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: Mark Menghi
Bands & Artists: BPMD, Metal Allegiance
Home: Long Island, New York
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been busier than ever. Plus, now I’m a stay-at-home elementary school teacher—I’ve almost mastered the art of teaching third grade math! I’ve been playing a whole lot of bass, helping with promo for the upcoming BPMD record, doing various other projects, and training like a mad man.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
About a month or so ago, I started seeking spiritual bass advice from, in my opinion, the greatest of all time: Billy Sheehan. He is like my Yoda. He’s been giving me advice, as I am constantly seeking to improve my playing and technique, more so technique. I started relearning some James Jamerson bass lines, having gotten into a Motown kick. I did a bass cover of the Four Tops’ “Reach Out” and the Temptations “Get Ready,” which are on my personal Instagram page. I had to learn to play with just one finger a-la Jamerson. It’s difficult to use just the index finger when I’m so accustomed to playing thrash metal by wailing away with three fingers—index, middle, and ring finger—which I developed my style around. I’m trying to diversify my technique for different situations. When you write with people like Alex Skolnick, ya better bring your A-Game—at least that’s my mentality.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I’m all over the map, it can be Exodus to Howlin’ Wolf to Lynard Skynyrd to the Beatles. The next day it’s Queen to Kreator to the Police.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’m a creature of habit when it comes to gear. I have my old, red Fender Precision—which has an added Jazz Bass pickup in the bridge position—and my Ampeg VR Micro Stack here at home. If I’m home-recording, I plug into IK Multimedia’s Axe I/O through ProTools, using IK’s AmpliTube to re-amp. My pedalboard has been the same forever: Shure Wireless GLX16, Morley Bass Wah, and an Ampeg SCR-DI for a boost.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I’ve been watching shows like The Office, Defending Jacob, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul, and The Last Dance. I’ve been doing a good amount of kayaking and fishing—I live close the Nissequogue River on Long Island. I turned my backyard into a glorified CrossFit studio. A buddy of mine owns a mechanic shop and anytime he gets old a big, old, heavy tires, he gives them to me for lifting or workout regimens. I’ve also been training my kids, who are both standout football players.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
Mainly BPMD, which is Bobby Blitz, Mike Portnoy, Phil Demmel, and me. Our debut record comes out on June 12th, on Napalm Records, and I’m excited to get the music out there.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Exercise! Keeping your body moving is very important right now; for me, it clears my mind. It’s easy to find yourself in a state of depression or a state of constant mundane-groundhog day repression. I know after a few weeks in self-isolation, I got into a pretty bad mental funk, and then I snapped out of it and got myself together, mentally and physcially.
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi