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Reader Spotlight: Michael Wu

Michael WuMeet Michael Wu, a bassist from Upstate New York and our player in the spotlight for October 11, 2011.

Bio:

Michael is a freelance bassist in the Greater Binghamton Area, Upstate NY. He is currently supporting two acts, One Click Culture w/Todd Evans, former Tempest (Magna Carta) guitarist and Lo-Fi Resistance (with Randy McStine). Although his roots are firmly planted in progressive rock / metal, Michael has been involved in projects that span many styles with a technique that’s been described as, “…complex yet tightly controlled”.

Michael has several regional independent recording credits with The Visionary Project (Painless ’94, A Personal Renaissance ’95), with Try.Fail.Repeat (Waking Dream ’07, Drone Effect ’08, and Graveyard Shift ’09), and most recently with One Click Culture (Rat Race ’11). His debut solo album, “Wu”, was released in December of 2002 (Wumusic, ltd). The CD represented a first for a couple of things: he wrote all the music and lyrics, and performed the guitar as well as his main gig, bass. His music ended up being a cross between his early influences in progressive music, and his delve into pop / singer-songwriter styles. Reviews have described the CD as “…strong roots in progressive rock, as well as intelligent pop music. It is a refreshing mix of creative lyrics and memorable compositions. His debut solo CD combines creative vocal melodies and progressive twists with modern rock structures.” Michael is a Michael Tobias Design bass guitars Artist and been exclusively performing with MTD basses since 2007.

Location:

Greater Binghamton Area, New York

Day gig:

Program Manager in the Information Technology field. Adjunct Professor of Management at Binghamton University. Husband and father.

Years experience:

25 years

Bands & Gigs:

I currently support two bands, one as the regular bassist, one for live performances only.

One Click Culture, based out of Sidney, NY, is a rock-jam-sometimes jazzy-fusion-ish, band. OCC is led by Todd Evans, a Berklee graduate and former guitarist with the long-time Celtic Rock band, Tempest. Todd recruited me to help for a trio to play his material out.

I also am the live bassist for Lo-Fi Resistance. LFR is the brain-child of Randy McStine (vocals, guitars, keys, drums). LFR’s debut CD was mixed by Spock’s Beard luminary, Nick D’Virgilio. NDV also guested on the CD, performing drums and some backing vocals. Other noted contributors are dUg Pinnick (King’s X) on vocals and Dave Meros on bass.

Gear:

  • ’07 MTD 635-24
  • ’08 MTD 635-24
  • ’09 MTD KZ 4 Fretless
  • ’06 MTD Kingston Artist 4
  • ’10 MTD Kingston Saratoga 4
  • ’78 PBass
  • ’72 JBass
  • ’99 Danelectro re-issue
  • ’94 HG Thor Mjolnir-6 (regional luthier)
  • ’96 Gibson Les Paul Studio
  • Taylor 410 CE
  • SWR 550x
  • SWR Goliath Jr.
  • SWR Son of Bertha
  • SWR Workman’s 15
  • Sans Amp 3-way DI
  • Boss Bass Chorus
  • Boss RC-2 Loop Station
  • Boss TU-2 Tuner

Why I play the bass:

Started piano lessons at six years old. Always have been into music as a listener and a performer (played tuba as well from grades 7-12, and one year in college). At 12 years old, I heard Steve Harris’ bass line on Iron Maiden’s “The Number of the Beast” and KNEW that was the sound I needed to make. I’ve been hooked on the low end ever since.

My older brother had switched from piano to guitar a few years earlier and I was introduced to Led Zeppelin, Ozzy, Sabbath, Rush, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest – early music that really inspired me to play. The Beatles and Stones were always played around the house, too.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

People have said I play with a fairly high-level of technical proficiency in a few styles, have very good musicality – rhythm, timing, melody, harmony, and a solid command of dynamics and tone. People have also commented positively on my stage presence; comments range from they can tell I really enjoy playing and am fun to watch.

But, honestly, I just play. I’m not a professional musician, though I play as often as I can and take my playing and performance seriously. I’m just one of many bassists out there having a great time.

My influences

Ok, you asked (and, there are many more): Steve Harris, Geddy Lee, John Paul Jones, Bob Daisley, John Myung, Cliff Burton, Dave Ellefson, Jack Bruce, Chris Squire, Sting, Tony Levin, Jeff Ament, Robert DeLeo, Michael Inez, Flea, John Entwistle, Tom Hamilton, Paul McCartney, Roger Waters, Mike Mills, Curt Smith, John Taylor, Dave Meros and many, many more…

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