Wow, is there ever! And this was brought to the forefront of my mind last night on a show with my own band in LA. Having been sat behind the laptop for most of the year editing video and coding websites it's been a bit of a shock to the system to be playing almost every night again now for the rest of the year. And it's brought up some questions about what works and what doesn't in certain situations in my playing, and more importantly how I can deal with that and identify those things that do work quicker.
A big thing for me last night was sound, and how I need to be better at identifying sonic awareness for a room and for a musical setting. I'm in the process (what seems like a life long ongoing one) of trying lots of different pedals right now. Getting the right distortion and over drive has been a real issue for me, and getting it to sit just right in the signal chain without a massive gain increase or drop. Currently on trial are the Ibanez Bass Tube Screamer, The TC Electronic Dark Matter, and the Xotic Bass BB Preamp. I'm getting close to where I want to be, but I definitely feel I need time to really work on this stuff. Like several weeks of just that on my own! and then serious live situations to road test this stuff and commit to the sounds.
I of course like the fact that I can change it up all the time too, which is probably why I've never stuck with just one thing. I think the only pedal I've used consistently throughout every single pedalboard incarnation has been the Boss OC-2.
But the sonic questions that came up last night will be key to the success of my music moving forward. Continuing to create a sound that is not only instantly recognizable as me, but something that will translate in a multitude of venues, and to a number of different audiences. I'm still getting to grips with the meatbox, and that was overloading the low end in the club last night, but I think it will be a major part of my set up. I'm really getting into sub harmonic sounds, moving air, and creating something that moves people on levels they don't immediately understand. Working on something that gets people to think has been on my mind lately, and I think that perhaps getting people to think about something they already know, like low frequency, and just getting them to ask different questions about it might be a good method of communication.
We once again come to that communication word, and I'm loving it the more I think about it. I saw some smiling faces at the show last night, and knew we were doing our job as far as communication goes. It's a great feeling, and one I highly recommend going in search of. The communication between the band members was fresh as it was a new line-up for us all with Tom Brechtlein on drums, and that led us to some different avenues of exploration. I think I had just forgotten what it was like to get up on stage and let loose for a couple of hours with a new band, and have people be into it. It was really important and touching to me that some close friends and relatives came out to hang, and I plan to do more of this kind of thing when I'm home to experiment with new sounds, new songs, and new musicians as much as possible.
I recorded both sets and am going to do some sort of download special in the next week or so before I leave on tour for Europe, so stay tuned! As always don't forget to comment, like, and tweet!
Patience is Key, Everything is Possible, and Hard Work is Obligatory.