Dave Pomeroy: “Banjo bass, string bass… I did a song with nine uke bass tracks. There are a million different ways to play bass.

Dave Pomeroy has performed with artists such as Sting, Willie Nelson, John Fogerty, Peter Frampton, Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Earl Klugh, Adrian Belew, The Chieftains, Neil Diamond, Steve Winwood and Elton John.

Additionally, Pomeroy is a Former Bassist of the Year, Studio Musician of the Year, Jazz Band Member of the Year, has recorded three bass guitar albums, conducted the All-Bass Orchestra and is currently President. from Nashville. Union of musicians. A bassist with wisdom to spare, so …

You’ve got a hell of a resume, Dave. Tell us how it all started.

“My father was in the military and when I was five we moved to England. The Beatles debut album came out and they were everywhere, man. But to me, The Beatles were like an oil painting or a sculpture – a work of art, not something to dissect.

“We went back to the States and in fifth grade I signed up to play cello in the school orchestra. They already had a few cellists, so the teacher directed me to double bass and I fell in love with it. At 13, I finally got my hands on an electric and I learned Sun of your love. ”

Uh-oh.

“Oh yeah. That was my first riff. My sister’s boyfriend taught me that. I thought ‘You mean I can do this without sheet music?’ It was then that I began to obsessively play with records. Spoonful, the live version of Cream was 16 minutes and 44 seconds from E. I drove my parents crazy.

What was your first bass and your first amp?

“I mowed lawns all summer and bought a Kingston for $ 40. The neck is gone, so I managed to convince my parents to buy me a Silvertone for $ 30. Finally, I swapped my bass for a Gibson EB-2, because I loved Jack Bruce. I played it through daddy’s tape recorder input and learned that if I pulled the plug out halfway, the sound got louder. This blew up the speakers, of course, so I had a Silvertone amp and a 6×10 cab. I kept blowing that up too. I can still smell the solid-state circuitry toasting.

Haven’t you been tempted to switch to the guitar?

“Never. Guys like John Entwistle, Jack Bruce, Chris Squire – bass was a primary instrument in their hands. For me bass is endless. There’s always more to learn. In my last year of high school, I played four. evenings a week and I went to class at 7 am Then I was accepted to the University of Virginia and joined a folk trio.

“We started making money and I was like, ‘Why am I in college? My dad was stationed in Belgium, so I got on the plane with my gear and said, ‘I dropped out of school. I want to move to London and be a rock star. I moved in on a Wednesday, saw an ad in Melody maker for a group called Dragon’s Playground, I got the job and filed my work permit with immigration on Monday. Then I joined Orb, a jazz band.

Did you have a background in jazz?

“Dad was playing jazz in the house and Chick Corea Light as a feather [1972] came out when I was 18. It was the warning shot. Then I discovered Charlie Mingus. These are the three for me – Jack Bruce, Mingus and Eberhard Weber.

Don Williams and Dave Pomeroy

Dave Pomeroy plays with Don Williams in 2012 (Image credit: Andrew Lepley / Redferns)

There is a name you don’t hear enough.

“Jaco was getting a lot of attention, but I loved what Eberhard was doing. That big trombone sound he had.

So you live in London, you play in a band …

“Several groups! One of them got a concert in Copenhagen. We played six hours a night for 28 days. It will stretch you. Eventually my work permit expired and I had to return to the United States. It was New York, LA or Nashville. The singer of our folk trio had moved to Nashville, and I moved here in ’77. But I couldn’t work in session right away, because I played too many notes.

What was your first job?

“I put a makeshift business card on the wall of the music store and [legendary country artist] Sleepy LaBeef called. “Can you play bass? ” Yes. ‘Can you sing?’ Yes. “Can you leave tomorrow?” I couldn’t understand that Sleepy was passing through town looking for a bass player. We camped at a truck stop north of Boston and played in the New England area for eight months. ”

It sounds like a rough way to pay your dues.

“Oh the living conditions were horrible, but musically it was a great education. Sleepy was an encyclopedia of what is now called Americana. We went from Willie to Bo Diddley to Tex Ritter. No graphics. No repetition. Listen, watch and learn. I eventually returned to Nashville and went to work for Guy Clark.

“His songs were so simple and beautiful that I had to rethink my approach. After that I got the job with Don Williams. It was the largest crowd I had ever played with … and the quietest. They really listened. Anguishing. ”

You went to college. It’s a lesson in the next one.

“It really was. Don opened all the doors. Sessions, songwriting. He demystified the process. The best musical advice I ever received was from Don. I had been in the band for about six months and still struggled to simplify. He said, ‘David, you don’t have to play what’s on the record. Don’t push me away. ‘ I have applied this wisdom to all genres. It doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Serve the song.

Country bass doesn’t get much attention.

“People don’t understand how hard it is to be simple. Since I was playing fewer notes, I wanted to focus on the tone. The right sound for the right song is my thing, whether it’s a Fender with a pick or fingers on a Music Man.

Share some ideas.

“The right amount of compression is important, if there is room. Ninety percent of the time, they’re going to compress you after you leave anyway. Dirt can work. You soloed Joe Osborn and it’s nasty. Joe used to say, “I can’t make a bass sound too crappy!”

“All those frequencies that sound weird when you solo it make it show up in the song, especially a P-Bass or Jazz. The most important thing is to learn not to talk about it. My job is to make the artist sound good. Don’t be sighted. Do it.”

Was it intimidating to play bass on Sting’s record?

– Well, he wasn’t there. We cut her song Fill it with Earl Scruggs to sing, and I was sure he would replace my part. But he did not do it ! I tried playing stuff that he wouldn’t want to have to cheat by replacing. Not that he couldn’t play it, just thinking, “What would Sting be doing here?” ”

You made three all-bass records.

“Guy Clark calls a day. “Hey, stop. Need to play you something. Totally impassive, he throws me The day bassists took over the world. I changed some lyrics and made my own version with about 25 bass parts. This led to the first recording. I love Boss loopers and multi-effects. It was the early days of ADAT so I could sit at home and go crazy.

Wait, 25 pieces? Bass?

“Bass banjo, double bass, whatever it takes. I did a song with nine uke bass tracks. There are a million different ways to play bass.

What about the seven strings you play on the 2017 cover Angel in the ashes?

“This Curbow weighs a ton. Ideal for sliding bass! “

How to conduct a bass orchestra?

“It started out as a challenge to put together a full bass band for Summer NAMM in 1994. I arranged it geographically. Bass basses playing five; then midrange, a Fender or a fretless.

“Follow the string basses, two musicians doing percussion and two making bows. Then, six-string Danelectro style. Then high basses with seven and nine strings. We did it in 2014, and I hope we will do it again soon!

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