WHAT IS THE ULTIMATE “FUNK MACHINE?”
James Jamerson’s flatwound-strung ’62
Fender Precision and Marcus Miller’s modified
Jazz Bass rank high on the list, but in
the hands of Killers bassist Mark Stoermer,
a dark-horse contender emerges: a flatpicked
Hofner “Beatle Bass.” That’s Stoermer’s axe
of choice for delivering Chic-like funk on
“Joy Ride,” a four-on-the-floor disco romp
that graces his band’s latest, Day & Age.
Why do you prefer picking with the Killers?
The even attack, and the grit.
How can you play pickstyle but retain the
warmth that comes from playing fingerstyle?
You can turn the tone knob down, play
softer, or palm-mute. I do a lot of muting,
which I think I got from Paul McCartney
and John Paul Jones. If you want a warmer
tone, fingers tend to work better. Of course,
it depends—people like John Entwistle can
make their fingers sound like a pick. But to
be honest, I wasn’t looking for much
warmth in the beginning. Plus, a hollowbody
played with a pick can sound warmer
than a solidbody played fingerstyle.
In the past you’ve played P-Basses; why
have you switched to Geddy Lee Jazz Basses?
They take a lot of punishment—I can hit
really hard and the notes don’t die off.
What music do you tend to listen to?
I go in phases. A couple months ago I
was really diving into Bob Dylan, listening
to every record over and over. Newer bands
I’ve come to like are Bat For Lashes and
Mastodon. I’ve gotten into Fela Kuti, and I
listen to a lot of jazz. It’s all totally different
from the Killers, but that doesn’t matter.
Everything you listen to affects you on some
level, but you’re also limited by your abilities.
Most players have their strengths and
weaknesses, and gravitate towards their
strengths. But sometimes you’ve got to challenge
HEAR HIM ON
The Killers, Day & Age,
[Island/Def Jam, 2008]
Basses Fender Geddy Lee Jazz Basses,
Hofner 500/1, Guild Starfire, Fender Tony
Franklin Precision Bass (fretless)
Rig Two Hiwatt Custom 200 heads, two
Hiwatt SE-1510 4x10+1x15 cabs
(one rig with effects, one clean)
Effects Modified Boss BD-2
Blues Driver, Boss GEB-7 Bass
EQ (for volume boost)
Strings GHS Bass Boomers