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Tony Levin

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The ĎRealí Mr. T.

In his life and in everything he does, Tony paints with a wider brush. An inventor, an artist, a photographer, a consummate musician and a writer, everything he touches just seems to come out slightly larger than life. Even his web page (which we of course will list for you at the end of this interview!) is an epic affair that will provide you with hours of amazement, laughter, and knowledge. None of this is drawn from any need for pretension; it is simply driven through his unbridled attention to detail.

For the listener, one of the most direct doors into the nature of musician, the kind of bass player that Tony is, might be King Crimson. That is not to say he is limited in any style or format of music. Again on his web page, we dare you to click on his discography. Covering literally hundreds of recordings on over 100 artistsí albums, one question immediately comes to mind. Where does he find the time to do all this?

Weíll get to that laterÖ .

King Crimson, now under the banner of what they like to refer to as a Double Trio, was at its most critically successful form during the early to mid `80ís period of its famous Yellow, Blue and Red covered albums. Adrian Belew had the ability to pull the most stunning animistic sounds from his guitar, including soaring seagulls and eagles, rhinos and elephants. One moment producing poignant elegant and romantic ballads, the next moment tearing up your eardrums with ancient and unearthly thunder. Light years away technique-wise sits Robert Fripp, also on guitars. Precision, impeccable timing, using taped and digital loops, Robert could build whole symphonies texturally all by himself. Then came Bill Bruford, long thought of as one of the finest drummers of the era. As much a melody player as a percussionist, with his triggers, synth drums, acoustic and world instruments, Bill forms almost a complete unit unto himself.

This amalgam, this massively dense music, with parts so disparate at first glance they seemed to make no sense at allÖwould almost miraculously seem to snap into place when Tony began to play. Never taking the traditional roll of augmenting keyboard chord changes or re-enforcing the guitar, Tony coaxed his instruments into wide, luscious notes and chords. Although more than capable of great technical prowess when called upon, Tonyís parts became the glue that tied Bruford to the twin but opposite guitar stylings of Fripp and Belew. Tony truly seemed to understand the old adageÖĒIf you want to be heard in a crowd, simply whisper. The difference in the tone of your voice will carry both you and your messageĒ.

So in a manner of speaking, Tony `whisperedí. He whispered long dusky tones, using huge fat liquid notes that could tincture and shape ten full bars in a single pulse. His playing has been described a minimalist. Others have been heard to call it organic, sensual, Ďjust like butterscotchí and of course sexual, but they all agree it is exactly what is needed. Tony is the one thing that ties it all together. This for true for anyone he works with and for.

Even his stage stance says it all. Whether itís his Chapman ĎStickí, this mysterious looking multi-string combination bass and guitar touch instrument or his Music Man fretless or fretted, he holds them close to his chest and to his heart like a lover. The neck rides high, almost running parallel to his spine. With a slight turn to the left, he is eyeball to tuning peg with his headstock.

His legs are placed far astride, feet firmly planted almost directly into the ground. This wide distance between his feet allows his torso to weave almost like a Cobra in the rapture of the music. It is both a powerful and reassuring site. It is as if through this stance that he is able to draw his aural earth tones up for us that we might hear.

Now this is all fine magic. And it is magic. Tony feels the music deeply, but he is not trying to be Ďdeepí. This is not an affectation. After the lights go down and the equipment is stowed, concerns turn to his cappuccino machine, his bike, his laptop and his dog. He derives great pleasure from touring, and has built a regimen and a technique for not only doing it successfully, but for making it fun after all this time. The flea markets, late night rug buying entourages, not the stuff of rock stars at all.

Right at the time that Tony and I are speaking, he is in California finishing up his most recent album. He and the California Guitar Trio are working on some tracks. It has been going very well and Tony is pleased. He has also been touring with them a little, and this was a Ďday offí, so they took advantage of that time off to throw themselves into the studio. Ah yes, the lazy musicianís life!

So youíve got your own project finishing up and youíve got the new book ďBEYOND THE BASS CLEF~~The life and Art of Bass Playing finished and printed?

Tony:  Yeah, the book actually came out a while ago, but it took me half the year to get it into bookstores. Thatís not so easy. I published it myself through Papa Bear Records, so just the bookwork alone of getting into Barnes and Noble took a while.

You end up having to become quite the tactician and super salesman when you do this on your own, donít you?

