Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ah, fuck it.

I wonder how many blog posts share this one's title.

I wrote the one below on my MySpace page, and so I hedged a bit because while few people actually read it, I know them, or they live in my town. In the swirling anonymity (I cannot, for the life of me, pronounce that word) of the greater (re: extra-MySpace) internet, it's easier for me to proverbially pin the ol' heart to my sleeve.

I ran into Jackie on Saturday, for the first time in over a month. I'd say five weeks to the day, maybe even. We had a show, and she came to it. I was rattled for a good four songs.

Now granted, I was also rattled for a couple other reasons. See, the show was an annual reggae party we play. I can't call it a fest, because it wasn't all day in some fields and no one was selling shitty bead jewelry or Bob Marley flags. It was two bands and a DJ/MC combo (said combo was called Mcpullish feat. The Judge, and it was awesome). Darth Vato occupied the middle slot.

As such, the stage was backlined. The headlining band, Pablo and the Hemphill 7, has six members (funny, right?), and since we're only a three-piece, it just made more sense for them to have everything up there. What this meant for me is that I didn't have to lug my bass cab up there, an opportunity I am nearly always on the lookout for. But since Jackie's arrival had already kind of knocked me into a self-exacerbated dither, I made myself susceptible to just about anything, and using their bassist's (Matt Hembree, so you know) rig definitely fits within that parameter.

A word about Hembree: he's one of my favorite bass players in town--his runs are a little unusual, and I'd love to figure them out, and the guy is as precise as he is animated. While watching a shitty Fall-Out Boy performance on SNL, a friend remarked, "I don't know how they actually play notes with all that spinning and jumping." I immediately thought of Hembree, who always demonstrates that one can be rock solid while occupying space a foot or two off the ground. I forget what head he uses, but he uses a 410 SWR cab. Since this might not mean a lot to you, here is what that means to me:

SWR bass amps are endorsed by (among others) P-Nut from 311. Now I hate 311, apart from exactly five songs, and part of the reason why is P-Nut. Here's why I don't like P-Nut. First of all, his name is P-Nut, which I find neither funny nor cool. He's a phenomenal bass player, and his tone is best described as growly thunder. Unfortunately, while that sounds like it might be something I'd like, he has a very funky, spanky style, and while this tends to impress a lot of other people, I just don't care for it. That's the other reason why I don't like him. But his tone is cool, and from what I gather, he gets it from using SWR rigs and Warwick basses. If you've ever gone to Guitar Center and seen some black dude (yes, sorry to stereotype, but this guy is at every Guitar Center, and he's almost always a black dude, and he's almost always awesome) wanking away on what looks like a walnut coffee table, chances are it's a Warwick. As I am a Fender guy (despite the fact that my J-bass has been a bit of a lemon--and it's an American, for fuck's sake), I can't stand Warwick basses, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that they look like walnut coffee tables. Anyway, P-Nut gets that particular growl from a combination of his skill and his gear. In fact, I would say that his gear brings out the best in his skill. When you're as on-the-money as he is, an SWR rig sounds great.

I, of course, am not nearly as on-the-money as P-Nut, or Matt Hembree for that matter. And I swear, even though I used my own amp (which I love as if it were my own child), his cabinet grabbed a hold of every inadvertent pop and squeak and held up it for the crowd to see. It felt like getting pantsed in front of the whole class. My bass rig (an Ashdown ABM 500 EVO II run through an Ampeg SVT 410 cabinet) is geared for warmth, not spank. It's a perfect for a guy who learned to play from listening to Scientist and Sly and Robbie. But Hembree often plays with a pick, and he needs gear that gives him a brighter sound.

So that also had me rattled. And I had to take a crap, but before I got there, someone managed to back up both the men's and women's toilets, which left me, almost literally, up shit creek, sans paddle. You try getting amped up about playing bass with a torpedo in the tube.

But yeah, Jackie, man that was weird. As you may have guessed, I'm not exactly over her, which explained why I called her the next night and poured my heart out. While it was weepy on both sides of the phone, I doubt it changed a whole lot. I'm happy that she is doing well--she just got a teaching job and loves it; I just wish I was there by her side.

--The Robo-Pirate


katboy said...

Why did I not see this 15 months ago? My internet kung-fu SUCKS!

I picked SWR head (a 550x) + SWR cab (workingmans 4x10) for exactly why you mentioned .. i play the reggae w/Pablo, the rock w/Goodwin, and God knows what else on any given week, so I need versatility. The SWR setup gives me that. Yeah, its not as deep as a big fat Acoustic over some 18's, and its not as rock as a full out Ampeg rig, but I don't want ONE sound, I want a verstile sound. The cab is definitely precise, and it'll show off your worst (and best) playing. It has done that to me, many a night. Your equipment doesn't love you. It just loves the sound.

Well all have a Jackie. And we all have to take a crap from time to time. Life is fun ... live it!

Getting rid of my beer gut said...

Yeah, I've found that that Ashdown can do a lot more than I thought--it helped changing my strings, too.