Reader Spotlight: John W Lauler

John W Lauler

Meet John W Lauler, who has an interesting tale in his path to picking up the bass (more on that below). John stays busy in the Chicago music scene, performing a range of styles almost every night of the week.

John is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…


I’m a bassist living in Chicago, IL. I attended Joliet Junior College from 2008-2010 and in 2012 received my Bachelor of Arts in Jazz Studies from Columbia College Chicago. My styles range from classic soul, blues to jazz and rock.

I am the bassist for Chicago bluesman Breezy Rodio and play regularly with the Cash Box Kings. I also work extensively as the bassist and arranger for The Epic Sounds, a Chicago-based backing band who played Chicago’s Fifth Star Awards at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in September and headlined the Women’s March on Chicago 2017. The group will be releasing their first set of singles this summer featuring collaborations with some of Chicago’s finest soul singers. My passion for jazz and original music can be heard with The Giving Trio. The trio’s first record, Defuser (2016), features my original compositions “Old Bull Lee,” “She’s Skeptic,” and “The Believer”.


Chicago, IL USA

Day gig:

Bassist for Breezy Rodio, Cash Box Kings, The Epic Sounds and The Giving Trio. Freelance chart-writer and arranger.

Years experience:

10 years

Bands & Gigs:

I play almost every night here in Chicago and tour regularly. Bassist for Breezy Rodio, The Cash Box Kings and bassist, chart-writer and arranger for The Epic Sounds. My freelance work includes a lot of jazz and theater work.


My main squeezes are:

  • 1993 Fender P-Bass w/Labella Deep Talkin’ strings
  • 1983 Fender J-Bass w/Rotosound ’66 Swing Bass strings
  • 1947 Czech double bass w/Pirastro gut strings
  • 2003 Christopher double bass w/Pirastro Evah Pirazzi strings


  • Markbass Little Mark Tube 800
  • Hartke Hydrive 2X10 and 4X10 cabinets
  • Ampeg SVT-Pro pre-amp
  • Boss OC-2
  • Way Huge Pork Loin
  • MXR Envelope Filter
  • Electro-Harmonix Bass Clone
  • Electro-Harmonix Canyon Delay

For upright:

  • Fishman bass pre-amp
  • DPA 4099 instrument mic
  • Realist Lifeline pickup

Why I play the bass:

When I was a kid I wanted to play clarinet just like Benny Goodman on “Moonglow” but gave it up in middle school because my band instructor said I wasn’t allowed in jazz band unless I doubled on alto sax; no thanks! A year later I was fumbling around with my younger brother’s acoustic guitar every night trying to pluck through my favorite rock tunes. So, my Dad, who is really into music and plays piano, watched over me and noticed how I was picking up the bass lines quicker than the guitar licks. He then showed me a documentary called “Rising Low” about Gov’t Mule’s recording sessions with 50 of the world’s greatest bass players in tribute to the tragic death of their own Allen Woody. The movie is all about the love of bass and features the top dogs of that time: Larry Graham, Flea, Les Claypool, John Entwistle, Mike Watt, and 47 other bad dudes! Anyway, after seeing that I started dreaming about the bass; I was truly in love with the instrument before I even play
ed a note. Then I attended Victor Wooten’s Bass Nature Camp in 2006 and my experiences there sealed the deal. Especially my lessons with the master Chuck Rainy, who convinced me to make this my living.

My bass superpower/claim to fame

I get called a lot for all things blues, soul, and jazz music. I love the groove and playing the supportive role. My goal is to get people up and dancing because that’s when I know I’m doing a good job!

My influences

Tim Lefebvre, Pino Palladino, Larry Grenadier, James Jamerson, Duck Dunn, Chuck Rainy, Jerry Jemmott, Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, Family Man, Jaco Pastorius, Bootsy Collins, Victor Wooten, and Allen Woody.

More on the web:

Want to be featured in an upcoming Reader Spotlight? Just fill out the interview questionnaire.

Get daily bass updates.

Get the latest news, videos, lessons, and more in your inbox every morning.

Share your thoughts