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Reader Spotlight: Matthew Girard

Matthew Girard

Meet Matthew Girard, who works by day at the Museum of Fine Arts and keeps busy as a working bassist too. While Matthew started out on trumpet, his took his first shot at bass when that became an option. He hasn’t looked back.

Matthew is this week’s reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…

Bio:

As one of the more in-demand bassists in the Boston area, Matthew’s current music projects include Ruby Rose Fox, Parks, and Golden Bloom as well as notable past projects Neutral Uke Hotel and The Motion Sick.

Since locating to Boston in the early 2000’s after pursuing Music Production at the Hartt School of Music in Hartford, CT he has worked with a variety of artists, including: Will Dailey, Aaron Shadwell, Sinnet, The Future Everybody, Naked on Rollerskates, Kayln Rock, Aloud, Venus Mars Project, The New Collisions, The Backup Factor, Eva Walsh, and many others.

Location:

Boston, MA

Day gig:

I am the Manager of Instructional Technology at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts

Years experience:

Too long? 24 years

Bands & Gigs:

I am currently involved with several groups as well as a sub for several others. My current full-time projects include: Ruby Rose Fox, Parks and Golden Bloom.

Additionally, I have been working off and on with the following groups: Will Dailey (Boston Area and France touring) and VenusMars Project.

Gear:

I currently/frequently use the following equipment, but this by no means is an exhaustive list:

  • Reverend Decision Bass
  • Fender Mustang
  • Gibson SG Bass
  • Orange Bass Terror
  • Aguilar Tone Hammer 500
  • Ampeg 1×15/2×10/4×10 bass cabinets
  • JHS Colour Box
  • Tech21 Sansamp
  • Mr. Black Bass OD
  • TC poly tune and Flashback Mini
  • Malekko B:Assmaster

Why I play the bass:

I started my musical education playing trumpet in 4th grade and when I reached Junior High (7th grade) my music teacher included traditional “rock” instruments into the school wind band (including, drum set, piano/organ, bass guitar, and guitar) as well as having student accompanists for the chorus. For those students who didn’t already play one of those instruments (and most didn’t), she allowed students to practice on their own time and at the end of the year would pick a few students on each instrument for the ensembles. I was instantly taken with the bass; to be completely honest I don’t know why (maybe it was a subconscious desire, or knowing that many rock bassists had also started as trumpet players) but it was the instrument I was most drawn to. Unfortunately, I was NOT one of the 3 students chosen to play for the band/chorus. However, I think ultimately that was the best possible outcome, as I still had this desire to play and went about spending my lunch periods practicing bass in the band room, to the degree that my music teacher even allowed me to play bass for one song in one of our concerts. From there, I kept at it and it led me to where I am today!

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

I would be hard pressed to say I have ANY superpower, but I think my most valuable asset is working with other musicians and finding parts that fit the song. While bass is often seen as an undervalued instrument with far less “fame and glory” that guitarists may enjoy; I find that to be a attribute – where performers and songwriters can absolutely have someone they can depend on to keep the band and the music locked down.

My influences:

My influences have certainly grown and changed throughout the years. Currently, I’m a fan of players who are essential to the groove of a tune (John Stirrat of Wilco is one of my current favorites), but I’ve been influenced by jazz bassists like Mingus and Paul Chambers, some funk players like Verdine White and Rocco Prestia, and I did go through a fusion phase, so players like Jaco and current practitioners like Victor Wooten don’t directly influence my playing, but I find inspiration from ways they approach the instrument.

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