Meet Luke “JaFFer” Ferguson, a bassist from Australia who followed in his father’s footsteps as a bassist, but it was a different sort of beginning for him than you might imagine. We love JaFFer’s story – he’s living the dream.
JaFFer is No Treble’s reader in the spotlight for the week of August 25, 2014.
I grew up in a musically family in Orange NSW. I was singing before I could talk and I started playing the bass at 16. I studied contemporary music at Southern Cross University (near Byron Bay). I’ve played with over 100 bands since I was 14 and have played over 2,000 gigs. I feel so lucky to do what I love to do and get paid for it, people often say my life is like their holiday and I tend to agree.
I’m really good at sleeping… Oh, but I make money being a musician :)
Bands & Gigs:
Playing music is my job and my passion so I’m always gigging, whether it be a solo/duo/trio or 13-piece soul band. I’ve been trying to break away from being a session player to concentrate on my own music, JaFFer, but it’s a slow process (it’s hard to turn down a gig!). I’ve been touring around the country for many years and I’ve seen some pretty amazing things. There is no way you will ever find me with a “real” job. Playing music is a life long journey for me and so far it’s been one hell of a ride!
I’ve been playing the same bass for 11 years, my Yamaha BB 605. It only cost me $900. I’ve tried so many other basses but I just can’t seem to find one I like better. She is a very tired old girl, a veteran of over 2,000 gigs and hundreds of recordings. I’ve treated her like a bitch but she still sings sweetly! I can get all the tones I need out of her, from a jazz bass to precision and even a pretty good ‘fretless’ sound.
Why I play the bass:
My dad Andrew Ferguson is a bass player and singer. From a young age I would go along with my dad to his gigs and sit on the floor behind the drum kit, I just could’t get enough of experiencing live music! From the age of 14 I was singing in bands and only really started playing bass because our bass player at the time quit the band a day before a gig. I asked my dad to fill in but instead he handed me his old bass and said “you’ll be right”. I haven’t been able to put it down since.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
Being asked by Nicky Bomba from John Butler Trio/Melbourne Ska Orchestra/The Truth/Bomba to play with his All-Star band at a couple of festivals last year. Nicky would ask his favorite players from each festival he plays to be his backing band, basically a jam but heaps of fun. The fact there was a plethora of amazing and more known bass players at the festival that he could of asked was a very proud moment for me!
Nathan East would probably be my favorite, such a groover! Marcus Miller has my favorite tone, especially his slap tone. Flea was a huge influence as a teenager, I learn’t every RHCP song out there and Blood Sugar Sex Magik is still one of my favorite albums. Nathan Watts work with Stevie Wonder has always gets me going. The first time I heard Victor Wooten my mind was blown! And still is!