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: Joe Principe
Bands & Artists: Rise Against
Home: Chicago, Illinois
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been fully submerged in my kids eLearning at home. It’s hard enough as an adult to live under quarantine but I can’t imagine what its like to be a kid and deal with this shit. Their whole world is turned upside down and now they have to deal with mom and dad as their teachers. We try to make it as “normal” as possible, and have as much fun as possible. Aside from family time, I’ve been revisiting and re-learning older, lesser-known Rise Against songs. It’s been fun to go down memory lane with our catalog. I’m also a home barista hobbyist, so I’ve been making lattes daily. So many lattes!
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
A big part of my playing style is the way I pick, so I try to keep my right hand and forearm loose and in shape. I do a series of stretches for my hands and forearms before I play, and I make sure to keep my speed and stamina up but playing our faster, more aggressive songs on a daily basis. It’s like running, the more you train the farther you can go without getting tired. I’m also working on being proficient at playing different scales more fluidly. Teaching an old dog new tricks.
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 revisiting catalog of the Police. I love how Sting plays so effortlessly while singing. One of my favorites is “Spirits in the Material world.” I’m also a huge Bruce Thomas fan. His bass work in Elvis Costello and The Attractions is a major influence on me. Armed Forces has to be one of my favorite records.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I just got a Fender American Ultra Jazz Bass, and it slays. The notes are so even and the sustain is amazing. I also got an Orange Little Bass Thing head that’s amazing to record with. It’s very clean and focused—especially out of my Orange 1x12 cabinet.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I absolutely love to ride my bike. It clears my head. I switch between mountain biking and gravel road paved road biking, depending on my mood. I’ve also been hooked on that show Dead to Me, on Netflix.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
Rise Against will release a new record at some point. I’m mainly looking forward to getting back on the road with my Rise family.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
This pandemic will pass, in the meantime, take this time to expand your creativity out of your comfort zone. Good things will surely follow.
Follow Joe: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi