Reader Spotlight: Robert Harper
When it comes to funk, Los Angeles area bassist Robert Harper knows a thing or two – heavily influenced by such greats as Louis Johnson, Larry Graham, and Bootsy Collins. Robert grew up in the suburbs in a city called Carson where musical talent was in abundance and the avenues were wide open, participating in every school he attended Robert knew music was his destiny.
After a brief stint as a musician in the military, Robert enrolled in Hollywood’s Bass Institute of Technology (now the Musicians Institute college of contemporary music). There his workload tripled because of all the networking opportunities available at MI. Robert worked locally up and down the coast of California and Nevada before running into others who could help him, like bassist Louis Johnson (Brothers Johnson) and Robert Wilson (The Gap Band).
Today Robert is working as hard as ever on some new music to be released in the year of 2016, group-teaching bass lessons, preparing to shoot videos for his many sponsors, a new merchandise clothing store and setup a mini-tour for the summer of 2016!
My day job consist of running my company J.Productions and almost everything that relates to music is under it’s umbrella such as: giving bass lessons, session work (live or in studio), product specialist/clinician for my many sponsors and a little background acting from time to time when I get the opportunity.
I’ve been playing bass since I was 13 years old.
Bands & Gigs:
I’ve pulled back on gigging out of state for the next 6 months to spend sometime getting my health to stabilize, so I’m working out more in the gym… I still do plenty of session work and teach private lessons. Also, I’m working on my second CD which will drop in the summer of 2016.
- Schecter J-Plus 4 and 5 string basses
- SCHECTER Hellraiser extreme 5 basses
- SCHECTER Session 4 and 5 string basses
- NS Designs electric upright double bass
- Trickfish bullhead 1000 watt bass amplifier
- Trickfish big mouth 4×10 bass cabinet
- Trickfish small mouth 2×10 bass cabinet
- Genz-Benz Contour 500watt bass combo
- Morley TM Stevens fonkwah
- Morley Optical Volume pedal
- Morley Buffer boost pedal
- Morley Accutuner
- EbtechHum eliminator
- Visual Sound H20 chorus/echo
- Full tone Bass Drive
- Rapcohorizon bass & speaker cables
- Essential Sound Products power cords
- Black Diamond strings
- Levys Leather straps and gigbags
- EMG pickups
Why I play the bass:
As a child growing up in Los Angeles, I was always drawn to the entertaining aspect of life. I remember doing talent shows singing and dancing to the Jackson Five. But on this one particular hot summer day while visiting an uncle I noticed a crowd of people standing in front of somebody’s apartment door, so I walked over to see what all the commotion was about and as I peeked through all the adult bodies that were in front of me my eyes just sparkled with amazement as I saw these two gentlemen with these guitars – it was the first time I ever saw a guitar in person. My beloved grandmother soon took me to a big music store in Hollywood where the salesman first showed me a guitar that looked like the one that Tito Jackson or B.B. King used, then he came back with another guitar and said “now this is a bass guitar”. When I put it on and started fingering it, my mind said “wow, this has (four) big strings – seems easier to play”.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
The funky groove baby, along with my perfect timing is what other band members claim to enjoy about me the most. Also, my attitude towards any musical situation I encounter is always 100% positive. When I come to shows or even rehearsals, I’m not the one who is going to be whining or complaining… I bring it!
Bootsy Collins was the biggest instrumental influence in my life as a bassist growing up and today he’s still pumping the funk. Today I tend to gravitate towards bassist that are/or have been music directors like Nathan East, Ricky Minor, Adam Blackstone, etc.
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