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Reader Spotlight: Aaron Gibson

Aaron GibsonMeet Aaron Gibson, a bassist form Oregon and our player in the spotlight for March 15, 2011. Aaron has one of the best stories we’ve heard for getting his start as a full-time musician.

Bio:

A few years back I spent some time working in Sighisoara, a Romanian town best know as Vlad the Impaler’s (Dracula) birthplace. For weeks I had been increasingly frustrated with my business and my general direction in life. While welding posts together for a sort of palisade, I resolutely cried out to God: “What on earth am I supposed to be doing with my life?” I concurrently demanded an immediate cosmic solution and expected that no eye would turn my way.

Just then a vehicle was heard in the distance and a yellowish Datson soon pulled up to the work site, accompanied by small mantle of dust. The young men who stepped out delivered my long anticipated answer: “Hey, a lady up in the citadel told us that there was a bass player here. We need him!”

I stopped welding at once, hopped in the Datson and went to rehearse for the gig. Since then I’ve played on both US coasts and even in China!

Location:

Siuslaw National Forest, Oregon, United States

Day gig:

Bassist, singer and songwriter. I am also a camp host at Drift Creek camp in the Siuslaw National Forest on the Oregon coast.

Years experience:

About 26 years

Bands & Gigs:

Sort of, and yes!

I play in Portland area bands when I get the chance, and I record my own music and gig regularly. My own music is really just starting to take off. As a solo bassist and band leader I often have to talk my way into getting gigs without mentioning the bass.

Gear:

  • Alembic Special Edition #59 of 60
  • Mesa Boogie Walkabout Scout
  • Sennheiser vocal mic

Why I play the bass:

At eleven years old – in 1984 – I was taken to Allegro music in Fremont, California and told to “pick something”. My parents had just divorced and my mother wanted me to occupy my time with something, I think. I wanted to be like the real rock stars, so my first thought was “the front man plays bass and sings, right?” Jack Bruce, Paul McCartney and Sting where who I thought were rock stars. I picked up a cream (no pun intended) colored Fender Precision bass and a Fender 100 watt amp. Mom didn’t bat an eyelash at the price, and I was set to go!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I can comp myself, I guess. I can fill out a set with or without other musicians. At every show nowadays I get a few people who ask “What instrument are you playing?” I love that. I have not completely abandoned bass lines, but when I started song writing a lot more, I found the need to hint at the rhythm and melody enough that people can get a real feel for a song with just bass and vocals. That kind of approach necessitated the use of tapping, slapping, chords and every trick I had up my sleeve.

My influences

Of course Les Claypool and Victor Wooten, but also Charlie Parker and Adrien Belew, Stevie Wonder, Christian McBride, David Bowie… stuff from all over the board. I love P.O.D., Bob Marley, Fred Hammond, The Dead, Stavesacre, The White Stripes and The Dead Milkmen. I get a lot of musical inspiration from literary sources and my surroundings too.

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