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: Rudy Sarzo
Bands & Artists: Whitesnake, Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne, The Guess Who
Home: Los Angeles, California
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
Apart from all the social distancing and precautions, not much has changed at home. Since I tour with The Guess Who most weekends out of the year, whenever I’m home I spend my time with my family and accessing online music tutorials on music theory and harmony, and improving my sight-reading skills.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
Mostly reading and studying bebop charts. I was born in Cuba in 1950, and most of the live music I was exposed to was Latin jazz. It’s a sound that’s been in my head for almost 70 years. Thanks to all the generous music educators on social media willing to share their vast musical knowledge, I’m now able to research and learn the rhythmically and harmonically rich theory of the music I grew up with in my native country.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
My usual playlist: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Marcus Miller, Jaco, Weather Report, Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeff Beck, and Steely Dan.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
In addition to my signature model Spector and Sawtooth Acoustic-Electric Bass, I’ve been performing on stage with a new Spector bass with Fishman pickups, and a Yamaha BBP34. Also these amazing pedals: The Tech 21 Steve Harris SH1 Signature SansAmp and Geddy Lee GED-2112 Signature SansAmp; Darkglass Hyper Luminal, Harmonic Booster, and Vintage Ultra; and Boss BB-1X Compressor and Distortion.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
Since I can’t go to the gym, I work out at home on my treadmill and other exercise equipment in-between breaks from whatever recording project I’m working on.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
The Guess Who tour dates are currently rescheduled. Since we perform mostly in Casinos and Performing Arts Centers during the weekends, it’s manageable for us to reschedule dates since we don’t have to deal with the logistics of rebooking many months’ worth of string of dates.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
I remember in my teens I used to lock down in my room with my bass and woodshed. Those were some of the most fulfilling hours I spent with my instrument. Decades later, I now find myself getting the same musical fulfillment while maintaining the most needed social distancing guidelines. I pray you are all doing the same. Wishing you all Health and Blessings.
Follow Rudy: Here