Reader Spotlight: Chris Semal
Meet Chris Semal, a long-time bassist (and more). One of Chris’s superpower moments was jamming with Mick Taylor of the Rolling Stones.
Chris is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight (you could be next). Here’s his story…
I’m a bass playing singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. I also play guitar, keys and do some drum programming, but bass is far and away my primary instrument. I started playing when I was 14. I’m from Manhattan and played pretty much every club in the city in the 80s and 90s in bands such as Kidd Thunder, RPM, Why Me, and Three Way Crash. I enrolled in the University of Miami school of music to take their recording engineering program.
I have a home studio and record under the name Lewscannon and have four CDs out on the streaming sites. I’m also an author of a black comedy thriller set in the music industry called “Trial of Tears.” Since Covid, I’ve also gotten into conceptual video production of a few of my songs (mostly instrumentals or covers) I was interviewed for Know Your Bass Player. I currently live in Westchester and play in a classic rock cover band band called Slowburn.
Yorktown Heights, NY, USA
49 years. Looking at that number, I should be a better player!
Why I play the bass:
I was the singer in the band and the bassist had to live for a while, so the guitarist showed me some stuff and I got completely hooked on the instrument. A fuller description can be found on my blog.
I’m not a major gearhead, or should I say collector. My main bass is a 1977 Precision on which I play round wound strings (as I do on most basses) I like Bad Ass bridges and install them on most of my basses. I also have two Geddy Lee Jazz basses, a Ibanez Fretless and an acoustic Michael Kelly. I play through a GK 400RB into Fender speakers (I have one 12″ and one 15″ of which I usually only need to bring down one to the gig). I have a few effects that I rarely play live, preferring to let my fingers do the talking. Actually, that’s not accurate as I play with a heavy pick 95% of the time.
I’m quite a musical sponge, but gravitate towards the more up-front bassists, such as John Entwhistle, Geddy Lee, James Jamerson, John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney, Glenn Hughes. I think Gail Ann Dorsey is terrific, as is Michael Rutherford, Graham Maby, Tom Petersson(that sound!), Pino Palladino, Marius Duda of Riverside, Gary Thain, and John Wetton, to name a few.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I am a deadly pick flicker: I can go for distance or accuracy. I did jam with a Rolling Stone once: Mick Taylor got up on stage for a jam session I was involved in back in the 80s at a club in Manhattan.
More on the web:
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