Global Bass Online March 2001
Making LiveArt and Screaming to be Noticed
Hailing from the
musical hotbed of Athens, GA, 32 year-old Neal
Fountain has been playing professionally from the age of 14. Best known as a
sideman to prominent local fixtures Colonel
Bruce Hampton and the Fiji Mariners and drumming phenom Jeff
Sipe (aka Apt Q258), Neal’s
name is on the short list of greater Atlanta’s finest musicians.
Georgia, Neal remains a relative unknown, even after his band was named Local
Jazz Outfit of the Year from Atlanta’s Creative
Loafing Magazine and receiving very healthy reviews from allaboutjazz.com.,
Street jazz, Bass Player, Bass Frontiers, and Relix Magazine.
cyberbassfans? Neal’s kinda sick of being a secret!
Global Bass is delighted to
contribute incrementally to some wider musical notoriety for Mr Fountain.
In 1999, he
released (on his homegrown label, Archive Music-see: www.archive-music.com),
“Megaphone Man”, the debut of his whack
power trio by the same name that bravely consisting of bass,
sax and drums. In 1995 he released a CD called “Glossolalia”,
a biblical term for “speaking in
tongues”, that featured a then relatively unknown Jon Medeski on organ and
other keyboards, and a post Aquarium
Rescue Unit, pre-Leftover Salmon
(but phishy nonetheless) Jeff Sipe
(probably better-known by the handle given to him by Colonel Bruce Hampton- “Apt
In between the
release of Sun’s Anvil and Megaphone
Man, Neal was a touring member of the Boston-based funk mob, Fatbag,
Sipe’s Apartment Projects (whose activities, luckily, were
documented extensively by their fervent fanbase coming out of the ARU camp) and
the Fiji Mariners (who were
documented live on an official Capricorn release entitled Fiji Mariners-Live).
terms of the bass, how’d it all start for you?
I was brought up in the country outside
Macon , GA. I’ve been playing electric bass since I was 9. Until I was 14
I never met anyone else to play with. Until then
I played the bass, alone, 4 or 5 hours a day, not on any kind of
organized practicing regimen. I just played it ; all the time. Anyway, that was
weird behavior for a kid, but I spent a lot of time by myself at home because my
only brother was 10 years older than me.
about some of your early performances?
In 1984, I backed up a friend of mine
(who actually died earlier this year; his name’s Randy Howard), at what’s
called the Grandmaster Fiddling Contest in Nashville. I was 16 years old. If you
win you get to appear on the Grand
Ole Opry the next year, on the Porter Wagoner Show -- he’s the cat with all
the sequins and stuff.
Randy won, so I found myself on the
Opry stage at 17. We were supposed to do one song, so we did one and the crowd
really liked it and wanted another one. Randy
turned around and said "Let’s be cool and play 'I Don't Know
Those bluegrass fiddle basslines are kinda the same thing over and over again, so I'd never really learned the tunes; I’d just watch the guitar player's hands and follow her. So I looked at the her and said,"I don’t know 'I Don't Know Nobody.'" I started sweating like hell, and she said, "It’s in G,"and we were off, and nobody knew I didn't know "I Don't Know Nobody."
know you were at Berklee, so can we assume you played mostly bluegrass stuff
in high school and then moved on to Berklee?
Not really. Most of my learning, of
actually playing, happened before I went to Berklee. I started playing with this
group in Macon, GA, called "Bobby O’Dea [that’s O-day] and
Friends." Bobby was an organ player and the Friends were a bunch of guys in their mid-forties to sixties who had all been members
of Otis Redding’s band, James
Brown’s band, and other super old R&B players who couldn't do the road
anymore and realized that young chicks would come to see them.
Anyway, they knew a million tunes. I
was 17, 18 and the only white dude
in the band. The drummer, Clarence Rodby,
was the house drummer at the Apollo
Theatre and was on the road with Sam
and Dave for 15 years. We also had Jamaal
Thomas (who tours with Maceo Parker
now), sit in on drums on many occasions, so the funk and R&B thing was
They weren’t real sticklers for the
old grooves or anything but you had to play in the pocket. They taught me the
importance of the “1” [as in 1-2-3-4]. So,
that was my University. (laughs)
We never rehearsed. You just came to
the gig and played. Some of the tunes I'd never heard or played ‘til we jumped
onstage. I’d watch the organ
player’s hands or the guitar player’s hands and go with it, or on occasion
they’d just yell huge clues across the stage, like "B!" (laughs)
We’d play at least both weekend nights and usually three nights a week. I’d
get between 50 and 100 bucks a gig.
I played with the "Macon
guys" all through college and I had some other things going on as well.
Right after regular college is when I originally met Jeff
Sipe (currently with Leftover
Salmon, former drummer for the Aquarium Rescue Unit (ARU) and Hellborg, Lane and
Sipe). In 1992 a band I was with
opened for the ARU, where I met Oteil and hung out with Sipe and Jimmy Herring.
Between seeing them at shows and
playing gigs with them, we hung out quite a bit. I eventually sat in with them
at the Georgia Theatre in 1992, where they
recorded all the tracks for their first live album. I didn’t go to
Berklee until 1993.
sat in with ARU before you went to Berklee!?
so Berklee was a real waste of time then.
Who knows? I was only there for one semester. When they dispersed the scholarship checks for the next semester and before I could change my mind, I took my check, went to the bank across the street, cashed it, and bought a Modulus six-string. A 20 minute exchange (laughs).
Six years after that, Modulus sent me a
free one. I asked the rep when it
came in the mail, "Where were you when I bought the first one??"
I couldn't believe they were actually going to do it until the UPS truck
pulled up in front of my house.
basically went to Berklee to meet people anyway, which is the wrong
reason to go, but I did end up meeting people I still play with today.
Also, there were two players going to
school there at the time that made a lasting impression. One was Matt Garrison (an interview with Matt is included in this issue~Editor)
[former bassist with Joe Zawinul, John
McLaughlin and Heart of Things, John Scofield] -- fabulous -- and John
Roberts on drums, an amazing player, who coincidentally, wound up gigging with
ARU after Sipe left. He also played with Janet
us about the Sun's Anvil recording,
Glossolalia. How did this project come together?
I moved to Indiana with my future wife
in '94, right around the time Sipe left the Unit. Me and a friend of mine from
Berklee, Jonathan Townes (guitar)
decided we were going to make a record, so my wife joined us in investing in
what became the Sun’s Anvil, “Glossololia” project. I had seen
Medeski with MMW and thought he was absolutely
incredible, so I approached his management and then drove to Chicago, where MMW
He said to send him a tape and he’d
do it if he liked it. I assumed he liked it, 'cause he did it (laughs).
My friend Rich Cohen, a physics professor in his spare time at Notre Dame when
he's not playing sax, signed on and came to Atlanta to record, and Sipe brought
the Count M'Butu Experience for all
of us to enjoy.
CD sounds like a band that’s a
tight knit unit that’s gigged together
a long time before making a record.
I imagine it must’ve been hard to coordinate the gigs.
We never have gigged as a band. Ever. I
had played with Jonathan and sat in with Sipe a few times. I only had the whole
band for three days. Before the session, we all had a tape with six tunes by
Jonathan that we wanted to record together. We went in at about 3 in the
afternoon on each of those days. We rehearsed the tunes one at a time and
recorded each right after we figured out what we wanted to do on ‘em.
We recorded two a day before dinner, then after dinner, came back and let
the tape roll, which is where the other 5 tunes on the record came from.
I’ve always been extremely happy with
the way that recording turned out. There’s another 2 hours on tape that
didn’t make it to the release. The last thing I’ll say about this project is
this: I have been playing a long time and have jammed with many people, some
famous, some totally obscure. In my entire life, the top handful of jams that
I’ve ever been involved in were during the Glossololia sessions, and most of
them never even made it onto the CD.
You never know when you put a record
together. The concept changes over time and six months down the road I
might’ve decided to put out different stuff than what ended up on there.
