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The Bassists of Gary Moore by Freddy Villano



The Bassists of Gary Moore by Freddy VillanoThe Bassists of Gary Moore by Freddy Villano…

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February 6th, 2016 marked the five-year anniversary of the death of guitar great Gary Moore. A somber moment indeed, and also, most certainly, an opportunity for thousands of guitarist worldwide to reflect upon the immense influence he’s had on their instrument as well as their kin. Many marquee players, like Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard/Dio/Last In Line) and John Sykes (Whitesnake/Blue Murder/Thin Lizzy), forged their own identities by emulating Moore’s tone and technique early in their careers.

Inasmuch as Moore was an inspiration to the guitar world, his influence was even broader, as he often surrounded himself with some of the best musicians in the business—and his bassists were no exception. Bass Musician caught up with some of his former bass players and asked them to reflect on their time with Moore and to find out about what they’re up to now.

Jimmy Bain

In 1981, Scottish bassist Jimmy Bain, most famous for his work with Rainbow (and subsequently Dio), managed to cut the bass tracks for Gary Moore’s Dirty Fingers album (Jet, 1984) while simultaneously mixing Stand Your Ground (EMI, 1981), the second Wild Horses record (his collaboration with ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist and fellow Scotsman Brian Robertson). “Gary was doing his album in London, at Morgan Studios, and the bass player he had wasn’t working out so he asked me to come over and play on some tracks,” recalled the 68-year-old bassist. “Chris Tsangarides was the producer and Tommy Aldridge was playing drums. He was one of my favorite drummers at the time—we clicked right away.” Bain already knew Moore from Thin Lizzy, a band with whom he had a close personal relationship, so it wasn’t even remotely an issue when he was asked to pull double-duty. “I started working with Gary at noon and went to about six or seven and then took a break and went down and worked on the Wild Horses mixes starting at about 11 o’clock and worked through the night,” he remembers. “I lost a lot of sleep for a few weeks, but I really enjoyed working with Gary.”

Known for being adept with Moog Taurus pedals (Kate Bush hired him for her 1982 record The Dreaming (EMI) because of his reputation), Bain used them on the track “Rest In Peace” and employed a Yamaha BB2000 bass and an Ampeg SVT throughout the session. He named “Nuclear Attack,” “Hiroshima” and “Run To Your Mama” as standout tracks.

Unfortunately, Bain passed away on January 23rd, 2016. Since 2012, Bain had been working with his ex-band mates from the original incarnation of Dio in the band Last In Line. Their debut CD, Heavy Crown (Frontiers) was released on February 20th. He was reportedly writing an autobiography at the time of his death, titled, I Fell into Metal.

Jimmy Bain w/Gary Moore, “Hiroshima,” Dirty Fingers:

Bob Daisley

Famous for the indelible mark he left on Ozzy Osbourne’s first two solo records, 65-year old Australian bassist Bob Daisley says the first time he saw Moore play was in 1975 at the Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park, London when he was in Coliseum II. “Gary was the new sort of whiz kid guitar player that people were talking about,” he recalls. In 1983, when Daisley was in New York with Ozzy and guitarist Jake E. Lee writing for the Bark At The Moon (Epic, 1983) record, Moore, who was friends and former band mates with Ozzy keyboardist Don Airey and drummer Tommy Aldridge, visited and initiated a jam with the bassist. “He loved it,” says Daisley. Not long after, Daisley was called upon to play on a few tracks on Victims Of The Future (10 Records, 1984) and subsequent tour dates, which resulted in Emerald Aisles: Gary Moore Live In Ireland (1986). “At the end of the last show Gary said to me, ‘I know you’re with Ozzy, but if ever you’d like to work with me the door is always open,’” recalls Daisley.

Daisley says that Moore was a big fan of bassist Jack Bruce. “He did like that style of playing, although for Gary’s music it had to be a little more disciplined,” admits Daisley. “Cream was very free and Jack overplayed a lot, but he did it so well. You couldn’t go that far with Gary. He was quite particular and could be quite pedantic in what he wanted and didn’t want,” he admits. “His perfectionism sometimes polished the shine off of things, if you know what I mean.”

Daisley credits Power Of The Blues, the last album he did with Moore, (Sanctuary, 2004), as a highlight. “Power Of The Blues is pretty raw—we recorded it quickly,” he admits. “The basic tracks were done in nine days and the enjoyment we were having comes across in the music.” Daisley used a Gibson EB-3 on many of the tracks along with one of Moore’s 50-watt vintage Marshall heads and 4X12 cabinets. “The other bass I used was a 1963 Olympic white Fender Precision through a vintage Ampeg SVT.”

