How long have you been a part of the CME team and can you tell us a little about the “BASSment?”
I joined the crew in October of 2011 as The Bass Guy and was immediately promoted to Bass Authority by David Kalt. Back then, the basses were tucked away in a tiny room that now serves as our video room, and our offices were on the lower level. Once the offices moved and the lower level became available, I approached David about building out a proper bass shop in the BASSment (did you see what I did there?!). By September of 2013, the BASSment was open and my mission has always been to bring the best damn basses to the forefront. Vintage, used, new, player grade, boutique, beginner. All walks of life are represented down here and everyone walks out understanding that bass guitars are the coolest damn things on the planet.
Why do you love the bass guitar and can you a remember a moment where you decided that the bass would be the instrument for you?
Tuba is my primary instrument, and the obsession with the lower register has been real for over 20 years. My band teacher in 6th grade had me pegged:
“Hey Marc… we need a tuba player. The big guy usually plays tuba, and you’re a big guy…”
“But I just wanna play trumpet…”
“Well, just play a couple notes and see what you think. Bb concert scale.”
I was HOOKED. Coolest experience. From there, my older (guitarist) brother was a big influence on getting me into more contemporary music, and introduced me to Primus. Again, fuckin’ HOOKED. I had to play bass and I had to play bass like Les Claypool. HAD to have a bass when I was 13, and he orchestrated that beautifully for Christmas.
Who are some of your biggest influences in bass?
That is a constant evolution, as tastes usually are. In the beginning, Claypool, Wooten, Pastorius, Patitucci… The “virtuoso” players. The older I get, I’m more into the pocket players. Carol Kaye, James Jamerson, Marcus Miller, Bobby Vega, Rocco Prestia, Pino Palladino — all thoughtful and impressive. Pepper in the more aggressive styles of Jeff Matz, Brian Cook, and even Dusty Hill, and you have my crazy ass. Also have been really influenced by non-bassists. Nate Smith, Cory Wong, Kamasi Washington. Deliberate and lyrical.
What are four desert island records for you?
Constantly evolving, too. Right now:
‘The Aura Will Prevail’ – George Duke
‘The Grand Wazoo’ – Frank Zappa
‘Europe ’72’ – The Grateful Dead
‘Symphony No. 8 (Unfinished)’ – Franz Schubert (prob the 1966 recording of the New York Philharmonic conducted by Leonard Bernstein).
Tomorrow, I’ll probably switch them out with Nick Cave, Charles Bradley, Kamasi Washington, Dead Kennedys. The next day, all orchestral like ‘The Planets’ by Gustav Holst (LOVE the London Phil),
What are the qualities that a player should look for when visiting a shop to purchase an instrument? How do you help them decide what instrument is right for them?
Attentiveness and friendliness of the staff. That is paramount. I LOVE making people feel like they are part of the coolest party in town. As for deciding, I often ask the following questions to help guide:
– ‘What styles do you gravitate toward?’
– ‘What sounds or musicians to you find yourself emulating?’
– ‘How frequently are you hoping to play this out?’
– ‘What sort of aesthetic do you like?’
– ‘What sort of neck shape do you like?’
– ‘Is the weight a concern?’
Of your current stock of Fodera’s, which is your favorite and why?
They’re all special. That Burmese Sal Viceroy is SOOOO tight, though. Stunning wood working (which is a standard with Fodera), elongated body style to hide my “jolliness,” sneakily versatile. All-around dopeness (and it’s a 4-string).
Why should players consider a Custom built bass?
With companies like Fodera, you have the ability to truly have your vision realized. A hands-on company with the highest attention to details, no stone will be left unturned. This piece will not only serve as a vessel to communicate/express yourself, it will also serve as a functional work of art. that is most certainly a work of art. An investment into yourself with a professional-grade tool.
What would your Custom Fodera bass guitar look like?
The “murdered out” CME Standard Special Emperor (4-String, though). I’d add the NYC headstock with clover tuners and side-dot LEDs.