Tony:  Iím not good at business stuff, Iím not stupid about it, but I tend to not follow through, because Iíd really rather be playing bass. Luckily, pretty much everyday I get to play bass somewhere. So Iíll start some business project like getting the book into the stores, and before Iíve followed up on the phone calls, Iíll get called to do a good album and thatís it, Iíll forget about them!

Have you tried delegating tasks to other staff members?

Tony:  There are no other staff members in Papa Bear Records. Itís just me. (Laughs) Well, I say itís just me, but I have a kind of a secretary that takes care of the fulfillment of the orders. When someone sends in their money for their order, you want them to get the book or the CD right away. They donít want to hear that I was on the road and that I couldnít send it. So her job is to deal with fulfillment, so that part runs very efficiently. But I canít get her to do my phone calls too, for that Iíd have to pay her a lot more than I do.

Why did you not approach your career like many do, working from band to band, hopefully ever upward? Also do you have any thoughts on how you became so very diverse? You have such a large musical palate to draw from.

Tony:  First of all, if youíre looking at all of them (the recordings), youíre kinda getting a certain impression. I donít think of myself in that way. I have done a lot of stuff through all the years, itís not such a wide variety anymore. Some of the mellower stuff is now really a long time ago. These days I do more Progressive stuff, more Rock and less Pop.

The other part of it is just like any musician I know I canít create the work that seems to come to me, you can just hope work comes. When a lot comes, I choose what is just the most appealing to me. So in a very real sense I am not creating this diverse musical plan, itís just the way things are turning out. Itís just a matter of getting work. I just base it upon the music, if itís what appeals to me, Iíll do it. Iíve certainly played on a number of albums where the budget canít afford to even pay anybody, or even afford to bring me to where they are! So Iíll have them send me the tape, or something like that.

So theyíll send you the DAT, youíll work on it, add your parts, and send it back?

Tony:  Yeah, something like that. Musically if I just want to do it, Iíll just do it. Usually my biggest problem is that sometimes I just get busy. I will say that I hate to let any good music go by, and if I can find a chance to play on it, I will. There are so many months that go by where you donít have the opportunity to work on some good music, if you get called for something thatíll be good, even if youíre busy, youíll find a way to do it.

I wonít ask you whom, but are there artists you wish you had NEVER gotten together with? Or are there albums youíve played on, that now youíre not too pleased you were on?

Tony:  Artists, not very much so, I canít think of any artists. Albums for sure, first of all they are albums you wouldnít know about. Almost always a case of where a producer just has me locked up doing the bass parts, and essentially these are bass parts I donít like. These are bass parts that the producer or the artist made up.

Now thatís not normal, it is unusual. But there has been cases where I donít know why they even wanted me, but I wasnít allow to play even one note the way that I play. I canít always see that coming, so in the very end I wish they had just gotten somebody else.Ē

Now this is a complement, but it is an evaluation also. I know of no one who plays like you. When someone hires Tony Levin, this is what they get!

Tony:  I appreciate that, there is some flexibility in there. The nitty-gritty of being in the studio with producers and artists makes up a lot of compromise and a lot of group Ďfindingí of parts. In what I call the Ďold daysí, when they had all the musicians in at the same time, the bass player could for sure find his own part. Nobody even had time to listen to him. But now when typically I might be the only one there focussing on that part, then of course everybody has something to say. But thatís okay, especially when an artist has a bass part in mind but they are not a bassplayer. They kinda think in Ďunbassplayerí ways. I like combining that with my bass player mentality. A lot of the parts that I really like and have actually recorded, are actually the product of me plus somebody else.

One example of that is Paul Simon, who thinks very melodically. He sings everything in his head, so when he would finally get around to thinking about the bass part he would sit in front of me playing guitar. He would sing bass melodies. I wouldnít actually play them, but I would play them into bass parts and some of those very nice parts ended up on records.

There is a hilarious introduction in your new book that talks almost in biblical prose about bass players and their place in the world of music. It refers to the never-ending battle to decide what is too much and what is just enough. You donít find that so much any more yourself, do you?

Tony:  (Laughs) it doesnít happen to me because that is what I do, I tend to gravitate towards the simple parts. I will tell you one anecdote of John LennonÖwhen I was called to play on his session I didnít know him. I didnít know who gave him my name. But they called me and the first day he came up to me and say ďHiĒ (and I remember his words, ďHi, Tony they tell me youíre really good. Just donít play too many notesĒ. I smiled and said ĎDonít worry, youíve got the right guy!í. I knew that the way I played actually would be fine for him.