In 2013 Daisley released his autobiography, For Facts Sake. He took time off from playing to complete the endeavor, saying, “If you don’t put your all into something like that it can go on for years and you never get it finished.”

Bob Daisley w/Gary Moore, “Power Of The Blues,” Power Of The Blues:

Mo Foster

70-year-old session ace Mo Foster says it was vital to be able to play by ear when working with Moore: “Gary never wrote out any parts in advance—it was up to you to figure out the chords, any licks and the structure of the song. You could make suggestions but he generally knew exactly what he wanted.” Foster recalls that Moore had seen him playing with Jeff Beck at Hammersmith Odeon back in 1981, but the two didn’t actually meet for the first time until a session in July 1982 at Townhouse Studios in London. Though he has no memory of what they recorded at that session, Foster subsequently contributed one of the most memorable moments to the guitarist’s illustrious career—the fretless bass solo on the song “Empty Rooms” from the Victims Of The Future record. The sessions took place at Sarm West Studios in Notting Hill, West London in October 1983. “I just used my regular fretless Fender Jazz bass through a little Roland Cube 60 amp,” he says. “We recorded the basic track as a rhythm section first – it was a joy to play with Ian Paice whom I’d never met before – and I then overdubbed the fretless solo, copying Gary’s acoustic solo melody, including the harmonics, as accurately as possible. I used the fretless to make it more haunting.”

Today, Foster is currently promoting a book—British Rock Guitar: The First 50 Years, the Musicians and Their Stories (Northumbria University Press, 2011). “There’s a picture of Gary at eight years old in the book,” he says. “I’ve also been recording a new album with guitarist Ray Russell and drummer Gary Husband (another ex-Moore member), and we’ve been playing some gigs around town too.”

Mo Foster w/Gary Moore, “Empty Rooms,” Victims Of The Future:

Neil Murray

Former Whitesnake mainstay Neil Murray first played with Moore in Colosseum II. He auditioned for the group in 1975 and “didn’t get the gig in actual fact,” admits the 65-year-old Scottish bassist. “I thought I would be pretty suitable for it, but I had to borrow somebody else’s bass guitar and it just didn’t sound very good.” Some months later, Murray got the gig anyhow, and though his tenure didn’t last long, the two would reunite in the ‘80’s on Moore’s Corridors Of Power record (Virgin, 1982).

“It was a bit of a culture shock for me in that it was very much Gary-plus-a-backing group,” recalls Murray, referring to the difference between Moore’s band and his previous outfit, Whitesnake. “In terms of the songwriting the bass was much less important—just either playing the riff or pedaling along, which could be frustrating because Gary very much admired Jack Bruce, but he didn’t want that style of bass playing on his records.” Murray notes that although they often clashed stylistically, they were often very much on the same wavelength. “We always seemed to have the same musical taste at any moment,” he says. “It’s just that what he was looking for in a bass player wasn’t quite me. He didn’t want anything unusual happening behind him, whereas I would prefer something more unexpected from time to time, like what Ian Paice and I did together in Whitesnake.” Murray used a custom-made B.C. Rich Mockingbird with two DiMarzio p-bass pick-ups in reverse position through a Hiwatt bass amp on Corridors.

For the last ten-plus years Murray was the house bassist in the London production of Queen’s hit musical We Will Rock You. In 2013, Murray’s current band, Snakecharmer, released their eponymous debut on Frontiers Records.

Neil Murray w/Gary Moore, “Wishing Well,” Corridors Of Power:

Other bassists worth mentioning include the late Craig Gruber of Elf/Rainbow fame, who can be found on We Want Moore! (Virgin, 1984), Andy Pyle who appears on Gary Moore & The Midnight Blues Band – Live at Montreux 1990 (Eagle Rock Ent.) and Will Lee, bassist for the World’s Most Dangerous Band on The Late Show with David Letterman, who performed on much of After Hours (Charisma, 1992).

Craig Gruber w/Gary Moore, “Shapes Of Things,” We Want Moore!:


Bass Videos

Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank



Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Graham Stanush



Interview With Bassist Graham Stanush

Bassist Graham Stanush…

Return to Dust is keeping Grunge alive and well! They have a new self-titled album that went out on May 3rd, 2024 and will be super busy promoting this project in the near future.

