Meet Janette Kidd, a bassist from Scotland who has had an interesting career – in and out of music. One of my favorite parts of her story is how she turned a guitar into a bass (way before our how-to video), which set her on a path for life.
Janette is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s her story…
Born in Edinburgh, I was musical right from the moment I was a toddler and clambered onto our family piano stool and knocked out a tune with one finger! I sang in talent shows as a little girl, but really hit my stride on going to Edinburgh University with my bass guitar and hooking up with other musical friends. I studied German, then went on to do a postgrad Sports Science degree, while training as an Iyengar Yoga teacher. I had various jobs over the years, as a fitness instructor/trainer, back care consultant in industry, complementary therapist (trained in Reiki, Shiatsu, Indian Head Massage and EFT) & yoga teacher. But the one constant was my bass playing and now I’m concentrating on being a full time musician. About time!
(Up a hill near!) Perth, Perthshire, Scotland, UK
Ex Yoga teacher, sports scientist, complementary therapist… now itinerant musician!
Since I was 17… back in 1979.
Bands & Gigs:
I was in a band at Edinburgh University, which gigged around town, but all the other band members were medical students, so they went off to become doctors! I married one of them and we now are a duo, with a home studio in the Perthshire hills, where we have recorded 6 albums, under our name “Not for Pussies” (taken from the famous Bette Davis quote about getting older!) We have fans all over the world, thanks to the internet, but have only played live a few times, because my other half is a very busy doctor. He has one eye on retirement though – and then we’ll really get out there! You can hear all our albums/back catalogue at Bandcamp.
- Ibanez Blazer (now retired, due to neck problems)
- Shergold fretless
- Warwick 5-string
- Selmer amp & Wem cab (from waayy back)
- Orange bass amp (more recently)
- Stagg electric double bass
- Beautiful old 1930s German blonde double bass
- Ibanez acoustic bass guitar
Why I play the bass:
I’d played piano since I was a toddler, but I wanted to learn to play 6 string guitar and got one for my 12th birthday. Couldn’t master it at all! But then on “Top of the Pops” (famous British music show back then) I spotted a guy playing a 4 string “guitar”. I took the top 2 strings off my little guitar and started playing bass lines on it, without really realising what I was doing! At 17, I bought my first bass – an Ibanez Blazer – with my Saturday job money I’d saved up. I began practising along to my Rush, Yes and Camel/Caravan LPs.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
Not sure I have a bass “superpower”, but my style of playing is a bit unconventional, in that I never really learned any “classic” bass parts, and the bands I played in were as influenced by Bartok string quartets and King Crimson as any other music, so my bass playing always has been more as one of the instruments, weaving the whole piece together, in a lyrical fashion. My husband/musical collaborator for many years does say I make an impressive “bass face” when I play!!!
Tony Levin, John Wetton, Chris Squire, Geddy Lee, Richard Sinclair (of Caravan/Camel fame)