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QRD #44 - Bass Player Special
about this issue
Bassist Interviews with:
CJ Boyd
Monte Allen of Rollerball
Nicholas Slaton of slicnaton
Trevor Dunn of Fantomas
Jeffrey Roden
Phillip Palmer of Port City Music
Nat Baldwin of Dirty Projectors
Frank Alexander of Triplicity
Brian Preston
Jason Ajemian
Darin Depaolo
Jill Palumbo of The Torches
Jon Case of Irata
James Newman of Plumerai
Matteo Bennici
Tim Dahl of Child Abuse
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Bassist Interview with Frank Alexander of Triplicity 
October 2010

Name: Frank Alexander
Bands: Triplicity, Studio 713 crew, independent
Websites: LuzGruvProductions.com, MySpace.com/luzgruvproductions
Listen to ďPepper StrutĒ

QRD Ė What was your first bass & what happened to it?

Frank Ė My very first bass was a bright red, 3/4-sized P-bass knock-off made by Cort. I played it for about a year until I could afford a full-sized P-bass knock-off, at which point I retired it. A few years later I discovered it under my bed in an old case & decided to convert it to a fretless bass. Letís just say the patient did not survive the surgeryÖ. Strange as it may sound, I really have no idea whatever became of that bass.

QRD Ė Whatís your typical set-up from bass to effects to amplifier?

Frank Ė Over the last few years Iíve been spoiled by the DSP stuff Iím able to do on the computer for the home studio production business I run. I havenít had to worry about amps & outboard fx the way I used to. When I do play live my set-up is usually direct from my 5-string Music Man bass to the input of a Genz-Benz 3.0 head, which powers two cabs: a GK 2x10 & an old Crate 1x15 that has just the right amount of boom. Given the more adventurous stuff Iíve been doing lately with the trio Triplicity, Iíve had to add some new noisemakers to the signal chain. Whereas I used to get away with just a Boss CS-3 compression pedal through the fx loop, now I follow that with a DOD Octoplus, an MXR Bass Fuzz, an EH Bassballs, & finally a Boss Phase Shifter for when I wanna get spooky.

QRD Ė Whatís the most important part of your rig Ė bass, amplifier, or effects?

Frank Ė For me, itís the bass, without a doubt. I searched out the Music Man Iíve got for almost four years before I found it in a used shop back where I used to live in Maryland. With that bass in hand Iím confident I can get pretty much any tone I need or want. Iíd say my amp & Boss compression pedal are in a close tie for second place. Iíve used that pedal since high school, but I discovered the GB head only about a year-and-a-half ago while noodling around with it at Indoor Storm in Raleigh. ďWowĒ was probably the first word that came to mind. So much tone variability & packaged in under 3lbs of metal.

QRD Ė Whatís your main amplifier & why?

Frank Ė The Genz-Benz Shuttle 3.0 is what Iím running these days. I really like the fact itís got a built-in FET pre-amp & the ability to set the center frequency for mid-range EQ-ing. Couple that with three pre-set signal shape EQ settings that can be turned on & off with the click of a button & youíve got a very versatile & functional piece of hardware. Did I mention itís less than 3lbs total weight?  Just a beautifully designed little box.

QRD Ė Do you prefer upright or electric bass?

Frank Ė I primarily play electric fretless bass these days, but spent about five years in the Ď90s studying & playing upright in various jazz combos & big bands. I think the sound I get on my Music Man fretless is a nice compromise; bit of a growl when I need to cut through, but with plenty of sustain & boom when I need to lay it down. Plus, itís hard to beat a fretless instrument of any kind for the articulation of nuances.

QRD Ė Do you prefer to use a pick, fingers, or a bow?

Frank Ė I work best with my fingers, but a pick is needed some times. When I was a younger player I saw using a pick as a sign of not being good enough to play without itÖ boy was I wrong! There are sounds you can get only with a pick that are wickedly funky & delicious (check out any OíJays-era Anthony Jackson for clarification on that point).

QRD Ė How many strings do you think a bass should have?

Frank Ė Just enough to get the job done. No more, no less.

QRD Ė Why do you play bass instead of guitar?

Frank Ė Because I can. No, wait, that sounds lame. Back in junior high I really liked my guitar teacher, Mr. Gale. He had a way of making music fun & exciting even as he tried to teach us burgeoning metal-heads how to play Bachís Joy of a Manís Desire on nylon folk guitar. One day during the second semester of that class he asked if Iíd be interested in learning electric bass so I could play in the school jazz band, apparently the other kid who was doing it dropped out unexpectedly. I said sure. So everyday thereafter Iíd spend the second-half of lunch hour in the guitar storage area of the music room, with my Mel Bay Beginner Bass book in front of me, the schoolís P-bass grinding heavily into my lap & plugged directly into an enormous Yamaha 1x15 cab that, mercifully, had wheels. I continued in guitar class, but knew pretty much by the end of that semester that bass is where itís at for me.

QRD Ė How is a bass different than a guitar other than being lower in pitch?

Frank Ė Great question & one I think about often when Iím tracking guitar right before or after bass. Bass is fundamentally a rhythmic instrument whereas guitar almost from the start has straddled the worlds of rhythm & melody. Even in early chamber music upright bass served to do little more than double the cello part, which itself was often no more than a rhythm part (hence the moniker ďdouble bassĒ for uprights). Certainly by the 20th century you begin to see that basic essence change for the bass, first notably in jazz (thank you Jimmy Blanton) & later in early rock (thank you Paul McCartney). Not-so-suddenly, melodic elements become as important to bass playing as its rhythmic pulse. I think those changes are still very much felt today, especially when you hear players such as Victor Wooten or Michael Manring performing dazzling, keyboard-like passages on the instrument. Still, when you get right down to it (& even in many of those dazzling performances), the bass establishes the rhythm & groove for a piece of music. That job is the primary role & distinguishing characteristic of the instrument when compared to a guitar.

QRD Ė Whatís your main bass & what are the features that make it such?

Frank Ė Itís my 2001 MM StingRay5 fretless. What I love most about it is how even it sounds from string to string; no dead spots anywhere. Even though Iíve got flat wounds on it, it still manages some growl, too. Thatís owing to the humbucker-style pickup & the active pre-amp onboard the bass, a really powerful combination. Also, between the 3-way selector switch & the pots for low/mid/high control, Iíve always been impressed at how wide a range of sound I can get with it. I think that diversity of sound is especially useful in the studio, depending on what Iím tracking bass to, but it also helps a lot when Iím on stage in a space that maybe needs a lot less thump or maybe some extra mids to really get the sound across. Any & all tweaks are right there at my fingertips, which I love.

QRD Ė What do you think of the thumb rests on some basses?

Frank Ė I think they are useful for those whoíve learned to utilize them. Most often I see those on vintage instruments & Iíll be damned if I can quite figure out how to get my hand comfortable enough to play around it.

QRD Ė If you had a signature bass, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?

Frank Ė Thatís a toughie. To be perfectly honest, it would probably look, feel & sound a LOT like my Music Man. The only other thing I might add is a whammy bar (yup, we can use Ďem too!).

QRD Ė If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?

Frank Ė Thatís a fun one. It would be a combination compression/distortion pedal with a built-in 10-band graphic EQ that is able to hit all the right frequencies when running through a stack consisting of 2x10 & 1x15 speakers. Fuzz is tricky on bass, distortion even more so, so having the comp & EQ there to help manage it would be perfect.

QRD Ė How many basses do you own?

Frank Ė Four.

QRD Ė How & where do you store your basses?

Frank Ė I keep all but one set-up on stands in my studio. Never know which sound Iíll need & when, so itís best to keep them all handy.

QRD Ė What features do you look for when buying a bass?

Frank Ė The feel. When I pick up an electric itís gotta feel right in my hands from the get-go. I used to think I could get what I wanted from just about any bass & I suppose after enough hours playing thatís probably true. But I think you really ďsingĒ on your instrument only when youíre 100% comfortable with its feel. I can tell right away if Iím going to enjoy playing a bass by the size & shape of its neck. I started out gigging on a Squire J-bass, so for me it always comes back to having a smaller neck radius & not just wielding a piece of lumber like some of these five- & six-strings Iíve seen over the last decade. I should also mention having decent pick-ups is important, be they active or otherwise, as they help make things sound a lot better too. Iíve never spent as much time on getting that right, though, as on making sure the bass feels good to play. Also, electronics can be swapped out, so there is some recourse if your tone just plain blows.

QRD Ė How much do you think a good bass should cost?

Frank Ė No more than you have in the bank!  Once I began to appreciate that a good instrument is an investment, I realized that old saying about ďgetting what you pay forĒ is far more true than false. With that said, Iíve seen & played amazing basses that start at $300 & also walked away shaking my head after twenty minutes trying to make something musical come out of an electric tagged at over $1500. Beyond individual subjectivity, thereís a great deal of variance between manufacturers & the specs they keep.

QRD Ė Do you upgrade & customize your bass or just stick with what you get?

Frank Ė With the exception of my first gigging bass, I pretty much stick to what I get. There again experience has been good to me. If I can spend 30-40 minutes playing an instrument through a set-up not so different than mine & be comfortable at what I hear throughout, Iím reasonably confident that Iíve got what I want. Iíve got nothing against hot-rodding or otherwise upgrading a bass, especially a cheaper one you get at a bargain price, but it can reach a point where you sink as much into it via improvements as if youíd just gone & purchased a pricier bass outright. Time is money, as they say, so if youíre gonna spend a lot of either I suppose itís worth considering the return on each.

QRD Ė Are you after one particular bass tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?

Frank Ė I think by default Iíve arrived at the primary tone I like to hear most often. It took a while to get this particular bass/amp/effects combination & to dial in what I most want to hear from it. Now that Iíve spent some time using these items together I have a solid idea of what to tweak in order to bring about subtle & not-so-subtle variations. Thatís certainly one of the most fun aspects of recording, the ability to experiment with various tones & sounds I wouldnít otherwise use for personal playing. All the tonal diversity via the hardware Iíve mentioned really helps out with that.

QRD Ė What are some basses, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?

Frank Ė Lust might be too strong a word at this point in my playing career, but of late Iíve been considering upgrading my live rig. Way back in the day I had a Ď70s-era Acoustic head, various Hartke & Peavey 4x10 cabs & a customized PA cabinet with an 18Ē speaker. Needless to say, Iím big on lightening the load these days. Iíve read some good things about a few of the newer MB series heads from GK, lots of power-handling & EQ-ing capability in a lightweight shell. The same is true of the newer neodymium cabs from GK & Acoustic. As for basses, Iíve had it in the back of my head for some time now that a fretted 5-string Yamaha would make the perfect addition to my collection. The quality on those instruments, even at the entry level, is surprisingly good & the fives Iíve played from them have a sound that I think is unique to that company. I admire that quality.

QRD Ė What do you think are some important features to be on a personís first bass that arenít always there?

Frank Ė Not quite sure how to answer that one as the basics for electric bass are always a volume knob, at least one tone control, & working electronics. If those arenít present I donít see how you can even pretend to sell the instrument as functional. One thing that I do think every playerís first instrument should have is a set-up. That primarily involves lowering the string-to-neck height just above the point of fret buzz & adjusting the saddles on the bridge to ensure proper intonation of each string. While there is not always a lot that can be done to cheaper instruments as far as set-up is concerned, I do think that if more manufacturers took time getting their entry line of basses in better playing shape right out of the box theyíd have many more younger players sticking with their instruments longer. I suppose the cynical might argue thatís exactly why the big manufacturers donít do it, so as to get Ďem into wanting more expensive versions of the instrument that ARE set up properly. In any case, that kind of increased playability is something that can make a big difference on a first bass.

QRD Ė What have been the best & worst bass related purchases youíve made?

Frank Ė In terms of value for what I paid, Iíd probably say the like-new Mexican made P-bass I picked up at a pawn show a few years back would be up there. I got it for just under half the cost of a new one & it plays as well or better than some of the American ones Iíve tried out in-store. Back in the early Ď90s I picked up a new purple Fernandes 6-string bass that had no business being sold: bad pick-ups, lousy intonation, & just generally low playability across the board. I paid a little more for that one than I shouldíve, & certainly lost money on its resale. Luckily I realized the error of my ways fairly quickly & parted with it within six months.

QRD Ė What are some effect, amp, & bass brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?

Frank Ė Iíve owned various Fender & Ernie Ball basses for over a decade each & I really like the build consistency Iíve encountered with each brand, especially with EB. The electronics are solid if not great from each & the playability as regards the fingerboard right down to the bridge is almost always perfect for me. I recognize Fender in particular has undergone lots of changes between the Ď80s & Ď90s as far as where instruments were built & the specs they used, but Iíve been able to find good basses from those years & have been very happy for it. As for amps, early on I had an Acoustic head that I still miss to this day. While Iíve gotten mostly good usage out of Hartke heads & cabs alike, after discovering Genz-Benz heads I still wonder how I got along before them. Iíve never been a big fx user for live shows, mostly preferring to work with my bass & amp & then pump that sound through a Boss compression/sustainer to fatten it a bit. That said, Iíve begun to develop a new appreciation for sonic experimentation following the purchase of my Electro-Harmonix Bass Balls pedal a few years back. I get an interesting mix of fuzz & wackiness with that one.

QRD Ė Whatís the first thing you play when you pick up a bass?

Frank Ė Depends on why Iím picking it up. If Iím about to play a song on a bass I own, Iíll play some ascending/descending chromatic patterns that Iíve used since I was a teen to warm-up my fingers. If Iím trying out a bass I usually just pick a basic groove that covers what I specifically want to hear on that particular bass, like a thumpiní low-E riff to check out the sensitivity of the pick-ups or a busier line that moves across the neck to check out the instrumentís action/intonation.

QRD Ė How old were you when you started playing bass?

Frank Ė In junior high, around 13 or 14.

QRD Ė At what age do you think you leveled up to your best bass playing?

Frank Ė Thatís a toughie as Iím not certain I have even at this point! If I had to pick, Iíd say it probably was around the time I was studying music in college & gigging regularly as a jazz bassist in the 1990s. Iíve recorded & been on recordings since high school & when I hear tunes Iím on from around that period I sometimes canít believe I knew what to put where.

QRD Ė Do you feel bass lines should echo & emphasize guitar & drum parts or be their own distinct elements?

Frank Ė Thatís really situational & depends on the song youíre playing & the people youíre playing with. Whenever I approach a song I try to think of the rhythmic & melodic aspects of the bass line as two sides of the same dynamic coin. Even within a song you can find space to emphasize a given progression or another instrumentís part by playing around with something as simple as a 16th note, or maybe adding a passing tone somewhere in the 2nd verse where you played it straight in the 1st verse. Playing this many years has given me a huge appreciation for the guys who can take a simple four or five note line & come up with seemingly endless melodic & rhythmic variations while serving the song & never loosing the groove. The older I get the more it really does seem that less is more!

QRD Ė Would you rather people hear or feel your bass?

Frank Ė Really depends on the song & style. If itís a dub tune or something like that that emphasizes the feel of the bass perhaps more than just the individual note choices, you definitely want it to be felt before itís necessarily heard. The same is mostly true with more traditional rock tunes. Thatís not to say you canít or shouldnít have melodic movement, but the feel & sound of those styles almost always comes first versus the notes you actually play. In something like jazz or any of its offshoots, itís the opposite: you want the notes to be articulated clearly & for the line itself to help push the tune as much as it supports it. There again though tone is important, but you & the people youíre playing with should be able to hear what youíre doing melodically as you support the song rhythmically.

QRD Ė Why do you think a bass fits you more so than other instruments?

Frank Ė My thinking in the creation of music is most often rooted in building a song from the ground up. Bass playing lends itself really well to that mode of thinking, while still allowing for expression of melody too.

QRD Ė Do you see your bass as your ally or adversary in making music?

Frank Ė Most definitely my ally.

QRD Ė Who are the bassists that most influenced your playing & sound?

Frank Ė Earlier on it was guys like Geddy Lee & Cliff Burton of Metallica. I really liked the way they could play harder sounding lines that rocked while still emphasizing some melody. After that I started delving deeper into the bass as a groove instrument & thatís when I discovered players like James Jamerson, ďDuckĒ Dunn, Francis Rocco Prestia & Jaco Pastorious. Once I started studying music in school & performing in different jazz groups I picked up on upright players like Jimmy Blanton, Ray Brown, & Paul Chambers. My current style is probably most rooted in the playing of guys like Anthony Jackson, Mark Egan, & Jimmy Johnson.

QRD Ė Do you think people anthropomorphizing their bass is natural or silly (e.g. naming their bass)?

Frank Ė I think people have a natural tendency to do that to almost any object they care for. If you put in hours practicing an instrument thereís bound to be an affection that grows out of it after that much time spent getting to know it. That said, I have never felt the need to name any of my instruments.Ö

QRD Ė Whatís the most physical damage youíve done to a bass & how did you do it?

Frank Ė Tearing the frets off my first bass to convert it to fretless. I could almost hear it screaming with every pull of the pliers!

QRD Ė What do you do to practice other than simply playing?

Frank Ė If Iím not running through a tune in order to flesh out possible variations in feel or notes, Iíll usually practice playing either arpeggios or scales in odd ascending &/or descending groupings. In the case of a scale, maybe ascend in thirds over two octaves then descend in fourths; for arpeggios, ascend each note of a major scale as a 7th chord, then try descending the same way but using the minor scale. I always try & think of new ways to practice, to explore different aspects of the fretboard. Years ago I read a great quotation from the drummer Tony Williams when asked about practicing. He said simply, ďPractice what you donít know.Ē Now I get what he meant.

QRD Ė How many hours a week do you play bass & how many hours would you like to?

Frank Ė Nowadays Iím lucky to get in two or three hours a week, but since I get to spend most of my time composing & recording songs I do get to play bass when Iím tracking for a song or cue. Back in high school & into college I was getting in anywhere from one to two hours a day. Donít know that Iíd still practice that much now even if I had the time. I much more enjoy exploring songwriting with the bass now rather than just running etudes or something like that.

QRD Ė What gauge strings do you use & why?

Frank Ė For the 5-string fretless I use flatwounds gauged .045-.132; for my 4-string basses I use roundwounds gauged .045-.105. Iíve used roundwounds on fretless before, you certainly get a nice buzz with Ďem. As I got more & more into recording though I discovered that flatwounds really make for a smoother, more uniform sound from string to string with no finger noise. There are times when you want a brighter, punchier sound of course, so I keep Rotosound roundwounds on the other basses. As far as gauge is concerned, I used to experiment a lot with lighter & heavier gauges to see what sounded best through my set-up. I finally arrived at these mid-level gauges because they seem to offer the warmest, roundest sound while also allowing for easy playability.

QRD Ė How often do you change strings?

Frank Ė Not very, sometimes Iíll go a year between changes in fact. To help prevent too much deadness from setting in Iím pretty fanatical about wiping down the strings & neck with a soft cotton cloth after every time I play. I canít quote scientific studies to back this up, but since I started doing that many years ago Iíve noticed the strings sound fresher longer. Iíve always been amazed at the amount of oil that gets on strings after you play for a while. Leaving that on the strings to build up can contribute to the string breaking down faster. I think thatís particularly true with roundwound strings, which are a little rougher on your fingertips & therefore tend to pull off more residue from your fingers as you play.

QRD Ė How often do you break strings?

Frank Ė Iíve broken only one string the entire time Iíve played bass, & even that wasnít officially a break. The string just started coming unwound at the tuning peg after the colored end frayed for some reason.

QRD Ė Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming/bowing hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?

Frank Ė Both are equally good at what they do, but these days my picking fingers arenít as nimble as they used to be. I went through a Jaco/Jeff Berlin/Tower of Power phase when all I wanted to do was play fast 16th notes with my right hand. It was during that time that I concentrated on exercises that would get my picking hand working smoothly in time with my fretting hand. Doing that made me much more aware of how much influence your picking hand has over your overall sound. To this day I think about how Iím going to play a note or pattern with my picking hand as much as how Iím going to phrase a line with my fretting hand.

QRD Ė What tunings do you use & why?

Frank Ė I pretty much stick to EADG with the low B on the five for most songs. Iíve heard other bassists exploring alt tunings on bass & thereís some cool stuff there. For me, I think the way the strings are arranged as-is leaves plenty of space for me to come up with cool ideas & sounds. I save my alt tuning explorations for acoustic guitar.

QRD Ė Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?

Frank Ė I have no problem with tab, but if Iím going to notate Iíll use traditional F-clef staffs, bar lines, & notes. An upshot of starting out on bass the way I did is that I pretty much had to read from the get-go if I wanted to get through the Mel Bay book that got plopped down in front of me.

QRD Ė Whatís a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?

Frank Ė Getting hung up on a particularly cool sounding riff & playing it to death. Thatís one reason I wish I did have a little more practice time on bass. I think itís true of most folks that they tend to fall back on what they know when they havenít had time to develop new ideas. I try to be conscious of that whenever Iím playing, especially if itís a live show. Thereís nothing wrong with a well-timed, well-worn riff that fits like an old pair of your favorite shoes, but too much of that can really make your playing sound stale.

QRD Ė Playing what other instrument do you think can most help someoneís bass playing?

Frank Ė I suppose guitar would be an obvious choice here, but truthfully I think learning just about any other instrument can help you on your primary instrument. One thing that helped me without me even realizing it was taking a couple semesters of piano in college. The combination of playing rhythm & melody at the same time can provide a much deeper understanding of how those two important aspects best work in a song. Also, the harmony I was exposed to on keyboards definitely gave me a better idea of how to approach note choice when creating bass lines. Of course you can get melody & harmony simultaneously on guitar too, but the orderly way itís laid out from side to side on keyboard is just something that made understanding it a little easier for me.

QRD Ė Whatís a type of bass playing you wish you could do that you canít?

