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Nikki Sixx, SIXX:A.M. and What the Future Holds – Bass Musician Magazine, May 2016 Issue



Nikki Sixx, SIXX:A.M. and What the Future Holds – Bass Musician Magazine, May 2016 Issue…


Nikki Sixx, SIXX-A.M. and What the Future Holds – Bass Musician Magazine, May 2016 Issue

From being one of the most iconic figures in 80’s hard rock, to a best selling author, Nikki Sixx is one of the rock bass communities living legends.  Starting off in 1981 with Mötley Crüe with a career that would span 34 years, and over 100 million records sold, Nikki was cementing his legacy as one of the arena rock bass greats. In December of 2015, the band officially retired, but that has not slowed down Mr. Sixx one bit whatsoever.  With his iconic book, “The Heroin Diaries” in the works to becoming a broadway play, his incredibly popular show “Sixx Sense” on iHeart radio, and his personal band SIXX:A.M. gearing up for a summer tour cycle, the man shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Nikki was kind enough to share his thoughts on basses, road survival, introspection, and what the future holds for SIXX:A.M. and the man himself.

2016 so far has been a pretty busy and significant year for you, the most significant being your book “The Heroin Diaries” being made into a Broadway play. How did this come about?

We started working on “The Heroin Diaries” being turned into a play about two years ago and we’ve been through many drafts on the script and we’re pretty far down the road. Now it gets into things like financing and availability of venue, so I think that we’ve had a couple table reads, and I think we’re getting closer and it’s looking like 2017 might be the year, which ironically would coincide with the release of “The Heroin Diaries” book and album – the 10 year anniversary.

You have played many basses throughout the years, most notably your PJ Spectors and your Gibson Thunderbirds and respective signature models. I have noticed on social media how enamored you are with you new signature Schecter “SIXX BASS”. What made you feel that this was “the one” after all these years.  

I feel that my love affair with the Gibson Thunderbird was starting to kind of be tainted. The quality of the instrument that Gibson was delivering wasn’t was it used to be – I had ones from the 70’s and I was always in love with it, and the ones they came out with in the 80’s had a really nice sound. The necks were so great and the bodies were strong. I came out with my own version, The Blackbird, and in the beginning they were fantastic and then they just kind of started to not deliver… not such a quality instrument. I went to go talk to everyone at Schecter and I showed them my favorite basses that I had in my collection, one of them being a 1959 P Bass, one being my old Spector that I ended up recording the whole “Dr. Feelgood” album with. We came up with a wonderful instrument; it answers every question that I’m looking for in recording and playing live.

Apart from basses being the same, what is the biggest difference sonically for you in your setup between Mötley Crüe and SIXX:A.M.?

The instruments and the amps are actually exactly the same, it’s just the songs that are different… and I think I obviously play differently in each band.

Sixx Sense on iHeart Radio has been a hit with listeners, do you feel that your career as a performer and showman helped prepare you for a life behind the microphone?

I think what helped me behind the microphone was whenever I was interviewed by people that were truly interested in what I was doing, whether it was books, photography, music, and I love the opportunity to try to help other artists get exposure. So for me its two things, you know? One is I get to help musicians, and especially new musicians coming out, or musicians who have spent a lot of time making records, I want to help get them exposure. The other thing is I just enjoy hanging out with musicians. Sometimes at the studio, its just like a really cool hang.

SIXX:A.M. is gearing up for about 2 months of touring starting April 30th, what are some helpful tips for tour survival you would give to aspiring bass players?

One of the greatest things that’s happened to me is I got an acoustic bass recently, probably within the last 6 months. It’s a Warwick Acoustic Bass and I play every day and I think just playing your instrument is the best thing that you can do. Bass isn’t the easiest instrument to just sit around and play because its not really easy to hear, so you need to plug it into an amp, or some version of something, and putting headphones on, so having the acoustic bass around, I find myself just picking it up throughout the day and just practicing. Running scales, writing songs on it. I think that’s the best thing you can do – find a way to play your instrument every single day.

SIXX:A.M. has a very different sound from the Crüe, how would you say you approach your role as a bassist differently for this band?

Mötley Crüe’s style is a lot more four-on-the-floor and I attack the bass more, like a punk rock rhythm guitar player but with SIXX:A.M. it’s a lot more progressive. It pushes me beyond my actual comfort zone, so when I was doing both bands it was very difficult for me to switch back and forth. Now that I can just focus on SIXX:A.M., I think my bass playing has opened up a lot.

I saw recently on CNN that you embrace social media as a form of communication, what are some ways you think you were able to view it as a positive that other bass players could adopt?

I mean social media is a great way to stay connected with musicians that you like, products that you like. I spend a lot of time watching other bass players, taking lessons online, and I get tweets from them, I get updates from them, and I go to their Facebook page and follow up on stuff, and I think that’s the best advice I could give. Use it for a way to educate yourself.

What is the writing process like for SIXX:A.M.? How does it differ from your work with MC?

