In the studio, I try to get quite an aggressive tone by digging into the strings with a pick – gives it a nice bit of attack! Live, I like to be a showman and put as much energy into my live performance as possible, as people who have caught us live will know. If I can find a way to climb on or off stage, I’m climbing! The skill is being able to put energy into your live performance without compromising the actual music itself. Back when I first started playing bass, I went through a Flea stage and was slapping all the time. It didn’t take me long to grow out of it after I realised no-one else other than bass players was digging it. Nowadays I leave the self-indulgence to the guitarists.
I was quite a late starter on bass. It was at college when I was 17 that I first picked up the bass. My friends were forming a punk ska band and needed a bass player and I just happened to own one. Back then I had no real idea of music and just did everything by ear and what I felt sounded right. I was later recruited into a grunge band, which is where I learned the value of stage performance and live energy and attitude, so I feel if you put the hours in and have a good sense of feel, tone and rhythm, you’re pretty much on the road to being able to play bass well. The first bass I ever got was a cheap Yamaha RBX 170 for about £100. I still have the original strings that it came with! They give it a great Motown ploppy sound. The strings are so dead on it, it’s like they died twice.