BRIAN FOXBURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL IS NOTHING NEW TO ME—AS AN UNABASHED procrastinator (okay, maybe a little abashed…), I’m all too familiar with all-night cram sessions, whether they’re for imminent deadlines or impending performances. As a lad, I used to relish such nights, feeling like the pressure made me more creative, more alive. As I have greyed, I’ve grasped my folly. Still, I can’t help but be giddy (if greyed) by the task that’s been keeping me up late these past few nights: an upcoming audition for a Who tribute band.
I know—tribute bands are sucking the lifeblood from original acts by stealing their gigs, their money, their women. But as a guy who’s played in a bunch of them, I can tell you that they’re a whole lot of fun, and a great way to sharpen your chops. I’m not one for dressing up in costume and pretending to be a bass player whose talents way surpass my own. But I’m all about seriously scrutinizing the motifs, inflection, and overall vibe of my heroes. Whether it’s studying the subtle, oh-so-perfect lines of Doug Stegmeyer in a Billy Joel tribute band, copping the rootsy swing of Randy Meisner and Timothy B. Schmit in an Eagles tribute band, or channeling the prog-punk energy of Roger Waters in a Pink Floyd tribute, devoting myself to the work of those bass players has brought into focus the limitations—and potential— of my own playing.
But Entwistle? Come on . . . . I may have grown up marveling at the melodicism of McCartney, but I came of age pumping my fists—and fingers—to the manic majesty of the Ox. Playing the occasional Who song in cover bands through the years has always been a thrill, but the idea of working up an entire evening of his bass lines? Fuggedaboutit.
So yeah, I’m freaked out. And I couldn’t be happier about it. Thunderfingers crossed.
Speaking of butterflies, giddiness, and late nights, I’m thrilled and terrified to announce that we’ve confirmed Chris Squire and Aston “Family Man” Barrett as Lifetime Achievement Award recipients at Bass Player LIVE! I know I’m not alone in finding Chris Squire’s pickstyle prowess with Yes to be perfectly petrifying and Family Man’s groove with Bob Marley & the Wailers (and approximately a million other bands) to be gobsmackingly gargantuan. Having those two—along with guys like Verdine White, Lee Sklar, Rickey Minor, Dave Ellefson, Frank Bello, and Steve Bailey in one place is enough to give a fanboy like me the fits. Here’s hoping I can hold it together. It all goes down in Los Angeles October 20–21st. See you there!