With SIXX:A.M., we all three sit in a circle and we write and once we’ve got the song together, James starts to put together the skeleton of it and we start filling in the pieces – adding the meat, adding the skin. With Mötley Crüe, originally I would write the majority of the music, and as the years went we co-wrote with each other and outside. It’s just a completely different process.

Now that Mötley Crüe has said their farewells, what are you most excited about for the future?

I’m really proud of what we did in Mötley Crüe, I can’t thank the other guys enough for the great opportunity. I got to tour the world a million times and play in front of all of those fans, but we had all agreed that it was time to move forward separately and I’m excited to see what everybody else is going to do. My future right now is focused on SIXX:A.M.

Over the span of your career, what do you feel has been the greatest area of growth for you as a bassist?

I think my greatest growth comes around writing albums and writing music, because when you tour you play the same songs basically over and over and over, and I think that my bass gets worse the more that I tour. So I find now that writing music, we just got done writing a double album, it pushes you and you find out things about yourself. I recently switched to a lighter gauge bass pick which is allowing me more freedom. I don’t play as hard in SIXX:A.M. as I did in Mötley Crüe, so it allows me to do a lot of different picking styles.

Any final pieces of advice you would want to give to a young bass player trying to make it in today’s music industry climate?

I would suggest you learn the law, study great song writers, and practice to a metronome.

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Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More – February 2024



Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More, January 2024

Ricky Phillips, STYX Bass And More…

This Week’s Top 10 Basses on Instagram

I have always been a huge Styx fan. Their music kept me awake during countless nights studying and gave my imagination a place to escape when I had a moment to take a break. 

I had the immense opportunity to chat with STYX bassist Ricky Phillips for our August Cover in 2017 and follow his projects as time passed. Now, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to catch up with Ricky as he has been super-busy over the past six years. 

Join me as we take a deep dive into the band’s most recent album “Crash the Crown” and EP “The Same Stardust”. Ricky shares some insights into the herculean team effort behind the scenes and the musical process that keeps them ever so busy and how he has updated his sound. 

Without further ado… Here is Ricky Phillips!

Photo: Jason Powell

“Crash of the Crown” lyric video

“Reveries” lyric video

“Save Us From Ourselves” lyric video

“Sound the Alarm” lyric video

“Too Much Time On My Hands” Zoom video 2020

Visit online:
FB & IG @styxtheband

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Jeff Pilson, Foreigner Low End – January 2024



Jeff Pilson - Bass Musician Magazine - January 2024

Jeff Pilson, Foreigner Low End – January 2024…

Those of us who were around back in the 70’s remember how certain songs on the radio resonated with us. It turns out that many of these iconic melodies came from Foreigner and they were part of our personal soundtracks! 

After all these years, the band is going as strong as ever with Jeff Pilson firing away on bass midstream into a 2-year farewell tour. 

I am excited to be able to bring you all the details about Jeff’s musical Journey, the farewell tour in progress, how he gets his sound and his plans for the future.

Cover Photo: Krishta Abruzziini / Video Photos: Krishta Abruzzini, Karsten Staiger, Gina Hyams

For more news on FOREIGNER and upcoming Farewell Tour dates, fans can visit:
Also on FB @officialjeffpilson

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Rodney O’Quinn, Rockin’ Hard Through the Years – December 2023



Rodney O'Quinn, Rockin’ Hard Through the Years – December 2023

Interview With Foghat Bassist Rodney O’Quinn…

Rodney O'Quinn - Bass Musician Magazine - December 2023-v2

Many rock fans have enjoyed music by Foghat, who originally formed in London back in 1971.

Over the many decades of playing, the band members have changed, leaving behind only Roger Earl as the only original member. Bassist Rodney O’Quinn left the Pat Travers Band and joined the group in 2015 and has been laying down the low end for this iconic quartet keeping the Foghat legacy alive. With a new album titled “Sonic Mojo” which dropped on November 10th, the band is as busy as ever and there is lots of very tasty music to come.

Join me as we learn of Rodney O’Quinn’s musical journey, how he gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Jake Coughlin
Video Thumbnail, Tom Apathy
Photos used in the video: Kerry Quinn, Chuck Lanza, Kim Granger, Kenneth Strohm, Jake Coughlin, Jay Jylika

1st Single from Sonic Mojo – Official “Drivin’ On” 

2nd Single from Sonic Mojo – “She’s a Little Bit of Everything Official Video

 “Road Fever”- California Mid State Fair – Paso Robles, CA – 7-27-22

“Stone Blue” – Rodney O’Quinn Bass/Lead Vocals – Don Odell’s Legends – Woonsocket, R.I – 10/15/22 – The Stadium Theater

The Earl’s Court – Season 2, Episode 7: Funny Guys 

“I Just Want to Make Love to You” – CasinoRama – 6-9-23 

FOGHAT “Somebody’s Been Sleepin’ in My Bed” – Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, CT – 1/28/22

“I Just Want to Make Love to You” – California Mid State Fair – Paso Robles, CA – 7-27-22

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Suzi Quatro, Eternal Powerhouse – November 2023



Suzi Quatro, Eternal Powerhouse – November 2023

Interview With Bassist Suzi Quatro…


It is always exciting to have the opportunity to talk to an artist who has been prolific for decades.

Suzi Quatro has been rocking our world since the sixties and has been super-creative as a bassist, musician, actress, singer, songwriter, author, radio show host and so much more. Most recently, Suzi released a new album titled “Face to Face” where she joined forces with KT Tunstall and together they are a force of nature. (See our video with Suzi about the album release)

Join me as we hear about Suzi’s musical journey, her many projects, how she gets her sound and her plans for the future.

Here is Suzi Quatro…

Suzi Quatro & KT Tunstall – “Truth As My Weapon” (Official Music Video)

“Shine A Light” music video (from the upcoming album)

“Bad Moon Rising” music video (from 2022):

Bass-Solo / Live in Prah? 1979

Glyserine Queen / Bass solo – Tampere Finland

Follow Online:
IG @suziquatroreal
FB @Suziquatrorocks
TW @Suzi_Quatro

Video – Andrew Whitton
Cover and Header Photo – Courtesy of Suzi Quatro

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Zach Fowler, Not Just Laying Down the Low End – October 2023



Zach Fowler, Not Just Laying Down the Low End - October 2023

Zach Fowler, Not Just Laying Down the Low End – October 2023

I have been hearing about Zach Fowler’s bass playing since he was in New Mexico. Now, based out of Nashville, Zach is very busy laying down the low end, acting as musical director, writing songs and producing music. He has been very active doing studio work as well as touring with LoCash.

Join me as we hear about Zach’s journey, how he gets his sound, all the details about his new Lakland bass and his plans for the future.

Here is Zach Fowler!

Photos Credits  – Cover, Allee Visuals / In Video –  Matthew Allen, Max Muehlhausen

Typical, run-of-the-mill, slap happy bass solo taken during LOCASH’s performance at the Suwannee River Jam in Live Oak, Florida on May 4, 2018.  Video was shot by David Lehr.

This was part of a series of acoustic performances filmed at the famous Blackbird Studios in Nashville.

LOCASH performs a song from “The Fighters” album called “Shipwrecked.”  This was filmed not long after I joined LOCASH, and I’m using a Carvin PB5 plugged straight into the board via a Countryman DI.

LOCASH performs “One Big Country Song” at the Grand Ole Opry in May 2022.  

We performed the song along with Opry House Band, and the performance was in conjunction with The Beach Boys’ first performance at the Opry (which explains why we’re wearing leis around our necks). I used one of my two PRS Grainger 5-strings plugged directly into the Opry’s house rig, which is made by Aguilar.

One of only two times that I’ve recorded myself playing bass.  

I arranged John Legend’s “Ordinary People” for solo bass, and used my PRS Gary Grainger 5-string plugged into a Gallien-Krueger PLEX preamp.  I added a little reverb in Logic to give it a little ambience.  I recorded this right after the COVID shutdown happened.  I’m not too big on recording myself playing bass, so this was somewhat of a rarity, but considering my job had shut down, it felt like a good outlet to keep my name on the radar.  There’s a little gratuitous slapping in there, but mostly because I didn’t have an arrangement for the bridge section that I liked, so I just let loose.

During my time in Albuquerque, I was blessed to perform on two albums by a progressive rock trio by the name of Illustrated Man.  

This song is off of their second album, “Zebra Hotel,” and is coincidentally called “Zebra.”  I recorded this song using a Fender 5-string Precision Bass plugged into an Avalon U5 direct box.

I was with a band called The James Douglas Show for eleven years.  

We put out four studio albums, and this track is off the final album we put out called “9.”  The track, called “Can’t Stop,” was written by our guitar player, Jesse Martinez, and produced by Mike Cee.  As is typical with a lot of R&B tracks, I overdubbed a bass track over an already-existing synth bass line.  I used a Carvin JB5 run into an Avalon U5 direct box.

“Kissing a Girl” is a track off of LOCASH’s album, “Brothers.”  

We recorded a live version of the song at a venue in Minnesota during soundcheck.  The video was shot by David Lehr, and the sound was edited and mixed by our production manager at the time, Evan (“Turbo”) Owen.  It was negative 12 degrees outside in February, which explains why most of the people in the band are wearing beanies on their heads.  I used my main road bass on this track, my white PRS Gary Grainger 5-string, plugged into my Gallien-Krueger PLEX preamp, then into a Radial FireFly direct box.  I used a little bit of compression from my Origin Effects Cali76 compressor pedal, as well as a little bit of added chorus effect from an EBS UniChorus pedal to give it a little bit of a fretless sound.

Follow Online:
IG @zachfowlerbass
FB @ groovemaster82

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