But Archive is going to release more material from that recording session
on a new CD sometime next year. "COMING
TO STORES NEAR YOU ON MARCH 15!" (laughs). To everyone reading this:
Buy it or die! I need a house! (laughs).
Anyway, with Sipe committed to Leftover
Salmon and Jazz is Dead and with
Medeski’s obvious commitments we’ll probably never gig as the band that was
on the CD. We may gig as Sun’s Anvil,
with other personnel, someday. Unlike
Col. Bruce, I can't tell the future...
did you form your own label to release the recording?
At the time we had big plans for
Sun’s Anvil and decided a business-like approach was best. We never thought
about shopping the project to another label before it was released, although
we’d hoped someone would pick it up. Unfortunately, other musical projects for
me and work for my wife and a kid, et cetera have gotten in the way of doing
more with the label side of it.
if you weren’t gigging with Sun’s Anvil after the recording sessions what
did you do?
My wife and I were in Indiana for two
years and then moved to New York, where I got a gig with an 8-piece hiphop/funk
band called Fat Bag.
That was a crazy, fun learning experience, playing with a bunch of really
talented kids (they were all in their early 20s).
The band was signed to Interscope
and really popular in the northeast -- we opened for Jamiroquai
in Boston; kicked their asses according to the Boston Globe review -- but unfortunately, from a musical standpoint,
my wife and I got pregnant almost
immediately after we moved to NY, so we moved back to Georgia and had a baby in
’97. [Neal and his wife and business partner, Graham, have a gorgeous little
three-year old girl, Amelia.] In
Atlanta, I started playing with Bruce [Colonel Bruce Hampton, the figurehead of
the ARU and now, the Fiji Mariners and Planet Zambee].
so that’s how you hooked up with the Colonel…
Ahhh, yes. Sipe started having jam
sessions at a local club every Monday. Incidentally, that’s where I met Bryan Lopes, the current crazy saxophone guy in Megaphone
Man. Bruce had formed a new
band, so Sipe recommended me and I toured with Bruce for 9 months. We made a
record during that time, “Colonel Bruce
Hampton and the Fiji Mariners-LIVE”, released on Capricorn in 1998.
us your opinion of that particular
lineup and time period, musically.
Especially at the beginning, it was
great gig. That band had keyboards and bass for all the harmony. Dan (Matrazzo-keys)
got many sounds out of his setup, with clavinet taking the guitar role. I
got to play bass solos every night, and some made it to the CD [Neal gets off
gems on 4 cuts]. I departed for the usual reasons -- money differences and
musical differences. Musically, it really boiled down to repeating the same
material with the same approach night after night.
after the Colonel, you did the Apartment Projects thing?
That was Sipe on drums, Jimmy Herring
on guitar and Bryan on sax, in late '97 and early '98. We played in the
southeast, as well as in the northeast. That’s when you saw us, in Boston.
notice that some of those tunes I heard then are the tunes Megaphone Man does
Well, the Apartment Projects was mostly
improvised music, as is most of Megaphone Man. Most of the “tunes,” or as
I’d like to call ’em, “tune landmarks” were me and Bryan coming up with
melody line and a bassline during soundchecks. That’s where the motifs
Herring play all the Apartment Projects gigs?
Yeah. Actually, the first gig we played
without him was the first gig called
“Megaphone Man” that I booked with Sipe and Lopes. After that, Jeff Reilly
took Sipe’s place.
leads us to your current project,
It’s that trio…me, Lopes and
Reilly. Many of the “tunes” or bits thereof came out of
the Projects. There are some familiar landmarks and the rest is just an
attempt at instant composing.
mean instant “improv.”
would you, as a bassist, want to form a small band in which you carry more of
the harmonic burden?
Well, who wouldn't want to do that?
Basically, I’m at the point where I’d like to guide the music. The
harmony, the chords, the rhythmic shifts... I like the power. Admittedly,
sometimes we suck and...
Not that I’ve heard...
Anyway, a lot of the direction is
basically on me. So if the gig sucks, I go "Man, I
really suck! The obvious flipside is that when a gig is good I can say,
"Wow, the band sounded really good. I
felt good tonight!"
point I’m emphasizing here is most bassists can’t do that; they couldn’t
carry a gig like that. We’re not
noted for changing the harmony, we’re hanging out on the bass line. We’re
not playing chords, double stops, and intertwining, for lack of a better word,
little etudes with the sax player. You and Bryan are having a running dialogue
Yeah, well that’s what our band is
trying to do. That’s what I think music is supposed to be.
duly noted...good lead-in to this point. You seem to have relegated the
slapping/tapping and technique
things to a minimum, in favor of playing “all the bass”, including a liberal
dosage of bass chords, which by the way, do not sound muddy or get lost in the
mix. Tell me about your approach to the chordal stuff, which a lot of bassists
don’t do, and a bit about how it evolved.
To mention an obvious influence, Oteil
is the first guy I heard or saw who took the chord thing and ran with it.
but he’s not “running with
it” as much as you are, in the context of Megaphone Man, anyway...
Well, his gig is different than
mine…in the Allman’s now, he’s
not doing any chord stuff, but he stretches out more with the Peacemakers.
But the point I think we’re getting at is: If you’re a person and
it’s your own band that’s doing it, then you can run with it. I’m more
comfortable in this band than any other that I’ve played with, in that the
people are gonna actually go with you. Then you take turns leading. Lopes’ll
start on something and we’ll follow his lead.
Reilly also has tremendous amounts of power in terms of guiding it.
point I’d drive home in terms of the publication that this interview is
destined for, is that I can’t name ten guys who could lead a band on the bass.
We’re used to it from guitarists and keyboard players. They have bassists to
hold it together. I mean, this is
totally different, even from the Sun’s Anvil thing, when you were taking the
ensemble role and stepping out for a few solos.
I’m at the point in my musical
development where I’m doing what I want to do. I guess what you’re saying
is, it’s getting across to the audience.
I see slapping as a novelty, although I will do it more for some reason
when I play with a guitarist in a band. Maybe
to impress all the girls in the audience...or aggravate the guitarist (laughs).
In Megaphone Man, I’ve gotta be
covering a lot of ground. It’s just better for me with the tones of the
saxophone -- those raspy high tones. It's
redundant to slap and tap to fill up that part of the sound spectrum. There’d
be no bottom end to it.
If you’re walking in a dark alley and
you think someone's going to stab you in the head, it's really ominous if you
hear footsteps behind you. I’m
the footsteps, Bryan’s the knife. Also, you don’t have any harmonic
variation in the trio unless the bass chords take it somewhere else.
B-3 sound you’re using certainly adds to the chordal work, a great concept.
The only other people I can think of doing that are organ players and on guitar,
I love what Charlie Hunter does as a
musician but I didn’t listen to what he did with the guitar and say “Hey, I
can do that on the bass.” I just
love the organ. Think about it...the Bobby
O’Dea band, chasing Medeski for the Sun’s Anvil thing… I love the way
the organ sounds. I’d love to be
able to play the organ well. In fact, I just installed a Wurlitzer in my tiny
your wife know you have organ envy?
Definitely, y’know, she likes it too
do you get that B-3 sound?
That’s just a stomp box…its called
a chorus ensemble. I just turn the depth wide open and the rate…whatever, you
a chorus box? C’mon.
Its just a regular old chorus pedal.
Its called a Chorus Ensemble.
I know what they are.
Yeah, it’s the one with the four
knobs on it….
ok, I get it., I’m just a wee bit incredulous due to the sound you’re
getting out of it. Humor me here.
See, the question about my approach to
it is more important than the sound from the pedal. You have to attack the
strings differently when you play with that sound. You’ve gotta keep the
bassline going with your thumb and then attack the rest of the chords and leave
‘em …I mean just listen to the way an organ player plays the top chords.
They have breath to them. They’re not all right on the beat. You’ve got to
separate your right hand from your left. What I do is play, say a three note
chord on top and walk the line with my first finger on the left hand and pluck
the chord with two fingers on my right hand and play the bassline with my thumb.
use two fingers on the right, not three?
