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Dave Johnsen: UnderExposed Bassist for December 2005

Discussion in 'News & PR' started by TalkBass, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. TalkBass

    TalkBass News Poster

    Mar 12, 2004
    <p><img src="http://static.flickr.com/41/75775519_84681ebb76_o.jpg" align="right" alt="Dave Johnsen" style="padding-left:5px;"/>Some bass players want to play rock, some want to play R&B, some want to play jazz... and some want to play it all, often simultaneously, via the compositions of Frank Zappa. In modern music you would be hard pressed to find a composer who challenged bass players more consistently and deviously than Zappa. One bass player who went beyond being inspired by this challenge is Dave Johnsen of <a href="http://projectobject.com">Project/Object</a>. P/O is led by Andre Cholmondeley and features Zappa alumni Ike Willis and Napoleon Murphy Brock. </p>

    <p>The Project/Object setlist changes with each tour and gets tweaked for each show. They move seamlessly between all of the various Zappa styles. Dave's favorite thing about playing with P/O? "There are far too many things to list! But, how about this: music is the best, especially FRANK ZAPPA MUSIC!" While on tour they are often joined by other Zappa alums (recently: percussionista Ed Mann and slide guitar wizard Denny Walley). That presents a fairly daunting challenge when you consider that these guys shared the stage with bass players like Roy Estrada, Tom Fowler, Patrick O'Hearn, Arthur Barrow, and Scott Thunes.</p>

    <p>Dave picked up the bass at age 13 after hearing Les Claypool with Primus. Dave says, "Right after I heard Primus for the first time, I was like 'poopie, I wanna do that'... that's a bass!?" Dave had played percussion in elementary school, but made bass his passion after that Primus-epiphany. He must have been doing something right because his association with P/O has been long and fruitful. I've seen Dave perform with P/O on several occasions and while he doesn't emulate any one Zappa bass player, he swings as well as the best of them. </p>

    <p>"Every bass player that Zappa had was good, a lot of them were great, and most of all they all had a unique style and sound." When pressed on a favorite Zappa bassist, Dave says "My favorite, although it's hard to say, would be Tom Fowler, followed closely by Arthur Barrow." Though Dave primarily plays fretted with P/O, his sound has the emotive feel of Tom Fowler's fretless work with Zappa 9which is most of his work with Zappa). Dave is one of those players that brings that slippery fretless feel to the party regardless of what he is using for an axe. On the past few gigs that i have caught he has been playing a rather distressed looking Power Jazz Bass Special, and a very tour-friendly bass rig of a GK head over a Peavey 2x15 cab. When you roll like P/O rolls, your gear has to hold up to the rigors of van life! No boutique gear need apply.</p>

    <p>Dave has a unique sound in live settings, ranging from a bridge-pickup bite to a huge round bellow. That sound and his approach of combining the ability to swing with some amazing precision is the prime reason I picked him for this month's column. </p>

    <p>Dave's other project is the <a href="http://www.insidiousrays.com">Insidious Rays</a>. You won't be stunned to discover that they play in many styles, and those styles often merge into one heck of a fantastic racket. They are currently taking a break from the clubs and are the house band for the Touchstone Theatre's (Bethlehem, PA) vaudeville-style play "Christmas City Follies"! </p>

    <p>So here's a "hats off" to Dave Johnsen, my December 2005 UnderExposed Bassist Award Winner!</p>
  2. jetsetvet

    jetsetvet Banned

    Mar 24, 2005
    I heard Dave play with P/O a couple of months ago. He is very, very impressive, especially for a fairly young guy. He absolutely nailed the trickiest parts. He also used some stomp box effects very tastefully. They played so well, you could almost hear Frank (as interpreted by Ike Willis) if you closed your eyes. This band truly honors FZ's legacy. Napoleon Murphy Brock is just one-of-a-kind amazing! A complete performer.

    Go see and hear Project Object! :hyper: