New Interview

I’ve just done a six-page interview for the June edition of Bass Player magazine that features a transcription of the bass part for “Chelsea” and a bit of background info on the track.

Posted in Music | Tagged , , , , | 103 Comments

103 Responses to New Interview

  1. Neil Jones says:

    Hi Bruce,
    I hope you’re well.
    I noticed a copy of The big Wheel on my mate’s shelf the other day. It provoked an enjoyable couple of hours (over a beer or two) reminising seeing the Attractions back in the day – rettelling our own anecdotes and recounting some of yours frm the book. I did read your ‘afterward’ about the book saying how your views have changed with time and hindsight would you consider writing ‘The Big wheel 2′?
    Anyway I bought the original hardback version when it cam out -it’s a bit knocked about now but it would be great if you sign it for me it i sent it to you?
    Best wishes,
    Neil.

    • Bruce says:

      Two whole hours to read The Big Wheel? What kept you! I’ve got many more tales to tell — one or two that need to be told — and quite a lot of them written down …we’ll see.

      • Neil Jones says:

        I think you captured the manotony of the long drives indetween shows perfectly. I’ve done a couple of gruelling european tours by bus and I have total sympathy :)
        A good friend of mine, Paul Spear told me a few choice tales of the PTC tour of 1983. As a fan it’s great to hear the stories .
        How about getting the book signed – any chance??

      • Bruce says:

        Ooooh — have you got some good tales about the PTC tour? Do tell — I might not have heard them. How about you give me a snail mail and I’ll do you a hand-written note to paste inside.

    • Bruce says:

      The Oxford Ale House, New Haven. The crowd really enjoyed himself that night.

      Mike — a big thank you for sending me the Keith Moon book. That’s very thoughtful of you and much appreciated. I’ve just been in Wales for the week where I read the recent George Harrison biog — but not much in it that I didn’t already know.

      • Mike Miller says:

        You’re really fortunate that you got to see him up close. I never got to see the group in his era, but it wasn’t for the lack of trying. A bit of a sad story that I may tell at another time. I see the title in the UK was ” Dear Boy”. I suppose they thought in the US we wouldn’t get it, which is probably correct. I really enjoyed reading about his childhood and teen years and that ever confusing British school system.
        Hope you enjoy!

      • Bruce says:

        Yes, the early years are uncannily like my own obviously, though I did get to a ‘grammar school’.

      • Mike Miller says:

        George’s sister Louise, was in town many years ago (probably 25) as a featured speaker at a Beatles convention. The organizers brought her to the studio to record an interview they planned to sell on cassette. She had this old tattered suitcase full of obscure photos of the band, family pictures, ect. It was rather amazing seeing all that stuff. One I remember is her, George, and Ed Sullivan backstage at his show.
        I’m sure she’s got her own book by now, probably her only claim to fame.

      • Bruce says:

        She comes out well in the book, as do all his fmaily. It was on a visit to Louise, before the Beatles had even toured the US, that he bought his Rickenbacker 12-string.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Here’s the Who manager Bill Curbishley recounting a Moon story.

        http://westendstudio.com/?attachment_id=1315

    • Mike Miller says:

      How did Jake handle photographers in those early days? Did he allow some to travel with the tour?

      • Bruce says:

        There were three or four who were in the “circle of trust” as they say — Chris Gabrin, Keith Morris, Brian Griffin. Usually one of them was along for the ride. Others would get a jab in the ribs.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Probably in the ribs when he was trying to be nice.

      • Bruce says:

        … and with a screwdriver when he wasn’t :)

      • Mike Miller says:

        I contacted Brian Griffin via his website regarding the availability of the back jacket photo from the Attractions album. He responded almost immediately:

        Dear Mike

        Many thanks for your enquiry, but that image was swallowed up by the record company many years ago.

        Please visit my website to see my numerous images from the music industry.

        Too bad…a classic photo!

      • Bruce says:

        If I were you I’d scan it in, Photoshop all the text out, enhance it, do a high-grade print on glossy paper and send it to Brian to sign :)

      • Mike Miller says:

        Great and doable idea. I’d probably go up the ladder for a signature, though.

