To say Andy Irvine is all bass all the time doesn’t quite capture the commitment of a man who no doubt dreams bass in his deepest sleep. The self-made artist, educator, and clinician began playing the instrument at age 12. Love at first pluck led to a steady stream of inspiration from the likes of John Paul Jones, Geezer Butler, Stanley Clarke, Jaco, and James Jamerson. The Colorado-based Irvine has since parlayed his passion into a long and productive career as a sideman, bandleader, educator/clinician, with three solo albums that showcase his aggressive, big-toned groove and fierce soloing skills. With his latest creation, the book Passion and Action: A Musician’s Journey, Irvine has now added author to his long list of credits.
How can bass players improve the business side of their lives?
Get organized! Set up a clean work area. Become absolutely dedicated to allocating your time for office hours. On paper, break down your career and potential earning areas into segments of the day, and then diligently spend an equal amount of time each day on each area.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of being your own manager?
I love to self-manage, simply because I can make the decisions I need to and get things moving without wasting precious time waiting for others. The downside or inconvenience, I suppose, is that we have to learn to keep really good records, pay our taxes, pay our band guys, and run a tight ship with accurate financial accounting.
How can players get into doing clinics?
Be a self-starter. When I decided that I wanted to devote myself to education and to doing clinics, I did 60 clinics for free, and I managed the booking and marketing myself. I borrowed money from family and paid all my own travel and publicity expenses. I learned and I grew into the job—I became aware of the entire process. I developed my ability to communicate well in public and confidently express my musical ideas in layman’s terms.
How does doing clinics for Warwick affect your playing and your outlook?
It makes me more well-rounded and distributes my interests and usefulness evenly and effectively. I strive to find a balance between creativity and business, while staying as close to music as I can throughout the entire process. Playing is as fun now as it was when I was little kid and making money from it was not even a consideration. I hope I never lose that curiosity and playful spirit.
Basses (all Warwick) Streamer 4-, 5-, and 6-strings, Fortress 4-string, Star Bass II 4-string, Corvette 6-string, Triumph 5-string electric upright, Alien 4- and 5-string acoustic bass guitars; Palatino carved upright, Johnson Mega Jumbo 5-string acoustic bass guitar
Rig (all Warwick) LWA 1000 and WA 600 heads, Hellborg preamp, Hellborg Mono Power amp, Hellborg Big Cab 2x15, WCA 4x10 and 1x15 cabs
Effects Source Audio Dimension Reverb, Source Audio Orbital Modulator, DigiTech DL-8 delay/looper, Red Witch Factotum Bass Suboctave Drive, Red Witch Suboctave Fuzz, Pigtronix Envelope Phaser
Strings, etc. Black Diamond strings, Excetylene cables, Levy straps & gig bags