favorite bass or basses. 🙂

I guess I would need to say that MIM Jazz bass even though I don’t play it much.  I feel connected to that one.  Otherwise, I have been playing lots of great amazing basses through the years.  I have a Serek that I always have with me on the road (shout out Jake).   Also have a 70’s Mustang that 8 times out of 10 times is what I use on recordings.  Otherwise, I am always switching it up.  I find that after a while the road I just cycle basses in and out.  Even if I cycle out a P bass for another P bass.  

What led you to Bergantino Audio Systems?

My friend and former roommate Edison is a monster bassist and he would gig with a cab of yours all the time years ago.  Then when I was shopping for a solid state amp the Bergantino Forté HP2 kept popping up.  Then I saw Justin Meldal Johnsen using it on tour with St. Vincent and I thought alright I’ll give it a try!

Can you share a little bit with us about your experience with the Bergantino
forte HP amplifier? I know you had this out on tour in 2023 and I am pretty
certain the forte HP has been to more countries than I have.

It has been great!   I had been touring with a 70’s SVT which was great but from room to room, it was a little inconsistent.  I really was picky with the type of power that we had on stage.  After a while, I thought maybe it is time to just retire this to the studio.  So I got that Forte because I had heard that it isn’t too far of a leap from a tube amp tone-wise.  Plus I knew our crew would be much happier loading a small solid state amp over against the 60 lbs of SVT.  It has sounded great and has really remained pretty much the same from night to night.  Sometimes I catch myself hitting the bright switch depending on the room and occasionally I will use the drive on it.

You have recently added the new Berg NXT410-C speaker cabinet to your
arsenal. Thoughts so far?

It has sounded great in the studio.  I haven’t gotten a chance to take it on the road with us but I am excited to put it through the paces!

You have been touring like a madman all over the world for the past few
years. Any touring advice for other musicians/bass players? And can I go to Dublin, Ireland with you all??

Exercise!  That’s probably the number one thing I can say.  Exercise is what keeps me sane on the road and helps me regulate the ups and downs of it.  Please come to Dublin! I can put you on the guest list! 

It’s a cool story on how the Mt. Joy band has grown so quickly! Tell us
more about Mt. Joy, how it started, where the name comes from, who the
members are and a little bit about this great group?

Our singer and guitarist knew each other in high school and have made music together off and on since.  Once they both found themselves living in LA they decided to record a couple songs and put out a Craigslist ad looking for a bassist.  At the time I had just moved to LA and was looking for anyone to play with.  We linked up and we recorded what would become the first Mt. Joy songs in my house with my friend Caleb producing.  Caleb has since produced our third album and is working on our fourth with us now. Once those songs came out we needed to form a full band to be able to do live shows.  I knew our drummer from gigging around LA and a mutual friend of all of us recommended Jackie.  From then on we’ve been on the road and in the studio.  Even through Covid.

Describe the music style of Mt. Joy for me.

Folk Rock with Jam influences

What are your favorite songs to perform?

Always changing but right now it is ‘Let Loose’

What else do you love to do besides bass?


I always throw in a question about food. What is your favorite food?

I love a good chocolate croissant.

Follow Michael Byrnes:
Instagram: @mikeyblaster

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents



Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

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Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan



Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

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IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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