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Reader Spotlight: Colin Nee

Colin Nee

Meet Colin Nee, a bassist who works by day in a job he says is “not rock & roll,” but manages to make time for music on nights and weekends. Among his musical life, Colin performs in a Johnny Cash tribute band, who regularly plays in a former prison. How cool is that?

Colin is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. (You can be next!) Here’s his story…


I’m 33 and from the north west of Ireland. By day I am in a 9-5 office job finding bugs in software. Night time and weekends are when the bass comes out which in turn means lots of traveling as I am in a relatively remote part of the country. Have also written and recorded a few songs with bands I have been in over the years but on-stage live situations are what I love most. I’ve recently gone ampless, much to the dismay of everyone else in the band.


Letterkenny / Donegal / Ireland

Day gig:

I’m a quality assurance automation engineer with a financial services company. It’s not rock & roll. At all!

Years experience:

Almost 20 years!

Bands & Gigs:

I’ve been playing in pubs and clubs since I was 18. At the moment, I am the touring bassist with a Johnny Cash tribute show which travels around Ireland, the UK, and Europe.

We actually perform regularly in a closed down prison in Belfast. The chapel of the prison is now a music venue. Johnny Cash show in a jail, it’s pretty cool (and apt) place to play.


  • Sandberg California TMV bass
  • Sandberg custom-made UMBO-derived 5 string bass
  • Fender Stu Hamm Urge II signature bass
  • Aguilar Tone Hammer DI
  • Shure wireless monitoring system
  • The Basslet

Why I play the bass:

At school, I saw a three-piece band performing in the assembly hall. Two of them had acoustic guitars. They started playing and the third guy just plucked a single note on his bass. It added a dimension to their performance which otherwise would have been fairly flat. There was a music shop across from our school. As soon as the end-of-day bell rang, I ventured into their bass section…

My bass superpower/claim to fame:

I have a Fender Stu Hamm Urge II bass in my collection, and I was lucky enough to meet Stu Hamm himself in Ireland. He signed the bass for me and I it is now my most prized musical possession.

Also, I was one of the first bass players (maybe the first!) to use The Basslet for live shows; it’s a wearable subwoofer which is worn on the wrist and compliments in-ear monitors.

My influences:

I like to think that I am influenced by anyone from whom I can learn something; nowadays that is anyone. From the young dude showing a lick on YouTube to the chick grooving some lines down the local pub.

In terms of my idols, John Entwistle is probably top of the list. Pino Palladino, Stu Hamm, and Hugh McDonald are also up there.

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