Mike LePond, The X Factor – Bass Musician Magazine, January 2017 Issue
Hello Mike, first of all thanks so much for this interview. I’m a big fan of yours since I started listened to Symphony X!
How did you get playing bass?
When I was 13 years old my father took me to see the band KISS. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. I watched Gene Simmons flying through the air, breathing fire, spitting blood and looking like a superhero. From that day on I wanted to be a rock star bass player just like him.
Who are some of your major influences?
Well of course Gene Simmons was my very first influence, but as I started discovering more hard rock and heavy metal bands I became very influenced by people like Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath, Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, Joey DeMaio of Manowar and Geddy Lee from Rush.
Tell us more about your experience with Symphony X…
I have been a member of Symphony X since 1999. Because of them, I have been lucky enough to play on their amazing albums, tour the world many times over and meet the most incredible fans and friends. I am truly lucky and blessed to be able to fulfill my dreams in this great band.
Do you have other bands/projects?
Yes, I have a solo project called, “Mike LePond’s Silent Assassins“. The sound is much different than Symphony X. It is a classic heavy metal style that draws from all the influences I’ve had throughout my life. I write all the music and lyrics and the bass guitar is the driving instrument.
You joined the Vivaldi Metal Project as a special guest, what do you think about this project?
I am honored to have been a part of this project. It was such an incredible tribute to this Immortal composer. This album had some of the best musicians from all over the world. I was lucky enough to play along with my friend John Macaluso, one of my favorite drummers ever.
What about your solo album, tell us something more about it! Also, are you planning to make a new one?
Recording my solo album in 2014 was one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. Although it did not sell very well, it received so many killer reviews and so many fans loved it very much. Because of everyone’s support, I will be releasing a second solo album some time in 2017.
Tell us more about your technique. It seems you like the tapping, right?
I am primarily a two-finger player, although I will use three if needed. Many Symphony X songs require a lot of tapping so I will use that technique very often. I also enjoy slapping too. My best feature is my left hand. I use it often to get very fast and clean bass runs.
What gear are you using?
Currently I am playing Caparison basses and Peavey amplification. I also use a Tech 21 Sansamp Bass Driver DI, as well as D’Addario strings.
Do you have any suggestions for bass players and final thoughts?
I really believe bass players should start out by learning the blues. That gives you the basic tools to becoming a great player. Practice slowly with a metronome and learn your music theory. Listen to as many musicians and musical styles as you can. Get influenced by as much as possible.
Thanks again for this interview, you rock!
My pleasure, thank you so much!