I don’t use three, no. I use
my thumb quite a bit like when I’m playing those etude types of things
we talked about earlier.
terms of the fretboard, you’re using all the left hand, right? You’re not
bringing the right hand over at all to hit the lower notes?
No, but when I want a higher extension,
I will play a chord and bring my thumb around the front to get say, the minor
go over the top?
No, under the bottom. You pull your
elbow back towards your body and pull your thumb underneath to the front.
strings or low strings?
Let’s say you’re playing a Gm7 at the 15th fret on the E string with
your index finger…hit the 10th and the 7th with your next two. If you want to
get the minor 2nd above that you cannot grip that with your pinky…impossible.
So..pull the elbow back and put your
thumb on the high C and move the minor 2nd to the 9th if you want. You can do
that one on a five string. Forget about normal positioning on that. …hell it
might just be a circus trick (laughs).
you’re playing (for lack of a better term) normally, are you just using two
finger alternating technique on the right?
Yeah...I never did it any other way.
that’s refreshing for us other…human beings. In terms of other musical
questions I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess not a big “theory” guy.
You’re an “ear” guy.
Pretty much. In terms of giving you the
names for what I do, I know the basics but not a lot. As far as improvising over
a jazz tune like “Donna Lee” or “Giant Steps”, I just see the melody
running in my head and constantly work off of that and take it where I want to
go with it.
extremely interesting. Most jazz schools or videos that teach theory will show
you all the scales, substitutions and devices. Consistently, they will say
something like “The authentic jazz player always remembers the melody in his
solos.” Evidently in terms of improvisation with melody as a starting place, you’re going out therefrom
rather than the prevalent wisdom .Sounds like talent is starting to come into
I’m consistent with that approach. I
write tunes the same way I improvise. I start from the melody and build the
harmony off of that. It’s also really important to be familiar with rhythmic
styles . For instance, say you’re soloing
on Donna Lee, you could throw in a latin-type section using double stops.
Knowing those rhythmic concepts while
keeping the straight melody running in your head is imperative. Practicing
standards from different rhythmic perspectives is another great way to practice
. Try “All the Things You Are”
reggae style sometime (laughs).
On the topic, I think music is
something that people come to learn in vastly different ways. I know plenty of
people that went to music school that got a lot out of it. I learned from
playing with records and bands. As an example, I learned how to tune my
instrument by playing with the radio and never learned how to read. If you turn
the dial, every song is in slightly differently tune.
Take Jimi, every song on his albums is
tuned differently. I mean, yeah, the guitar’s in fourths with a third at the B
string, but the actual pitches of the open strings aren’t EADGBE all the time.
Once you’ve got your bass in tune, given that the intonation is correct,
you’ve still got to play it in tune. I’ve been in situations where I’ve
been playing my bass, and it’s in tune and I give it to someone else, and
they’re playing it out of tune. They’re actually twisting the knobs because
they’re attacking the strings differently.
ears are getting bigger by the minute there fella (laughs)...
Is it true you’ve practiced playing along with the TV?
Graham says soap operas are your favorites.
Music on the TV changes constantly...trying to keep up is a
mini-education in and of itself.
Retuning at a commercial break is often
necessary. It’s also a great relative pitch exercise. Seriously, that
exercise…which boiled down to me challenging myself to get in tune and learn
as much of the music in 60 seconds as possible, makes sense when you compare it
to the type of music Megaphone Man plays.
talk about gear. Before you list
it, let me ask you about the best instrument/equipment purchase you've ever
That’s easy. My 1981 Volkswagen
Dasher station wagon (laughs). I got it for $150 at a yard sale. Two weeks later
it caught fire while I was driving it. I went to the junkyard, got all the
parts, and put it back together. It’s in my driveway now. I’ve had it since
before I moved to Indiana in 1994 and I’ve put 95,000 miles on it! Plus my rig
fits it there pretty good. It was a great buy for someone brought up in the
country who don’t know no better (laughs, as Deliverance theme plays in the
us about your handmade 6-string (aka "The Slinky Bass").
I built that when I was 19 years old. I
bought the neck and carved the body for it myself. It was a fretted six but I
took the frets out and it’s my fretless bass today.
gets a great acoustic, woody sound. Do you have piezos on it?
No. You can take most fretless basses,
roll the treble all the way off, make some adjustments on the amp settings, and
play the thing very, very softly with the volume turned up quite a bit, and play
in on the neck, maybe 3 or 4 inches from where the neck joins the body.
I’ve seen many players do this. They do not get near the acoustic tone
you’re getting with that.
Well, it has been a good bass for that
sound. What it lacks in versatility it makes up for with that tone.
the rest of
I have a great Modulus Jazz-style bass they sent me, as well as the six I bought at
Berklee and the “slinky” bass. I have a Fender
endorsement for strings and they’ve been great. I’m not real
picky about amps, but the favorite thing I ever owned, and the piece I most
regret selling, is a Bose system I used to have. I played through two of those
802’s and a subwoofer…awesome. I sold that to finish paying for the Sun’s
Anvil recording. I think your bass rig should be able to double as a home a
stereo system, if it can handle it. I think all musicians should play through
equipment capable of reproducing the entire range of music, dynamically and
pick up on that topic.
Yeah, lots of power and play light. Let
the amp do the work. If you start out playing light you can reach a medium. If
you play really heavy then the only place you can go, without turning up the
amp, is back. It’s a cool thing to practice playing as light as you can,
anyway. Think about it. It’s even easy on your hands and your body. I’m
getting a volume pedal soon, though. The swells and keyboard sounding types of
things all come from the volume
knob of the bass, which gets a little stretchy (laughs).
to the influences question: who or what affects you the most?
He’s the greatest guitar player and one of the greatest musicians
around today. I’ve tried to do guitar gigs playing the complete “Gone Just
Like a Train” record. Coincidentally, I met the bassist on that, Victor
Krauss, at the Grand Ole Opry when
I was 15. We both were trying to briefly escape the bluegrass pit.
I also dig fairly modern composers like
Stravinsky and Glenn Gould, who I have to list as an influence just because of he
way he was about things, being at the height of his career and deciding to leave the performance world. Go
rent “32 Short Films About Glen
Gould.” That’ll get to the heart of the matter. His command of the
instrument was wonderful, as was Horowitz's.
My jazz influences are Coltrane, Coleman, Miles…Keith Jarrett, all of them.
On the bass, Charlie Haden. Mingus called him “Bass”. He’s played so many
beautiful….just things …that are
just so unlike anything that would be considered the modern day bass hero
mentality. Just playing the same pedal note…differently.
He just blows everything away. The
Liberation Jazz Orchestra, Ornette’s band, Quartet West, etc., etc.,
it’s all good.
I also am a great fan of Theremin music, and basically, the entire idea of the instrument
itself. If I could learn a new instrument, that’d be the one.
Basically, when you play a Theremin, you’re playing air with your
you could add Theremin to Megaphone Man. So
listen, if you can play Frisell tunes on guitar, as well as six-string
bass, you’re a great person to ask. Why don’t all the six-string bass
players out there just tune it like a guitar?
Because of the frequency of the
instrument . I think it just plainly does not work. I’ve tried it and I think
chords especially sound hideous. By the way, I tune the guitar like a bass, in
fourths all the way up. I tune the E string, or bottom string to a low B. I
don’t know if Frisell uses alternative tunings himself, but I certainly do on
a number of his tunes.
us about some of your side
Isaac Curry is a vocal project with AOR-ready
rock. The band’s got Kofi Burbridge on keys and Marcus Williams (from the Fiji
Mariners and Isaac Hayes) on drums.
