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: Jennie Vee
Bands & Artists: Eagles of Death Metal, Courtney Love, Solo Artist
Home: Los Angeles, CA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been working out, doing Qigong, planting a garden, making collage art, playing with my pets, and working on new music. Today I was the engineer on a session with our neighbor Jeff Baxter from the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan! I brought my over my interface and he tracked some pedal steel for one of our new songs. Totally badass. I’ve been reading a lot. I revisited a book called Pronoia, by Rob Brezny. It’s the “antidote to paranoia,” which I’m sure would be helpful for many people right now. I like to tune into my friend Sera’s Mystic Monday and Tarot Tuesday readings on Instagram—she’s a wise soul with lots of beautiful words and guidance for humankind [@lvxtenbras on IG]. Not much has changed for me as my sweetheart Slim Jim Phantom and I spend all of our time together anyway! He comes on tour with me and I go on tour with him. We do miss going out to dinner with friends and playing shows, but otherwise we are doing great!
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I like to play along to music that I love. This way my chops never get dull. Those bass playing muscles tend to weaken if I don’t play for a week or two. I play along to songs by Eagles of Death Metal and Stray Cats—keepin’ it in the family! I learned to play bass by ear, by playing along to bands like the Cure, the Pixies, and Hole, and that's something I still love to do.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I like listening to SiriusXM, it’s amazing for finding great channels to suit your mood. I love the First Wave channel, being an ’80s aficionado, and with my two biggest bass influences being the Cure's Simon Gallup and Joy Division/New Order's Peter Hook. 50s on 5 is great for pre-Elvis stuff. Then you can cruise over to my favorite station: Channel 21: Little Steven's Underground Garage. I’ve been engineering Jim’s show, Rockabilly Raveup, here at home for the Underground Garage. He plays the greats like Gene Vincent, Buddy Holly, and Eddie Cochran. I’ve also been editing Jim’s new podcast, which you can find at [www.patreon.com/slimjimphanton]; he has a lot of good stories to tell.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I've been a Fender artist for almost twenty years, and have an awesome collection of Fender basses. My go-to is my ’91 P-bass, but I also love my Geddy Lee Jazz Bass. I have a few pedals that are old stand-bys for me, one being the Wren & Cuff Pickle Pie Hella Fuzz B. I run that the entire EODM set and I even bring it when I play rockabilly in Jim’s trio. I also love Earthquaker Devices Terminal Fuzz which I use on “Complexity,” by EODM. I have a Markbass amp I use at home for practicing and also recording. It’s got a 10-inch speaker and an XLR out, I love it. I’ve even played some big shows with that little powerhouse of an amp!
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I recommend a book called Behold a Pale Horse, by William Cooper, for those who like to delve deep into secret-operative-type information. I finished Daisy Jones & The Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid, in two sittings. It was a birthday gift from Shirley Manson, so I read it right away. It's rock n roll fiction, though it is eerily real! Becoming Supernatural, by Dr. Joe Dispenza, is a great, too. I recommend checking out the website [www.magick.me]. Jason Louv is one of my favorite authors and he has a lot of information and great courses you can take on his website. I'm not much of a TV or movie person. I love making collage art with old magazines, it's very relaxing and fun. I use Vision Boards to create collages of what I am feeling or what I would like to manifest in my life. For workouts, I love Tracy Anderson's online classes. “Emotions need motion,” that's one of her quotes. Simple things you can do are planks and pushups. They help your posture and therefore, your bass playing.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I recently started a clothing line called Jennie Vee Los Angeles, and I’ve been working on new designs. I’m working on new music and I have quite a few songs ready to go. It will have Jim on drums, Chris Cheney from the Living End on guitar, Jeff “Skunk” Baxter on pedal steel, and some other friends—it’s going to be an all-star affair! Also, as soon as the starting gates are open, I know EODM will be out on the live circuit again, like a bat out of hell!
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
This is a time to go “within,” while we are stuck inside—to take stock of your life and home. Look at this pandemic from all sides to decide for yourself what’s happening, and then stay away from or severely limit yourself from overdosing on the news. Choose love over fear every time you can. Don’t put pressure on yourself to produce anything, being still and breathing is enough! Be kind to yourself and to each other, and when you are stressed think about the Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness called Ho'oponopono. Simply repeat in your mind or out loud, “I'm sorry, forgive me, thank you, I love you.” It’s a simple and beautiful way to clear the energy and put some good reverberations out to the planet; isn't that our job as bass players?
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi