I played a bit of guitar in my teens, mainly along to Oasis songs, but had all but given up as I was never very good at it. My parents always encouraged me to keep at it, though, and one day my friend talked me into trying the bass because he needed a bassist for his metal band. Three weeks later I was standing on a stage playing Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer covers, too petrified to peer up from my fretboard at the audience until halfway through the set. At that point I realized that despite the sheer terror I was feeling, everyone was having a good time – me included.
A friend and I took a trip to Guitar Mania in Dorset and came out with an Ibanez GSR200 and a huge Laney MK II amp. We struggled halfway down the road with them before admitting defeat and calling a cab home. I still have the Ibanez, but the amp got sold on a few years ago in exchange for one I could actually lift by myself. I then went to music college for two years, which turned out to be incredibly valuable as it taught me how to play with all kinds of people in all sorts of situations. While there, I played in a few bands in my home town before moving to London, where I spent the next decade playing in various bands, including a punk-grunge trio called the Graphic in 2013.
I gigged around the UK and Switzerland with them, but when that finished, I was done with band monogamy; I played with anyone who asked me, just to get my chops up. I would often go and fill in for sick or absent bass players for my friends’ bands – I had about six on the go at one point! Eventually, I got together my own band, Planet Of The Capes, and we’d go out and gig every time I wasn’t busy with all the rest of it. The absolute high point of my bass-playing career to date has been landing the gig with Rock Goddess. It’s by far and away the most challenging material I’ve had to learn, but playing it is exhilarating and Jody Turner writes monster songs with huge riffs – so much fun to get stuck into. They have a rich history and an amazing fanbase, and I feel very honored to get to play with them. I’ve been very lucky to play with some superb drummers over the years and Julie Turner is one of the very best – she’s everywhere on the drum kit at once, but she makes it look completely effortless.
My favorite bass to date is my black and white Fender Precision, which has been with me for almost every gig I’ve done over the last 10 years. I got it in Nottingham, when me and my boyfriend at the time were killing a few hours in a guitar shop and he persuaded me to have a go on it. Inevitably, I fell for it but didn’t have the funds, so my lovely boyfriend bought it for me and let me pay him back in installments. It’s not worth a huge amount, but it’s by far and away the most precious thing I own.
My bass heroes are Steve Harris, Billy Sheehan, Carol Kaye, Les Claypool, Cliff Burton, Kim Deal, Julia Ruzicka and Peter Hook, and the bassist that got me into it all was Carlos D from Interpol. His bass-lines were so cool, as well as being weird, sleazy and sinister. Hearing him was the first time I realized how much more you could get melodically involved with a song, rather than just thundering steadily along underneath everything. That said, I’m still quite partial to a bit of steady thundering!
The greatest bass player that ever lived was Lemmy Kilmister. I only ever got to see Motörhead live once and I was miles back in the crowd, but he still managed to blow my head clean off. Pure savagery.
Sometimes when I’m struggling a bit onstage, I think ‘What would Lemmy do?’, and then I feel a surge of something undefinable and I’m usually all right.
This Time will be released on March 1. Info: www.rockgoddessofficial.co.uk.