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Reader Spotlight: Punk Pappa

Punk Pappa

Meet the bassist known as Punk Pappa, who also works as a producer, songwriter, arranger and (gulp) sometimes guitarist and says he’s from Funkville, UK.

Punk is our player in the spotlight for the week of May 8, 2012.

Bio:

I’m a Session Bass Player, Guitarist, Songwriter, MOBO Award Winner and Artist, with a variety of musical credits. A few examples:
Jocelyn Brown, Shaun Escoffery, Iain Archer, RAMP, Oliver Cheatham, Soulpersona, Beehive, Fono.

I have 10 years of gigging and touring experience in Europe and the US, as well as numerous studio sessions with some of the UK’s finest bands, musicians and producers, including live support with James Taylor Quartet, Robert Plant, Mica Paris, Courtney Pine… playing at Wembley Stadium being a major career highlight.

Location:

Newbury, UK

Day gig:

After five years of working with mental health charities as well as various other jobs for the last two years, I have been back doing what I love and feel most passionate about, which is music.

Right now, I am a full time working bassist again as well as a professional producer and band member of electro-funk-rock group, Wonderlush.

Being a remixer and producing for others, I feel blessed to be in the scene as a session player once again. All these things accounted for, playing bass guitar will always come first to me as an instrument. It’s my first love and I find opens up my mind to be able to voice countless possibilities.

(That said when I say my “first love”, please don’t let my partner see that as the shed gets cold in early April! But instrument-wise the above stands… bass is best!)

Years experience:

20 Years

Bands & Gigs:

I’ve gigged and toured since I was in my teens and feel very blessed to have done so. Since being out of the scene the last couple of years has been like starting it all up all over again. As someone once said “you’re only as good as your last gig.” I’m feeling like I’m a newbie again, which is cool, as it keeps me even more focused to be better, and the talent and scope out there now is frightening!

The band I’m gigging with and producing is my own collective called Wonderlush, with the incredible singer, Ms Evers on lead vocals and the earth shattering good Mikey Sorbello on drums. It’s a powerful three-piece with each of us being able to hold a crowd individually as well as a team. I love how these folks make me better! We have an album planned to release this summer.

Gear:

I’ve had many set ups, from vintage Ampegs to Orange Amps, and for years I only used Hartke. I also had a Warwick stack in the early years of their development and just last year, I had a 6×10 Warwick rig. These days it’s all about lightweight portability rather than the back-breakers.

I am also looking into the new Taurus amps, which look pretty exciting. Until then, I’m using a TC Electronic BG500 combo.

Basses:

  • 1989 Musicman (2 Band)
  • 1993 Japanese Fernandes Jazz Bass with EMG pickups
  • 1993 Warwick Fortress one with EMG pickups
  • 1990’s Fender 50’s Reissue P-Bass
  • 2009(?ish) Prometeus one-off P-style Bass from Italy
  • 2010 Overwater Jazz Bass
  • 1978 Satellite Jazz Bass (with original black flatwound strings)
  • 2004 Cort GB75 JM 5 String
  • I used to have a few 5-strings Ken Smith, Tobias, Musicman and Warwick Streamers. During the hard times, I had to let them go.

Pedals:

  • Original Mutron III (1973)
  • Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff
  • Electro Harmonix Bass Balls
  • Electro Harmonix Micro Synth
  • Korg AX10B multi Effects (Don’t really use apart from the envelope filter & wah are excellent)
  • Jim Dunlop Talk Box
  • Jim Dunlop Bass Wah

Except for the Mutron III, this could change very soon.

Why I play the bass:

My dad was a gospel musician, and his background was very musical indeed, to a point where he could play almost everything. His primary instrument was piano or Hammond organ, but he was Salvation Army trained, so he could play most brass or woodwind, as well as violin and guitar a bit too.

I remember picking up a flute (misery stick, as they called it back then) and thinking “this is something Dad cannot play!” I took it home in a school lunch hour for him, and watched as he picked it up and start knocking tunes out of it! So after quitting piano and giving up my chance to be Prince’s right hand funk flautist, I saw a guy in church playing these awesome grooves on a bass. I looked into it, saved up, and promised my folks if they helped me get one, I wouldn’t quit it after five minutes and that I’d be good on it. The rest, as they say, is where I am today.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

This sounds very grandeur doesn’t it? I don’t want to come over boastful, but I have a few wee gems. One most definitely would be playing at Wembley Stadium to thousands of people. The other would be when I supported and met Robert Plant with a rock band FONO. That was big for me!

And last – but by no means least – meeting Bootsy in an elevator when I won a Mobo Award for best gospel act with a band by the name of Beehive.

My influences

It’s a countless list of players really. Here is my top 10:

  1. Larry Graham
  2. Bootsy Collins
  3. Stanley Clarke
  4. James Jamerson
  5. Randy Hope Taylor
  6. Marcus Miller
  7. Louis Johnson
  8. Francis Rocco Prestia
  9. Jaco Pastorius
  10. Tommy Simms

There are so many more but these were the first to spring immediately to mind. It changes each day. I’m fickle like that!

Video:

Wonderlush: Sitting at the Station

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