We recently had a chance to speak with Adam (Bass) after a rehearsal. Check out some of his answers to our questions:
919: How long have you been performing?
AJ: I joined my first “bar band” when I was 17- a senior in High School. I didn’t attend my Prom because I had a gig that night. I’ve been performing music consistently ever since.
919: If you could take a bass lesson from anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
AJ: James Jamerson- the bassist for Motown because he changed the role of the bass forever and we’ve never looked back. There’s bass before Jamerson and after. Before him bass was basic and supportive. Jamerson made the bass a prominent force in music. His use of offbeats and chromatic lines gave the bass a life and personality that had never been heard before but we hear and feel in every form of music today. Most importantly his bass lines changed the way people danced. Jamerson introduced the 16th note as a dance step into popular music which was something virtually unheard of previous to his recordings. Before Jamerson we had “The Twist” after Jamerson we had the “Soul Train line”… the rest is history
919: What is the coolest thing you’ve done so far in your career?
AJ: I had the opportunity to be in the opening act for Earth Wind & Fire at a very large festival. It was a total thrill to step up on a 20 ft high stage and play for 60,000+ people. Seeing that giant wave of people dancing to the groove that I was playing is probably the greatest rush I’ve ever had.
919: What was the first song you learned?
AJ: Wow… that’s going back… I can remember playing “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath because it was the coolest thing that me and my friends could groove on at 12 years old. “Good Times Bad Times” by Led Zeppelin was probably the song that I learned where I realized how much cooler bass was than any than any other instrument.
919: How would you describe The (919)’s show to someone who’s never seen the band before?
AJ: Fun, energetic, full of passion, the best party you’ll ever have!
The members of the 919 LOVE what we do and once we hit the stage it shows . It’s by and far the most versatile band that I’ve ever been with (and I’ve been in a lot of bands). We can and will do whatever it takes to make the venue we are playing be the most happening place around. I LOVE playing with this group.
919: Do you get nervous before a performance?
AJ: I never get nervous before a performance. I’m always confident that what I’m about to do is going to be my best show ever. What I do get is anxious. Once we are set up and sound checked… I am ready to go and just want to start. Once the downbeat hits all is well in my world.
919: What advice do you have for young bass players who are still learning or just starting their careers?
AJ: Playing bass is 3 things,
The right note, at the right time, for the right length. Playing bass is a big game of “connect the dots”. The dots are the roots… how you connect them to make a picture is up to you.
Find the best drummer that you can and make friends. Listen to them and try and mimic the accents that they do on the kick and the snare with a “good” note choice
Learn music theory. Good bassists as a rule have a thorough knowledge of chord tones, harmony, and most of all leading tones.
919: How hard do you push yourself?
AJ: Not a day goes by that I do not try and get better. Music is not only my passion it’s my job and if you’re not dedicated to your work you will never be successful.
919: When are you satisfied with your work?
AJ: I don’t know if I’m ever 100% satisfied. I’m always working to find something that sounds just a little bit cooler than before.