Reader Spotlight: Bill McGarry

Bill McGarryMeet Bill McGarry, a bassist from North Reading, MA and our player in the spotlight for July 5, 2011.


I’m a 44 year old guy, married with two kids and a dog, who still thinks he’s 18! A huge heavy metal/rock fan who has been to more Kiss concerts than he can remember, followed very closely by Twisted Sister.

Besides playing, I enjoy riding my Harley, hanging out at the Moose Lodge in North Reading where I am the Governor (more on this later), and going 4-wheeling/snowmobiling.


North Reading, MA, United States

Day gig:

I work as a Regional Sales Manager for a company called Covidien. If you’re a Red Sox fan, you’ll see the logo plastered on the Green Monster. I’ve been with the company for 16 years.

Years experience:

On and (mostly) off since I was 16.

Bands & Gigs:

I’m in a start up band called “Knuckle Deep”. About a year and a half ago I happened to be driving by a Guitar Center and popped in for a look. I hadn’t played in years and years and didn’t even own a bass at the point in time. I started playing around and ended up leaving with a Fender Squier and tiny little amp. From there, I grabbed a few guys from the Moose Lodge and we began jamming in a little back room every week or so for about 5-10 people. After a few weeks, we had to move into the upstairs function hall as we began getting more and more people listening. Finally, we decided to play in and host an Open Jam called “Monster Jam” every three months where we have local bands come up for a set each. We have about 10 bands playing now, and we get about 200 people attending.

As the size of the gig grew, so did my collection of amps and basses. We now practice every Friday with a set lineup in the band and are working on getting a set list that will allow us to play more outside gigs. I’ve also been taking lessons again and have loved remembering how much I had forgotten about theory and technique. It just goes to show how you can take the bass out of the boy, but not the boy out of the bass!


  • Fernandes Tremor Deluxe 4 string
  • Gene Simmons Axe Bass
  • Fender Precision Bass
  • Davison Warlock knock off
  • GK 500w Goldline Head
  • GK Goldline 10 x 4 enclosure
  • MXR BAss Octave Deluxe

Why I play the bass:

I was the prototypical kid who wanted to start a band with friends. Although Ace Frehley was my hero, we already had a superstar guitar player, a drummer, keyboardist and a singer. So, I got “stuck” with the bass. It’s been a love affair ever since.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I was able to attend a backstage event with my wife at a Kiss concert and meet Gene Simmons. Not only did I meet him, but I was able to purchase his original Axe bass used in concert!

My influences

Some of my influences are Gene Simmons (say what you will about his playing, but he’s an icon!), Geezer Butler, Tommy Shannon, Steve Harris, “bass personified” James Jamerson and Pino Palladino.

More on the web:

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  1. Wow this is A really cool forum,Im so lookin forward to seein more of this!Bills bio is awesome and Im proud to be in Nuckle Deep with him !Great job guys !!!

  2. I like this forum. This is a guy I can relate to. We were inspired by the same players, only I made a conscious decision to play bass. And yes, it is a “love affair” that will never end. Playing bass makes me feel 18 years old again. For a guy going on 49 it is indeed my “fountain of youth”.

    I think Gene Simmons is an underrated player. If you listen carefully to the stuff from the ’70s, Gene had some interesting things going on. Check out “Detroit Rock City”, “Rock & Roll All Night”, “Dr. Love”, “Love Gun”, and others from that era. As a beginning player I listened to Gene and learned about slides, passing tones, ghost notes, and basic rhythm. He is not a virtuoso, but he inspired me (and others) to step into the spotlight and be a bass player AND a performer.