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Reader Spotlight: Zack Cramp

Zack Cramp

When Zack Cramp submitted his story to us, it didn’t take me long to decide to share it. I mean, any one who loves bass and vinyl as much as he does is solid in my books.

Zack lives and works in both categories (and enjoys a few of my other favorite things). Here’s his story…


I’m a 26 year-old musician living in Columbus, Ohio. I play bass in a group called Playing To Vapors, a 5 piece band that performs what we like to call “groove-based alternative rock.” I love making music, listening to vinyl, and going to see live music here in Columbus. I studied Marketing at Ohio State, and have a passion for music marketing and artist development. I also love pizza. And beer. And ice cream.



Day gig:

I work at a record store called Magnolia Thunderpussy Records. It’s a Columbus institution, and has been providing central Ohio with their vinyl for 40+ years.

Years experience:

For almost 13 years now! The time, where does it go?

Bands & Gigs:

I’ve been in Playing To Vapors for 3 years now. I feel really lucky to be able to write music with this band of extremely talented musicians. We play a style of alternative rock that usually has a strong rhythmic element to it. We’ve released 2 EPs and have toured on them regionally, but now we’re getting ready to record our first full-length record in the Spring, to be released this Summer. We’re incredibly excited to debut this material.


  • 2006 Fender Mexican Jazz Bass 60th Anniversary Model (with Bartolini 9J1 Pickups)
  • Hartke LH500 Bass Amp
  • Hartke Hydrive 115 Cab
  • SmallSound/BigSound Mini Fuck Overdrive
  • Electro Harmonix Stereo Pulsar Tremelo
  • MXR M288 Bass Octave
  • Electro Harmonix Memory Toy Analog Delay

Why I play the bass:

As a kid, I had always loved the sounds of the bass guitar – and most of my favorite songs had a very active bass line. I was (and still am) a Red Hot Chili Peppers fanatic, and Flea’s playing was always in my head. When I was 13, two of my best friends were looking to start a band but didn’t have a bass player, so I decided to give it a try. I was playing non-stop and we quickly started our first band, which we called 1/3 Nerd.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I would say that being able to write bass lines that are memorable but not necessarily overbearing is one of my greatest strengths. I definitely don’t want my parts to always be the main focus of our songs, but I like always like to play with a strong sense of melody and presence. My bandmates call it “the beef”, and have aptly nicknamed me “The Beefman”. Still not sure how I feel about that.

My influences

Bass players: Flea, Jesse F Keeler, Bootsy Collins, Tim Commerford, Thundercat, Nathan East, Juan Alderete, Mike Dirnt, Victor Wooten, Dirk Lance

Others: Jimi Hendrix, Roger Troutman, Air, Queens Of The Stone Age, The Strokes, Radiohead, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West, Battles, David Bowie, Alt J, Tame Impala, Parquet Courts, Arctic Monkeys, The Doors, Daft Punk, J Dilla, Joe Pass

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