Reader Spotlight: Ian Rushbury
Meet Ian Rushbury, a bassist since 1986 who got a very fast start on the instrument. Ian regularly performs, teaches, and writes for PopMatters.
Ian is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight (you could be next). Here’s his story…
I owned a Bass for years before I was finally bullied into playing it in a band by a co-worker. I had six weeks to go from just about being able to tune it to playing on stage in front of people. I loved it. Since then, I’ve been in bar bands, folk groups, experimental music ensembles, and orchestras, playing original music and covers until I finally landed on my current gig – Europe’s leading Roxy Music tribute band, Roxy Magic. Along the way, I’ve also taught pop and rock classes to 11-18-year-olds – encompassing pop music history, practical musicianship, and basic music technology. Aside from my busy gigging schedules and playing theatre shows across the UK with Roxy Magic, I write for a well-established online music and lifestyle magazine, PopMatters. I interviewed Brian Ritchie of the Violent Femmes once. I’ve never been more starstruck…
Halesowen, West Midlands UK
Why I play the bass:
I’ve loved music since I was a small child – my brother was a massive Beatles fan, and I remember clearly the “Let It Be” and “Abbey Road” albums being released and how excited he was to play them. At High School, my best friend was (and indeed, still is…) a fabulous guitarist and I wanted to be a part of what he did. He was intimidatingly good, so learning the guitar wasn’t an option, but the bass seemed like a good alternative. It took a while to convince mom and dad that a bass guitar was a legitimate instrument, but after many months of undignified pleading, they gave in, and a rather nice Hondo II Rickenbacker copy appeared under the Christmas tree that year. No more Marvel comics for me. My life changed, and a whole new world opened up.
My motto has always been “simple and reliable gear is good gear.”
I use an odd collection of heavily modified, mainly Squier basses. I love cheap gear, and my hobby is scooping up bargain basses, ripping them apart, and then sticking them back together in interesting ways. My main instruments are a pair of PJ basses – both Squier bodies, but one has a left-handed Jazz Bass neck. This was done mainly to confuse the technical staff of any venues I play… Both have three-way selector switches added in place of blend pots, as they just confuse me. Strings are nice, lightweight Rotosound 35s.
Occasionally my Bass Collection Bruce Thomas sig Bass gets an outing as it looks so pretty and sounds great with a set of Labella Flats.
My first “proper” bass was an Ibanez 850 Roadstar. I still have it, play it and love it.
My amp is a rock solid, reliable Genz Benz Contour combo and extension cab. Simple and effective.
FX – really simple – a Zoom B3 modified to work with an external patch change pedal and a Behringer BDI 21. Who needs anything else?
I play fingerstyle, pick-style, and slap. My slap playing is pretty terrible, but that doesn’t stop me.
Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee, John Wetton, Chris Squire, Andy Fraser, Mike Watt, Charlie Tumahai, and Mike Mills.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I once lent my Ashdown combo to Norman Watt-Roy. He broke it.
Bonus answer: I once played a gig with a broken arm.
More on the web:
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