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Interview with Bassist Jon Von Boehm

I cannot say enough about Jon Von Boehm, from his solo releases which are totally outstanding, to his work with other amazing artists.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out Jon’s solo releases, I highly suggest that you check them out on his website jonvonboehm.com. And Jon… if you are reading this right now, we are ready for the next solo release!

How did you first get interested in playing bass?

I was exposed to music at a pretty early age. There were always people around me playing and I was really drawn to music. MTV had just come out so I was watching that all the time… you know, back when they actually showed music videos. Anyway, I never showed any interest in playing bass, but one day my dad took me to the local music store to get one. I still have no idea why it was a bass and not a guitar or something. Once I had that I pretty much fell in love with the instrument. I feel fortunate that it was chosen for me because the focus was always on music and not so much just on bass.

Can you tell us about some of the artists you have worked with?

Goodness, there’s so many. Working in Nashville I feel like I’m working with a new artist almost weekly sometimes. I recently did a session with Biff Watson, which was really fun. I’ve done a record with Denny Jiosa, who is a close friend and amazing guitar player. I’m currently playing with the Aly Cutter Band on a regular basis.

My first record has 12 guest artists on it. What’s awesome for me is that they’re all my friends, and not just some hired guns. Some have Grammys and one was even an influence when I was a young bass player.

All that being said I feel really fortunate to have been able to play with so many amazing cats and call them friends. I wouldn’t want to leave anybody out of a list.

Any particular studio dates or road gigs that have some great stories behind them?

I could say some really cool and hip stuff for this one, but there’s this college town where I played on a regular basis. The venues would be filled wall-to-wall with people. One of the venues was right across the street from the university to boot. It was just a meat market… booty everywhere haha! Anyway, security was tight, but a fight would break out almost every time we played. I don’t know who was more entertaining, the band or the crowd. It was fun to watch all the shenanigans and get paid!

The first time I played Roy Vogt’s Thunder Row Bass Invitational for summer NAMM comes to mind as well. The audience was full of cats I had read about and admired for as long as I can remember. They all really seemed to dig what we did. That was pretty tight.

With your latest release in 2018, Ortus, can you tell us what your inspiration behind it was?

You were the inspiration, Ty, ha ha ha! Seriously, people like you kept wanting to know when the next record was coming out, and that was pretty awesome. I really like the whole process of writing for a record, recording it, then putting it out. Plus, I’m at a different place now as an artist then when my first record came out. I really needed to document that. You can still tell it’s me though.

Like I said previously, there were 12 guests on my first record. This one is a trio record. The amazing Chicago bass player Vuyani Wakaba shows up on one track. He’s on the song Soweto, which I wrote for him to play on. Ortus features John Gallo on guitar and Mike Green on drums.

Are you currently working on any new projects or releases?

Glad you asked! I’ve been playing out with my quartet lately. It features some younger cats who are stellar musicians and a real pleasure to be around. The quartet is Cole Clark on Guitar, Kyle Edmonston on Drums and Jonathan Harrison Warren on violin. There’s a few video clips you can see of that particular quartet on my website jonvonboehm.com. I’m also in the process of writing with an organ Trio. That one sounds great! I always loved B3. Jacob Tipton is the B3 player and he is just amazing! Killer feel. The organ Trio has Michael Green on drums.

I started another trio with drummer Brian Czach. He and I have been playing together for quite a while with the quartet Romeo Hill. Our styles mesh really well together so we started this with Cole Clark. We are currently booking shows and writing music for a new record.

What gear do you use in the studio and on the road?

  • I’ve been endorsing Phil Jones Bass for a while now. Definitely my favorite amps, and they’re perfect for what I do. Super innovative!
  • I use DR Strings on all of my basses. I use the same string gages on everything… 40 through 95. I think my first bass had that string gauge and I’ve never changed.
  • I’ve been endorsing Cusack pedals. You can hear those all over Ortus. The Sub Fuzz is so much fun to play with. Through a PA the thing is just crazy. I use their delays as well.
  • The basses that people have seen me kicking around on for the last few years are from FBB Bass Works; Mat Schmill is a great builder.
  • I’m super excited to be collaborating with Skjold Basses now. I’m pretty set in my ways and there’s very few luthiers that I am willing to work with. Peter’s basses have always been on my radar. I would play his basses at tradeshows and just fall in love with them. The necks are unreal. Nothing at those shows could actually touch Skjold Basses. That’s why I was totally stoked when he approached me about working together. He’s definitely going to be one of those builders you hear about for many, many years. Like Smith or Tobias. He’ll shoot me pictures of the current build and it’s like looking at porn or something hahaha! I save the pictures and text them to all my guy friends.

Any advice for aspiring bassists?

Man, just be yourself. Use your ears. Try to listen objectively. That doesn’t mean be your own worst critic though. If something doesn’t sound right to you, change it, and if you like the way it sounds, keep it. Pretty easy. If someone tells you that playing a certain way is the only way or that you should use heavier gauge strings or lighter gauge strings or high action or low action, try to determine their actual motive for saying that. There can be no love where there’s jealousy. It’s just music. Try to have fun. If you want to do this music thing as a living, who you are as a musician is what you’re selling. Did I mention have fun!

Visit online at jonvonboehm.com


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