Indeed we were very happy with each other, he felt like I complimented his songs very well. And to me it was a huge complement just having someone of his stature being happy with my parts.

Did the influence of working with him tie in at all with the fairly recent video with you and Bunny and Rick Neilson of Cheap Trick?

Tony:  No, that recent video was a record company idea. They had re-released a different version of one of the songs from those days, from those same sessions. Obviously Cheap Trick and I had done a version with John and it didnít make it to the album. For some reason, they decided to put that version out on a video. I donít know why, but they called me. It was quite a bit of wild running around to get to the video, but it was fun. I didnít know when I got there how it would be, but it was kinda fun.

You stick predominantly with Music Man basses for electric basses.

Tony:  Yes, I sometimes use other oddball basses, I have quite a collection of them. Of regular basses, itís usually Music Man Basses I play. I do play other things than just regular bass, the NS (Ned Steinberger) Electric Upright Bass and of course, I play The Stick. And given the chance Iíll play other bass instruments, so in other words, I donít like to feel locked into just playing the bass.

So are you an endorsee of Music Man?

Tony:  Yes.

Have you been approached by other Luthiers as well?

Tony:  Sure, usually Iím not interested in trying other basses, but if, well, Iíll give you one example. I had a guy ask me to try something. I liked it so much I bought it, I didnít ask to have it for free. I just wanted to have it. As well, I thought it would be awkward as I am known for playing Music Man. If an ad came out saying I played some other bassÖ

That bass is a Status Graphite, very different sounding, a bit high tech sounding. Once in a while Iíll have a use for it, like when Iím called to a session and I need a different kind of sound.

Music Man has a version of the StingRay that now includes a piezo pickup as well as the regular one. Am I right or wrong in saying that the Piezo pickup also uses the warmth of the actual note resonating through the pass to produce the aural signal, an almost acoustic sound?

Tony:  You could say it that way, I can only tell you my opinion on it. Itís just a different pickup. First of all, that bass has a normal magnetic pickup, so at the very least you can take it make it sound the same as any other Music Man StingRay, now you can mix in the Piezo pickup, either a little of it or only the Piezo pickup. My sense of this pickup is what it has is a whole lot more bottom and a whole lot more top. Less mid range. I think any one when they plugged it in would agree that it suddenly gets a lot Ďbass-ierí.

Do you use it live yourself?

Tony:  Iíve only had it since when I used it on Paula Coles album. Indeed Paula and the producer loved the Piezo pickup so I ended up just using the Piezo part of it. Then I went on tour with Seal, and I havenít done many albums this year being on tour, so I guess Iíve only used it on the one album so far. I will in the next few years use it on many albums!

I was reading that the Seal tour started out with many members, then stripped down to a core group, then finally went into hiatus. Do you know when and if you will be restarting the tour?

Tony:  Thatís a good question, and I donít know exactly the answer to that. I know that heís done with that band. We have no more work. So I am not touring with him anymore. I have a feeling that once in a while he does a gig, but he does it with a different band.

Is it because of the cost of a larger touring group?

Tony:  Undoubtedly! It wasnít just the band, he also had a big production. It was really too bad, it was such a great show, it was a great band. It was good for me, because I loved working with him.

He strikes me as being very intelligent, articulate and sensitive. Is he?

Tony:  Absolutely! On top of that he is a very charismatic and great guy. And on top of that, heís musically great! So gee, what more can you ask? I guess the answer to that is, can the tour continue? But it didnítÖ .

Back to the basses for a moment, what was the 3 string Music Man originally designed for?  And what tunings on that do you opt for?

Tony:  Itís funny, because I just visited them (Music Man) and we were laughing about that bass. The tuning is E, A, D.

On that particular bass I had to have it with no tone control and no volume controls. Itís just a bass, plug it in and play. I did it kinda as a statement to myself as much as for an actual useful bass. It does what it does very well, but it doesnít do anything that a regular 4 string doesnít do. Itís a unique bass, in what it wonít do. I just like it and I know that I could use it on a lot of stuff. At the time I had it made I was touring with Peter Gabriel, and I used it on every one of his shows afterwards.

Is the 3 string originally for your Funk Fingers invention?

Tony:  No, but the Funk Fingers are a little easier because the strings are spaced a little further apart. I play the Funk Fingers a lot on all my basses.

Speaking of the Funk Fingers and tying back to the fact that Funk Fingers are part of the Papa Bear company, and you ARE that company, now that you are down to the last 30 pairs of the Fingers, does that all just work back to the fact that you just canít do everything at once?

Tony:  Thatís that same business thing. What happened there is the chain of manufacturing, you would think it would be really easy, that you would just have some guy make it. But it isnít, it involves 3 different companies, getting the materials 3 months before the batch is due to be made, and I screwed up. I didnít order more sticks in time, like a year before they ran out. I could see they were gonna run out, so I thought that I would rather redesign it and make some improvements. Before I commit to another 1000 pairs.

So basically youíre just gonna redesign before you put the next bunch out?

Tony:  Right, but the thing is I should have done that a year ago, and have the next batch ready. I havenít even redesigned it yet. And after I have made the changes, itíll still take 6 months to a year to get them manufactured. So in essence I just stopped manufacturing them. In a few years, when I have more, Iíll suddenly announce it and theyíll slowly sell. Itís just a goofy thing anyway.

Did they sell well?

Tony:  It depends on what you call `wellí. My purpose in selling them wasnít to make a profit. As I remember I sold them for $14 and then upped it to $15. Believe me the whole thing was not to make any money. I just thought it would be great if a bunch of bass players have them, and have played on records and see where they would go with them. So in the end, I donít remember exactly how many sold, but over a thousand though. Amazingly over a 1000 bass players have them!

I was reading some of the fan mail on the Funk Fingers and they love this thing!

Tony:  And you know whatís ironic is that I originally set that Funk Fingers page on the Papa Bear site to be more of a forum for discussion and ideas. The fact is Iím kinda busy and my life is busy, between playing and doing projects and then doing my own web page, The Diary, I ended up never getting a chance to go see it (The Funk Fingers Page). Itís the one page on my site I havenít looked at in ages.

What is interesting to me was that in the beginning the few players that got them, the most constant comments was that they were really hard to get used to at first. Then after a while, the comments started changing. Like ďI did this with themí or ĎHow `bout this technique that Tony Levin never tried?í And that was fun to see that happen, because itís an odd hand thing to use them. It takes some getting used to. It was nice to see that after a time people would start doing things with them that I would never have thought of. Thatís what I was hoping would happen.

A bit about the Chapman Stick, if you will? (A 10 string instrument that you tap the strings against the fretboard instead of stroke or strike.)

Tony:  Now there is a 10 and a 12-string version.

Do you press the string to the fretboard with a lot of pressure or attack to get the string to resonate or just to make contact?

Tony:  Very little, itís the equivalent of a guitar thatís set up with very very low action. If you just touch between the frets, youíve got a note.

So you have make sure you donít work sloppily, that you hit precisely then?

Tony:  Yeah the instruments pretty hot and you canít rattle around with it. But itís not very hard to use anymore. The modern stick is pretty well set up to not make too much noise.

When you were first presented with The Stick, did you have to approach it like a piano or like a fretted instrument?

Tony:  I had an easy time adapting to it. Itís funny, just yesterday I was talking to Emmett Chapman, the inventor, about that, that people who just take it on as something new can adapt to it very quickly, whereas people who try to play it like a guitar or bass or even a piano, have a harder time getting used to its idiosyncrasies. In fact, I had always played using Ďhammer-onsí on the bass which is the exact same technique, so I had a very easy time adjusting to The Stick.

So if you donít drag your baggage into this, youíll be just fine?

Tony:  Yeah, or if you happen to play with the hammer-on technique, like Eddie Van Halen plays the guitar sometimes, thatís the way you play The Stick.

It allows you to do a lot of chordal work with both hands?

Tony:  Yes, it has a stereo output, with guitar strings and bass strings, which are completely separate. The guitar strings ideal go to a guitar amp, and you play chords with them, while you play bass parts with the other set.

Did you find it brought more chordal work into your bass playing?

Tony:  As a bass player, I donít play any chords. And usually when I play the Stick on a record, Iím just playing the bass side of it. The only exceptions to that are in King Crimson, where I kinda join in with the guitars. Also on my own stuff where it is obviously a very handy thing for writing. So I write and record with The Stick a lot. I think of the three albums Iíve put out so far, pretty much each of them was half Stick and half bass.

One of the things I most admired about your Crimson work was how each of your parts, Adrians, Roberts, Treys and so on shouldnít have fit together, but somehow always did. So much seeming chaos suddenly locking into Symphony.

Tony:  You werenít there at the rehearsals for all the parts that DIDNíT fit together! Those were horrible and we threw those out. Luckily you never heard them. We did as many experiments that failed as succeeded.

