SoapBox: Skeet Curtis
By John Goldsby
Tue, 1 Sep 2009
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RODNEY “SKEET” CURTIS BOASTS A BOTTOM-END RESUME that moves from Funkadelic’s One Nation Under a Groove to Maceo Parker’s Roots and Grooves. A powerhouse funkster, Skeet assimilated the innovations of James Jamerson, Stanley Clarke and Larry Graham, and developed his own way of delivering the funk. His playing embodies all of the elements of funk, R&B, and jazz in a way that is unmistakably Skeet.

This month, we ask Skeet nine questions about playing the bass, dreams and heroes, and his most recent big mistake. Post your own answers and comments, plus chat with Skeet Curtis and John Goldsby online at BASS PLAYER’s Low Down Lowdown discussion forum (click through at www.bassplayer.com ).

What is your idea of a perfect gig?

One that starts and ends on time, and leaves everybody feeling that they’ve gotten their money’s worth.

What is your most treasured possession?

I have a Fernandes J-bass knockoff that I bought in Japan in 1980—it brings back memories of the Atomic Dog Tour in ’83.

If you were to die and come back as any musician, who would it be?

James Jamerson—my greatest influence.

What is your third all-time favorite record and why?

Number three would be Darling Dear by the Jackson 5, which is a tremendous display of bass playing by James Jamerson. Two is Ain’t Nothin Like the Real Thing by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, and my number one favorite is Hair by Graham Central Station

What is your dream scenario?

I show up at a gig, the equipment is exactly what I asked for, I can hear everything clearly, and the stage volume is such that I don’t need to wear earplugs.

What annoys you about the music business?

Music is becoming less and less emphasized in the music business.

Who are your musical heroes?

Dennis Chambers, Maceo Parker, Will Boulware, Prince, and George Clinton. My bass heroes are James Jamerson, Rocco Prestia, Jaco Pastorius, Larry Graham, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, and Victor Wooten.

What was your most recent big mistake?

I accepted a gig based on what I was told the parameters would be. They weren’t, and I ended up being under-prepared.

What are your goals for the coming year?

I want to continue doing what I’m doing, which is traveling the world playing funky music.

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