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: Jeph Howard
Bands & Artists: The Used
Home: North Shore, Maui, Hawaii
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been doing a lot of practicing on bass, as well as a lot of yard work, and painting the outside of my house.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I’ve been delving into jazz a bit, and trying to get my rhythm and time feel more solid.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I’ve been checking out Mulatu Astatke, James Brown, Fela Kuti, Ojos de Brujo, Marvin Gaye—with the great James Jamerson, and the funky bass work in Jamiroquai. A solid drumbeat and an in-the-pocket bass line always makes my heart flutter.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying?
Unfortunately for me, where I live is very humid and because I didn’t want to ruin my favorite gear, most of the good stuff is in a storage in Los Angeles. That includes my beautiful Fender Jazz Bass V, my Zon Sonus 5-string, with a Koa top, and all of my amazing Aguilar amps. If I would have known I’d be stuck without them for this long I’d have them all with me. Instead, I have an ESP 5-string and a Washburn acoustic bass guitar here that play pretty well.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I’ve been reading a lot, including Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy, by Ingo Swann, Hunt for the Skinwalker, by Colm A. Kelleher, Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami, and Communion: A True Story, by Whitley Strieber—that the cover use to give me nightmares as a kid. I watched the remake of Suspiria, which was great.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
A couple of big tours have been postponed; one with Blink 182 and a U.S./European tour with festivals. Our newest record, Heartwork, was released in late-April, so we haven’t had a chance to tour on it yet. But when this ends it will be full world domination on our part.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
We are all going through this together, don’t let the media overwhelm you with fear. Remember, we are not in a nuclear war. Think for yourself and use this time to focus on your skills, such as bass playing, cooking, art, reading, and going vegan.
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi