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Interview With Bassist Craig Schoedler: Bass Legacy



Interview With Bassist Craig Schoedler- Bass Legacy

Interview With Bassist Craig Schoedler: Bass Legacy

Craig Schoedler’s third release, Bass Legacy, marks a decided departure from his solo bass releases, choosing, this time, to display his rich keyboard-based compositions and engaging ensemble playing. Co-Produced with Guitarist/Engineer Rich Kurtz, and released on 01/29/2022, Bass Legacy proclaims Craig as a mature smooth instrumental music bassist and generous bandleader. Joining Craig and Rich are the exceptional Drummer/Percussionist Larry Marshall and Keyboardist Bob Coulon who together form a musically wealthy rhythm section that has the ability to present both musical depth and enough space to allow the listener to the sea of melodic lines featured herein, and each tune presents cool spaces for daring solos that don’t distract from the overall listening experience. Saxophonist Eric Marienthal steps out front on “Power”, “Terminal A”, and “Resilience”, while Saxophonist Bill Evans lends his unmistakable voice “Adani”, and “Krong Kong”. Finally, Kristina Pruitt presents beautifully lilting vocalizations to both “Burlington” and “Rainbow Bridge”. This is a very cool record to listen to!

Congratulations to Craig (and Rich) for producing one of the best records I’ve heard in some time!

Must hear tracks: “Terminal A”, “Adani”, “Burlington”, “Rainbow Bridge”

BAJ: Hi Craig! Congratulations on the release of “Bass Legacy”. What is the meaning behind the title, and how did the compositions come together for the record? Also, what was your process for bringing these particular musicians together?

CS: Thanks Brent and congratulations on your career as well!

I had been writing and practicing these 8 tunes for about a year. I was ready to record, but then the pandemic hit. So, I continued working on them for an additional year. The title “Bass Legacy”, is directly influenced by living through the pandemic and I started to view this project as a legacy – in case it was my last recording. These past few years have shown that we’re all very vulnerable. I do have another, most important legacy with regards to my family! So, “Bass Legacy” just refers to my life as a bassist/composer. I’m always thrilled to work with one of my best friends Rich Kurtz of, who co-produced and engineered this project. He is a master in the studio and we work together extremely well. It was also great to work with my life-long friend, Larry Marshall on drums and percussion. We played together many years ago. So, this was a great reunion for us. I have known and respected Bob Coulon (Piano/keyboards)and Kristina Pruitt (vocals) for many years also so they were an obvious choice for me. I had the great pleasure of adding Bill Evans (sax) and Eric Marienthal (sax) —their playing is just amazing and was a perfect fit for this project.

BAJ: Along with the composition process, mentioned previously, how do you go about identifying solos for the tunes once they are written?

CS: Soloing has always been a focus of my playing. I have been influenced by Mike Stern, Michael Brecker, John Patitucci, Chick Corea, and my Mentor, Jeff Andrews. I try to become extremely familiar with the tunes and I spend many hours soloing over each one. I’m a huge fan of how John Patitucci develops melodic ideas. I do sound like myself when I solo. But, there are definite shades of my influences (particularly John Patitucci, and Jeff Andrews) that shine through.

BAJ: The other lead voices you chose… (Eric, Bill, and Kristina), did you have their particular voices in mind as you composed the material? Or, was there a different situation you could tell us about?

By the way, the addition of Kristina’s vocalizations added a wonderful depth to the record. Kudos!

CS: I was definitely hearing Miles Davis’s “Amandla” sound for “Adani” and “Krong Kong”. Bill’s concept of playing was a perfect fit. I was also very pleased with how Eric’s playing style fit the tunes that he was on. They’re both world-class players for sure and it was great to have them on this recording. I noticed that “Burlington“ and “BVI” would be great tunes to have piano/keyboard solos, so I thought of Bob Coulon right away and he nailed it. When listening back to my bass melodies for “Rainbow Bridge” and “Burlington “, I noticed that I kept singing along. This inspired me to get Kristina Pruitt to sing on these tunes. Kristina is an outstanding vocalist and she was the first and only person that I thought of—perfect choice.

BAJ: Was there any special way you prepared (musically) for the recording of this material?

CS: A few years back I would compose melodies and chord changes a section at a time. Over time I had many of these song segments. Sometimes I would compose a song from start to finish, but sometimes I would find segments that fit together very well. I then programmed the chord changes into my keyboard and would solo over them 4 hours per day all thru the pandemic. My wife Helen and two Dachshunds Hansel and Gretel knew “Bass Legacy” very well before I even recorded it.

BAJ: How are you presenting this material in a live format?

CS: I am the total opposite of a multi-tasker, so I have a very simplistic approach towards music lately. My main goal is to improve my playing and record a new album every 5 years or so. While I will probably pursue jazz festivals for 2023, I would be very happy to play bass for other artists (recording remotely or tours). I’m more focused on having people listen to “Bass Legacy” than to perform it live. But we’ll see.

BAJ: There has been a lot of new music being released – as so many of us found ourselves on lockdown. Are any of the tunes on Bass Legacy ‘old’ ideas that found ‘new’ life” during the lockdown? Or, are the tunes all very recent?

CS: Most of the tunes were completed at the beginning of the pandemic, but a few reflect my life during. It’s very ironic but the tune “Power” was composed at a very difficult time early on in the pandemic—Feb 5th, 2020. On that day, I felt extremely powerless, and this song actually represents how I wanted to feel. I guess this tune could have been called “Fake it till you make it”. My younger son Alex lived in Burlington for 6 years so we would visit him during that time. The tune Burlington is a tribute to Vermont. BVI is a tribute to the British Virgin Islands and the times that I spent there. I wrote Rainbow Bridge for my Dachshund Max (Mahatma) who died in Nov of 2020. To me, the tune “Krong Kong 2020” is an expression of the fear and turmoil that we all felt that year. I picture a Godzilla-like creature coming in and destroying all of our lives in 2020.

BAJ: Thank you for taking the time to walk us through the record, Craig! Again, Congratulations! Is there anything you’d like to say in closing, to our readers?

CS: It was very great to connect with you after 20 years Brent. I wish you well with your CDs which sound great btw. I encourage all readers to get a “Legacy” of their own out there. This album is dedicated to my awesome wife Helen. I want to also mention that one of my main mentors (Jeff Andrews) passed while my album was in its early stages. After that, I was on a mission to get a recording out just to honor him in some way. I hope that he would be proud.

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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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Gear News: Bergantino Welcomes Marc Brownstein to Their Family of Artists



bassist marc browstein

Bergantino Welcomes Marc Brownstein to Their Family of Artists

Bergantino Shares: The innovative bassist/sonic explorer/DJ Marc Brownstein discusses his life of touring with Disco Biscuits, the current tour with the new album “Revolution in Motion, and more!

By Holly Bergantino

Marc Brownstein is the king of “Trance-Fusion” – a subgenre that his band Disco Biscuits has been in the center of for the past two decades. As a founding member of the band from their days at UPenn, Marc has quite the experience under his belt, and each tour has gotten more and more exciting. Disco Biscuits is currently on tour with their new album Revolution in Motion, a full multimedia experience accompanied by a 25-minute animated film that tells a story of intergalactic travelers finding their way on Earth. 

D. J. Brownie! What made you want to be a musician and start playing bass and who drew you to it? 

I was drawn to music after John Lennon was assassinated. I was raised in NYC and the city was just going crazy. I was 7 years old at the time and my thought was, wow why is everyone freaking out so much, this guy must be really special. And so I started to check the Beatles out and that was the beginning of my journey with music.  

A question from one of your fans and fellow bass players Karina Rykman: “How do you keep your bubble of positivity intact and thriving”?

Well it’s funny she should ask. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the run of positivity we are experiencing now began right at the beginning of tour at the beginning of January 2023 when we had Karina opening for us for a week. I can say that her positive energy on tour definitely left its mark on the rest of our tour. Some people are so naturally happy and positive that it leaves you feeling that way, sometimes permanently! 

Besides the bass guitar, what other instruments do you play? 

I dabble with piano, guitar, and I can make my way around a drum kit if I get into it for a few weeks. I’ve played flute and saxophone as well at different times. I also play the double bass. But I would say Piano is my second instrument at this point. I play everyday. 

What is your favorite (and least favorite) thing about touring? 

The best part of touring is the 4 hours on stage with the band. But also getting to visit so many great places all of the time. That’s the silver lining.  The only thing I don’t love about touring is missing my family. 

Tell us about your first music teacher. What lesson did you learn from this person and still use today? 

My first music teacher, Mrs. Koslov, 2nd grade, I just was at her funeral a few weeks ago. I eventually became best friends with Mrs Koslov’s son and we stayed in touch for my whole life. She taught me a lot but really she was the one who gave me the courage to perform. My first public performance ever was a piano version of Eleanor Rigby. 

What was the first bass you had? 

This is tough. I think I had a standard Ibanez jazz style bass first. Within a year or two I got an American Fender Jazz bass. 

What are the basses you have and use now? 

My main bass is an Elrick 5 string by Rob Elrick. I also have a Q5 Modulus and an Alembic 5 as well. Oteil (Burbridge) sent me a Roscoe custom 6 during the Pandemic that I like to play. I also have a Sire Marcus Miller, a newer American Fender Jazz bass, a custom Ibanez SDGR, an Ibanez BTB and an Elrick 5 string Fretless bass which is my main bass at home. 

Who were the musicians who inspired you and what qualities do you admire about them? 

I was deeply influenced by Phish when I discovered them in college. I admired their ability to mesh jazz, classical and rock Improvisational styles. I was very inspired by classic jazz musicians. Miles. Monk. Coltrane. Dexter Gordon. Cannonball Adderly. Mingus. This is the generation of musicians that laid the groundwork for what we do now. 

You studied and started the band Disco Biscuits at UPenn. Tell us more about the origins. 

The band just sort of linked up in the quad (dormitory) and we started to set up our gear and jam for fun. Within a short time I realized the guys I was playing with were really talented and so I applied to the New School for jazz and went and spent a year crash coursing music at a high level so I could return to Penn and start a band with them. 

You have a new album “Revolution in Motion,” that you’re currently touring on. How is it going? 

The tour has been amazing. It’s one of the best tours we ever had in our career. We sold out more than half of the shows and are receiving really great feedback across the country. 

I watched the video on YT for Revolution in Motion. The Choreography, production, color, cartoon characters, and theme were so much fun. Space aliens and psychedelic art, pop ups like a comic book, and you in your alien jump suit with your baseball cap were amazing. Loved! How was this collaborated?  

We have a co-writer on this project named Joey friedman. He conceived of the concept for the album and he had a very specific vision for what the visuals would look like. He spent hours and hours with the animators (Blunt Action) and the AI animator (Todd Kushnir) working through each iteration to make it come to life in the way that it was conceived. 

How would you describe the music you create for Disco Biscuits? 

We always hoped that the music we created would be the weirdest and craziest music of all time but we describe it as Trance-Fusion, which was a name that was drawn from jazz-fusion, the mixing of jazz with rock and roll instruments. We found our own sound by mixing trance music with rock and roll instruments, hence the genre title. It was renamed jamtronica many years later by the folks over at SiriusXM who started a radio show called the Jamtronica show to highlight acts from our scene. I was the host of that show for the first 3 years. 

Describe the creative process when you write new music. 

These days the creative process is a team effort. Usually we start by combing through improvisational sections of music from the tours to see if we can find any melodies or chord structures that are song worthy. When we find it we bring it into our DAW (ableton) and creating a grid. This is easy for us because we often play to a time clock on stage. From there we start building out the structures of the new piece of music while Joey and maybe me or Aron or Jon will start working on some lyrical concepts. Within an hour or two we start to record some of these initial lyrics and melodies and Jon usually starts to adapt them and tweak them to make them comfortable for him to sing. Usually within a few hours we are able to walk away with a very advanced demo of a new song. It’s been an extremely fruitful experience that has left us with albums worth of the best material we’ve had in decades. 

The lighting for your shows is amazing. Who does the lighting design work and choreography for the tours? 

Our new LD is known as Herm, but his name is Alex. We know him as Herm though. He came to us from the band Twiddle at the beginning of this year and has totally revitalized the visual elements of the stage show. He’s a really great fit and we feel grateful to have been linked up with such a massive talent. It was luck and timing and some might call it fate. 

How would your bandmates describe you? 

My bandmates would probably describe me as energetic and talkative and headstrong but also they might notice that I’ve become really good at going with the flow and backing their creative instincts. They may further describe me as anxious and nervous but may also notice that these elements have been remediated of recent. Mostly I think they would describe me as loyal and dedicated. 

How did you find Bergantino Audio systems? 

I was first introduced to it by Ed Grasmeyer who I know as Mike Gordon’s tech in Burlington. I was playing a show at Nectars and needed a backline and Ed came and set me up with the ForteHP2 and I was blown away by the tone. I then noticed Karina Rykman was using Bergantino as well and that’s when I started to think I needed to get in contact with the company. Karina was opening for the Biscuits on Boston and that’s where I had the chance to demo the forte hp2 in the context of the biscuits stage show. I haven’t looked back since that night. 

Tell us about your experience with the Forté HP2 on the tour? 

There are so many things that I can say about it but the most notable is that I’m not struggling to hear the frequencies that I want to hear on stage anymore. I used to have to boost the bass everywhere. In an EQ pedal, on the preamp on the actual bass. But every time you add a little of those low frequencies in those other places you risk degrading the tone of the signal. With the Forte HP2 there is a punch button that gives me exactly the frequency I’m looking for. 100 hz. 4 db. It’s perfect. 

Did you think Jim talked too much when you met him in Boston? 

I will never notice when someone talks too much because chances are I’m out talking them. 

What’s your process for dealing with performance anxiety? 

I used to self-medicate for this purpose but I was recently in touch with a psychiatrist who has helped me regulate my own chemical imbalances and I have found that my performance anxiety isn’t really an issue when I have the proper amount of dopamine in the system! 

Imagine that you’re at a party and it’s a little stale. What’s the “party trick” (or hidden talent) that you’d bust out to liven the place up? 

Before the app existed I was known as a real life fruit ninja. I take a big knife and people throw fruit from across the room and I chop it in half in mid-air. It’s not the safest party trick anymore because I lost vision in my right eye a few years ago and I’m not as accurate as I used to be! 

What hobbies do you have outside of music? 

I love sports. I love reading. I love word games. I love gardening. I love hiking/running/moving. My biggest hobby was snowboarding for many years but I’ve grown injury prone and stay off the mountain these days. 

What is the most trouble you ever got into? 

Well, I managed to stay out of trouble until college. But before weed was legalized I had a series of run-ins with the law and spent a night in the clink in Amherst Mass during my freshman year fraternity pledge trip. Luckily this isn’t an issue anymore for those of us who don’t drink or smoke cigarettes but prefer a little of the wacky tabacky to cool down. 

What is the message you would give to your fans? 

Well I give them so many messages all the time but the most important one that I try to remember to keep constant is a message of gratitude. Thank you so much for sticking with us through thick and thin, through ups and downs, for decades now you have allowed us to live our dreams and have the most blessed lives possible. 

How do you feel social media has impacted your music? 

Social media is a double edged sword. It has allowed us to create a strong community where everyone feels like a family but for someone like me who gets addicted to things easily, I really have to be vigilant with practice and writing and other aspects of my life not to spend the whole day scrolling and wasting the time away. 

What is your favorite song of all time? 

Right now my favorite song of all time is probably a short and beautiful little ditty by Labi Siffre called Bless the Telephone. I would suggest everyone take the 1:29 to listen to it and feel the bliss. 

What did I miss for a question that you would like to share? 

Bass players don’t really get to play solo shows, at least not my style of bass, so I’ve had to learn how to DJ in order to perform by myself at times and I would suggest coming out to see a DJ Brownie show at some point. 

Last one! Describe your perfect meal! 

I love to eat great meals. I’m partial to Asian foods but the perfect meal to me is one slice of pizza from Freddie and Peppers on 72nd and Amsterdam in NYC. PERFECTION. 

Follow Marc Brownstein:
Instagram: @marcbrownstein
X (formerly Twitter): @marc_brownstein

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Interview With Bassist Curly Hendo



Interview Wity Bassist Curly Hendo

Bassist Curly Hendo…

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, bassist Curly Hendo has been super busy. Starting with dance from a young age, Curly took up bass shortly after and has been going strong ever since. She has collaborated with numerous acts worldwide and is an in-demand session/touring bassist and musical director.

Join me as we learn about Curly’s musical journey, how she gets her sound, and her plans for a very bright future.

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank



Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

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Interview With Bassist Graham Stanush



Interview With Bassist Graham Stanush

Bassist Graham Stanush…

Return to Dust is keeping Grunge alive and well! They have a new self-titled album that went out on May 3rd, 2024 and will be super busy promoting this project in the near future.

Graham Stanush is the bass powerhouse driving their sound and adding vocals to the mix. Join me as we hear all about Graham’s musical journey, details about the new album, how he gets his sound and their plans for the future.

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