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Colin Edwin, Musical Chemistry and Following Instincts – Bass Musician Magazine, June 2017 Issue



This month we feature Bassist Colin Edwin…

First of all thanks so much for this interview. Tell us, how did you get started playing bass?

At the age of about 15 I was spending so much time listening to that I felt I wanted to get involved in actually playing somehow. Despite coming from a musical family, unlike my older siblings, I never learned an instrument as a young child.

Once I expressed an interest my father, somewhat hesitantly, bought me a second-hand Japanese Fender Jazz copy, a move suggested by my mother, since both my dad and my older brother played guitar; I guess she thought it would be useful to have a bass player in the family.

Amazingly, within a week or two, I met a highly skilled session bass player, Martin Elliott, who at the time lived locally. He offered me a lot of guidance simply on the condition I practice whatever he gave me to do. Over a couple of years he gave me some fantastic real-world advice and I also got familiar with a lot of the necessary, working musician skills, like reading music and being able to follow chord charts.

I find it kind of amazing that I made such a lucky connection; I am still in touch with Martin and we get together from time to time. Among other things, Martin has been composer Michael Nyman’s long time bass player, which is a kind of unique gig with some very specific technical challenges.

Anyway, I did a lot of the usual things, like forming a band with some schoolmates. Initially I never thought I’d ever get beyond the garage we rehearsed in, and I remember clearly my guitarist mate telling me how great it would be if we could get it together to do a gig in the local pub, and my thinking to myself that it was such a distant goal, “that will never happen!” But we persevered and got out of the garage eventually playing some decent gigs around London.

My parents were really supportive when I told them I was going to drop out of education and try my luck either as a musician or sound engineer. After leaving school I spent a fair bit of time practicing bass at home, in between a succession of really awful dead-end jobs. Gradually, I gave them up as I started to get more work as a bass player, and my interest in different sorts of music grew as a result.

In order to try and get started as an engineer, I offered my services as a painter and decorator to a guy I was introduced to, who was setting up a recording studio. The theory was I’d do some of the painting and decorating he needed doing, in return for him showing me how to operate the mixing desk. I worked on his place, and although we became friends, he never once showed me anything. However, I did get to see lots of musical activity and play with lots of different people who came to the studio as a result of my hanging there, which certainly helped. In regards to my painting and decorating, his only comment was, “Colin, you are completely useless at anything except playing the bass,” which was encouragement of a kind and certainly helped me finally decide to commit to my path.

Who are some of your major influences?

I absorbed all sorts of things growing up, including my brother’s classical guitar playing and the sounds coming from my sister’s bedroom. They were listening to a lot of 70’s and early ’80’s Soul and the likes of Chic and Sister Sledge, and also things like Ian Dury, The Stranglers and the early Police albums.

Later on, I discovered jazz through my father’s record collection, he played jazz guitar and inherited his vinyl collection. He introduced me to artists like Oscar Peterson, Joe Pass, Jim Hall, Django Reinhardt, etc.

I really got interested in double bass after checking out a John Martyn, that album my older brother had left behind when he moved out. I was sort of bored and put it on fully expecting it to be a load of hippy nonsense that I wouldn’t like, but hearing Danny Thompson’s beautiful and powerful upright sound was a real ‘light-bulb moment’ for me. I resolved to get an upright bass as soon as I could.

I latched onto the more alternative end of ’80’s music, stuff like Magazine, The Smiths, Public Image etc., but thinking about it now, there was a lot of upfront bass playing all over the rock and pop records of the 1980’s, so there was a lot of bass coming at me, even in stuff I didn’t particularly like.

I discovered the fretless bass through hearing Mick Karn, a truly unique player, especially his work with Dali’s Car, which is an obscure and short lived project but an amazingly off-the-wall record, which still sounds otherworldly and engaging to me even after all this time.

As a listener, I also went backwards to discover the music of the 60’s and 70’s: Can, Gong, Frank Zappa, Weather Report, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, etc.

I’m usually drawn to things that are quite spacious and minimal and I’ve spent a lot of time listening to reggae and dub, which has definitely informed my approach to coming up with bass parts, as I try my best to create closely integrated and memorable bass lines.

Musically, the person who has influenced me the most is (former Henry Cow multi instrumentalist) Geoff Leigh. After a chance meeting and discovering that we had a shared interest in Moroccan Gnawa music, we had a long running collaboration under the name Ex-Wise Heads. Geoff really encouraged me in lots of ways, and also introduced me to all sorts of ‘sometimes’ quite unorthodox musical ideas; he is easily one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. Geoff has incredible energy and has followed an underground and experimental musical path all his life, with a complete disregard for commerciality, which is very admirable.

Tell us more about your experience with the great Porcupine Tree band.

As soon as the first line up came together to play a short series of gigs and a radio session, I felt immediately that it was a great thing to be involved in, everyone found their role in the music very quickly, there was certainly an instant chemistry.

Over the years, the sound of the band really developed a lot, every album was quite different, from the earlier ambient and psychedelic, space-rock type material to the heavier and more song-based later albums.

We started from nowhere and the growth of the band’s popularity was extremely slow, so we really had to work hard. Without any mainstream exposure and no hit singles, we basically built our audience through solid, regular touring and keeping up the momentum. We certainly achieved a lot more than I, or probably anyone else expected us to.

There’s no substitute for real, practical road experience and although it was tough at times, the variety of situations we worked in have well equipped me to deal with the more fluid set-ups I tend to play in these days.

Creatively, in both line-ups, Porcupine Tree was mostly a good positive combination of ideas and personalities, we all came from quite different directions but we did have a common ground together, which made for some great music.

I know there’s still a lot of love out there for Porcupine Tree, which surprises me, I thought people would forget us quite rapidly, but if anything it feels like there’s more interest now than whilst we were working.

We know you have also tons of other projects going on, tell us something more!

My idea has always been to try and get involved in things that are new for me, and I am lucky in that I have connected with some truly original and creative musicians. It’s usually the case that one thing leads to another, especially if it works on artistic level.

Working with Italian experimental musician Eraldo Bernocchi and starting Metallic Taste of Blood together lead me, through the label connection, to forming Twinscapes, my bass duo with Lorenzo Feliciati.

Subsequently this led to getting involved with Obake, which in turn led to meeting vocalist Lef and forming O.R.k. along with Pat Mastelotto and Carmelo Pipitone.

Likewise, I can trace working with Tim Bowness to our playing a one-off gig together in Kiev, which lead to me playing on his last three solo albums and also my collaborating with Ukrainian female vocal duo Astarta. We made an album together (as Astarta/Edwin), which is very heavily influenced by Slavic folk music – something I was completely unfamiliar with prior to meeting them – but reworked through my own taste filter.

It was a really interesting creative process as I became familiar with their natural style of singing, full of unusual Eastern harmonies and songs, which flow around odd meter patterns.

Another good connection was meeting guitarist Jon Durant whilst on tour in the USA. He asked me to come and play on one of his solo albums, and we got on so well, that we’ve subsequently made three albums together in a more fully collaborative way and we’re continuing the process now.

In all these cases I think there’s been a successful musical chemistry, but I have also really just followed my instincts and tried to remain open. I am more or less aiming to have the creative process be as intuitive and natural as possible, and for me, collaborating with lots of people makes this easier.

For the immediate future, I am just about to do some gigs with SDang!, which is an instrumental guitar and bass duo from Italy, I previously connected with drummer Alessandro Pedretti and we made an album together under the name “Endless Tapes”.

Later over the summer I’ll be playing live with dub/electronica artist Guadi, which is another Metallic Taste of Blood connection, he completely reworked the track “Doctoring the Dead” from our second album for his upcoming release, so it makes total sense for me to join his live set up.

We are also planning another round of O.R.k. activity, which is an incredibly fulfilling band to play in, as the music somehow manages to develop in unexpected ways night to night.

What about your solo project? Are you going to release a new solo album in the near future?

I am always experimenting with various basses and FX and recording short sketches, something I do more or less daily to keep the imagination muscles working; it’s as important to me as practicing the bass in a more technical way.

If I feel an idea has any possibilities, and it doesn’t end up being developed with someone else, then I will generally carry on and develop it on my own. I have a lot of unreleased instrumental material and I’ve also completed a more song-based album with a vocalist friend of mine. I am planning to release much more material later in 2017, but in all honesty, it’s been difficult finding the time to devote to the somewhat tedious process of releasing it.

What gear are you currently using?

I have a built up a large collection of basses and I might try a few out on any given recording whilst tracking. I still use my Wal basses a lot and Spector made me a fantastic USA fretless that I’ve been using the last 4 years or so. With Obake I exclusively use my downtuned Spector Euro 453LX, it fits in nicely with Eraldo Bernocchi’s baritone guitars.

I also have a couple of Basslab basses, a fretted and a fretless Soul IV, which are very unusual as they are made from a tunable composite rather than wood, and I like to use them when I am unsure which bass sound to go for.

For more vintage type sounds I have a Yamaha BB1200A, strung with flatwounds, which gets a lot of use on various sessions, and I have two Ovation Magnums (both a I and a II) for more dub inspired sounds. There are a few things that come out occasionally too, a beautiful Rob Allen fretless (my only 5-string) and a Takamine acoustic bass guitar.

I try and play my upright as often as I can, it’s a relatively cheap plywood backed instrument made in the former East Germany sometime in the ’80’s, I’ve had it for years and it’s a great sounding bass. A while back I went in search of a better quality instrument, but I couldn’t find anything I thought sounded significantly better without selling my children into slavery and robbing a bank.

Amp wise, for both electric and upright, I have been an EBS user for a long time, and I’ve always liked their pedals. As well as sounding great, I find all their stuff really well made, solid and totally reliable.

For more experimental effects, I have a few lesser known, interesting pedals that I use a lot too, Electro Harmonix’s Ravish Sitar and SuperEgo, they are both quite “deep” and will reward the time you spend getting to know them. I love to use an ebow as well; it’s great for making textural and atmospheric sounds, especially in conjunction with a delay.

Talking of delays, I am still finding very cool stuff to do with the Digitech Timebender, some years after I got it, I can’t believe they’ve discontinued it.

It seems that today music has moved mostly to the web… what do you think?

If you mean the ease and greater possibilities for collaborative music making over the Internet, then I agree. The ever-increasing broadband speeds have made it really easy to exchange audio files and so forth. In recent years, I have had a steady flow of featured guest appearances, where people are usually contacting me through my website or whatever and we work together without meeting at all in the real world.

More often than not working alone, and often without a guide or any written part, you have to develop a certain sense of confidence in your creative decisions, especially as now there is the option of unlimited takes and many, many possible bass sounds, so your judgment becomes as important as your chops, perhaps more so.

I would say though, taking things live is really important to me. Apart from my solo material, every single project I mentioned in your previous question has played live at some point, I am not so interested in making purely recorded output with no possibilities for performance, especially as performing music offers the best way to develop it.

Do you have any suggestions for bass players, as well as any final thoughts?

I would encourage anyone starting out who’s interested in progressing their bass playing to try and play with others as much as possible, as there’s a certain sense of judgment that comes from jamming with people and learning how to fit in that I can’t imagine getting any other way. Secondly, ignore Tab and learn to read musical notation, it’s a fantastically useful skill, as well as being a great way to write down your ideas.

Don’t worry too much about equipment; just find something you’re comfortable playing. It also helps to remember that none of us arrive fully formed, be prepared to endure the mistakes you will inevitably make, but more importantly try your best to learn from them.

Finally, it might be stating the obvious, but look after your hearing.

Visit Colin online:



Bass Videos

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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Bass Videos

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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Bass Videos

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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Bass Videos

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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Bass Videos

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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