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Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson

Martin Simpson was born in 1956 in London, England. His musical life began 16 years later with the acquisition of a Columbus bass – "a pretty poor copy of the Fender Jazz". Not coming from a musical family, but having quite a creative mind, Martin got practicing (like most of us) in his bedroom, two or three hours every night and a year later was playing in a local covers band.  Several bands later and quite a few instruments later including a Hagstrom 8 stringed bass, Fender P (which he eventually converted into a fretless instrument), Gibson Thunderbird, B.C. Rich Mockingbird and an Ibanez 8 stringed bass, he set off for an unknown destiny in South Africa in July '82. It took Martin a few years to settle down and start aquiring some new equipment. First came a bass – a beautiful, Polar White Ibanez neck through body instrument. Professionalism was now beckoning so he aquired another Ibanez bass – a fretless version of the one he already had and upgraded from his Peavy TKO 65W amp to a Peavy Combo 300. The basses have since been exchanged for his current instruments – a Black 4 stringed Warwick Streamer and a Cort Artisan 5 stringed bass which he tunes E through C. "I have to buy 6 string sets and discard the B strings" says Martin. The Peavy Combo remains but it's Martin's dream to one day have an EBS rig like his Seventh Day Adventist pal, Sibusiso Masondo. Martin started playing in a Professional, three-piece outfit called Humaniax in 1986 but was frustrated at not getting any of his ideas listened to, so he formed a two-piece band with a friend. "This gave me a lot more room in the music. I took care of Bass, Keys and Drum Programming, the other guy took care of songwriting, singing and guitaring". Still, the urge to go solo was tugging away and Martin went into the recording studio in March 1997 "with a whole bunch of crazy ideas" to start recording his self-funded album, Bass To Bass. "Things never go as planned and I finally came out of the studio, four years later, with four cd's – Space Rock, Lost In Space, Bass To Bass & The Bass Remains The Same". After the completion of these four cd's, Martin slowly, sub-conciously, started to close the door on the other disciplines. Says Martin "I'd had years of frustration with players of other instruments – especially guitarists and I found myself gravitating towards like-minded folk – other bassists! This was a 90 degree turn in my musical career and one that I've never regretted for a single moment. Bassists are a very open bunch of people – very few bassists are egotists and everyone is eager to share ideas and information. I feel truly blessed to have taken up this instrument so many years ago". Martin now runs The South African Bass Players Collective, which he founded with the help of his friends Kai Horsthemke, Concord Nkabinde and Graeme Currie. He still occasionally pops into the recording studio but spends much of his time connecting with bass players all over the World and organizing events for The Collective.

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