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: Kevin “Brandino” Brandon
Bands & Artists: Tommy Dorsey, Aretha Franklin, Justin Timberlake, Mary J Blige, Outkast, The New Experience featuring Robby Krieger,
Brandino and Friends, The Benjamin Wright Orchestra
Home: Burbank, California
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been doing my therapy walks every day to build strength in my legs, to be able to walk again. I’ve also been recording songs for my new solo project in my home studio, doing remote recording sessions for some Christmas records and TV soundtracks, teaching students via Zoom, and working on a new bass book.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I wasn’t able to pick up an upright or electric bass for almost two years because of my health challenge. Now that I’m playing again, I’ve been practicing major, minor, augmented, and diminshed scales—both arco and pizzicato on upright—at different tempos to get my hands back on track.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I listen to a wide variety of musical styles: hip hop, classical, jazz, rock, and R&B. Some favorite albums include John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme, Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced, The Essential Charles Mingus: The Columbia & RCA Years, Cardi B’s Privacy, Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic, Miles Davis’s 1958 Miles, Black Nile’s Sounds of Color, Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, Justin Timberlake’s The 2020 Experience, Post Malone’s Wow, Victor Wooten’s A Show Of Hands, and Jaco Pastorius.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been recording recently with the New Experience featuring Robby Krieger, and I’ve had a chance to experiment and utilize my Gallien-Krueger MB 212 combo, Boss GT-10B Bass Effects Processor, Boss SY-1 Synthesizer pedal, Morley Wah, and D’Addario NYXL strings. It’s a terrific, eclectic band.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
Walk every day. It will clear your mind of all the hate and negative things going on in the world. We as artists cannot let that consume our lives. It goes against the very nature of why we do music. Be happy and keep playing because music is a universal language that brings life and hope for the world. I’ve also been watching music documentaries on Netflix.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
The New Experience album will be released. Hopefully my solo album will be finished. I’m working on music for the show Twisted Sisters; a project with Tyrone Griffin Sr., TY $, and Wiz Khalifa; a project with my longtime friend, the one and only guitarist, Paul Jackson Jr.; and a project with Mike Albert from Megadeath.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Stay informed but don’t let the media control your life. Things at their worst always get better, and we will always survive and go forward in a positive manner. Do the projects you never had time to do before. And practice bass so when things come back you’ll be prepared for new challenges.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi