Meet Declan Miers, a young bassist who has been playing music from a very early age. He has a great story, and one of my favorite parts is the beginning, when he “picked up [his] dad’s 1975 Rickenbacker 4001 and got to work.”
At just 14 years of age, Declan is doing work beyond his years. This is a great story for this week’s reader spotlight.
Music has been a part of my life since before I was born. My dad, also a musician, would play acoustic guitar to me before I was even born, ensuring that music would be as important to me as it was to him. I started at guitar around 6 years old and picked it up rather quickly. I had my first real gig when I was 8 years old, at the Music is Art Festival (a huge festival in Buffalo that is run by the Goo Goo Dolls bassist Robby Takac) and was hooked immediately. I was performing constantly since then, mostly all on guitar.
Then by the age of 12, I had become a pretty decent guitarist and attended a Music is Art camp where I was put into a group with four excellent young musicians, and someone had to play bass. That someone would be me. I picked up my dad’s 1975 Rickenbacker 4001 and got to work.
Our group was run by legendary Buffalo funk musician Eric Crittenden, so I knew I had to bring the goods to handle the hardcore funk that we performed. Ever since I picked up that bass, it was love. I became a bass – and coincidentally at the same time, jazz – fanatic. Being inspired by virtuosos like Victor Wooten, Stanley Clarke, and many others, I worked as hard as possible to become as good as I possibly could.
Now at age 14, I am a professional musician that is out playing as often as physically possible. I’ve been labeled as a prodigy by some, but I don’t believe I’m nearly close enough to being where I want to be by any means. I’m just trying to be the best I can be. I’m currently playing around buffalo with my own neo soul/jazz/funk band Cosmic Kat as well as playing with worldwide Dave Mathews Tribute band called The Dreaming Tree and I’m also a full time musician at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church in a band that was once led by Kevin Camp, a Berklee Graduate that has mastered multiple instruments and has played drums with Musiq Soulchild and Isreal & New Bread.
Currently going to Amherst Central High School
2 and a half years
Bands & Gigs:
I am constantly gigging around the Buffalo, NY region and I’ll hopefully be expanding out this summer as I’m old enough to begin traveling more. Specifically with worldwide touring act “The Dreaming Tree.”
- Sandberg TM6 with Imbuia rare wood top
- Aguilar Tone Hammer 500 head
- 2 Aguilar DB112 cabs
- Electro Harmonix Pog 2 pedal
- Electro Harmonix vintage Bass Balls pedal
Why I play the bass:
The camp I was in needed a bass player, and I had a bass at home.
My bass superpower/claim to fame
I have been known as more of a melodic player, though there’s nothing I love more than getting in that groove!
Victor Wooten, Michael League, Derrick Hodge, Pino Paladino, Thundercat, Hiatus Kaiyote (full band), D’Angelo, Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, and many many many more