I don’t play a six-string bass because I love the bass. I love where it sits in the mix and I already play guitar/baritone guitar. I love slapping. Why wouldn’t you like slapping? Have you ever heard ‘Hair’ by Graham Central Station? That I don’t do it as often as I did when I was 15 or 16 speaks to the kind of musical situations I find myself in these days.
The secret of playing bass well? It’s more the secret of playing music. You need to have a great grasp of harmony, time, feel and tone. You also need to understand the context of the music you’re playing. If the song is in the vein of the Beatles, you need to know that music. You also need to be fearless and quick to adapt. My first bass was a cherry red 1976 Fender Musicmaster. It was a short scale student model bass that had a warped neck that I bought from a kid in high school for $50. I regret giving it to my girlfriend when I was 17. My go-to bass for the past eight years or so has been a 1964 Fender P-Bass that I bought when I was on tour in Minneapolis. I feel like I can make it sound like a lot of things. The notes always seem to arrive. When I was playing with Colin Hay, Paul McCartney came to one of our gigs. He watched all two hours of our set and afterwards we all hung out at an after-party. Though there were many people who wanted to spend time with him, he stuck with us musicians for a while, telling us stories about the old days as well as what he was up to at the time. When it was time to go, I said, ‘Paul it was such an honour getting to play for you… You know, I was sending every note out to you!’ and he said ‘Sounds great Kaveh, every one was a winner!’ That still and probably will always kill me.
Basses Fender Precision, Gibson EB2, Gibson EBO, Hofner Club, EKO Kadet, German double bass circa 1900
Effects Boss Super Overdrive, Boss OC 2 Octave
Aguilar AG 500, Aguilar 4×10” and 2×10” cabinets, Tonehammer 500