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: Phil Buckman
Bands & Artists: Fuel, Petty Cash, Filter
Home: Los Angeles, CA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been enjoying spending time with my family. My kids are four-and-a-half-year-old twins, and they’re changing every day. I’m thankful to get this quality time with them; so many touring guys miss a lot of it. I’m also a voiceover artist, and I work from my home studio. I’ve gotten into photography and videography this past year. If you were to video chat with me, it looks like I’m in a TV studio. I’ve been shooting pictures a bit, and I directed and edited the video for an at-home collaboration cover of “Hysteria,” by Muse. I recorded it with guitarist Phil Demmel, drummer Brian Tichy, and vocalist Lukas Rossi.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I have a couple of basses in my house. One next to my desk, and one next to my bed. I just grab one and mindlessly noodle while watching TV or messing around online. I’m starting to formulate some song ideas, and I’ll probably start recording them in my studio soon.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I simply say, “Alexa, play classic rock.” She hasn’t steered me wrong yet!
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve accumulated so much gear over the years, and it drives my wife crazy! We can’t park in the garage, and the studio is packed. I use a two-head, two or four-cabinet setup with Fuel, and the crazy thing is, for the last two years, we have only been doing fly dates, so I’ve been using rental amps. I got my pedalboard down to a small footprint, with just the Line 6 HX Stomp, and Line 6 G50 wireless on it. It fits into a backpack that I can throw into my suitcase, and I bring two basses in my ENKI case. With Petty Cash, I use an Ampeg SVT-VR and an 810, but most of the time we have backline provided. A few years ago, I downsized my board to the Line 6 Helix, and I love it! I was able to get all the tones I wanted for the live shows. And once they came out with that HX Stomp, I got the size down even more. My basses are my ESP signature prototypes, and I absolutely love them. They serve every need I could have—except my old Hamer 12-string, which I try to sneak in on records. It sounds so damn full! I think I’ve finally cured myself of GAS—Gear Acquisition Syndrome. Now, I’m all about camera gear!
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
Get outside and move! Just make sure you watch Broke, on June 18th at 9:30pm, on CBS! I have a guest star role in the episode, which was fun to do! I live in the Santa Monica Mountains, and we have great mountain bike trails that I can ride to from my house, so I try to get out a few times a week. A good ride will reset my brain and help me deal with the stress of everything 2020 has thrown at us—so far.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
We’ll have a lot of Fuel and Petty Cash shows to make up. And, I’m looking to do a lot more TV, voiceover, and film work.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Nothing lasts forever. This will end, and we will get back to what we love to do. It may look a little different at first, but that’s what makes it exciting! We’re entering uncharted territory. It’s up to us to make it count!
Follow Phil: Here
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi