My path to bass guitar started with a pair of drumsticks. I would beat them on my parents furniture along to my older brother’s Led Zeppelin records while I saved up for a drum kit.
The drums never materialized, but by high school I became friends with an accomplished guitar player. I ended up buying one of his old electrics and taking a guitar class in school.
By this point I was getting into punk bands like Washington D.C.’s Minor Threat and Bad Brains. The raw energy produced by these otherwise laid back looking foursomes led me to accept the role of bass player for a high school band three other friends of mine were putting together without ever having touched a bass guitar before. Along with the Brains’ Darryl Jenifer, another bassist by the name of Rob Wright of No Means No became a big influence on my early playing, and both were using picks for their aggressive attack, so I stuck with a pick as well.
Eventually this high school band of ours evolved into Clutch.
A little while later, it was players like Jack Bruce, Geezer Butler, and George Porter Jr. who inspired me to lose the pick for a more rounded tone by playing with my fingers.
I’ve owned a number of basses over the years, mostly Fender and Gibson, but my favorite bass to use at the moment is a Rickenbacker 4003 with the Ric-O-Sound stereo jack. It splits the treble and bass pickups into two separate signal paths. The combination of an 8×10 cab with a good amount of gain mixed with a 1×15 cab delivering clean lows really lets me hear a full bass tone on stage along with the rest of the band, and if I really want to stand out I’ll step on the wah pedal á la Bootsy Collins!