Is there a lot of latitude on your part for bass parts in Crimson? Do you have freedom to Ďwriteí your own bass parts?

Tony:  Yeah, Robert (Fripp) and I have a great musical relationship. We both respect each otherís musicality a lot. Sometimes he will give me a bass line. An example of that would be the ĎVROOMí in VROOM VROOM. They were like ĎREDí types of pieces. He had the bass line and thatís fine with me. Then there will be a section where he doesnít have an idea and Iíll come up with that.

Another approach we have is where he will write just the very basis of the piece and he will stay COMPLETELY right out of what the bass and drums will do. So I very much get to write my own stuff. Adrian (Belew) also has suggested the basis of a few parts to me which have worked out just great. When you are working with good musicians, and you KNOW they are good and you respect them and they respect you, you should have some say in things, and itís pretty easy to work out.

You have a double album with Bill Bruford due out in the spring? (Please Note: that new CD is now available, Tony has them, and you can order them from his site as well, although if you do heíll never get anything else done and it will be your fault!)

Tony:  To fill in the background a little, Bill Bruford and I did an album called BRUFORD-LEVIN/ UPPER EXTREMITIES on my Papa Bear Records label, so itís not a big seller. (Laughs) At Papa Bear Records I donít distribute to stores, so I just sell things off the web site. It was very popular with the Crimson fans, and we were able to tour a little. Thatís not easy for us because of everybodyís schedule. See, as I will do, I got myself distracted and I forgot to come back to the point!

So we toured and I recorded all the shows of the tour, both in the U.S and in Japan. Quite a while later, just this past summer, I finally got around to compiling those many tapes of us, we had done it to multi-track ADAT, so we had a lot to choose fromÖand there were quite a few very good ones.

So I mixed them and compiled them into a Double CD. It coulda been a single CD, but there was so much good stuff and I wanted to include a lot of it. David Torn, who is a guitar madman and has his own studio, and uses a lot of wild studio techniques, has come up with the idea of doing a Ďdance-mixí incorporating only elements of BRUFORD-LEVIN Live.

This will be a very odd combination, and yet what I have heard so far is so good, that I think I might include a track from that on the live double CD. So itíll be pretty unusual in having it live and with a Dance Remix on it. Iím sure no Crimson fans will be interested in a Dance remix, but itís really good, so itíll be there.

When I was looking at the photography portion of your website, I noticed that you will take your black and white photos and hand paint them.

Tony:  Yeah, I like doing that technique. It gives it a hand tinted magenta look.

Do you blow the picture up, then paint it, and shrink it back down again?

Tony:  Well it really depends on where the picture in going to end up. For a long time I was just hand tinting them the normal way. Thereís a certain kind of oil paints and you use Q-Tips. You put the paint on and then you rub it off. Thatís what gives it the softened quality. Not with a lot of the paint left on, you donít want that. You want the black and white photo to show through.

My first solo offering was WORLD DIARY, and the cover was a nice terra cotta cover with a photo of a globe spinning. Thatís a black & white that I just hand tinted normal. On my second album cover, I liked the paints a bit more at the time, so I was leaving globs of paint and brushstrokes on the picture. It looks like what it is, a photo thatís more than just retouched, itís got globs on it intentionally. They kinda fit in.

The third album I started with a plan for a photo in my head actually, and then even after I had the photo, I decided just to skip the photo. So itís just the painting on canvas. In my head, it was originally going to be a photo that was hand tinted. So it has been such that through the years I have been using less of the photo part of it and more the painting.

You are working on a photo journal of your years with King Crimson. How is that going?

Tony:  It was going to be done by now, but I missed my own little deadline thing. I am now hoping in the first half of 2000. I put out a photo book in the `80ís, a very interesting one called ĎROAD PHOTOíSĒ, but Iíve run out of them and I canít really reprint it.

Since Iíve kept taking photos anyway, Iíve been meaning to do a second photo book. On this one I will just stick to King Crimson, but I will also include with it my computer journals. The many years on the roadÖ . Itís pretty fascinating, thereís a lot of wild stuff that comes in. Itís not so much my telling of the story, sometime when you see these computer journals, you can get a sense of what it was like.

Do you drag a Laptop around with you on the road?

Tony:  Yup, different ones through the years, I was one of the first musicians to be carrying one, way back when it was a Radio Shack TR100. Back then you had to write the program! Now I didnít keep the journal all that time. Most of the journal is from the `90ís. But I still have some notes from the `80ís. The guys in the band knew I kept the journal, and after a while I would have a `Quote of the Dayí.