Graham Stanush is the bass powerhouse driving their sound and adding vocals to the mix. Join me as we hear all about Graham’s musical journey, details about the new album, how he gets his sound and their plans for the future.

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes



Interview With Bassist Erick Jesus Coomes

Bassist Erick “Jesus” Coomes…

It is always great to meet a super busy bassist who simply exudes a love for music and his instrument. Erick “Jesus” Coomes fits this description exactly. Hailing from Southern California, “Jesus” co-founded and plays bass for Lettuce and has found his groove playing with numerous other musicians.

Join us as we hear of his musical journey, how he gets his sound, his ongoing projects, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Bob Forte

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IG @jesuscsuperstar
FB @lettucefunk

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Bass Videos

Tour Touch Base (Bass) with Ian Allison



Tour Touch Base (Bass) with Ian Allison

Ian Allison Bassist extreme

Most recently Ian has spent the last seven years touring nationally as part of Eric Hutchinson and The Believers, sharing stages with acts like Kelly Clarkson, Pentatonix, Rachel Platten, Matt Nathanson, Phillip Phillips, and Cory Wong playing venues such as Radio City Music Hall, The Staples Center and The Xcel Center in St. Paul, MN.

I had a chance to meet up with him at the Sellersville Theater in Eastern Pennsylvania to catch up on everything bass. Visit online at

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Interview With Audic Empire Bassist James Tobias



Interview With Audic Empire Bassist James Tobias

Checking in with Bergantino Artist James Tobias

James Tobias, Bassist for psychedelic, Reggae-Rock titans Audic Empire shares his history as a musician and how he came to find Bergantino…

Interview by Holly Bergantino

James Tobias, a multi-talented musician and jack-of-all-trades shares his story of coming up as a musician in Texas, his journey with his band Audic Empire, and his approach to life and music. With a busy tour schedule each year, we were fortunate to catch up with him while he was out and about touring the US. 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Dallas, Texas and lived in the Dallas area most of my life with the exception of 1 year in Colorado. I moved to the Austin area at age 18. 

What makes the bass so special to you particularly, and how did you gravitate to it?

I honestly started playing bass because we needed a bass player and I was the one with access to a bass amp and bass. I played rhythm guitar and sang up until I met Ronnie, who I would later start “Audic Empire” with. He also played rhythm guitar and sang and we didn’t know any bass players, so we had to figure something out. I still write most of my songs on guitar, but I’ve grown to love playing the bass. 

How did you learn to play, James?

I took guitar lessons growing up and spent a lot of time just learning tabs or playing by ear and kicked around as a frontman in a handful of bands playing at the local coffee shops or rec centers. Once I transitioned to bass, I really just tried to apply what I knew about guitar and stumbled through it till it sounded right. I’m still learning every time I pick it up, honestly. 

You are also a songwriter, recording engineer, and a fantastic singer, did you get formal training for this? 

Thank you, that means a lot!  I had a couple of voice lessons when I was in my early teens, but didn’t really like the instructor. I did however take a few lessons recently through ACC that I enjoyed and think really helped my technique (Shout out to Adam Roberts!) I was not a naturally gifted singer, which is a nice way of saying I was pretty awful, but I just kept at it. 

As far as recording and producing, I just watched a lot of YouTube videos and asked people who know more than me when I had a question. Whenever I feel like I’m not progressing, I just pull up tracks from a couple of years ago, cringe, and feel better about where I’m at but I’ve got a long way to go. Fortunately, we’ve got some amazing producers I can pass everything over to once I get the songs as close to finalized as I can. 

Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that can be improved on the bass.

I honestly don’t know what my style would be considered. We’ve got so many styles that we play and fuse together that I just try to do what works song by song.  I don’t have too many tricks in the bag and just keep it simple and focus on what’s going to sound good in the overall mix. I think my strength lies in thinking about the song as a whole and what each instrument is doing, so I can compliment everything else that’s going on. What could be improved is absolutely everything, but that’s the great thing about music (and kind of anything really). 

Who were your influencers in terms of other musicians earlier on or now that have made a difference and inspired you?

My dad exposed me to a lot of music early. I was playing a toy guitar while watching a VHS of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble live at SXSW on repeat at 4 years old saying I wanted to “do that” when I grew up. I was the only kid in daycare that had his own CDs that weren’t kid’s songs. I was listening to Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, and The Doors when I could barely talk. I would make up songs and sing them into my Panasonic slimline tape recorder and take it to my preschool to show my friends. As I got older went through a bunch of music phases. Metal, grunge, rock, punk, hip hop, reggae, ska, etc. Whatever I heard that I connected to I’d dive in and learn as much as I could about it. I was always in bands and I think I kept picking up different styles along the way and kept combining my different elements and I think that’s evident in Audic’s diverse sound. 

