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Reader Spotlight: Liam “Leroy” Owen

Liam "Leroy" Owen

Growing up in what he describes as “the wildest and weirdest parts of West Wales,” Liam “Leroy” Owen lived in a home without a TV signal. “So music was what we did,” he shares. His dad – a guitarist – had plenty of instruments around, and when it came time for Liam to choose one, he chose the bass.

Liam is this week’s┬áNo Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…

Bio:

I grew up in the wildest and weirdest parts of West Wales. There was no TV signal there, so music was what we did. Well, that and staring into the middle distance. Eventually, the pull of civilization led me to Bristol in the west of England where I currently reside and play bass for as many people as I can, including local heroes like Robi Mitch’s Featherweight Soul, Ahbub Mahbobi, the Sky Pilots, Benjamin Betts and anyone who’ll have me.

Location:

Bristol

Day gig:

I’m a teacher. Frontline. Hardcore.

Years experience:

Started when I was 6 years old. So…36 years then. Woah.

Bands & Gigs:

I play with several people in the Bristol area on both single and double bass. My main work is with a Bristolian artist named Robi Mitch. He has several alter-egos and I’m heavily involved in a few of them – his Featherweight Soul band and the Sky Pilots to name but two. I also am a member of Bristol’s premier faux-ethnic band Ahbub Mahboubi and we’re currently recording our second album.

Gear:

  • Lakland 55-60
  • Stentor double bass
  • Any bass that I can blag off friends…I like playing different basses as much as I can!
  • Phil Jones Bass amps
  • Lots of effects. Mainly octavers, fuzz and envelope filters.

Why I play the bass:

My dad is a fine guitar player and we had instruments lying around the house, readily accessed by small, sticky hands. I used to noodle on his mandolins and guitars. Luckily, when I was 6 years old and he asked me if I wanted to learn an instrument seriously, I had the presence of mind to go for the bass. I’ve been obsessed, literally obsessed, with the instrument ever since.

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

I’m on an uncompromising quest to find the brown note. Give me a moment and I can play anything you want. I’d say I was a bass purist… simple, no-nonsense, in-the-pocket.

My influences:

Pino Palladino, Tim Lefebvre, Steve Harris, Ben Shepherd, James Jamerson, Nate Watts, Paul Jackson, Janek Gwizdala, Reid Anderson, Chris Wood, Cliff Burton, Paul McCartney, Les Claypool, Stevie Wonder’s synth bass, Joe Dart… I’ll rob from anyone if they move me.

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