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: Mai Leisz
Bands & Artists: David Crosby, Jackson Browne, MaiGroup
Home: Los Angeles, California
What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied during the lockdown?
I’ve been working on my new release, “Skies Above Salkantay,” featuring Mike Landau on guitar, Greg Leisz on lap steel guitar, and Gary Novak on drums. We managed to record that song right before the lockdown and it came out last week, so it’s been keeping me busy—mixing, mastering, making the video. We’re very happy with how it came out! Check it out on Spotify and the video on YouTube. I’m also taking online courses about managing, music marketing & promotion—all the boring but necessary stuff. Besides that, I have been doing some remote bass recording for other artists, recording Greg’s guitar and pedal steel guitar, and giving some online bass lessons. In fact, I recently found out that Carol Kaye is giving online bass lessons so I want to take a bass lesson from her!
What have you been working on in your personal bass practice?
I’ve been working on my left hand technique and re-visiting the II-V-I progression.
Which bass have you been playing the most right now?
My main workhorse is my Fodera Emperor Jazz Bass.
What music have you been listening to through this?
I’m in love with Aoife O’Donovan’s Bull Frogs Croon (And Other Songs)!
I’ve been listening to Michael Landau’s Organic Instrumentals, House of Waters, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Joni Mitchell, Weather Report, Elizabeth Cotton, The Byrds, Jackson Browne’s new single, “A Little Soon To Say”, Dawes, Fairport Convention, James Taylor, and since yesterday a lot of John Prine, who passed away yesterday due to Covid-19 complications.
What non-musical things have you been doing to stay busy?
Yoga, cooking, hiking, meditating, reading, and trying to see this pandemic as an opportunity for growth.
What books, shows, or movie recs do you have for us?
The Book of Ho’oponopono: The Hawaiian Practice of Forgiveness and Healing is an amazing book. Right now I am reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Read Loren Eiseley books if you love nature. Estonian poetry. Kahlil Gibran.
Recently I’ve been watching Outlander and I’m loving it. The Irishman was an excellent movie, as well as Jojo Rabbit and Harriet.
What’s the best advice you’d give to musicians during this time?
Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Stay home. Call your family members, especially those that are alone. We are all in this together.
What are you most looking forward to when this all passes?
I am looking forward to not having so much fear, loss, and pain among us. Everybody that dies is someone’s mother, father, grandma, or grandpa, someone’s brother or sister, son, or daughter. Nobody is just a number.
Also, I am looking forward to going on tour. I miss the road and my fellow road dogs.
What’s your best advice for staying positive and keeping morale high?
The first Estonian President said after the Soviet occupation: “The situation is shit, but it’s the fertilizer for our future…” So there we go. I believe we can come out of this wiser and stronger.
For more visit: Mai Leisz
Follow Mai: Here