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: Mike Lepond

Bands & Artists: Symphony X, Silent Assasins, Dead on Arrival, Death Dealer

Home: New Jersey, U.S.A.

How have you been passing time during the lockdown?

Besides eating too much, I’ve spent a lot of time working with [vocalist] Sean [Peck] and [guitarist] Stu [Marshall] of Death Dealer. We’ve been busy with promotion, recording demos, and mapping out a plan for the next two years.

What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?

Lately, I’ve been working on walking bass lines and outlining chords. Unfortunately, this has become a lost art in heavy metal. I think this style will sound great with Death Dealer music. The band’s music is heavy as hell, but it’s very complex, and I want to give each song special attention.

What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?

When I want to get inspired, there’s nothing like a lethal dose of classic heavy metal to get the blood flowing. I also listen to as many new bands as I can, to stay fresh. When I wanna mellow out, I always listen to [Ritchie Blackmore’s traditional folk rock band] Blackmore's Night.

What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?

My new favorite toy is the Tech 21 Bass Fly Rig. It’s small, yet it gives me everything I need. I can get overdrive, chorus, volume boost, tuner, compression, and some other fun things. It’s great for studio and the road.

What non-music activities, books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?

Besides music, I love horror movies, Renaissance faires, Halloween, good friends, and politics.

What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?

The new Death Dealer album is called Conquered Lands. It will be released November 13th, on Steel Cartel Records. This album is a ferocious onslaught of power metal and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it. I recorded it with my Caparison Dellinger bass, straight into the board. The most simple and heaviest way.

What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?

Use the bass guitar as your comfort zone. If you’re feeling down, write something on the bass that expresses your feelings. Think of it like having a diary. Get your feelings out via the one thing that will always get you through the tough times. Your bass.

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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi