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: Chuck Rainey
Bands & Artists: King Curtis, Aretha Franklin, Steely Dan, Quincy Jones, The Rascals, Roberta Flack, Donny Hathaway, Marlena Shaw, Marvin Gaye, jingles, TV & film soundtracks, Victor Wooten
Home: Dallas, Texas
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
Writing my biography, which has been four years in the works, and catching up with old emails and phone messages not yet replied to.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
Nothing much recently, as I have retired as a bassist, at the age of 80. I will always play the bass, write, and teach music on a private level, but I will no longer travel on the professional level and perform in the world’s community of organized music.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
Richard Bona, Christian McBride, Santana, classic Motown songs featuring James Jamerson, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Hindu chants, Aretha Franklin, Marlena Shaw, and Shake Anderson, to name a few.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been playing Xotic 4- & 5-string basses for the last ten years, Labella flatwound strings over the past 59 years, and MJC roundwound strings the last four years. The bulk of my live work requiring adequate bass presence has been playing through a Gallien-Krueger 800RB head and SWR speaker cabinets. For smaller venues I use Genz Benz heads and cabinets.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
I am a yoga and meditation student, practicing daily, which is something I highly recommend.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I am a managing partner in a company called Rhythm Intensive, which is a music education and marketing enterprise. We provide training and instruction specific to the rhythm section, working in the music industry, being a professional musician, and running a successful business.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
If you are truly in love with music, no matter what instrument you play, the universe will always support your mind set, experience, and skills. However, too much of anything can cause the ego to promote thoughts and plans that can lead to “wear and tear” on the non-physical thought processes that enable the ability to function. My advice on staying positive and keeping morale high would be to consider attaching rest periods from whatever one is doing or thinking musically, even to the point of taking two or three days away from it, from time to time. And balance that with listening to or watching how top bassists function in all genres of organized music.
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D’Auria & Chris Jisi