As a young musician in his native Adelaide, Andy Cichon’s influences were wide and diverse, thanks in no small part to his musician father.
“My father took me to piano lessons starting at age 6,” he begins. “I taught myself guitar at 12, and started playing bass at the same time because I could read both clefs.” While he embraced artists of the day like Midnight Oil and AC/DC, Cichon’s father also exposed him to more mainstream music. “My father had a Tijuana Brass cover band, and I started playing with them when I was about 14.”
Bass quickly became his primary focus. “I loved the power of it,” he explains. “The party didn’t start until the bass came in. I know it sounds cliché, but we are the foundation. For me, I’m a rock and roll player; I like playing bass as part of a band. That’s all I’m trying to do, to create that nice big fat foundation.”
These days, Cichon lays down that foundation for Billy Joel, a gig he’s held for close to two decades. A long-time Ampeg artist, he describes his sound as fairly traditional. “My sound hasn’t changed much from what bass sounded like 50 years ago,” he offers. “When I think back to the bands I listened to growing up, it was always a guy with a Fender, an SVT, and an 8×10 cabinet.”
His amp collection includes a number of vintage and contemporary models, but his Blue Line SVT remains his favorite, with a classic B-15 a close second. “When I think about an Ampeg B-15 or an SVT, that’s the benchmark,” he concludes. “That’s Ground Zero. Everything else is based on that sound. In the ‘80s, it was all about active three-way bass rigs and all sorts of effects, and I experimented with a lot of different toys, but then I came back to the beginning. I came back to Ampeg. To me, Ampeg is bass.”