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: Ben Kenney
Bands & Artists: Incubus, The Roots, Solo artist
Home: Los Angeles, CA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been writing and recording as much as I can. It’s hard to stay motivated but I’m doing my best.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I don’t do a lot of exercises any more. My hands are trashed from years of trying to shred. But I still play a lot. I’m on the never ending mission to express myself. I’m always learning how to communicate through the instrument.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I just recently came across the album Oops! Wrong Planet by Utopia [with Kasim Sulton on bass]. I’ve listened to it at least once a day for the past three months. There’s so much music on that record. It makes no sense. Great playing too. I always feel good when I listen to Truth and Soul by Fishbone. That album is like a friend who has been with me since grade school. If I really need a pick me up I usually throw on some Cameo. Next time you’re mad or sad, put the song “Candy” on. If that doesn’t make you feel better you might be dead inside.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I recently got my hands on a Diamondhead Distortion pedal from Seymour Duncan. It’s intended for guitar and killer in that application. About a week ago I plugged a bass into it for the first time and was blown away by how many dope bass sounds I could get out of it. It’s insanely good.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
The last book I finished was Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. I really enjoyed it. I just watched Tales From The Loop on Amazon. That was really beautiful and cinematic. And for exercise I’ve been mountain biking a little.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
So much to do. I have some solo shows rescheduled and a whole bunch of Incubus concerts lined up. I’ve been off the road since December and I can’t wait to get back out on tour.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Give yourself the room to deal with this moment. These are difficult times and it’s alright if you’re not feeling okay. Not everyone deals with shit the same way. Some folks are out there living their best life on the gram but you don’t need to compare yourself to them. You just have to be good to yourself and make it out the other side.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D’Auria & Chris Jisi