I took a moment to get over being "star struck" and pieced together the questions I asked below.
Thanks George, I've enjoyed our email conversations so far. Your catalog of work has always meant much to me in my life and playing, now it's even more personal.
JH: Why the Bass?
GP: It was something that was needed. This was during the beginning of the Viet Nam Era, and New Orleans had a big draft which took a lot of Musicians, including Bass Players.
JH: Can you give us some insight as to what and/or who brought you to the Bass Guitar?
GP:: Benjamin Francis "Popie", was a Bass Player that played rhythm guitar, and I was a rhythm guitarist also.
JH: You've grown to be one of the Icons of the Bass world, a bass player's bass player... Who are the players that catch your ear these days?
GP: Thank you but, ohhh, there are so many great Bass Players today, that I have heard, so I wont name any, they know who they are.
JH: The vibe you helped create in The Meters has been said to be a ground breaking meld of many styles (both local and global)... Was this a thought at the time? or did it just happen as it did?
GP: In the early years, lets say the first three albums, we weren't trying as hard to create. From Cabbage Alley through New Directions, members of the band became song writers; so there was a greater effort put forth to be creative. In short it just happened.
JH: Is there anything special you keep in mind when writing your own stuff?
GP:: Yes, trying to remember what I have already done; and not repeating myself.
JH: How about when hired for a studio session, any rituals or such to help you prepare?
GP:: Sometimes, they send me music to check out; most times they don't; so if there is a ritual, it is listening and paying attention to the music being presented and finding my place within it.
JH: What advice can you give the players young and old that look to you for inspiration?
GP:: I'm not good at giving advice. But I will say it's not what you play, it's what you don't play that makes a pocket/groove strong.
JH: You've sat in with a wide variety of players, is there anyone you'd still like to meet up with and jam?
GP:: Lets put it this way, "Have Bass will travel".
JH: Tell us about your Bass! The Mojo just oozes from it. What Year is it?
GP:: This instrument is in two pieces. The neck I was led to believe, it Is Pre-CBS, and the body was a 1970 Fretless Bass.
JH: How long have you had it?
GP:: Since 1970.
JH: Any stories/history attached to it?
GP:: In 1970 I bought a new Fretless Bass. Took it on the road with The Meters, needless to say they hated it; and threatened to break either the Bass or me. So, I knew of this neck, bought it and replaced the Fretless one. Bass History!!
JH: I personally really dig your live tone (studio too), what is your live set up?
GP:: On Fly dates, I ask for an Ampeg SVT Pro-4 or Classic heads with the classic SVT 8x10 enclosure. When playing local dates or dates where we provide our own backline I use my Ampeg SVT Pro-4 head with a 6x10 enclosure. Strings: I use Daddario, (XL nickel Round Wound - Long Scale, 105's, 85's, 65's, and 55's) Effects: EBS UniChorus, BassIQ, OctaBass, MultiComp and MultiDrive
JH: Anything different for the studio?
GP:: In the studio, I tend to not use Amps, but use 2 direct boxes usually provided by the studio. When given a choice, I would use one of the smaller Ampeg amps like the BA-210.
JH: I've heard a few tracks of yours that have effects, do you use them regularly, and if so what are they?
GP:: Yes and No. The pedals are always set up, I don't use them in every song. There are 5 pedals with 3 selectable and tunable sounds on each pedal. These pedals are named EBS UniChorus, BassIQ, OctaBass, MultiComp and MultiDrive.
For those of you wanting to hear who George is... Here is a partial list of some killer discs you can hear him on:
1965 - 1979
"Look Ka Py PY"
"Fiyo on the Bayou"
George Porter Jr. and Runnin Pardners
"Funk N' Go Nuts" 2000
"Funk This" 1997
"Things Ain't What They Used To Be" 1994
"Count On You", Released in Japan 1994
"Runnin Pardners" 1990
The Funky Meters
"Fiyo at the Fillmore" Volume 1
"Songs from the Choirgirl Hotel 1998
"Boys for Pele" 1996
"Under the Pink" 1993
Harry Connick, Jr.
"Funk Album" 1994
"Southern Exposure" 1993
"You Can't Judge a Book" 1979
"Lady Marmalade" 1977
Several recording projects including,
"Sneakin Sally Through the Alley" 1970's
"The Wild Tchoupitoulas" 1976
"Right Place, Wrong Time"
"Mardi Gras Mambo" 1973 - 1974
Visit George Porter, Jr. on the web at http://www.georgeporterjr.com/
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