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Interview with Mark Wade… Symphonic Swing



Interview with Mark Wade... Symphonic Swing

Bassist Mark Wade was born to present music from a beautifully profound place that has led him to the acoustic contrabass.

He has been very present on the New York jazz scene for 20+ years, all the while increasing his appearances as a World-Class sideman for the likes of the (late) great Jimmy Heath, Don Byron, Eddie Palmieri, Conrad Herwig and receiving well-deserved acclaim from top-tier jazz publications Cadence Magazine, New York City Jazz Record, All About Jazz, Jazz Life (Japan), Downbeat Magazine, and others, as well as being featured in Sammy Stein’s 2017 book All That’s Jazz. Since 2015, Mark has released two incredible recordings as a leader, “Event Horizon” and “Moving Day”.  Mark is currently signed to Berlin’s Edition 46 Records. He is an incredibly busy musician, and it’s a pleasure to sit down and chat with him! 

BAJ: Hi Mark! I really enjoyed “Moving Day” and it’s great that you’re receiving a bit of well-deserved recognition for your compositions and fluid playing! 

What led you to your gig as Artist in Residence at Flushing Town Hall? Also, please tell us a bit about your earliest musical education and experiences!

MW: Thanks for talking with me. Flushing Town Hall is the largest arts venue in the borough of Queens in New York City. I was in residence there as part of a jazz collective which I used to be a part of. I was there with them for about two years. during that time, we ran a weekly jam session and clinic, curated a concert series, and produced a jazz festival. It was a lot of work! But very rewarding. 

I was a latecomer to playing music. I didn’t start playing the Electric Bass until I was going into high school. I was self-taught and didn’t start taking lessons until a year before I went to college. By that time I was just playing rock music in local bands. I was always serious about playing the bass though, and I regularly practiced every day for a few hours. I learned mostly from transcribing music off of records and learning songs with my other bandmates. Finally I started studying with a wonderful bass player named Andrew Harkin who taught me skills, music theory, and began introducing jazz concepts to me and,  six months later, I auditioned for the jazz program at New York University and as accepted. Once there, I started studying with Mike Richmond, who at the time was playing with Miles Davis on what would be some of his last recordings. Mike was an excellent teacher, and he’s still a friend to this day. I started playing the acoustic bass about halfway through my experience at college. Two years later, I had graduated and was making a living playing the Double Bass. It’s been quite a ride ever since!

BAJ: As you have had a wonderful career of playing every known notable hall on the East Coast (Carnegie Hall, The Blue Note, The Iridium, Birdland, Lincoln Center) where are your favorite venues to play, and why?

MW: I’ve been very fortunate to play in some great rooms here in New York. To be honest though, my most memorable experiences have been when the music is at its highest level. Sometimes, that happens at rooms that are much less famous or of any  consequence. In the end, a room is just a room. But, when the sound is good and the band is really playing, that’s the best experience you can have in my opinion! If that happens in one of those famous rooms, that’s great! If not, that’s okay too! All that being said… Carnegie Hall is pretty special! 

BAJ: Sadly, we have very recently lost the great Jimmy Heath. Please tell us what it was like to be part of his incredible 2012 Four Black Immortals tour, and what preparations went into that undertaking? 

MW: The Four Black Immortals Concerts were fun to do! Ernie Wilkins wrote a piece for big band, choir, and string orchestra by that title, and I was playing in a string ensemble that was contracted to play the orchestra parts for that piece – which was fronted by Jimmy Heath’s big band. We played a couple of concerts in the New York metro area including the Lincoln Center in New York, and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Those concerts were like a microcosm of my world – the melding of classical and jazz music. Obviously, listening to Jimmy Heath in that context (or any context) was a special thing for me. Those were great shows for sure!

BAJ: Let’s talk about your writing process for “Moving Day”! Or, rather, your process in general! How often do you find yourself composing from the bass, if at all? Also, what were the differences between writing for 2015’s “Event Horizon” versus 2018’s “Moving Day”?

MW: When I wrote the music for Event Horizon, I was writing music in the abstract. Those tunes were a combination of melodies and harmonies that I happened to gravitate towards at that time. The writing process for Moving Day was very different. For the second album, I took inspiration from certain places and experiences in my life as the basis of writing that music. It was the first time I really attempted writing something that was thematic and was representative of something outside of the music itself. For instance, the title track is based on the fact that I’ve moved 14 or 15 times over the course of my life! I have found that the experience of moving brings on a host of emotions such as anxiety, hopefulness, nostalgic, and excitement. So, I tried to reflect those ideas in the music as best I could. 

In general, I do very little of my composing with the bass in my hands. I compose at the keyboard. It is a liberating experience for me to get away from my instrument when I write music, and I don’t want to be influenced in any way by patterns or technical issues on the bass that may unnecessarily influence my writing choices. The more I write the honest reflection of what I hear in my head… the better the music is for me. I have  limited facility on the piano, so I feel that the situation leads me to a clearer place in my composing.

BAJ: I love the sound of your instrument, and how it sits in the recordings of both releases. What are you playing these days, and how long have you worked with this particular bass?

MW: Thanks. My bass was made in 2007 by a Czech maker, Rudolph Fiedler. I have owned this instrument since 2012. A lot of new instruments can go through a period of settling-in, where they can crack and need maintenance frequently. I have been very fortunate that this bass has needed almost no maintenance to speak of. I find that this bass is well suited to jazz. It has a clear sound, while still maintaining a nice color and warmth. It also amplifies well, which is a very important thing! The Rudolph Fiedler records well, although that is as much a function of the bass as it is the skill of the recording engineer in the room. For my recordings, I’ve been blessed with having great engineers!

BAJ: Draw a line from your weekly appearances at Birdland (1997-1999) to the present that speaks to your path to growth and deeper musicality as a musician! 

MW: My time at Birdland was important for my development. I played there once a week for two years. My set was the early set. So, we played before the famous people came on, which gave me the chance to hear major artists every week over that two-year period! Birdland exposed me to all different kinds of jazz music played at a high-level. During that time, I also started playing in community orchestras here in New York. Initially, it was just an opportunity for me to get more technical ability on the bass as well as improve my sight-reading. I found that I really loved the music, and I put a lot of hours of practice into that as well. 

Over time, classical music became part of my professional skillset along with jazz music, as well as playing electric bass on more commercial type projects. I feel the convergence of all three of those musical paths are what define me as a musician today – when it comes to my original jazz music! I feel that I am the sum of parts that includes music that is not necessarily jazz-related. While my taste in music will always run towards jazz and classical music, what I love most is music that’s played at a high level – regardless of the genre or category. When I am in musical situations that are played at a high level, I experience my growth as a musician.

BAJ: How do you “find” yourself gravitating to a particular instrument? Is it the ethereal “voice in the wood”? Or, is it something more visceral? 

MW: When it comes to an individual bass, choosing one instrument over another often comes down to your personal style of bass playing. Certain instruments do certain things well than others. If you are someone who likes to play gut strings and get more of a shorter note with less definition to the pitch, there are basses that are going to be more generous to you, than others. My sound concept is about playing clear and warm at the same time. That can be a difficult balance as sometimes, depending on the sonic situation, as one may have to sacrifice a little of one to get the other. Whatever instrument helps me to achieve the sound I’m after is the instrument I gravitate towards.

Interview with Mark Wade... Symphonic Swing - 2

BAJ: We haven’t talked about your bass guitar playing, at all! Wow! Apologies! What are your favorite aspects of playing the bass guitar, and let’s unpack your technique for the bass guitar versus the acoustic bass! 

MW: The electric bass was my first love, and it will always have a special place in my musical life – even if it’s not the instrument I am playing on the majority of gigs, these days. One of the great advantages of playing electric bass is that I can hear all of the notes that I play! As crazy as that sounds, that’s not always the case on the acoustic bass – whether you’re playing in a jazz combo or an orchestra! The electric bass is so much more controllable in terms of tone and timbre. Turning a few knobs can solve a lot of the challenges that exist in your concert venue of the day! 

The technique of the electric bass versus the acoustic bass are two very different things. My first teacher Andrew Harkin saw them as two completely different instruments. While I don’t quite see it that way myself, they both require very different positions for your body, arms, wrists, hands, and fingers. Both instruments require you to be as efficient as possible in order to play them at the highest level. But, due to the large and cumbersome nature of the acoustic bass, it’s much harder to be as efficient by comparison.

BAJ: Please give us a “gear rundown” for your traveling rig. Also, what do you most need to hear from your instruments when you record, and what are the differences (if any) in your tonal choices when you’re performing?

MW: My setup for acoustic bass, when I’m able to bring that to a gig, is Thomastik Superflexible strings with a Fishman Full Circle pickup combined with a K&K mic. I use a Dtar preamp to split the pickup and mic into two different signals that I can control separately. That setup gives me the biggest flexibility in sound depending on the room or situation. A louder band typically means I will use less of the microphone. Whereas a quieter gig lets me use that microphone and take advantage of the sonic space to get a warmer, rounder sound more indicative of the instrument. The preamp gives me the added benefit of being able to send a great direct sound to the board to run to the house –  should that option be available. Often, DI can sound harsh. But, with this setup, I’m able to get something that still sounds like an acoustic bass. The cabinet I play through is called a Barefaced Midget (I kid you not) from the U.K. It has a nice full sound with plenty of power, but it’s lightweight and easily transportable – which is key in NYC!

BAJ: You are so wonderfully melodic in your soloing! I dig it! Let’s talk about your approach to solos.

MW: Thank you very much. My approach to soloing has always been to try to emulate horn players or piano players. To do this, the technical requirements on the instrument can be quite daunting. It means extra attention to intonation and conceiving a general fluid motion in every range of the instrument. Transcribing horn players has the added benefit of going to the source of those innovators with cutting-edge harmonic concepts. I think of it this way… looking at the Miles Davis Quintet of the 50s, I would say that Paul Chambers is one of my favorite bass players of all time! He is an absolute study in how to play straight-ahead “jazz time”. But, for me, I view John Coltrane’s harmonic concept as more of an influence than Paul’s bass solos. I love Paul solos! But, Trane was at the forefront of expanding the Jazz Language, and those are the guys I look to, as I find ways to incorporate ideas into building a language of my own. The bass is not seen as primarily a solo instrument. But, I think the nature of string instruments, in general, give the player certain qualities which (when developed through rigorous technical study) can lead to an expression unique from any instrument in the band.

BAJ: Absolutely! Well said, Mark! 

What are your touring plans for “Moving Day” now that you’re experiencing such a cool second look?! Along with that… Do you have any advice for our reading audience about touring with acoustic instruments? Or, touring, in general?

MW: To support the release of Moving Day, I will be headed to the UK in early February for a week of tours and Master Classes. It will be my first time traveling to the UK, and that’s exciting! I have been very fortunate to have received an extremely positive response for my music from journalists and radio stations there! So, I’m excited to finally have a chance to visit them. 

Traveling with an acoustic bass is a difficult thing, and that often means borrowing a bass at your destination. Which means, you never know what you’re going to get! Even if the borrowed instrument is in fine condition it’s never going to feel the same as your own instrument! The intonation can be very different, and the setup can also be very different, etc. Fortunately, now, with the advent of various kinds of travel basses, it is possible to have a consistent instrument with you wherever you go! One of my goals is to afford an additional instrument just for touring in these situations. Though, at present, I have not done enough touring to justify that particular purchase. That day is coming soon. In general, touring is all about being flexible. You have to be able to roll with the punches when travel plans don’t work out the way that you hoped they would. It often means long hours of travel with not a lot of time to rest and recover for the concert. Being as rested as possible, so that you can show up and give your best performance, is key.

BAJ: It is a wonderful thing to find a voice (instrumental or vocal) that matches so well with one’s own voice. Tell us about performing with your wife, Teri! 

MW: It’s been a real pleasure to be able to share some of my concerts with my wife, Teri Leggio Wade. Teri is the daughter of Saxophone great Carmen Leggio, who credits include Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Thad Jones & Mel Lewis, Woody Herman, and many, many others. Teri grew up around some of the biggest names in jazz music, and as such, she has a natural affinity for that music. She doesn’t pursue her vocal career full-time, at this time. But, the times we get to share on the bandstand are special ones for sure! She has been unwavering in her support of my career, and anyone who is involved in the music business knows that support (especially spousal support) goes a long way.

Interview with Mark Wade... Symphonic Swing 3

BAJ: What are you practicing these days? Also, who is inspiring you (musically speaking) over the past couple of years?

MW: I still practice regularly every day. Being that I play several different kinds of music, there is never any shortage of things to work on. As a classical player, I work on my orchestral excerpts and continue to try to build my technique with the bow. 

As a jazz player, I’m trying to continue to build my harmonic language and to increase my abilities as a soloist and as a rhythm section player. I try to continue to develop more efficient ways of moving around the bass and having a general physical approach to the instrument that I can replicate and rely on in any situation. That means getting into some of the finer points of body mechanics. The less tension I have in my body, the better I play – no matter the circumstance. 

Inspiration can come from a number of places. In my case, it’s less about one specific person and more about certain situations and experiences I have had – both as a player and as an audience member. Going to watch the bass section at the New York Philharmonic is very inspiring! So too, is watching Eddie Palmieri do his thing at the ripe old age of 80! The more music I listen to, the more inspiring things I find. There seems to be no shortage of people doing creative things that are amazing.

BAJ: When can we expect a new release of original compositions from you, Mark?

MW: I’m going into the studio with my band towards the end of May 2020 to record my third album. The music for the album has already been written, and in most cases, we’ve played the music quite a bit over the last 6-to-8 months. It’s great to see how the music is coming together, and I’m excited to share this music with my listeners. Given the schedule of recording, mixing, and releasing an album for public consumption means the music will probably be available sometime in early 2021. 

For those of you who are curious about the new compositions, you can get a preview of some of the tunes we’ve played live on my YouTube page. The link is on my website

BAJ: Thank you very much for taking a few minutes with me, man! Let’s talk again soon?

MW:  It was a real pleasure. I’ll be sure to send you a copy of the new album. Looking forward to doing this again.

BAJ: Thank you, Mark!

Folks, check out the awesome review on Bass Musician Magazine

More Bass Player Interviews


Alberto Rigoni On Unexpected Lullabies



Alberto Rigoni On Unexpected Lullabies

Readers have been fans of the composer, bass player, and Bass Musician contributor Alberto Rigoni for some time now.

In this interview, we had the opportunity to hear directly from Alberto about his love of music and a project near and dear to his heart, “Unexpected Lullabies”…

Could you tell our readers what makes your band different from other artists?

In 2005, I felt the urge to write original music. My first track was “Trying to Forget,” an instrumental piece with multiple bass layers (rhythm, solo, and arrangement), similar to the Twin Peaks soundtrack. When I played it for a few people, they really liked it, and I decided to continue composing based on my instinct and ear without adhering to any specific genre. In 2007, I released “Something Different” with Lion Music. The title says it all! Since then, I’ve released many solo albums, each different from the others, ranging from ambient to prog, fusion, jazz, and new age. I am very eclectic!

How did you get involved in this crazy world of music?

As a child, I listened to the music my parents enjoyed: my dad loved classical music, while my mom was into Pink Floyd, Genesis, Duran Duran, etc. These influences left a significant mark on my life. However, the turning point came at 15 when a drummer friend played me “A Change of Seasons” by Dream Theater, which was a shock! From that moment, I decided to play bass and cover Dream Theater songs, which I did for many years with my cover band, Ascra, until it disbanded in 2004. After that, I joined TwinSpirits (prog rock) led by multi-instrumentalist Daniele Liverani. Since then, I haven’t played any more covers!

Who are your musical inspirations, and what inspired the album and the songs?

My roots are in progressive rock metal, with influences from bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X, and many others. However, I listen to all genres and try to keep an open mind, which helps me compose original music. On bass, I was significantly inspired by Michael Manring and Randy Coven (bassist of Ark, Steve Vai, etc.). But I don’t have a real idol; I just follow my own path without compromise.

What are your interests outside of music?

Living in Italy, I love good food and wine! Beyond that, I have a deep interest in art in general and history, not just of my country. I enjoy spending time with friends, skiing, biking, and walking in nature. This is how I spend my free time. The rest of my time is devoted to music and my family!

Tell us about the new album.

It is definitely an out-of-the-box album. When I found out last year that I was going to have a baby girl, I decided to compose a sort of lullaby album, but I didn’t want to cover already famous lullabies. So, I started composing new tunes with the goal of creating an album that was half-sweet and half-hard rock. I did include some covers like “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra, sung by Goran Edman, former lead singer of Malmsteen. It’s not exactly a lullaby, but I felt the lyrics fit the album, as does the instrumental version of “Fly Me to The Moon.” There are also tracks with just bass and piano (Nenia) or two basses (Vicky). It was definitely an interesting creative process!

What is the difference between the new album and your previous releases, and will there be any new material from your other outfit called BAD AS?

BAD AS is essentially a metal band with several influences including prog. My solo genre is quite different, although there are some metal songs on a few albums. It’s always difficult for me to categorize my music… let’s say it’s a mix of prog, ambient, fusion, and new age.

Where was the album recorded, who produced it, and how long did the process take?

I produced my last album entirely by myself, including mixing and mastering. Unlike other albums I’ve produced within a few months, this one took much longer, perhaps because I was very busy or maybe because I wanted it to be perfect for my daughter, who is now three months old. In any case, I am satisfied. Once again, I did something different from my previous albums.

What is the highlight of the album for you and why?

My favorite song is the first track titled “Vittoria,” named after my daughter. It’s the intro to the record and isn’t very long, but the melody stuck in my head. Another standout track is the instrumental version of “Fly Me to The Moon” by Frank Sinatra, where I used fretless bass. The first part is sweet, the second part definitely rocks!

How are the live shows going, and what are you and the band hoping to achieve?

With BAD AS, this year we shared the stage with David Ellefson’s (former Megadeth bassist) band and talented young singer Dino Jelusik (White Snake). We plan to continue performing all over Europe!

What’s in store for the future?

I am working on an instrumental project called Nemesis Call, a progressive shred prog metal album with various influences. It will feature guest appearances from famous musicians like drummers Mike Terrana and Thomas Lang, as well as young talents like Japanese guitarist Keiji from Zero (19), 14-year-old Indian drummer Sajan Young, and guitarists Alexandra Zerner and Alexandra Lioness, Hellena Pandora. It’s scheduled for release at the end of the year or early 2025. As an independent artist, I have launched a fundraising campaign with exclusive pledges at And no, I am not begging; the album will be released anyway!

What formats is the release available in?

Unexpected Lullabies is available both as a Digipack CD and on streaming platforms.

What is the official album release date?

June 4th, 2024.

Thanks for this interview Bass Musician Magazine and for the continued support to my career!

Visit Online:

CD Track Listing:
1. Vittoria
2. Fly Me to the Moon
3. Azzurra
4. Dancing with Tears in My Eyes (feat. John Jeff Touch)
5. Out of Fear
6. Veni Laeatitia (feat. Alexandra Zerner)
7. Nenia
8. Slap Lullaby (feat. Karl Clews)
9. Saga
10. Vicky (feat. Michael Manring)
11. Ocean Travelers (feat. Vitalij Kuprij)
12. Strangers in the Night (feat. Göran Edman)
13. Peaceful
14. Un uomo che voga (feat. Eleonora Damiano)

Band Line-Up:

  • Tommaso Ermolli arrangements on “Vittoria”
  • Sefi Carmel on “Fly Me to the Moon” (Cover) (except for the keyboard solo by Alessandro Bertoni)
  • Piano and keyboards by Alessandro Bertoni on “Azzurra”
  • Leonardo Caverzan, guitars, and John Jeff Touch, vocals on “Dancing with Tears in my Eyes” (Cover)
  • T. Ermolli keys on “Out of Fear”
  • Alexandra Zerner everything on “Veni Laetitia”
  • Daniele Bof piano on “Nenia”
  • Karl Clews, piccolo bass on “Slap Lullaby”
  • Jonas Erixon vocals and guitars on “Saga”
  • Michael Manring bass on “Vicky”
  • Vitalij Kuprij, keyboards and piano, and Josh Sapna, guitars, on “Ocean Traveler”
  • Göran Edman, vocals, Emiliano Tessitore, guitars, Emiliano Bonini, drums, on “Strangers in the Night” (Cover) everything by Alberto Rigoni and vocals by Federica “Faith” 
  • Sciamanna on “Peaceful”
  • T. Ermolli, guitars, and Eleonora Damiano, vocals, on “Un uomo che voga All drums programmed by Alberto Rigoni
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Bass Books

Interview With Barker Bass’s Inventor and Writer Lee Barker



Interview With Barker Bass's Inventor and Writer Lee Barker

If you are an electric bass player, this is an exciting time to be alive as this relatively new instrument evolves around us. Some creative individuals have taken an active role in this evolution and made giant leaps in their own direction. Lee Barker is one of these inventive people having created the Barker Bass. 

Fortunately, Lee is also an excellent writer (among so many talents) and has recently released his book “Plausible Gumption, The Road Between a Christmas Toolbox and The Barker Bass”. This book is a very fun read for everyone and shares a ton of details about Lee’s life in general, his experiences as a musician, a radio host, and a luthier. Now I am fortunate to have the great opportunity to gain even more insights into this renaissance man with this video interview.

Plausible Gumption, The Road Between a Christmas Toolbox and The Barker Bass is available online at 

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Bergantino Welcomes Michael Byrnes to Their Family of Artists



Bergantino Welcomes Michael Byrnes to Their Family of Artists

Interview and photo courtesy of Holly Bergantino of Bergantino Audio Systems

With an expansive live show and touring, Mt. Joy bassist Michael Byrnes shares his experiences with the joyful, high-energy band!

Michael Byrnes has kept quite a busy touring schedule for the past few years with his band, Mt. Joy. With a philosophy of trial and error, he’s developed quite the routines for touring, learning musical instruments, and finding the right sound. While on the road, we were fortunate to have him share his thoughts on his music, history, and path as a musician/composer. 

Let’s start from the very beginning, like all good stories. What first drew
you to music as well as the bass? 

My parents required my sister and I to play an instrument.  I started on piano and really didn’t like it so when I wanted to quit my parents made me switch to another instrument and I chose drums.  Then as I got older and started forming bands there were never any bass players.  When I turned 17 I bought a bass and started getting lessons.  I think with drums I loved music and I loved the idea of playing music but when I started playing bass I really got lost in it.  I was completely hooked.

Can you tell us where you learned about music, singing, and composing?

A bit from teachers and school but honestly I learned the most from just going out and trying it.  I still feel like most of the time I don’t know what I am doing but I do know that if I try things I will learn.  

What other instruments do you play?

A bit of drums but that’s it.  For composing I play a lot of things but I fake it till I make and what I can’t fake I will ask a friend! 

I know you are also a composer for film and video. Can you share more
about this with us?

Pretty new to it at the moment.  It is weirdly similar to the role of a bass player in the band.  You are using music to emphasize and lift up the storyline.  Which I feel I do with the bass in a band setting.  Kind of putting my efforts into lifting the song and the other musicians on it.

Everybody loves talking about gear. How do you achieve your “fat” sound?

I just tinker till it’s fat lol.  Right now solid-state amps have been helping me get there a little quicker than tube amps.  That’s why I have been using the Bergantino Forté HP2 –  Otherwise I have to say the cliche because it is true…. It’s in the hands.  

Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that you’d like
to explore on the bass.

I like to think of myself as a pretty catchy bass player.  I need to ask my bandmates to confirm!  But I think when improvising and writing bass parts I always am trying to sneak little earworms into the music.   I want to explore 5-string more!

Who are your influences?