Tell me about Audic Empire and your new release Take Over! Can you share some of the highlights you and the band are most proud of?

Takeover was an interesting one. I basically built that song on keyboard and drum loops and wrote and tracked all my vocals in one long session in my bedroom studio kind of in a stream-of-consciousness type of approach. I kind of thought nothing would come of it and I’d toss it out, but we slowly went back and tracked over everything with instruments and made it our own sound. I got it as far as I could with production and handed it off to Chad Wrong to work his magic and really bring it to life. Once I got Snow Owl Media involved and we started brainstorming about a music video, it quickly turned into a considerably larger production than anything we’ve done before and it was such a cool experience. I’m really excited about the final product, especially considering I initially thought it was a throwaway track.

Describe the music style of Audic Empire for us. 

It’s all over the place… we advertise it as “blues, rock, reggae.” Blues because of our lead guitarist, Travis Brown’s playing style, rock because I think at the heart we’re a rock band, and reggae because we flavor everything with a little (or a lot) of reggae or ska. 

How did you find Bergantino Audio Systems?

Well, my Ampeg SVT7 caught fire at a show… We were playing Stubbs in Austin and everyone kept saying they smelled something burning, and I looked back in time to see my head, perched on top of its 8×10 cab, begin billowing smoke. We had a tour coming up, so I started researching and pricing everything to try and find a new amp. I was also fronting a metal band at the time, and my bass player’s dad was a big-time country bass player and said he had this really high-end bass amp just sitting in a closet he’d sell me. I was apprehensive since I really didn’t know much about it and “just a little 4×10” probably wasn’t going to cut it compared to my previous setup. He said I could come over and give it a test drive, but he said he knew I was going to buy it. He was right. I immediately fell in love. I couldn’t believe the power it put out compared to this heavy head and cumbersome cab I had been breaking my back hauling all over the country and up countless staircases.  

Tell us about your experience with the forte D amp and the AE 410 Speaker cabinet. 

It’s been a game-changer in every sense. It’s lightweight and compact. Amazing tone. And LOUD. It’s just a fantastic amp. Not to mention the customer service being top-notch! You’ll be hard-pressed to find another product that, if you have an issue, you can get in touch with the owner, himself. How cool is that? 

Tell us about some of your favorite basses.

I was always broke and usually working part-time delivering pizzas, so I just played what I could get my hands on. I went through a few pawn shop basses, swapped in new pickups, and fought with the action on them constantly. I played them through an Ampeg be115 combo amp. All the electronics in it had fried at some point, so I gutted it out and turned it into a cab that I powered with a rusted-up little head I bought off someone for a hundred bucks. My gear was often DIY’d and held together by electrical tape and usually had a few coats of spray paint to attempt to hide the wear and tear. I never really fell in love with any piece of gear I had till I had a supporter of our band give me an Ibanez Premium Series SDGR. I absolutely love that bass and still travel with it. I’ve since gotten another Ibanez Premium Series, but went with the 5-string BTB.  It’s a fantastic-sounding bass, my only complaint is it’s pretty heavy. 

Love your new video Take Over! Let us know what you’re currently working on (studio, tour, side projects, etc.)

Thank you!! We’ve got a LOT of stuff we’re working on right now actually. Having 2 writers in the band means we never have a shortage of material. It’s more about getting everything tracked and ready for release and all that goes into that. We just got through filming videos for 2 new unreleased tracks with Snow Owl Media, who did the videos for both Love Hate and Pain and Takeover. Both of these songs have surprise features which I’m really excited about since these will be the first singles since our last album we have other artists on. We’ve also got a lot of shows coming up and I’ve also just launched my solo project as well. The debut single, “Raisin’ Hell” is available now everywhere. You can go here to find all the links

What else do you do besides music?

For work, I own a handyman service here in Austin doing a lot of drywall, painting, etc. I have a lot of hobbies and side hustles as well. I make custom guitar straps and other leather work. I do a lot of artwork and have done most of our merch designs and a lot of our cover art. I’m really into (and borderline obsessed) with health, fitness, and sober living.  I have a hard time sitting still, but fortunately, there’s always a lot to do when you’re self-employed and running a band!

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