Meet Robert Letourneux, a bassist for the past 9 years or so following a few decades of playing guitar. He can be found playing around Central Massachusetts in a Tom Petty tribute band and having a lot of fun.
Bob is this week’s reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…
I was born in 1954 and raised in Montreal, Canada. I immigrated to the US in 1984 and met my wife the week I arrived here. We got married in 1986 and had three children. I started out playing guitar in 1972 and switched to bass in 2007. I come from a very musical family, where most of us play at least one instrument, and in some cases more. Music is in my genes and soul.
Spencer, MA, USA
I’m a part-time cashier at Walmart, working towards retirement, just three years away.
Bands & Gigs:
I presently play bass in a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band called Petty Larceny. We’ve been together almost five years now, and we gig a couple of times a month around Central Massachusetts. We’re six older musicians having a lot of fun playing together, but don’t let anyone kid you – being a successful band is really hard work. But it’s really rewarding when you’re part of a great team. At my age (62) it can be hard at times, but I’ll keep on playing until my body tells me it’s time to give it up.
- Basses: Squier Affinity P-Bass, heavily modified and a Hofner Icon which I knock around with at home.
- Amps: Two GK MB115 combos. I run a line from the active of one into the passive of the other, set the setting exactly the same, and it’s 400 watts of pure thunder!
- Pedals: I keep it simple. Boss TU-2 tuner, LMB-3 Bass Limiter/Enhancer, and GEB-7 Bass EQ.
Why I play the bass:
I started playing bass in my local church. One of the parishioners asked if I could play bass in the folk group. I said yes, borrowed a bass, and that’s how my journey in the low end began. Also, my guitar playing was getting a bit stale at the time and I figured a change would do me good.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
Honestly, I have no superpowers or claim to fame. I show up at rehearsals knowing the material, my gear is fully functional and adequate for the job, and I know what I have to contribute in order to make the overall sound of the band the best it can be. Our keyboard player, who is also our bandleader, has been in the local music scene for many years, and he once told me that I’m the best bass player he’s ever played with! A nice compliment, but I don’t think I’m that good!
Guys that can get a good groove going, play lines that fit the song well and can lock in with the drummer and provide a solid foundation for the rest of the band. Guys like Paul McCartney, John Entwistle, John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee, and so on. I particularly like Ron Blair of the Heartbreakers, Andy Roarke of The Smiths, and Carl Radle of Derek and the Dominos.