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Reader Spotlight: Chris LaBenne

Chris LaBenneMeet bassist Chris LaBenne, who originally started on guitar, but saw the error in his ways and switched to bass. Chris is currently studying music composition, with an eye for music education in his future. Chris is our player in the spotlight for the week of April 24, 2012.

Bio:

I’m a 21-year-old bassist and composer from northeast Ohio. I usually gig once or twice a week, playing bass and singing background vocals in the band Redline.

I love and appreciate all music, but especially music featuring the bass. I have a particular soft spot for funk, pop-rock, and jazz. The band that I’m in now plays lots of Motown and funk music, so there’s never a dull moment for me onstage.

Location:

Ravenna OH, USA

Day gig:

I am currently finishing my senior year as a music composition major at Hiram College, and I will continue on to graduate school at the University of Akron, studying music education.

Years experience:

About 8 years.

Bands & Gigs:

I’m in the band Redline, a party band from Youngstown, Ohio. We play mostly weddings and bars, but we also do corporate events, benefit concerts, and large gala events. We also look damn good in tuxedos.

I’ve also done some guest spots on gigs with Heartbeat Afrika and John Dante & The Inferno, as well as an uncredited recording with JD&tI. I have also played many gigs with the Hiram College Jazz ensemble and jazz combos at Hiram as well.

Gear:

Basses:

  • Warwick Rockbass Corvette Active 5-String
  • Fender Standard Jazz Bass (MIM)
  • Ibanez AEB10E acoustic bass guitar

Amps:

  • Behringer BX4500H Ultrabass Head (don’t judge…this thing is a monster)
  • Behringer BA410 Cab

Effects:

  • Boss RC-20 Loop Pedal
  • Rocktron Banshee talkbox (crank the treble and this thing SINGS, no pun intended)
  • Snarling Dogs Bootzilla Wah-Fuzz Pedal (if Bootsy approves, gotta have it)

Why I play the bass:

I started on guitar, but never really got the hang of it at first, and was discouraged. A friend brought a bass to school and I thought it was the coolest thing since sliced bread, so I asked for one for Christmas when I was 14. Santa was good to me. I knew I’d like it, but I had no idea I’d like it as much as I do. I now play electric, acoustic, and upright.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I know my role. Period. I’m not the lead guitarist, I’m not the drummer, I’m not the keyboardist; I know that soloing, slapping, and chords don’t always fit into everything. They’re fun as heck, but you gotta do what is best for the OVERALL sound. I have listened to a kazillion bass players and I have really been able to grasp the knowledge of how the bass varies across the spectrum.

My influences

Wow, so many to choose from…I’d say my biggest influences are Jaco, John Entwistle, and Flea. Entwistle for his attack and musical wisdom, Flea for his rhythmic brilliance and slapping, and Jaco because, well, he’s Jaco. No explanation needed there!

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