Before becoming the bassist in Body Count, the heavy metal band featuring rapper/actor Ice-T, Vincent Price worked at the studio where the band rehearsed. “I was there all the time,” he recalls. “And when (Body Count guitarist) Ernie C wanted to do a solo project, he asked me to do it with him and that’s how it all started. Eventually I became the bass player in Body Count.”
Despite being in Body Count for 15 years now, Price never abandoned his roots as a guitar/studio technician and regularly hits the road with artists as diverse as Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi), Orianthi (Alice Cooper/Michael Jackson) and Chris Cornell (Soundgarden). “The advantage of being a tech is that you keep relevant with everyone that has to do with music,” he concludes. “And while Ice is an actor, I’m a guitar tech.”
As he was preparing to hit the road as a guitar tech with Soundgarden, BP caught up with Price to talk about his influence on Body Count’s latest release, Bloodlust, and his evolution as a bassist.
How did you start playing bass?
I played saxophone at first, but my friends were playing Kiss and Black Sabbath songs. I was trying to play sax and they were like, “This is not going to work,” so they started teaching me “Smoke on the Water” [Deep Purple] and stuff like that on guitar—from there I started playing bass in punk bands.
Who are some of your favorite players?
Steve Harris became one of my favorite bass players and I’ve been following him ever since. I started playing Iron Maiden covers in a band called Steel Prophet, which was basically a progressive metal band and the rest is history.
How would you describe your playing style?
I first started playing punk rock, so that’s where my roots are—the more basic, the better. But my style evolved in so many different ways throughout the years. I was this person who liked to play a lot of notes, and then suddenly it became all about the song.
Just realizing that you don’t need to do all that stuff—that everyone else is doing all that stuff. The songs are more important than all the noodling—it just gets in the way of the song. Save the noodling for the noodlers. You can find that stuff on YouTube. I want to play arenas, not clubs.
You are playing a 3-string bass in the video for “No Lives Matter.”
I played in Prong for a while and Paul Raven (former Prong bassist, deceased 2007) had these 3-string basses that I was using. So, when I was writing the Body Count record I was like, “You know what? I’m going to bring back the 3-string bass.”
How is it tuned?
I use a 4-string, but I use a 5-string set, so it’s BEA—to get those low notes. You don’t need all those strings [laughs]. You just need to hold down the groove.
“Black Hoodie” incorporates metal and hip-hop at the same time—so does “No Lives Matter.” On “This is Why We Ride” you seem to tap into your progressive side a bit more.
Because Ice is a rapper, people like to categorize the band as rap-metal, but we’re not really rap-metal. I’m just basically trying to approach everything. I do a little noodling on “This is Why We Ride” because Ice wanted me to take off on that song. Generally speaking, there are a lot of kids that are into hip-hop, so I’m trying to show that I can do it all. I can start a song one way and then go into full on metal stuff. It’s almost like a teaser.
HEAR HIM ON:
Bloodlust, Body Count (Century Media, 2017)
Basses Schecter Hellraiser Extreme-4 (strung with only 3-strings), Kala California Solid Body U-Bass (5-string)
Amps Hartke LH1000 Bass Amplifier, Hartke HyDrive 810 Bass Cabinet
Effects Hartke HC33 Analog Bass Chorus Pedal, Hartke HF44 Bass Fuzz Pedal
(Photo of Vincent by Robin Looy)