I try to employ a sense of the appropriate to all my lines. I think bass players should have a function within the rhythm section and should not distract from it, so I’m more likely to reinforce the groove than dictate it. I’ve never had a great desire to play more than four strings. I’m not a purist though, just prudent. I somehow acquaint five- and six-string basses with discomfort. I slap because it’s a useful calisthenic. Not only are you practising a technique truly unique to bass, but it also helps with subdivision, timing and groove. The secret of playing bass well is internalising your metronome: feeling the downbeat consistently and evenly is fundamental to playing bass well. I’ve even heard of people sleeping with their metronomes on, in an effort to make their meter subconscious.
My first bass was a Thunderbird IV. It was a touch too top- heavy for my frame, but it was very well put together for its price. My favourite bass ever to date is the Music Man Stingray HH. Not only does it look great, but you can get so many sounds with a combination of twin humbuckers and a three-band EQ preamp. One day, she will be mine. My bass heroes are Chris Squire, Colin Greenwood and Tina Weymouth. The greatest bass player that ever lived was Charlie Mingus. The man personifies the bass clef for me. He was a virtuoso and a genius who played with such an intense authority. If I could get the bass tone of any album ever released, I would choose Inspiration Information by Shuggie Otis. His strings sound as old as the record is, but their tone complements the subtle integration of early drum machines perfectly. With great bass comes great responsibility.