1. What age did you start playing music?
Started on the Tonette in 4thgrade….it was a poor man’s version of the Recorder if you can picture that…then I advanced to alto saxophone in 5thgrade and played through high school. Took a few guitar lessons (strumming chords; John Denver songs) in 6thgrade and liked it but then we moved, and I forgot about it I guess for a bit, but I was still obsessed with music…Started guitar lessons a little less seriously in 8thgrade with 2 buddies with the intention of starting a band. Since I was in 3rdplace in skill and wasn’t nearly as cute it was decided I would play bass. It is funny to look back though and think about all the songs I liked growing up and how bass centric a lot of them were. I think it was “meant to be” for me to be a bass player.
2. First Instrument you learned.
The alto sax for sure. Made it to 1s chair BTW my senior year. Maybe it was a seniority thing, but I’ll take it for what it’s worth. I had some fun in high school band.
Ron Wood was the man who gave us original three the 8th grade guitar lessons. He was a very mellow man, who wouldn’t let us tune our own guitars, and would occasionally break out into song as he was tuning our guitars…stuff like “Feelings” by Morris Albert. We never learned to play that tune or any others but spent most of the lessons trying not to laugh at Ron Wood. We were awful people.
4. Do you play any other instruments other than bass - what are they?
I wanted to be a drummer but had to know piano where and when I started playing in band at school. Not happy about that to this day but oh well. My alto sax lip is gone so “no” to that. I guess it’s just bass for me!
5. Main Influences?
Starting out it was Tom Petersson from Cheap Trick, Michael Anthony from Van Halen and Rick Savage from “High n Dry” era Def Leppard…along with a generous helping of Pete Way from UFO. Was into grungy, funky guys like Flea somewhat later. Thinking back, after that I really don’t recall anyone in particular being an influence. That’s when I started being my own bass player self, I guess…. Since going into an instrumental setting though, I do have new influences and inspirations for sure. I love Bryan Beller from The Aristocrats, Nick Beggs who plays with Steven Wilson and Martin Mendez of the mighty Opeth. Love watching Troy Sanders from Mastodon too…very inspirational to listen to all of them work their magic.
6. When and why did you know you were meant to be a musician and pursue a musical career. Seeing the influence Kiss had on my classmates when I was 12 years old in 1978 started it all for me. My class had DJ duty at lunch for a while with different students taking turns. The only rule I remember was you could only play 1 Kiss song each lunch, as to not disrupt lunch too much! That made an impression. Buying Kiss Alive II made me want to play music…then I moved and eventually met 2 guys who wanted to play music like I did. We went for it…
7. What was your first band and at what age?
“Sabre” was the 1stband with both of those guys, around the age of 17 or so, although us three were in the basement for 2-3 years before that. We all pretty much loved the same early 80’s hard rock…not to be confused with the much less exciting and less innovative “hair metal” that came later. I feel lucky to have met those guys and to be able to say I got to be a part of that early 80’s hard rock. It was just the 3 of us with no singer…then we eventually found a singer and started writing our own tunes along with covers of course. This was when I was 18-19 years old or so. I was also in college around that time, so it was a bit of a drama to do both…
8. Chronologically - What previous MPLS bands were you in before Ovrfwrd?
I started (after moving from Madison to Minneapolis) in cover bands with some original music, then got into doing my own thing. Took me a little too long to get there but I did. Played with Godspeed, The Coup De Grace, Jonas, then took a 5-year break to go bowling…. got back into it at the tail end of The Squabs, then The Goodbars, Krown Vega & now Ovrfwrd. One thing I took away from all those band is that being in an instrumental band is definitely a great thing for me to be involved in right now. It can be a different world at times but it’s a world I’m growing to love. It’s a different kind of freedom to be involved with these players and this sort of music.
9. What was your first bass guitar?
A black ¾ neck bass (no brand I can remember) that myself or my parents paid $80 for, from the classifieds in the newspaper. Wish I still had it…. I’m not exactly sure what happened to it to be honest.
10. What is your main bass guitar now?
I just got a beautiful Fender Squire Jazz bass. My 1st jazz bass and I am absolutely loving playing it.
11. What is your main bass live rig w/Ovrfwrd?
I play through Mesa Boogie cabs and a very heavy Mesa bass head.
12. What is your recording studio bass rig set up?
1stOvrfwrd record was done with an Ampeg “windowmaker” 8x10 with the companion gargantuan SVT head. Sounded great. Did the 2ndrecord with my Mesa rig. 3rdrecord was done with an Orange Cab and a Fender bass head (I think?). I’m not much of a gear nerdist, although I know what I like.
13. How do you approach writing bass lines for Ovrfwrd?
Well…. let’s see…Chris Mark & Rikki come in with ideas for a song. Chris usually has a bass line recorded so I follow that to start with. Rikki & Mark usually have a visual/mental idea of what the bass could do and let me know. But to be honest our songs start one way and almost always end up very much another way. We work things out in the basement/rehearsal spot all together for the most part. We like doing that. It’s sort of the longhand way but it is organic, and it has worked. Who knows what the future holds, but we like our old school collaborative approach.
14. If you had to pick only one - would it be performing live -or- studio recording?
Playing live is generally more fun for me. It’s the icing on the cake of making it through a recording process. I enjoy recording when you hear the playback of the completed tune on the big speakers at the studio…before that is a little stressful for me…I’ve gotten more comfortable with it through the years though and love the comradery and teamwork it takes to make a song happen in the studio. That part is fun. Making sure I’m ready on the spot while there is less fun. Actually, I just changed my mind…I like them both. Something I like even more but don’t do much anymore is to just jam with people on fun stuff. That can be a blast or a train wreck…. I like to see which one will happen.
15. From your 4 Ovrfwrd albums - What was the most complex/difficult song for you to play?
Well…. currently it is “Utopia Planitia” from our 2ndrecord that keeps me on the edge. Very long song with many, many notes and changes. It’s like any of our songs though: the more we play them the better they can sound. We have been working our live set up and so right now that song is sounding pretty darn good.
16. What would be your personal favorite Ovrfwrd bass line to play live?
“Another Afterthought” from “Blurring the Lines” is one song that has went up a notch or two since we recorded it oh so long ago. It has older progressive elements of the band with newer funner (?) elements too… plus a drum machine type part that has turned into something more organic live…it’s a fun bass part and the song is dynamite!
17. Worst stage/recording nightmare experience story?
Lately it was our “Occupations” CD release show where the drummer from the band before us made sure he left a large glass of water right where I could kick it over onto a wooden stage with 300 cords on it. Plus, my pedalboard power supply was broken (by me). Ended up basically playing through the PA so was saved… Tough one…
18. Advice to aspiring bass players.
Well…. spend all the time you want in your room playing with yourself, but make sure you get out of the house and play music with other humans. Plenty of good players are playing, but it’s a personal connection that is so important to your musical health. If you don’t make those connections, you most likely are spinning your wheels. Get out and play…