As far as the Apartment Projects go,
they’re basically condemned since Sipe’s doing other things. Speaking of Bryan, he’s got his own recording in the can as
of winter ’98 that has me and Sipe on it. I hope it sees the light of day
have another project I’m excited about called called LIVEART "This is Secret Music". We recorded quickly in two
nights in NY.
quickly that it’s being marketed at the guitarist’s, (Jonathan Townes) website (http://www.giglaeoplexis.com)
as a “secret” release, as you might gather from the title. It’s
finally out now, as of January 2001, and it’s available in regular and
downloadable MP3 format.
personnel are Jonathan Townes on guitars,
Andy Sanesi on drums , Alex Lacamoire who’s recorded with John
Zorn on keyboards, Danny Sadownick of Screaming
Headless Torsos on percussion
and me on bass. It’s totally improvised music, nothing pre-written,
which is different for Jonathan, who is an excellent writer.
evidence of that, check out the last tune on Glossololia, called “Penterra”.
To me, that song belongs in the Real Book about ten years from now.
But we’ve both fundamentally changed our
approach to writing since then. We’re writing from the ear, maybe
using theory to solve a
musical problem if it comes up, which is rarely.
theory to write and you sound like it. For the Live Art thing we went right to the music, improvising, basically
the entire thing. The melodies, solos and harmonies…the music.
about MP3.com as a sales vehicle?
Well, its hyped heavily but it’s too
soon to tell for me. It’s one thing if you’re touring and can tell people
where to get the CD, but on the other hand, when you tour you usually have
recordings on hand for sale anyway. The point I’m trying to make is, maybe
it’s a more convenient way and different format for selling recordings, but if
people don’t know who you are in the first place, the pointing and
clicking’s not comin’ your way, except occasionally out of curiosity.
Both of my CDs are at my own website, www.archive-music.com,
and at MP3.com. Most folks who have
bought my CDs after listening to the music at
MP3 have done so via check from the order form on my website. Anyway, it
sure beats consignment deals.
terms of touring, what can us non-Georgians look for?
Yeah, Megaphone Man hasn’t mounted a
tour yet. It’s the only project I can see putting a tour together with right
now. More importantly, of all the things I have going on, this is the one I
would most like to see happen for me and for the band.
Plus it’s the project that the other
guys in the band want the most, which is very important. By the way, we’re extremely
lucky we can even gig locally, at this point. Bryan Lopes, our sax player,
recently recovered from a double-bypass heart surgery in summer of 2000. It
would be an understatement to say that he’s back, strong—all the way,
physically and musically...amazing!
Also, during the latter part of 2,000 I
have been playing less conventional 6 string bass and getting some great sounds
out of my Asbory bass, which, as you
may know, was recently reissued by Fender. I’m an official Fender Asbory
endorsee by the way. I don’t know, maybe you can find out, but I may be the only
Asbory endorsee. I’ve also been playing some actual guitar
in Megaphone Man as well.
your own audience.
Well, I don’t think Megaphone Man is
a mass appeal kind of a
thing…I’m not fooling myself…but I think we’d go over well at any
festival or venue where people were there to see a variety of stuff; places like
the Knitting Factory or festivals like Montreal. I hope an audience will grow
from there. On the other hand, guys like Charlie Hunter, MMW, the Flecktones and
John Scofield have gained wider acceptance in the “jamband” market, and of
course, would be wonderful to be associated with. I don’t care about the
terminology…where we end up getting “lumped in” really doesn’t matter.
always good to end on a humorous note. You’re pretty animated onstage. When
you're onstage dancing, marching around, grimacing, etc., do you ever get
self-conscious about it? If you saw a video of yourself and thought you looked a
bit too funky, would you try to act differently on stage?
Oh my Gawd! What are you trying to say?
That’s all I do is watch performance tapes of myself. I’ve woken up (Neal
sings) in a cold sweat about
how I look up there (laughs). Obviously, I
brings me the last question. Your
wife Graham wanted me to ask a last question that would allow folks to skip the
rest of the interview. So, would you classify what you do onstage more as
dropping science, laying down the law or gittin’ jiggywitit?
Well, in terms of stage presence, your last question would imply I’m a little too jiggywitit. Someone like yourself who might be more into technique or music theory might say I’m dropping science…but I never look at music like that. I like to think of it this way...in my current band, I’m just lucky enough to be trying to lay down the law and keep from getting run over by Lopes and Reilly.
Interesting and strangely
Copyright © 2000-2009 Global Bass Online