Meet Mike Smith, a bassist from the UK who keeps extremely busy with a life of music. What struck me is that Mike said he would love music to be his day job… it isn’t. But he does have a day job, and he plays in five bands (that we know of!)
Mike is the No Treble reader in the spotlight for the week of January 26, 2015.
I started playing bass when I was 14. I just desperately wanted to play in a band, and I have been doing that ever since. I would love it to be my day job but I will always keep doing it no matter what.
I’ve toured in the UK, Europe, America and been on Radio 2 and BBC 6Music and played at a lot of the festivals in the UK – which makes me feel very lucky indeed and extremely glad I picked up that wonderful four-stringed instrument all those years ago!
Production Manager in digital publishing
Bands & Gigs:
I am currently in a number of bands of all different styles that gig quite a bit:
Piney Gir – Piney changes style on every album so we’ve done country, indie pop, 60’s garage and all sorts which keeps me on my toes. We’ve toured in the UK and the USA and played lots of festivals. I’ve even played in a shark costume for some gigs.
COBRETTII – this is an 80’s heavy metal cover band. I get to pull out all the rock stage moves with this band and play songs that we grew up listening to.
Alexander’s Festival Hall – this is also pretty eclectic and has elements of disco, electronic and indie, which is a really nice mixture and gets to showcase the bass quite a bit.
Conspirators – “we wear black & white stripes and we’ll play eclectic beer drinking pirate yarns until we’re dead & buried”
Paris Motel – this is currently on hiatus but we played what was described as ‘chamber-pop’ by reviewers. We played with classical musicians numbering from 2 or 3 up to a full orchestra in a church, so this one was a real challenge to fit the bass into all of that. It was an amazing experience and I learnt a lot.
- 1977 Fender Precision Bass (Sunburst)
- 1976 Fender Jazz Bass (Black)
- 1970’s EKO semi-acoustic bass (bottle-green and black burst)
- SolidGoldFX Beta Superdrive pedal
Why I play the bass:
I wanted to play guitar but couldn’t get the hang of it and so swapped the guitar for a skateboard and became a skateboarder. I then saw Steve Harris playing bass in Iron Maiden and that’s what I wanted to do. My mum paid for a cheap P-bass copy and practice amp but I had to save up my paper route money and pay her back to get it, which made me want it even more. I never looked back and when all my friends at school played guitar and wanted to start bands I became the go-to guy because I played bass. I subsequently taught myself to play guitar anyway but wouldn’t ever change from bass now.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I have a pretty good ear and can pick up a song very quickly. I have played gigs where we have played a song that I have neither played before or even heard but managed to get through it.
My other super power is having my brother play drums in a band with me. Together we make a pretty awesome rhythm section that can beef-up any style of music.
Also the ability to throw shapes and put my foot on the monitor whilst playing and singing, no matter what style of music it is. I grew up with Iron Maiden, Motley Crue and Guns ‘n’ Roses as heroes, so what else can I do?
The list is pretty endless and as time goes on I tend to just listen to a song or band as a whole but Steve Harris was my original influence to pick up the bass. Then, as a random list of bass players that have influenced me at various points there would be: Flea, Duff McKagen, Dee Dee Ramone, James Jamerson, Jaco, Cliff Burton, Robert DeLeo, Jeff Ament, Scott Morriss, Nikki Sixx, Bobby Dall, and the list goes on…