Photo by Carla Cornwell
As the person who reads all of the Reader Spotlight submissions we receive, I get to read a lot of great stories.
This one, told by bassist and No Treble reader Alasdair McLachlan is one of my favorites. There’s just something cool about a person living the dream the way Alasdair appears to do, with such a great attitude and humility.
Here’s his story – see if you agree.
I was taken along to church every Sunday when I was growing up. My mother is the keyboard player. So when I took up an interest in playing the bass, I was instantly thrown into the praise band to play for a congregation of 80-100 people most weeks. It was this constant exposure to playing live as an early teen that helped developed my love for the instrument and playing for other people.
Fast forward a few years and I’ve completed my honors degree in Music and am currently earning my living through music. I have the privilege of playing with some outstanding musicians week to week with my originals band Filip Blast, and other recording and working bands. I’m a very lucky boy.
Gigging, writing and teaching.
Bands & Gigs:
Currently I write and play with an originals funk/hip hop band called Filip Blast. The week before Christmas 2014 we were lucky enough to play at Scotland’s most famous up and coming venue, King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. Anybody who is anybody has played there so it was quite an honor to get the chance. We have an EP out which is currently free to download, it’s pretty bass heavy and a lot of fun to play. The rest of the guys are among the finest musicians I’ve played with. You can find us on Facebook and BandCamp!
We have EP number 2 penned for recording/release in 2015!
I also gig in many different function bands which is how I currently make my living.
I’ll keep this exclusive to bass gear:
- Squier Jazz, Indonesian made
- Stagg BT-300 (Tuned as a tenor bass). Another cheap bass that I love playing, it features a lot in my YouTube videos
- Squier P-Bass heavy relic, Chinese made
- Westfield VBS5A 5-string, which I swirl painted myself
- Palatino VE-500 Electric Double Bass
- Ashdown C115-300 EVO II combo
Why I play the bass:
It was decided for me! A friend’s father handed me the bass during a jam I was having with my friends and said to me (and the other kids in the room) “Now boys, you can’t have 3 guitarist and no bass player in a rock band!”. Being the least capable guitarist, I was chosen to be the bassist by proxy. I don’t think either of us realized how much he was influencing the rest of my life at that moment.
From then on, playing bass became my identity. It was all I could think about, it was something that I could express myself with better than I had done with anything previously, and the bonus was that I was good at it.
My bass superpower/claim to fame
Value-for-the-money instruments, in particular my Indonesian made Squier Jazz bass. It was bought for me when my parents thought I was just going through a phase. Despite being a seemingly unremarkable knock-off Fender in almost every way, and worth only about £100, it sounds exceptional and plays amazingly. I don’t think I’ll ever replace it. At gigs I’ve received many complements on the bass, then they’re shocked to find out that it’s not proper Fender with all the trimmings.
My influences are a mixed bag. I’m a huge Snarky Puppy fan. In my opinion, Michael League is up the with the best in the world. He knows when to play and when not to play, a skill I feel a lot of people take for granted. When I first picked up the bass I learned every Red Hot Chili Pepper’s bass line I think there is to know, as well as Muse, so Flea and Chris Wolstenholme were direct influences on my playing.
As of right now, I’m listening to a lot of pop music. Jamareo Artis, who plays with Bruno Mars is as good a bassist you’ll hear in modern pop music, I admire his playing a lot. Very funky and also a great dancer.
Amongst others, I’m also a big fan of Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten, Jaco, Jim Creggan for the Barenaked Ladies, Shannon Burchill from the John Butler Trio, Nathan Watts… I could go on but I think you get the idea.