I try to remind myself of this when I am offered musical work with new people. It happened this month when I was contacted to play bass for the musical Legally Blonde in Sarnia. I said yes even though I don’t consider myself a great reader. When I got the a copy of the bass part and started to look through it I wondered if I had bitten of a bit more than I could chew. I was relieved when I few more experienced theatre bassists chimed in with comments like “busy book”. I’m glad it wasn’t just me. Read More
Category: Steve Clark On Bass
There have been a couple of odd situations in the last few years that I am now trying to decide how to handle in the future. For example, I was asked to play with an artist at a conference. I learned the tunes, went to a rehearsal and at the last minute was informed that the bass player was available after all. As far as I know there were no concerns about my ability to do the gig. Read More
It’s closing time. Today I have 2 more shows at the Grand Theatre for Joni Mitchell – River. I’m glad I have a few gigs booked in November and December that I have to prepare for otherwise I’d be left with a big hole to fill. There’s nothing like an entire month of work for a musician. Especially when the venue is just down the street.
One of the highlights of my summer was playing the Home County Music & Arts Festival and the Kemptville Music Festival with Lynne Hanson as part of her band The Good Intentions. I’ve played the Home County Festival several times over the years so it was great to be back there again sharing a stage with Lynne and the wonderful guitarist Dan Artuso. Lynne writes some great music with Murder Ballads that are full of confessional lyrics and the tunes are great to play. I get to do a lot of different musical things but I would have to say my favourite musical experience is to work with songwriters who have something to say. There’s a new song we played that brought a tear to my eye on a couple of occasions. Read More
Recently I had the chance to add a double bass part to a mobile game. Big Blue Bubble’s game My Singing Monsters has literally millions of users around the world. My son, Sam Clark, has been working for Big Blue Bubble for almost a year as their in house audio engineer. As the commercial says it really is priceless to work on a session with my son for a game with as high a profile as My Singing Monsters. Read More
This image showed up in my Facebook news feed. I don’t know the source of the image or who put the list together. It’s intended for musicians but it applies to all walks of life.
January was an interesting month. Compared to my productivity and practice in December it was almost a lost month. I know that’s a bit of an over statement but sometimes it can be hard to overcome my inertia and sit down behind the music stand, plug in and get things done.
There can be magic moments when you play music. It might be a special venue or a moment when you feel like you can do no wrong when you are playing. Both can be quite rare especially the latter! Other times it’s the people you meet and get to play with. I’m lucky enough to work with singer/songwriter Emm Gryner from time to time. I’ve lost count of how many albums she has released under her name and to watch her perform on stage really is one of those magic moments.
Last year Emm and Chris Hadfield released a version of Space Oddity. Emm played the piano parts and NASA sent those to the International Space Station where Chris recorded his vocals. Emm played in Bowie’s band for a time and he gave permission for them to release the track.
So one of my magic moments for this year was playing Space Oddity on a live show with Emm and Chris.
In the third and final part of my Q & A, John tells us what makes a good bass player and a few other topics. There’s a bit of gear talk as well. I hope you’ve enjoyed this interview. I’ll do more of these in the future and get other bassists takes on similar questions if they are willing.
Part 2 of my interview has John talking about his journey to Nashville and his approach to studio sessions.
SCoB: You spend a lot of time in Nashville studios these days. How did you get there? Was it difficult to become part of that scene?
JD: In 1996 I lived there for most of the year, I was touring constantly with Lisa Brokop, and had relocated. I started to get some songwriter demos, but decided to come home when that gig dried up. But there’s so many Canadians there, including Colin Linden, who moved there 14 years ago, that I find all kinds of things that keep me going back. Colin produces a lot, and as well as a lot of the country producers I have worked for in the past, have started doing more and more stuff down there. The wealth of talent, as far as players goes, is staggering. And for me as a session guy, it’s so damn exciting to play with that A team down there, I don’t want to miss any of it. I routinely get to play with some of my idols, which still knocks me out.