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Being a Professional

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by TaySte_2000, Oct 27, 2004.


  1. TaySte_2000

    TaySte_2000

    Jun 23, 2001
    Manchester, UK
    Endorsing Artist: Mojohand, Subdecay, Overwater, Matamp
    I was wondering guys if you could explain the 'Being a Professional' aspect of your careers. Obviously there is something more than chops to this game of both solo bass and recording sessions.

    I'll start with a couple of questions and then hopefully you can get the jist of what I'm asking.

    How do you prepare for a live gig with an artist you've never played with before?

    Whats the least amount of time you've had in the studio to play a bass line for another artist? How did you overcome the lack of time to learn it?

    Whats the worst stage setup, least musician friendly venue you've played? Again how did you overcome these problems?

    In terms of gear what would you say should always be brought to either a practice or recording session, to give you that more professional edge over the competition?

    Thanks guys
     
  2. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Thanks for the questions, TaySte 2000.

    >How do you prepare for a live gig with an artist you've never played with before?

    It’s all about listening. If you are lucky enough to receive music beforehand it’s important to learn not just the notes and structure of the music, but to try to get a feel for the underlying approach the artist uses. That way, if things are a little different on the gig, you’ll have a sense of where they might be going.

    If you don’t receive any music beforehand, just be open, pay attention and listen, listen, listen.

    >Whats the least amount of time you've had in the studio to play a bass line for another artist? How did you overcome the lack of time to learn it?

    I’ve actually done quite a few sessions where the first time I heard the song is the take that’s on the record. Some producers are very into spontaneity and prefer to get the first performance that comes out. Sometimes everyone is just so stressed they don‘t have time to think about giving you a chance to learn a piece. Hopefully they won’t ask you to do this on a complex song that has lots of movement that you need to catch, but I’ve actually done those “keeper take on first listen” sessions on that kind of music, too -- and even on some pretty decent selling records! Again, it’s just about listening… and I suppose making some lucky guesses sometimes!

    >Whats the worst stage setup, least musician friendly venue you've played? Again how did you overcome these problems?

    Ouch. Well, I’ve played in all kinds of bad situations, from performance areas knee deep in mud, to places where there were weapons fired, to hurricanes toppling the PA, to sub-zero temperatures, to venues being raided by the riot squad during the show. The answer, I guess, is just that you love music, so you tolerate these difficult and dangerous situations. This isn’t really a job that you choose as much as it chooses you.

    >In terms of gear what would you say should always be brought to either a practice or recording session, to give you that more professional edge over the competition?

    I think most folks would be surprised at how little gear matters in many professional situations. There are plenty of exceptions of course, but I’d say that in most circumstances all anyone cares about is that you give them a performance they like and they have no interest whatsoever in whether it was done on a priceless vintage instrument or the cheapest bass you could find. In general, for most working situations I‘d say everyone appreciates it if you bring as little gear as possible, as long as it gets the job done.
     
  3. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member

    From the title, I thought this was going to be a thread asking about how you filled in your tax returns!! ;)