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Reader Spotlight: Bill Bois

Bill BoisMeet bassist Bill Bois, a well-traveled musician who has played as many styles of music as the places he’s lived and visited. Maybe more. Bill is our player in the spotlight for February 28, 2012.

Bio:

I’m a bass player and songwriter. Over the years, I’ve played jazz and rock in Maine; rock and blues in upstate New York; punk and Irish music in Boston; alternative, ska and metal in Florida; and country, blues and rock in Nashville.

You can hear me on releases by X Takes The Square, Seasons Of The Wolf and Psycho.

I also wrote and recorded the soundtrack for the video game Catalyst.

Location:

Nashville, TN, US

Day gig:

I’m a freelance software developer. Working freelance means I can make my own hours and work anywhere with an internet connection, even hotel rooms on the road.

Years experience:

Since October 1974, when my school bought a Fender Mustang bass and no one else wanted to play it.

Bands & Gigs:

I moved to Nashville in 2007 to play with The J.C. Andersen Band. We’ve done pretty well here, and also I’ve been lucky enough to gig with blues singer Markey, Celtic/Americana singer and violinist Laura McGhee, delta blues artist Mississippi Millie, rock band Auto Defiance and many more.

And since Nashville is all about songwriting, I’ve collaborated with some pretty amazing writers all over town.

Gear:

  • Two Gibson Thunderbird Studio 5-strings
  • Michael Kelly Dragonfly 5-string fretless acoustic
  • Fender Precision fretted
  • Fender Precision fretless
  • Fender Jazz with a Precision neck
  • Various other basses
  • Ampeg B2R amp
  • Hartke HA3000 amp
  • Hartke XL410 and XL115 cabinets

Why I play the bass:

Like many others, I thought four strings would be easier than six, but once I got a feel for the bass’s role, I knew I found my instrument. I like being the foundation that the rest of the band depends on, and I really love turning the guitarist’s C Major into an A Minor 7 with just one note. Bass is power!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

Audiences seem to like my stage presence (Always remember that people say they go to see a concert rather than hear it, so give them something to see!), but the musicians here often comment on my less-is-more approach. If the rest of the band knows I’m not going to try hogging the spotlight, they can relax and play their parts to the best of their abilities without worrying about the whole thing falling apart.

My influences

At first, it was aggressive players who don’t follow the less-is-more idea: John Entwistle, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee and Klaus Floride.

Then I got into a more melodic style, like Paul McCartney and James Jameson.

More recently, I’ve been influenced by drummers here in Nashville. By learning how to play cleanly and lock in with the drums, we learn to push and pull together. I feel like we’re serving the song better. As much as I hate to say this on No Treble, it’s not about the bass, it’s about the song. [Editor’s note: we’re okay with that. Because you didn’t say it is about the guitar or some other such craziness.]

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