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: Scott Reeder
Bands & Artists: Kyuss, Fireball Ministry, the Obsessed, Goatsnake
Home: Palm Springs, California
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
The same as usual; my wife and I live on a 40-acre ranch with horses, goats, dogs, chickens—it’s a lot of work, but it’s rewarding and it keeps us out of trouble! They don’t know about the chaos outside, and caring for them definitely helps us stay in our normal routine and our normal mindset for the most part.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
Honestly... I don’t practice much. My old hands are pretty thrashed, whether from working the ranch for two decades, or years of incorrect fretting technique! I’ve had two surgeries on my fretting hand for trigger finger, and still it seems that the more I play, the worse it gets. So I usually just play when I’m working on stuff and recording. But I always have a bass within reach for noodlin’ around—it’s always good medicine!
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
In this crazy time, familiar stuff is good for the soul, I think. For me, I’ve been revisiting Cocteau Twins Treasure a lot. The Eden House Songs For The Broken Ones is my favorite record in the last few years. Tony Pettitt’s bass work is tasty and melodic; and his use of delay and effects is nothing short of masterful. I just got tons of PIL loaded on my phone—Jah Wobble is awesome. Lots of XTC—Colin Moulding’s lines are incredible, and the songwriting is—dare I say—derivative of, but up there with the Beatles! And listening to those guys quite a bit these days, too! Sir Paul! And non-stop Pink Floyd and David Gilmour.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
Bass-wise, I’m stoked with my Warwicks. I’ve got a Thumb BO, a Custom Shop Katana 4-string, and a Custom Shop Katana 8 string that I’ve worked into some recordings. Amp-wise, for playing live it’s always Ampeg SVT’s. In my studio here, I usually run my custom Bison KT-150 Quad head into an Ampeg 8x10. I’ve got two very early SVT’s, an SVT4, SVT5, Hartke Kilo, Hartke LH1000, Darkglass Microtubes 900 v2, and a Positive Grid Bias amp that comes in handy for easily getting into a good headspace for tracking. The collection keeps growing. I’ve done a bit of reamping for other bands via email or they come in and tweak out, it’s always fun! Everyone always wants the “Sky Valley” SVT, or the Bison, which was the only one of it’s kind built!
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I don’t have lots of free time on my hands at the moment. I’ve got the same workload around the ranch as usual. Springtime is super intense at the ranch trying to just keep the brush under control! I’m really into taking pictures these days. I’m lucky to be surrounded by beautiful creatures and scenery, and to live in the age of great cameras built into our little portable phones. it’s always there if something good materializes! I bought a few video games, but haven’t had time to zone out on that stuff.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I’ve got a few records in the pipeline. Louise Patricia Crane from The Eden House invited me to play on a couple of songs on her solo album. The song “Snake Oil” was released a few days ago, and it has Stephen and Simon from The Eden House, Jakko from King Crimson, and Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull adding some really beautiful stuff! Also, Bonnie Buitrago from Nashville Pussy came out here to cut bass and vocal tracks for a Spanish band, Bala, that’s great and it comes out soon. I sang on two songs for another English band, Sons Of Alpha Centauri. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to reuniting with my bandmates in Fireball Ministry. We were just about to start working on stuff for a new album. We’re talking about testing out collaborating online, but man, there’s nothing like that energy of being in the room together to get the juices flowing. I miss them terribly.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
I was teetering between extreme sadness and anger for a bit... I’m trying to transition into a phase of learning and reaching out more as I enter a better, more sober and positive frame of mind. Just picking up dog food for some of our neighbors made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Doing anything creative is the best medicine, whether it be coming up with a riff or song, expressing yourself in a post or tweet, rearranging a room, drawing, mowing political messages in a field for the planes flying over... As always, the sky has no limits - take advantage of the downtime if you can, and try to make something positive out of whatever you’re experiencing. That’s the best!
Follow Scott: Here