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For the Love of Bass

For the Love of Bass Guitar – Tom Susala

Photo, Terry Murphy

Photo, Terry Murphy

For the Love of Bass Guitar –  Tom Susala…

I’ve always wanted to play the bass since I first heard “Green Onions” on the radio! At that same time I used to watch a talk show hosted by comedian, Joey Bishop – in Joey’s band was guitarist, Herb Ellis AND BASSIST Ray Brown. In one rare moment on that show, Ray Brown backed up a singer on a Fender Bass. The sound from “Green Onions,” that intrigued me, but the accompaniment provided by Ray Brown nailed me to the wall! and from then on I was in awe of the sound of the bass.

Tom Susala - Photo Credit - Shelley Meine 2015

Photo Shelley Meine

But my parents, however, in their wisdom, explained that if I take up guitar, I can learn chords then I can accompany myself and won’t always need someone else to play along with me to enjoy the instrument. So, I took up guitar and learned chords and eventually learned how chords were built relative to their scales – then, I learned to read music. Now I had the tools that told me why the bass was such an important factor in music.

In 1980 I was offered a gig as a bass player with a band of friends who ran a bar around the corner from where I lived. I took this as a “Sign,” so I bought a used P-Bass and a bass amp and never looked back.

In subsequent years I’ve worked throughout the Chicago Area, Midwest and Internationally in various Rock & Roll, Jazz and Blues bands (Musical Resume available upon request)

Tom Susala and Duck Dunn - Photo  June Dunn 1996

Tom Susala and Duck Dunn – Photo June Dunn 1996

Duck Dunn was always my gold standard as far as bass sound even though I learned years later that Duck didn’t play bass on “Green Onions.”

I now play a Fender Vintage 62 P-Bass Reissue and use bass rigs of various brands. I use D’Adarrio EXL170 strings and have for at least 30 years.

I try to make myself a part of the mix, locking in with the drummer’s kick.

I have just recently re-located to Wisconsin Rapids and am privileged to participate in many musical projects in the area.

I plan on playing bass for many years. It’s what I feel I was put on earth to do. Playing Bass puts me in a place that is timeless, stress-free and as close to the spiritual center of the universe than I could otherwise imagine.

Your friend “From The Left of Middle C”

Tom Susala

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