      • Bruce says:

        Tell him I said it was alright.

  2. Mike Miller says:

    Up late watching the match?

    • Bruce says:

      Predictably, yes. And England getting beaten, even more predictably, by a well-organized Italian team. But I always support the Dutch in the World Cup anyway due to my ancestry and doubly so this year because manager Louis van Gaal will be at United next season. van Persie’s flying header was a goal of great beauty, was it not?

  3. Jim Leen says:

    Interesting observation about Keith Moon esquire being no idiot. Any chance of elaboration? 1500 words by Tuesday, if you don’t mind!

    • Bruce says:

      Well … my impression of Mr Moon was that, though he was fond of the odd bottle of brandy, he had a lot of cretive energy that needed channeling and was innately intelligent — not unlike Bruce Lee in some respects, though Bruce Lee went to extremes of physical discipline rather than exttremes of physical indulgence. Both highly creative and innovative individuals. (Sorry it’s a bit short, but at least it’s in early).

  4. Mike Miller says:

    Since “Chelsea” is featured topic, here’s what may be a demo version, not sure. There’s a alt version on the Deluxe edition of TYM, not sure if this is the same only unmixed.

    http://westendstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Chelsea.mp3

    I’ve heard many of the Lipstick Vogue/WTD medleys that have circulated over the years, but I think this is the best one. From the first US tour.

    http://westendstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/LSV-WTD.mp3

    • Bruce says:

      Chelsea sounds like an early rehearsal, LV / WTD sounds like an early live show.

      • Mike Miller says:

        It’s from 12-5-77 Angora Club Cleveland, OH. That first US tour would be one of the top stops when I get my Time Machine finished, along with the Live at Leeds concert and my spot behind the picket fence at the grassy knoll.

      • Bruce says:

        Yep, there were some pretty hot shows on that tour considering it was usually snow outside. Most of the sets came in at about 45 minutes in those days (shorter than the ‘acoustic solo interludes’ of later years). I just watched The Who Live in Texas 1975 last night — which put me in mind of the support tour I did with them with Quiver in 1972. Keith Moon was no idiot!

      • Mike Miller says:

        I just started re-reading Tony Fletcher’s book on Moon. Really fascinating if you haven’t read it.

      • Bruce says:

        No, I haven’t read that. But I saw him having dinner with Mr and Mrs McCartney just a few hours before he died. He was going to be in Macca’s “Rockestra”, but didn’t make it, I’m afraid.

      • BorisBrain says:

        Not long ago, a fella who looked suspiciously under 20 came up to me after one of our gigs and said, “That was sick, man”. Took me a moment to realise he’d paid us a compliment.

        Well, that was a sick version of LSV – one of the fastest I’ve ever heard, and the bass sounds terrific.

      • Bruce says:

        When you say “terrific” do you mean awful, then? :)

        Boris, I’ve just seen that yours was the 2000th comment on the site — I’ll have to find you a prize!

      • BorisBrain says:

        I’m sure that the ‘yoof’ would probably say ‘double-sick’, or some other such pearl of wisdom.

        Speaking of blistering versions of LSV, and a collection of other belters, there can be few more visceral sets than this 1978 gig in Germany, for anyone who may not have seen it. The audience looked dumbfounded, anyway…

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO5fuuWzf6M

      • BorisBrain says:

        Ooh – a prize! Just send a lefty Profile and a crate of Dom Perignon…
        ; )

      • Mike Miller says:

        One can only speculate what Moon would be doing if he was still around:

        http://westendstudio.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/moon.jpg

      • Bruce says:

        My guess is a narrator of horticultural documentaries

      • Mike Miller says:

        Back in the Hip-Hop heydays of the ’90s, a highly intoxicated rapper told me in apparent praise of the studio: “Mike, you’re the shit and everybody knows it”.
        A short time later I watched as he nearly drove his car through the front facade of the antique store up the street.

      • Bruce says:

        Ahh, such innocence.

      • Mike Miller says:

        I was thinking about Boris’ dilemma regarding the right-hand only Profile. It looks like the nut could be reversed, the strap button moved and he would have a “Hendrix style” Profile. Looks like the bridge would work either way. Not sure how the weight balance of instrument and the knobs being under his left arm would effect things. He’d certainly benefit from the great neck, tone, and I’ll bet it would look really cool.
        I’d bet the Bass Centre could set it up for him.

      • Bruce says:

        Actually, I was thinking along very similar lines, Mike.

  5. Mike Miller says:

    Since you were describing your bass rig in the interview and many may not be familiar with Traynor:

    http://westendstudio.com/?attachment_id=1297

    http://westendstudio.com/?attachment_id=1298

    • Bruce says:

      Or as Jake Riviera was fond of saying — “Remember the Good Old Days? …. they’re gone!”

      I was getting bit worried that you’d all gone quiet, as it seemed to coincide with my comment that my favourite book was “A Confederacy of Dunces” — which cryptically referenced EC and T-Bone’s half-assed plan for KoA, not at the contributors to the blog!!

  6. Mike Miller says:

    Have not heard of the Weepies. If you can say, how did that project come about?

  7. Mike Miller says:

    Do you recall where the group photo featured in the interview was taken?

  8. Martin Lower says:

    Brilliant.
    My ten year old son (Billy, your 2nd cousin once removed or whatever)) starts guitar lessons this week – he wants to be a bass player because of A) You and B) Olugbenga Adelekan who’s the bass player with Metronomy (check out ‘Love Letters’ or ‘The Bay’) , either way I hope he enjoys learning. Any advice to a young kid starting up ?

    • Bruce says:

      The most important thing when learning anything is regular practice — there’s no other way of getting it into the muscle memory or the neurological circuits. 30 minutes every day are a lot better than 12 hours once a week. (As it happens, when I started I did 9 hours a day and drove everyone bonkers in the process). Concentrate on timing and feel, no matter how simple the part is. In fact the simpler the better to start with. If you can get a one note part to groove it’s far better than being able to play a Bach fugue or a Jaco Pastorius solo, kind of almost right. The secret to bass playing, like good comedy, is in the timing.

  9. Jerry Cohen says:

    I’d love to see B Movie or Fish And Chip Paper, or Clubland….hell, too many to pick from!

  10. BorisBrain says:

    Cool. Will you be posting any more video of your playing?

    Stay groovy,

    BB

    • Bruce says:

      I think when the new batch of basses arrives I’ll do a new clip. Any requests, from anyone … ?

      • David Witherington says:

        Looking forward to reading this in its entirety!! As for a video request, how about either “Secondary Modern” and/or “Watch Your Step”? The recorded versions of these two remind me of each other…yet both songs stand on their own among my many faves. As with “Chelsea,” your melodic bass lines are the life blood of these tracks, and Steve’s organ splashes dance around them soulfully. What a great band you guys were! Thanks, Bruce. I’ll be sure to buy a copy of the mag. :)

      • Bruce says:

        Maybe I’ll do a medly — or cross-fertilize them into a hybrid.

      • BorisBrain says:

        Anything would be good, but since you ask it would be great to see/hear Strict Time, I Stand Accused, Party Girl or Shabby Doll…

        BB

      • Bruce says:

        Message received.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Don’t cringe when I say….Anything from “Mad About the Wrong Boy”.
        It may not have worked as a whole, but the bass work is tops.

      • Bruce says:

        Do you know, I haven’t listened to that album since we did it, so I’ll take your word for it.

      • Jeff Owens says:

        Oh man, “Big Tears.” “Tiny Steps.” “Sulky Girl” (especially the fade-out). Too many cool ones to single out a single …

        Cheers Bruce!
        Jeff

      • Bruce says:

        Fade out of “Sulky Girl” — why what happens?

        (Five minutes later) I’ve just had a listen to it on YT for the first time since it was recorded! Well the bass line influence is obvious — The Zombies “Time of the Season”. Pretty much identical. There’s a Jamerson-type fill on the out section I think tickled your fancy, but things like that are a one-off, I’d have to learn it off the record. It was only ever played once and maybe it should stay that way.

      • Mike Miller says:

        Maybe it’s time.

  11. Paul Inglis says:

    Nice, I’ll have a look out for that! I see there’s features on McCartney and ”Duck” Dunn as well – so who could say no?

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