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Reader Spotlight: Steve Earnhart

Steve Earnhart

Meet Steve Earnhart, a bassist otherwise known as “Bald Steve”. Steve started out on bass on a whim, but when he heard Jaco Pastorius and Marcus Miller, he had that aha moment and knew what he wanted to do in life. And he’s been doing it ever since.

Steve is No Treble’s reader in the spotlight for the week of June 23, 2014.

Bio:

I began playing paid gigs professionally on day passes from high school starting at age seventeen. From there I attended Berklee College of Music, and turned pro at age 19 when I scooped up by a local touring band and started working 5-7 night a week throughout the northeast…and learned that pretty much 90% of the pyrotechnics I’d been practicing had exactly zero real world application. I moved to Los Angeles in 2001, where I currently gig and record full-time. I am a Fodera and Aguilar Bass Artist.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Day gig:

Composing, sessions, and producing.

Years experience:

26 years.

Bands & Gigs:

I’m the house Bassist/Singer at Mastro’s Steakhouse flagship Beverly Hills location, performing every Wednesday – Saturday night from 8:00 pm to midnight in a high-energy Piano, Bass, and Drums trio. It’s a known celebrity hot-spot (we’re on TMZ all the time) that serves between 400-1200 patrons every night. People often ask me it’s a mellow, lounge-type scene and the answer is a resounding “No!” It’s madhouse, and we rock it accordingly, covering everything from Daft Punk to Johnny Cash to the Stones to the Doors to Marvin Gaye. All arrangements and set lists are improvised on the spot, ensuring every guest has a unique experience. I’ve also played with Billboard-charting Pop/AC Artist Katrina Carlson (with whom I’ve opened shows for Rick Springfield, Eddie Money, Lindsey Buckingham, and Kenny Loggins).

On the Producing side, I released the album “Last Gasp” in the summer of 2010. I wrote all music and lyrics, played all instruments, programmed all drums, produced, and recorded everything in my home studio. The album has led to licensing deals with Creative Music Artists, Soundfile Productions, Nitro Noise, Jingle Punks, and Smashtrax. Steve’s music has appeared on MTV Reality shows (“16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom”), the ESPN awards, the NHL Awards, Nat Geo, and many other broadcasts. My song “Light the Way” was the opening theme song in the comedy feature “The Blackout”. As a session player, I’ve laid down bass tracks on mixes for Pete Yorn, Ice Cube, Mellow Man Ace, PJ Olsen, and many others.

Gear:

  • Fodera Monarch 5 Bolt-On (main player live – it can do anything).
  • Franken-Fender P-Bass (FSR Alder Precision Body, Lollar PUP, blocked Jazz neck with lollipop tuners. I will never sell this bass. Clients go gah-gah for the tone)
  • Fender CIJ Marcus Miller Jazz
  • Yamaha Fretless
  • Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 (best amp I’ve ever used. You can dial in almost any imaginable if you really get to know the EQ)
  • Aguilar DB112
  • Baer ML112

No effects. Ever.

Why I play the bass:

The neighborhood rock band needed a bass player and I said, “why not?” I picked up a used Gibson EB-O, and it was off the races from there. I didn’t really go into high gear until I heard Jaco and Marcus, though. When those guys reached my ears and I understood what was possible? I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life.

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

I pride myself on being a chameleon, and can function at a high level in most styles. If you want to work at the pro level you’d better be able to break out a pick and drive a rock track, crank the back pickup and cut up the finger-funk, drop your thumb, being able to play many different Latin rhythms, cop a fretless vibe, drop deep and bass-heavy hip-hop grooves, swing hard, sight read, and dial in not just “your” tone, but whatever the song/producer/artist calls for fast. I’ve worked hard to be able to get this kind of versatility from my gear, heart, and hands.

My influences:

Muzz Skillings, Tony Levin, John Paul Jones, “Ready” Freddie Washington, Chuck Rainey, Will Lee, Rickey Minor, Macca, Entwistle, Jack Bruce, Marcus Miller, Bootsy, Jaco, Victor Wooten, Jamerson, Lee Sklar, Pino, John Taylor, Duff McKagan, Cliff Williams, Duck Dunn, Bob Babbitt, Barry Oakley, Simon Gallup, Roger Waters.

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Share your thoughts

Tod

Tod

Great reader spotlight! Bald Steve is right on the money when talking about what it takes to be a pro bassist. You have to be versatile and show up on time or early for sessions, gigs, etc. Stay Low!
– Bald Tod 😜
Richmond, VA