Shinedown, Eric Bass: Jump Hard, Play Light


ERIC BASS HAD BEEN THERE AND DONE that. He hadn’t exactly sworn off being a bass player, but the South Carolinian—who put in time on drums, trombone, and guitar before focusing on 4-string—had purposely left the touring life to be a producer and engineer. Not long after he opened Ocean Industries studios in Charleston, however, hard rockers Shinedown came in to write and record Sound of Madness [Atlantic, 2008], and things went so well that when the bass chair opened up, Bass (pronounced with a soft “a,” like the fish) was the logical choice.

Four years later, Shinedown’s Amaryllis [Atlantic/Roadrunner] has Eric’s fingerprints all over it. Bass co-wrote, produced, and engineered many of the demos on his mobile Pro Tools rig and at Ocean Industries, and his signature Dean 4-string rumbles authoritatively underneath songs like “Bully” and “Adrenaline.” Meanwhile, Bass is doing what he once thought impossible: balancing careers as a bassist, band member, studio owner, and producer. “Maintaining my connections, keeping my chops up, and working hard in the studio has paid off,” he says. “I get to do both studio and stage work, and it’s a real blessing.”

When you’re producing sessions, do you think like a bass player?

It’s the opposite, actually. As a bass player, I’m always thinking like a producer: What does this song need me to do on bass?

How was it being on the other side of the console from producer/A&R man Rob Cavallo?

Karma’s a bitch, man! I don’t know how many times I’ve had to sit there and tell bass players to do stuff they didn’t really like [laughs]. Being produced was painful sometimes, but I learned a lot from watching Rob work.

In tracking, you use a guitar amp rather than an overdrive pedal. Why?

Because somewhere in there, I’m gonna lose my low end. Having that separate guitar rig means that when I hit that “on” button, my bass tone stays the same.

Why do so many metal and hard rock records have such pitiful bass tone?

Not to generalize, but bass players who are ex-guitar players don’t think like bass players; they don’t play in the pocket, and they dig in too hard. If you play lightly and in the pocket, a good mixer or engineer will be able to make your bass sound enormous. It can be hard to remember on stage, but I remind myself before shows: Jump hard, play light.


Basses Dean Hillsboro Eric Bass signature, custom Dean basses, Nash and Benavente vintage-style basses, Ernie Ball Sterling
Rig Hartke LH1000 and Kilo amps, two Hartke HyDrive 8x10 cabs; Dean Dime D100 guitar head and Dime 4x12 cab
Effects Ernie Ball volume pedal, EBS UniChorus, Digi- Tech Hardwire DL-8 delay, Electro-Harmonix POG Strings SIT Power Wound and Rock Brights (.050–.110)
Picks InTune, .73mm
Other Shure UR4+ wireless units, Whirlwind Multi- Selector Rack, DBX 160A compressor, Radial JX44, Radial SGI interface, Voodoo Labs power supply, Boss TU-3 tuner, Furman AR-20 II Voltage Regulator


Eric Mingus Finds His Own Voice

WITH A HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER’S imposing stature, a field holler of a voice, and fingers that forge fat electric upright grooves, Eric Mingus is a sight and sound to behold. His music is a deep, direct blend of jazz, blues, rock, soul, and poetry. Oh yes, and he’s also the son of the late Charles Mingus. Born to Mingus and his third wife, Judith, on July 8, 1964, Eric started on cello in public school and soon moved to electric and upright bass, which he played on and off for the next 20 years (including a semester at Berklee). His primary focus, however, was poetry and singing, leading to tours with Carla Bley and Karen Mantler. In 1994, he relocated to London to work with the Kinks’ Ray Davies on his documentary, Weird Nightmare, about Hal Wilner’s Meditations On Mingus tribute record. While there, Eric at last made his solo debut playing bass, singing, and reciting in his duo with trumpter Jim Dvorak. Moving back to upstate New York, Mingus rele

Eric Avery: Sound Tsunami: Ocean Size Subhooks Return To JANE’S ADDICTION

STALKING THE STAGE LIKE A caged cat, pounding his low-slung PBass with a sneer solidly etched on his face, Eric Avery seems like a man with a lot on his mind. Between 1985 and 1991, the Jane’s Addiction bassist crafted some of the catchiest subhooks in modern rock. Since rejoining the seminal alternative rock band earlier this year, he’s been on a quest to make it all sound better. On a recent stop outside San Francisco, Avery sat for a spell with BP to talk about the perils of low end, the importance of punch, and his practiced methods for attaining balance.