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.
Bassist: Ginger Pooley
Bands and Artists: Smashing Pumpkins, Gwen Stefani
Home: Manhattan Beach, California
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
As an introvert, I was happy to have my family home and safely nearby during lockdown. I felt really creative, recording, writing, and dabbling in photography. However, since the murder of George Floyd, I’ve paused to take in what’s going on in our society. This is a significant time in our history where the masses are looking at our country’s systematic racism and working for change. I want to be a part of that change so I’m taking time to process what that means for me and my family, and how music can be a part of that change as well.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I don’t have a rigid bass practice routine. I have a real respect for my bass player friends who are such amazing players and practice a lot—I see you Josh Moreau! I could blame it on being busy and a mom, but the truth is I find a lot more joy in listening than practicing. I hope when I grow up I’ll adopt a more scheduled lifestyle that includes more bass and piano practicing.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
By far the most listened to bass player in our home is James Jamerson. My family and I listen to a lot of Motown and as everyone knows, Jamerson played on the majority of those recordings. The way he plays gives me chills, brings tears to my eyes, and transcends music itself. Is that too over the top to say? We also listen to a lot of Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway. I just love that those are some of my daughter’s favorite artists, as well.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I recently got a Dirge Electronics Slowly Melting pedal for my birthday. It’s mostly a guitar pedal but it’s fun to play with if you like crazy, noisy, dirty sounds. My bass signal path when recording lately has been my rack Sans Amp, API 512c Mic Pre, and Inward Connections The Brute compressor. In Protools I’ll sometimes run through UA’s version of an SVT plug in. Of course I still love playing through my analog Ampeg and Ashdown rigs.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
Quarantine made me sedentary. I’m finally getting out of that phase and doing lots of yoga. I love reading short stories. I recently read Sonny’s Blues, by James Baldwin. I highly recommend it, especially to musicians. In light of what’s going on in our world, it makes a story like this, written in the ’50s, very relevant today. On a lighter note, Never Have I Ever, on Netflix is well-written and hilarious.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I have a band with my husband Kris Pooley and guitarist Max Bernstein called Burning Pools. We’ve written and recorded and we’ll begin releasing music soon. I’m very excited about it. Keep an eye out or follow us on Instagram.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
I’ve been into researcher Brené Brown’s work. She teaches us that we matter and are enough just as we are. I know that as musicians, we can often times make that our identity. It’s hard not to when it’s our passion. But to remember that we are enough just as we are, even if we never played again, is huge. We’re all very special, loved, a part of the human family, and a piece of the universe, without ever having to do or prove anything. I know life can be hard, so my small piece of advice is to have self compassion. Speak to yourself kindly and lovingly. Build yourself up so you can have the strength to build up others.
Follow Ginger: Here
Read all 100+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi