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18/02/2010 Robert Trujillo transcription & analysis

Despite his position as thrash/metal's incumbent low-end kingpin, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo's colourful musical history also features a years-long affiliation with one of the most happening funk-metal bands of the 90s: Infectious Grooves.

Most people likely don't associate Trujillo with killer slappin' and poppin' or showers of fusion-steeped Jaco-esque 16ths, but the man's sterling track record speaks for itself.

To hear Robert in a non-Metallica light, try checking out his work on any of the the four Infectious Grooves' sublime studio albums -- believe me, you're in for a treat.

And, if you're keen to get even deeper inside Trujillo's playing style, grab a copy of this month's Bass Player magazine, which features my transcription and analysis of the killer track "Therapy," from the Grooves' 1991 debut album, The Plague That Makes Your Booty Move...It's The Infectious Grooves.

Bass Player Feb. 2010

16/02/2010 Another impromptu trip down memory lane...
birthday boy

I first clapped eyes on this picture about 5 minutes ago (roughly speaking), and I'm reliably informed it depicts me on my 2nd birthday. Actually, after staring at it for a couple of minutes, memories of that fateful day began to stir in the darkest recesses of my subconscious, until the whole dark episode came flooding back...

Firstly, don't be fooled by that beaming smile; my seeming joy is completely unrelated to the pristine axe I'm wielding in a surprisingly convincing style. (I was a preteen lefty!) The truth is, I'm actually grimacing, albeit semi-successfully.

My misery was due to the fact I'd been on at my folks for months about copping a Gibson '57 Les Paul Gold Top as my birthday present. But what did I get instead? Well, you can see for yourself -- an early Ovation prototype.

Parents, eh?

22/01/2010 Japan's "Bass Magazine" featuring some dodgy Brit...

I'm happy to report that the track that scooped me 2nd prize in the two-yearly "Best Players" contest run by Japan's Bass Magazine features on the CD contained inside the February edition of the mag (on sale now!).

While my biggest fan -- my mum, natch -- will doubtless be tickled to cop the track and the pic that adorns one of the mag's pages, she'll likely will be somewhat less enamoured of the Japanese-only feature on the tale behind the recording, the associated live event and my shameless musical antics. ;-)

Feb. 18 UPDATE: The song can now be heard here.

Bass Magazine Feb '10

16/01/2010 Anyone else believe in (bass) love at first sight...?
Yamaha SB-30

I stumbled across this little fella while browsing in an off-the-beaten-track (non-music) secondhand shop in western Japan over the festive period. Needless to say I left the shop with a lighter wallet than when I first walked in...

After blowing away the dust, close inspection revealed it to be an early '70s short-scale Yamaha strung with an ancient set of flatwounds. After getting it home I bunged on a new set of similar strings and before long I was up and running like a turbo-charged retro-tastic Babbitt out of hell.

While it goes without saying that I didn't strictly need another bass, it also goes without saying that I'd be kicking myself now had I let this sunburst stunner slip through my fervid fingers.

Info on this axe is as scant as an altered dominant chord in a Sex Pistols song, but those of a curious disposition can learn a little more here.

06/01/2010 One of the funniest things I've ever seen...

I don't know about you, but I'm not the type who usually laughs out loud when watching TV, reading books, listening to the radio etc. People who do so strike me as odd, untrustworthy and possibly disturbed. :-)

That all changed recently, however...

The first time I saw/heard this clip of "Michael Manring" doing Jaco's "Teen Town" was perhaps the most I've ever laughed in my adult life. Tears of mirth rolled down my cheeks, my sides literally ached with laughter and I had to press the pause button several times just to recover my breath.

If you're a bass cat, then there's likely no need to explain why this is so bloody funny. If, however, all you hear is an embarrassingly ham-fisted attempt at a classic track using some very dodgy equipment, then may I suggest you Google "Bass Day 1998" and then perhaps "St. Sanders."

03/01/2010 Bill "Electric" Church transcription & analysis
Bass Player Jan '10

If you were asked to cite a possible connection between the music of introspective folk-jazz-R&B innovator Van Morrison and that of in-your-face stadium rocker Sammy Hagar, you might spend more than a few minutes scratching your head -- and understandably so. However, if you splash out on a copy of this month's Bass Player (January edition) all will become crystal clear.

My latest transcription and analysis for the mag looks at Van Morrison's "Wild Night," from his standout 1972 album Tupelo Honey. The bass player on this track, Bill "Electric" Church, would later split away from Morrison's band and -- after a few twists and turns -- lay down the low end for Sammy Hagar over the course of about 10 albums.

Church's playing proves once again that simple is often best, especially when bolstered with a little imagination and flair.