The frontline: Michael McKeegan

Regrets? I’ve had a few, and all that. One thing I have learned in (now) 23 years of our band’s existence is, as in life, you can’t dwell too much in the past. ‘If only’ isn’t gonna get you anywhere. Move on and learn from those experiences, good and bad.

Credit www.ashleybird.com

Credit www.ashleybird.com

To contradict myself, I would have to say one thing I do genuinely regret is the fact I never had ‘proper’ lessons or studied music alongside learning my instrument. I’m completely self-taught, which is probably quite obvious if you listen to one of our records, but I think I’ve carved out perhaps a slightly more distinctive style than I would have had I taken lessons or studied. Music lessons weren’t really a focus in the education system I grew up in (we had Latin) and, pre-internet, it wasn’t that easy in my locale to find a dedicated bass teacher. Hence my musical education came from jamming, experimenting, making mistakes, having lucky accidents, playing along with records and reading music mags like the very one you are reading. There’s no harm in that, as I feel I’ve cultivated my own approach, but occasionally I find myself getting frustrated either in understanding or articulating a certain idea or theme. Within Therapy? I have two excellent sounding-boards with Andy and Neil, who know their theory and are always helpful and clear when I need a bit of guidance with parts or time signatures. I get to pick their brains, which in itself is a great influence on how I approach the bass.

Looking back, I would say it’s never too late. I’m always trying to learn more about theory and at some point I will do a ‘proper’ musical study and see what strengths and inspirations it brings to my technique and playing style. To that end I’d say if you ever get the chance or have the time to do a bit of study, have proper lessons or even just hang out with a buddy or band-mate with decent grasp of theory, grasp that opportunity. Knowledge can be a very powerful and enlightening thing.

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