After a while the guys would come to me, like Robert Fripp would come to me and say, ďHereís something for your quote of the dayĒ. It would be something he had heard. So in a way it ended up a band journal.

From what I have picked up here, it looks like coffee has become a minor religion to you! It doesnít look like you would have the actual time to pursue any other recreational drugs other than coffee anyway!

Tony:  He laughs and says, ďIím not interested in any drugs at all! The actual element of caffeine in the coffee is really not my favorite part, I wish it didnít even have that, I just love the taste. Iíve spent a lot of time in Italy touring. They really love their espresso, as much as I do, believe me, I got it from there. So I kinda developed a passion for it. Having done that, I decided to take a machine on the road with me, to have better espresso back stage, and of course everybody in whatever band Iím in quickly develops a taste for it themselves. Because itís good stuff!

Regarding ďBEYOND THE BASS CLEFí this most recent book, how did you go about choosing what exactly would be in it? Can you tell us a bit about what you ended up including in the book?

Tony:  When I first got started on the book, I wasnít going to include anything in the instruction realm. I wanted it just to be anecdotes and kinda thoughts about music. When I had pretty much completed it I felt that, not that it was misleading, but I felt that there might be something that a bass player that bought it, might feel I wasnít giving him. I didnít want people to be disappointed!

And even though I felt I had nothing to say about technically how to play the bass, or how to position your hand, or how I use such and such a fingering, I felt like it would be nice if I could address the subject of what I would have to say to bass players about playing the bass. Something that could be of use to them. It was a hard subject for me, and it took me quite a while, I actually had to postpone the book a bit, while I tried to write various essays or chapters.

I actually originally just wanted it to be a book about me and about bass playing, but so that it ended up being just a little bit more about bass players than it was before that. Hopefully I succeeded, but I am sure anyone who picks it up thinking itís a Bass Method Book would be disappointed.

Do you teach or do clinics?

Tony:  No, I donít! Oh, Iíve only done a couple clinics, and I think I will do more, but I didnít love it when I did it. The reason is the same as for teaching. I feel that whatever I do, I like to do well, and I feel that to teach you really have to understand the reasoning behind what you do. Whereas Iíve always been pretty intuitive. As a player I donít analyze what I do and why. Or reason why someone might think my playing is different than anyone elseís. Having said that that is why I have never taught. So when I was putting together this other part of the book, with some instructive essays and things, I did have to address that. I did have to think about it. So I am a little more prepared now to do a clinic.

Where would you say you play mostly from, the intellectual or the emotional?

Tony:  I donít know quite what the word is to describe where the musical inspiration comes from. Itís inside, thatís for sure! Itís very natural and easy. My playing comes from an internal place that has a sense of what to play combining itself with what techniques I have, and what instrument Iím playing.

Playing is a lot of fun, just by itself. Iíll continue on that subject and say that I feel that I and other musicians are very lucky when they can make their living all their lifetime playing music. Itís such a joy to do. I know there are others things which can interfere with that joy, and itís not always a smooth road. But Iím still pretty lucky just to be able to do that! Itís just so much fun and itís one of those things that just continues to be fun.

Iíll also say that I donít know why I chose the bass. When I was quite young I had been playing the piano a few years. My parents then asked me what other instrument I would like to play. I just right away said ďThe BassĒ. I donít know why I said that, I still donít know. But after many many years of playing the bass, I finally realized that it was one of my greatest decisions! I am still very happy playing the low notes, feeling the same as I did when I was 10 years old. I donít know why I am so happy playing the low notes, but I am lucky that I am so happy.

And so are we Tony, so are we.

Take the time now and go to Tony Levinís site. Bookmark it and check in every once in awhile. He is a hilarious writer, his book ĎBEYOND THE BASS CLEFí is insightful, irreverent and in no small way very MONTY PYTHON like. We will be doing a bit of an update in the next issue of GLOBAL BASS to cover a few new points on the new Double Live CD ĎBlue Nightsí and some of the half billion other things this incredibly prolific man is up to, including another book, his new solo album ĎTHE PASSIONATE BASSí, the BOZZIO/LEVINS/STEVENS Project, tracks on a new UK album which may or may not come to light, eventually teaming up with King Crimson for another tour and another album, and so on and so on. I told Tony he was one of the strongest arguments I have ever heard for cloning, if only so that he might get all these things done. One canít help suspect his earlier lament of not being business minded enough is in actuality a case of too much creativity and way too little time.

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