Reader Spotlight: Roland Millington
Meet Roland Millington, a bassist from Peoria, Illinois and our player in the spotlight for August 2, 2011.
Rocking, rolling, and generally stumbling through notes for the past 28 years on violin, bass, keys, etc., my musical interest span the gamut from electronica to country. However, I learned early on that if you want a paying gig in this area, being a skilled mainstream bass player with a 3-octave vocal range will certainly help more than the ability to program synths and drums.
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Bands & Gigs:
Currently I hold down bass and share lead vocals and backing vocals in the band Leadfoot Riot. We’re a groove-oriented rock band, which is awesome for a bass player, because it’s not just some plodding bass line all night long.
- 1997 Fender Jazz Bass – Modified electronics and upgraded Seymour Duncan Quarterpounder pickups
- 1987 Yamaha RBX300 with Seymour Duncan Quarterpounder pickups
- 1990 Steinberger Spirit XT (Surprisingly good for a cheap bass)
- Zoom B9.1ut effect processeor
- Boss American Metal pedal
- Danelectro Pepperoni Phaser
- “Agatha” (Smaller gigs)
- Behringer BXR1800 head (Bought it super cheap, and it’s pretty doggone clean)
- Behringer 1×15 cabinet loaded with a Black Widow
“Bertha” (Larger gigs):
- 1978 Peavey Markbass head (LOOOOVE the fuzz on this thing!)
- 1978 Peavey 215D Cabinet
Why I play the bass:
Every kid I knew was playing guitar, but I had more experience with four-stringed instruments from my education in the orchestra. So I picked up a 1964 Epiphone Newport cheap, and an old Vox amp, and quickly discovered that playing bass in a sea of guitar players meant that you had no shortage of gigs.
My bass superpower/claim to fame
My right hand, mainly. I’ve always had good groovability in my right hand, and while I never was the fastest player, I’ve always been pretty good at locking in with the drummer and accentuating what the song needs in order to get butts shaking on the dance floor.
I have a stamped washer necklace that says, “Lowest” on it, and I take that to heart. If you want to be a good bass player, you have to understand first and foremost, you are not a guitar player. The bass has the power to move people in ways that a keyboard or a guitar player could only dream of. Embrace that.
Steve Harris, Larry Graham, James Jamerson, Carol Kaye, and the list goes on ad nauseum. From an experimental side as far as effects go, Graham and Bootsy definitely opened my eyes to a whole range of low-end soundscape.
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