I can’t not mention James Jamerson.  Where would any of us be if it wasn’t for him?  A lesser-known bassist who had a huge effect on me is Ben Kenney.  He is the second bassist in the band Incubus and his playing on the Crow Left the Murder album completely opened me up to the type of bass playing I aspire towards.  When I first started playing I was really just listening to a lot of virtuosic bassists.  I was loving that but I couldn’t see myself realistically playing like that.  It wasn’t from a place of self-doubt I just deep down knew that wasn’t me.  Ben has no problem shredding but I was struck by how much he would influence the song through smaller movements and reharmonizing underneath the band.  His playing isn’t really in your face but from within the music, he could move mountains.   That’s how I want to play.    

What was the first bass you had? Do you still have it?

A MIM Fender Jazz and I do still have it.  It’s in my studio as we speak.  I rarely use it these days but I would never get rid of it.  

(Every bass player’s favorite part of an interview and a read!) Tell us about
your favorite bass or basses. 🙂

I guess I would need to say that MIM Jazz bass even though I don’t play it much.  I feel connected to that one.  Otherwise, I have been playing lots of great amazing basses through the years.  I have a Serek that I always have with me on the road (shout out Jake).   Also have a 70’s Mustang that 8 times out of 10 times is what I use on recordings.  Otherwise, I am always switching it up.  I find that after a while the road I just cycle basses in and out.  Even if I cycle out a P bass for another P bass.  

What led you to Bergantino Audio Systems?

My friend and former roommate Edison is a monster bassist and he would gig with a cab of yours all the time years ago.  Then when I was shopping for a solid state amp the Bergantino Forté HP2 kept popping up.  Then I saw Justin Meldal Johnsen using it on tour with St. Vincent and I thought alright I’ll give it a try!

Can you share a little bit with us about your experience with the Bergantino
forte HP amplifier? I know you had this out on tour in 2023 and I am pretty
certain the forte HP has been to more countries than I have.

It has been great!   I had been touring with a 70’s SVT which was great but from room to room, it was a little inconsistent.  I really was picky with the type of power that we had on stage.  After a while, I thought maybe it is time to just retire this to the studio.  So I got that Forte because I had heard that it isn’t too far of a leap from a tube amp tone-wise.  Plus I knew our crew would be much happier loading a small solid state amp over against the 60 lbs of SVT.  It has sounded great and has really remained pretty much the same from night to night.  Sometimes I catch myself hitting the bright switch depending on the room and occasionally I will use the drive on it.

You have recently added the new Berg NXT410-C speaker cabinet to your
arsenal. Thoughts so far?

It has sounded great in the studio.  I haven’t gotten a chance to take it on the road with us but I am excited to put it through the paces!

You have been touring like a madman all over the world for the past few
years. Any touring advice for other musicians/bass players? And can I go to Dublin, Ireland with you all??

Exercise!  That’s probably the number one thing I can say.  Exercise is what keeps me sane on the road and helps me regulate the ups and downs of it.  Please come to Dublin! I can put you on the guest list! 

It’s a cool story on how the Mt. Joy band has grown so quickly! Tell us
more about Mt. Joy, how it started, where the name comes from, who the
members are and a little bit about this great group?

Our singer and guitarist knew each other in high school and have made music together off and on since.  Once they both found themselves living in LA they decided to record a couple songs and put out a Craigslist ad looking for a bassist.  At the time I had just moved to LA and was looking for anyone to play with.  We linked up and we recorded what would become the first Mt. Joy songs in my house with my friend Caleb producing.  Caleb has since produced our third album and is working on our fourth with us now. Once those songs came out we needed to form a full band to be able to do live shows.  I knew our drummer from gigging around LA and a mutual friend of all of us recommended Jackie.  From then on we’ve been on the road and in the studio.  Even through Covid.

Describe the music style of Mt. Joy for me.

Folk Rock with Jam influences

What are your favorite songs to perform?

Always changing but right now it is ‘Let Loose’

What else do you love to do besides bass?


I always throw in a question about food. What is your favorite food?

I love a good chocolate croissant.

Follow Michael Byrnes:
Instagram: @mikeyblaster

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Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents



Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

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Bass Videos

Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan



Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

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IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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