Frank Ė Reggae. I can fake it to a certain extent, but the feel that the real players have is something Iíve never gotten under my fingers. I once had a guitarist I used to play with tell me that the key to reggae bass lines is to think of them in the same way a jazz bassist thinks of dotted quarter notes & triplets in jazz. That is, as having a kind of ďswingĒ feel. I think he was right on with that, but for some reason I can cop a jazz feel far better than a reggae feel. Guess itís time to practice....

QRD Ė Whatís a bass goal youíve never accomplished?

Frank Ė Recording a CD of all bass instrumentals. According to my wife however, some goals are best left unattained.

QRD Ė Whatís the last bass trick you learned?

Frank Ė Tricky to explain, but basically involves plucking a note then plucking the second note down a fifth, then hammering on from one step below the first note, followed by plucking the octave of the second note. Got it, Ďcause there will be a test? It sounds terribly confusing, but is actually pretty straightforward to play, which is why I like it. It sounds like a flurry of notes but is really just four different ones; the hammer-on makes it sound really busy. The lick is my interpretation of one I picked up from Jimmy Johnson on some fusion album he was on back in the Ď90s. Not sure itís exactly what he was doing, but it sounds a lot like it & I had a heckuva lotta fun developing it.

QRD Ė Did you ever take bass lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?

Frank Ė I took lessons off & on when I was in junior high & high school. I donít recall staying with any one teacher for more than three or four lessons though. I was just so anxious to play what I was hearing that I started transcribing every bit of bass I could figure out from the recordings I had. In fact the best teachers I had were the ones who would tell me to check out this or that recording of such & such because Iíd probably like the lines he was playing. Honestly, once that one particular teacher I had mentioned Jaco Pastorious & the album Heavy Weather to me, I was pretty much on my way. Of course I also knew I had a lot of work to do from that point on.

QRD Ė What would you teach someone in a bass lesson that you donít think they would generally get from a bass teacher?

Frank Ė Probably to really think about what youíre about to play before playing it. By that I mean thinking not only about the notes youíre going to play, but to the shape of the bass line itself. One thing I realized after transcribing bass lines & actually writing them down to look at, was that the up & down flow of the notes in my favorite pieces of music were like running water. They just flowed, almost effortlessly, from start to finish. When youíre just learning bass it can be hard to see your way out of playing this or that scale or arpeggio. By themselves those things you practice arenít terribly musical. They help, of course, because they instill technique. But when it comes time to construct a bass line the overall shape of the line & how itís going to progress from start to finish should be in your head before youíve even played a note. You leave room for surprises, thatís what keeps it interesting, but I believe the ability to think about the shape of a bass line before you play it is an important aspect of crafting great lines, regardless of the style.

QRD Ė Whatís something someone would have to do to emulate your style?

Frank Ė Play more notes than are necessary, but play them in time & in a very funky way.

QRD Ė If a band has good bass work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?

Frank Ė At this point in my playing life, no. If Iím listening to a band I want everybody to be there at the same time, so to speak. A great bassist can certainly help a band, but s/he alone canít save it.

QRD Ė What famous musicianís bass would you like to own & why?

Frank Ė Honestly, no oneís. Itís taken me years to get comfy with the ones I have & Iím happier for it. Owning a bass that belonged to someone else, be they famous or otherwise, is always about learning the feel of the instrument all over again. I can make the noise I like with the noisemakers I have.

QRD Ė Who do you think is currently the most innovative bass player & why?

Frank Ė Iím afraid the most current name I can think of is probably Victor Wooten, though heís been around for a couple decades now. Iím certain there are lots of ground-breaking bassists out there & itís probably easier to access their music-making than ever before thanks to the web. I donít keep up on that so much anymore though. Donít get me wrong, I enjoy a cool groove & some tasty bass fills as much as I ever did, but I donít seek out individual players to listen to as much as I used to.

QRD Ė Where can people hear your best bass work?

Frank Ė Right now Iím rehearsing with a trio called Triplicity. Itís guitar, bass, & drums & weíre getting songs together for a live set to build on the couple of one-off shows we had this past summer. Since itís just the three of us thereís lots of sonic space to fill, though I try not to fill all of it at once. Best part of that group is I get to use a lot of fx I donít usually use when Iím recording. As far as online, I try to keep my MySpace page current with some of the most recent cues, songs, or whatever Iíve worked on. I usually have some things on there emphasizing bass because itís always fun to unleash that stuff on an unsuspecting world.

QRD Ė Anything else?

Frank Ė Thanks for the interview, & sorry about all the words!