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Reader Spotlight: Gaz Williams

Gaz WilliamsMeet Gaz Williams, a bass player hailing from Bristol UK who has dubbed himself a “true bass junkie”. Of course, we support that completely. Gaz keeps busy with recording, gigging, producing and working as a tech presenter. He once even did a pantomime gig.

Gaz is our player in the spotlight for the week of October 16, 2012.

Bio:

I am a true bass junkie! I have played bass in so many different situations over the years ranging from prog, metal, jazz, funk, blues, afrobeat, rock opera, Latin and even a stint at pantomime!

I also work as a music producer and have contributed to over 200 commercial releases either as producer or masterer.

I am very interested in music technology and have been a regular contributor to SonicState.com over the last two years. I also co present Sonic Touch which is an iPad/touch device for music show hosted by SonicState.

This year I have played bass in a large scale production of a rock opera in Paris (more in the superpower section)

Location:

Bristol UK

Day gig:

Musician and music producer. Also music tech presenter.

Years experience:

Since 1987, so about 25 years now!

Bands & Gigs:

Currently I play in two bands:

Rocketgoldstar, a long running Cardiff, Wales-based proggy pop band with a few claims to fame: 1) our first single being 12 hours long and 2) we were the first band to have a “silent” gig!

I also play in the super cool surf band the Rumble-O’s.

Recently, I have been playing with William D Drake who I believe to be a true musical genius and a bit of a legend.

Gear:

  • Rickenbacker 4004
  • G&L L2000
  • Fender Jazz bass
  • Fender Telecaster bass
  • Reverend Rumblefish
  • Tacoma Thunderchief
  • Ibanez Musician Fretless
  • Ashbory bass
  • TC RH450, TC RS210, 2xrs112
  • Sonuus Wahoo
  • Roland Gr55

Why I play the bass:

A combination of things… strangely the one note pulse in Dire Straits’ “Private Investigations” had a powerful allure to me, so I’d have to say that John Illsley played a part! Also John Deacon, John Paul Jones, John Entwhistle and John McVie too. Aha! I am noticing that it must have been bass players called John that did it! Haha, I had never noticed that before!

I then started to really get in to prog rock (which in the late eighties was akin to musical heresy) with Geddy Lee, John Wetton (!) and Chris Squire becoming my new heroes and from there discovering the great Jaco (umm, also another John!)

So in summary what made me play bass, one word answer – John!

My bass superpower/claim to fame

Earlier this year I played bass in a major production in Paris. It was a modern version of an old Monteverdi opera called Pop’pea. This was a hugely groundbreaking show as it was a genuine opera but with a six piece rock band. The drummer from the Clash, keyboardist with Peter Gabriel and the keyboardist from Cardiacs featured. Carl Bârat – from the Libertines – was cast as Nero with Marc Almond as Seneca and Benjamin Biolay (huge star in France) was Ottone with Valerie Gabail – who is a famous opera star in France – in the lead female role. Costumes were created by Lady Gaga’s designer. It was a very high profile show in Fance and has been filmed in full 3D and will be shown on national TV in France. From a bass playing perspective it was interesting as the only elements carried over from the original 1642 opera were the vocal top lines and the bass lines. This meant it was incredibly tricky Baroque structures, which I had to find ways to make rock, plus I played the whole show on midi bass, triggering synth sounds (again adding to the difficulty). It is unquestionably the most difficult project I have ever been involved with.

On the night of the premier after a rousing standing ovation we were the toast of Paris with the Prime minister and mayor of Paris in attendance. Going to find that difficult to top!

Here is a video for the tech rundown I made for SonicState about the show:

My influences

All the John’s mentioned above. Plus Paul McCartney, Mike Rutherford, Pino Palladino, Stanley Clarke, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, George Porter Jr., Tom Fowler, Ray Shulman, Jim Barr, Adam Yauch, Colin Moulding, Chuck Rainey, Sting, Tony Leven, Jack Bruce (born John!), Billy Sheehan, James Jamerson, Bootsy Collins, Phil Lynott…… the list goes on and on!

More on the web: