As the world continues to recover from the Coronavirus, we're all finding ourselves in unfamiliar territory given the subsequent lockdown that is keeping us off of stages and confined to our homes. Luckily, there's comfort in the fact that we're all in this together, and that there are still many outlets for us musicians to keep us active and sane throughout this quarantine. We're checking in with bass players from all over the world to see what they're doing to stay entertained, healthy, productive, and safe during this trying time.
Bass Player: Brian Weaver
Bands & Artists: Nick Perri & the Underground Thieves, Silvertide, We Are Harlot
Home: Los Angeles, California
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
A number of ways: Early on there were frequent Zoom hangs that have become all the rage. Cards Against Humanity nights became a staple. There was also a Texas Hold ’Em tournament that lasted a week. Musically, I’ve taken the time to be creative and lay down some new ideas. I’ve done some remote recording sessions and a few online lessons. During one of those lessons a student asked me to show him how I played an old Silvertide tune. So I ended up doing a few videos of some tracks I’ve recorded over the years that are on my Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube pages. I also did a few quarantine videos with Redlight King, who I did some touring and recording with last year. Other than that, I finished up a few tracks for the Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves album, Sun Via, which comes out on August 14th.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I don’t know if I necessarily have a practice routine, per se. Usually when I have a bass in my hands it’s because I’m working on something. One of the things I like to do is transcribe and learn other people’s tunes and bass lines. I also like to keep my sightreading chops up. I think both of those skills are important to give someone fresh ideas in their own playing and music.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
Anything fun. Lately it’s been a lot of old school R&B, like Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, and anything Motown. The Beatles, Zeppelin, and ACDC are always in the rotation. Some of my favorite bass players are James Jamerson, Nathan Watts, Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, and Chuck Rainey.
Link to live stream:
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
My set up is pretty simple and classic: Fender Precision and Jazz Basses. An Ampeg SVT for touring, and I like switching between an SVT or B-15 in the studio, depending on what the vibe is. Last year I picked up an Ampeg Micro-VR with a 210 cabinet. It’s great for small, in town gigs, and I’ve done some fly dates with the head. Bubble wrap it, pile some clothes around it in a suitcase, and you’re good to go. I used it on a few tracks on Sun Via. I also used it on the self-titled album by BRKN Love that came out earlier this year. As for strings, I’ve always used GHS Bass Boomers. .45-.105. With pedals, I don’t go nuts. I use a SansAmp Bass Driver DI and occasionally an Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi and an EBS OctaBass pedal.
What non-music activities, books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
During the lockdown there were a couple marathons that went down. Marvel and Star Wars in particular. I’m a huge Star Wars fan and during super long drives while on tour with We Are Harlot, I started reading all the New Canon Star Wars books. I’m a huge baseball and Phillies fan. I’ve been trying to stay as active as possible. One of my favorite pastimes is pacing back and forth while on phone calls or responding to texts or emails, so I tend to get in at least 10,000 steps a day that way. Also, there was a period where a handful of friends and I would go to Griffith Park in L.A. and do some social distancing activities, like wiffle ball or soccer—with masks on, of course. I like to call them Sportsball Sundays.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I have a few shows coming up with Nick Perri & The Underground Thieves. The first is happening on album release day, August 14th. We’ll be doing a live stream from Philadelphia, at the Ardmore Music Hall; that can be watched on the Ardmore’s Facebook and YouTube pages or on nugs.tv. Then we’ll be doing a couple of shows with The Struts: August 21st in Butler, PA at the Starlight Drive-In, and August 22nd in Philadelphia, at Citizens Bank Park. These shows should be interesting firsts and I’m looking forward to seeing how everything goes down.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Smile and laugh! Just try to stay busy and creative. Sneak in a few comedies on TV. One day things will get back to semi-normal and we’ll all be back at it.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi