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: Norwood Fisher
Bands & Artists: Fishbone, Trulio Disgracias, Think: EXP
Home: Los Angeles, CA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been concentrating on my physical and mental health—eating healthy, working out, and keeping my head on straight. Engaging in musical pursuits continues to be a major part of what makes up my being. I can’t imagine life without access to music. Business-wise, Fishbone is going through a restructuring. We seem to be moving forward towards recording new material. When the lockdown is over, we’ll figure out a safe and sane way to approach studio work. I’ve been writing, recording, and participating in livestream performances with Beebs, a singer-songwriter who I’ve been playing with for a few years. She just released a single called “Wake Up,” that I play bass on. The video is kinda baddass. I’ve also been teaching via Skype for the past five years, and I’m fortunate to have a few longtime students. The role of teaching has opened up an avenue of growth for me as a player and as a person. All of my students are interesting and incredible human beings. I learn from them as I’m teaching.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I had the great misfortune of breaking my wrist while skateboarding in February of 2019. I consider myself fortunate because two weeks later I was able to perform three one-hour sets with Fishbone, over the course of the week-long 311 Cruise. Although the break is fully healed, I’m still working on getting 100% range of motion, hand, and finger strength, and breaking up the scar tissue. Some mornings when I wake up, I can barely move my left hand. My pinkie is weaker and slower than it was before the break. That said, a lot of my personal practice consists of warm up exercises, from rudimentary to advanced, that help loosen up my muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
A friend recently pointed me towards Black Pumas, and I’m digging deeper into Ron Artis ll. They’re both super-soulful. I’ve been checking out Bad Cop/Bad Cop and the Bombpops. They bring a much-needed raw energy and song craftsmanship that’s very satisfying to me. Other favorites include Kate Bush’s Never for Ever and The Dreaming, Al Green’s I’m Still In Love with You, B.B. King’s To Know You Is to Love You, X’s Los Angeles, and Joi’s Tennessee Slim Is the Bomb.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been playing my Warwick Alien fretted 5-string. I left my fretless Alien at our rehearsal space because I have Fishbone songs that I love playing with it. That bass had been my go-to when at home, but I’m enjoying playing the fretted; it responds well to my aggression. For live streams, demos, and recordings I’ve been using my Warwick Infinity, mostly.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
Watch Midnight Gospel on Netflix! It’s a fun ride and it’s blowing my mind. It reminds me of the expansiveness of encountering the Funkadelic experience growing up.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I’m looking forward to hitting the stage with Fishbone, in front of a real audience to instigate! Also jamming with as many people as possible from my other band, Trulio Disgracias; there’s a whole lot of us, like possibly 24 or more could show up. I live on the beach, which is closed right now, so I’m looking forward to running on the sand and getting back to surfing. Most of all, I’m looking forward to a relaxing of the social distancing thing. Maybe life will never be exactly the same, but eventually there’ll be some semblance of normal human interaction. Hugging a friend that you’ve waved to from across a room will feel great.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Don’t be stopped! Continue to create and connect with your community. Support each other and look for the opportunity to give, utilizing your talents. Party safely and as sanely as you can imagine. Staying creative and as musically active as possible is the best way that I’ve found to pass the time. Writing, practicing, learning songs, and jamming by myself. Sharing with others helps too. Social media, if you feel comfortable with that, is a great way to get immediate feedback. If not, sharing with fellow musicians or close friends and family can get you out of your own head.
Follow Norwood: Here
All lockdowns compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi