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: Tony Grey
Bands & Artists: Hiromi, John McLaughlin, Bob James, Mino Cinelu, Hotei Tomoyasu, Zach Alford, Galactic Duo with Ian Maciak.
Home: Edinboro, PA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve tried to keep myself as busy as possible with different creative projects. I’ve been rebuilding my online academy www.tonygreybassacademy.com with tons of new courses and video lessons. I’ve written four more extensive creative learning books on different disciplines for bass. I’m making two new CDs, one a solo disc with guest Mino Cinelu on percussion on a couple of tracks, and a full band CD featuring, Mike Stern, Mark Guiliana, Gregoire Maret, Mino Cinelu, Romain Colin, and John Shannon. I’ve also been working on a project with the legendary Bob James which I’ve been writing and producing for.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I’ve made a big effort to have a stable creative practice routine through the lockdown. It’s been at least three hours of focused practice on developing my groove and ways of using melodic ideas to develop my soloing every day. I like reinforcing the fundamentals and being able to express myself with whatever concept I’m working on, without limitation.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
It varies for me; I go through phases of not really listening to a lot of music, especially if I’m in writing mode. Lately I love anything Knower and Louis Cole put out. John McLaughlin always inspires me. I listen to Keith Jarrett’s trio, Coltrane, and Chris Dave. Deantoni Parks inspires me, as well. I kayak a lot and I love to trance out on Steve Reich music when I’m paddling around the lake.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’m always playing my signature Fodera bass, which is a dream, my Aguilar rig, which I love, and Earthquaker devices pedals, which expand my mind. I’ve been experimenting more and more with Ableton and Keith McMillen MIDI controllers to see how far I can push the instrument. I tried an Adamovic bass recently, which was very cool. They are developing ergonomic instruments to fit the body and feel more natural to play. I’ve also been enjoying my Skjold fretless bass, which is a new journey for me that I want to explore more.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I love to walk, kayak, and spend time with my 12-year-old son and my partner. I’ve been trying to have a balance between music and life outside of music. I’ve enjoyed reading Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Mastery of Love, and a beautiful book called The Poetry of Enlightenment: Poems by Ancient Chan Masters. John McLaughlin kindly sent me that while I was going through a tough transition in my life.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I’m itching to get going with the new music I’ve been writing with Bob James; I hope we can take the project on the road. I’m looking to experiment more with my duo project and collaborate with as many diverse musicians as possible. I want to also work on my social media, as I’m not very good at posting regularly. My Instagram is @tonygreybass.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
I believe it’s a journey of ups and downs and big shifts in your mentality. Once you can understand and accept that, then it’s about trusting your process and sticking to a productive routine. I found exercising and eating well was good for my soul.
Follow Tony: Here
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi