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Talk with James Lomenzo \m/

Discussion in 'Music Education - Share your knowledge here!' started by Florin, Apr 17, 2010.

  1. throwofftom

    throwofftom Sales Assistant UK

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  2. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Hi Guys, I go through these bouts of burn-out and feeling uninspired every so often myself. Because it's mostly been a career for me, I've had to develop some strategies to keep me motivated, interested and growing. O.K., here's one thing that usually gets me out of a slump. Put the bass away! Seriously, Just put it in it's case and forget about it for a few days, maybe even a week or two if your livelihood doesn't depend on it. For me this accomplishes 2 things. First, it helps the muscles in my hands to start the atrophy process. I like this because when I start playing again it feels new, there's a bit of a struggle and just the sheer exertion of rebuilding muscle strength is a motivating factor in itself. Also, it provides and opportunity for me to slow down and perhaps, break bad habits. I can relearn things that I do in different ways and that perspective shift can be very positive. The other thing that really works for me is to seek out inspiration from some other sources. Since music is tied up in art and emotion, it's always seemed natural to me to embrace and explore the bond between music and art. Simply, Get outside, nature walk, go to a museum. I love photography, I use the medium to create and and discover shape, light, emotion and balance. These are observations you can apply to your music, not so abstract really. Even easier for you couch potatoes? Movies, especially concerts of other genres then you've been playing. Focus on the other instrumentalists, not just the bassists. Listen for instance to the way a horn player needs to breath between phrases, if you've never thought of it, there might be something there you can bring to your own playing which will ad to your vocabulary and challenge you to grow. This can be a great motivator. Sometimes, I just like to go back and watch videos of my hero's. Often it's all I need to remind me of my initial motivative spark. Books/biographies can a great source of inspiration. So, my best advice is, as they say... "stop and smell the roses", when I allow myself this, the rest usually falls in line ...and, one more thing. Make sure you're getting enough sleep!

    Best to you my friends in Bassdom,

    James
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 28, 2010
  3. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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  4. da-vonk

    da-vonk Warwick Enthusiast forevah

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    First of all I wanna thank mister Lomenzo for joining our unexceeded forum...it's a real honour sir...8:

    About da relationship between being a musician (or an artist) and having depressions...just da other day I heard about a scientist on our national radio, who is seriously going to investigate why musicians/artistz are more susceptible to mental depressionz...

    On da net I found another scientist who already wrote a book about this: "The Van Gogh Blues" by Eric Maisel...from da reviewz I understand da book's a bit boring, but I also found a vid in which he explainz about wut he found out....

    [video=youtube;YL07PFP3eTo]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YL07PFP3eTo[/video]

    Besides that I fully agree with mister Lomenzo...I'm lucky to live on a small island, and more than once I found out that a 'meeting' with Mother Nature is da best way to get back on track...a nightly stroll on da deserted beach, if it's not too cold with da bare feetz in da salty water, sumtimez with nice music on da head, mostly does da trick for me...:d
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 29, 2010
  5. Charmand G

    Charmand G

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    Thank you, mr. Lomenzo! It confirms my suspicions. :) I guess I just have to ride this off like a fever or bad weather, and just wait for clear sky to come. Somehow, I feel like buying a new bass, just to get that "new" excitement around playing. I saw this sexy 8-string the other day...
     
  6. Florin

    Florin Warwick Forum Administrator Supporting Member

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    Hi James,
    You performed with great bands, but also sometimes very different styles - from White Lyon, to Black Label Society, to Megadeth.

    How you approached this - tried to bring a specific sound with you, or tried to understand the current band, and help them do their best?
    You are renown as a monstruous finger player, still, with Megadeth you played with a pick. Was it difficult to bring the pick playing to your fingerstyle level? Because I think you did an amazing job!
     
  7. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Hi Florin,

    Thanks for your kind words...

    This is a great question in that it's really the kind of thing that I pride myself on. You see, when I first started to play the bass, I was enamored with so many different styles of music that I was always trying to work on my rhythm, feel, dynamics and attack. I'd go from playing a Frank Sinatra swing song to a Rolling Stones song and then to a Yes (Chris Squire) song. All the while I was hell bent on trying to figure out what made these types of styles "tick". Was it in the way the bassist held back the notes a bit or was it in the way he'd (she'd) attack the strings? I was tireless in my quest to try to emulate as many different techniques as I could discover. Most times, as I understand now, I'd miss the mark pretty badly but as I worked with different sounds, positions on the neck, ...picks, fingers, amp settings, I began to slowly build a way of shifting what was slowly becoming my own style. It became vocabulary to me and to this day, I still try to re-interpret what I think I'm hearing when I hear something familiar that I like. So, for instance, when I first joined White Lion, It was a new challenge for me to "dumb it down" a bit to suit the Metal style that was permeating the airwaves at the time. Prior to that, I was playing quite an active style, more like John Paul Jones/Chris Squire. I was also discovering Stanley Clarke. But when I joined White Lion and realized what they were going for, I knew instinctively how to approach it. It needed to be simple and clean to feature the vocals and guitar. It wasn't my ideal job as a bassist but non-the-less, I really enjoyed helping to create that style of Metal and knock out those great songs. After that, I'd got into Jamming with Zakk Wylde and that was a whole 'nother ball game. Absolute free-form, no restrictions at all, I'm referring to a little known band called Pride And Glory. Then I worked on the Ozzmosis album for Ozzy and that was like pulling it back again but this time with more melodic space. Now Back to the future, Megadeth ...That absolutely required using a pick for most of the music. I thought after listening to the albums that the band would likely lose it's familiar sound if I didn't approach it as Ellefson did. It was quite a lot of fun. For the most part though, it didn't feel much like bass playing to me, seemed more like guitar on four strings, fortunately I play some guitar so playing it was not particularly difficult, what was difficult was learning 20 or so songs in three weeks, that was the real challenge. Any way to further illustrate what I was talking about in the first place. Some nights, before a Megadeth show I'd be jamming along to Bad Company or something totally devoid of the Metal we'd do on stage at night just, as always, to keep my vocabulary wide... Anyway, the pick, the Fingers, the thumb, ...whatever it takes has always been my motto. When it sings, it sings!
     
  8. lasteffect

    lasteffect Forum Nudist

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    Hello, again, Mr. LoMenzo!

    I was wondering how'd you first became an avid Warwick Enthusiast, and what basses did you use from the start to taking hold of a Warwick?
     
  9. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    In order to explain what excited me about Warwick basses I have to digress to just before White White Lion. In 1983 I bought a wonderful used 1977 Alembic Series I. I loved this bass because of it's multi laminates of wood, neck through construction, active eq which was really the beginning of the "boutique" bass thing. Any way, for touring it definitely had some drawbacks. It required a power supply with a special 5 pin cable, it was physically cumbersome to run around with on stage especially considering the 80's metal hair thing and frankly, I became concerned about it getting messed up or lost with all the touring we were doing. At the time, I was approached by several companies to endorse their instruments and that's a long story in itself. In 1988, White Lion toured Europe and a rep of Warwick, who were friends with our German promotor simply contacted my tour manager and had a couple of basses left at my hotel room to try out. One was a Midnight Blue Dolphin and the other a White Streamer. I liked them both but the Dolphin had that real immediate tone and a fantastic feel so I used it for the rest of the tour. Absolutely fell in love with it. I later found out that it possessed all the construction details that I loved in my Alembic basses and yet was far more road worthy. In many ways the sound was much better for all types of music from heavy to delicate. So, then I was sold and decided to commit one hundred percent to the company brand as an Endorser. Later on, I was introduced to the Buzzard (that's much better story) and it was like "falling in love" all over again.

    What got you started?

    James
     
  10. lasteffect

    lasteffect Forum Nudist

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    Wow, a question for me? Well... I started out with cheap basses, getting my first really good bass around graduation, a Rickenbacker. I loved it, and still do.

    But it wasn't long til I wanted something different. I wanted 5 string that had as much growl as my Rick, as well as something with an active sound. I found out alot of my favorite players used Warwicks and had a deep growl with active electronics. I also wanted to give fretless a try. So, I first got a Fretless Corvette. I was amazed about it's tone for a fretless (and passive) bass, and it wasn't long after that when I finally bought myself a 5 string with active EQ: Corvette $$. I ended up loving the sound of a Warwick even more.

    Then, just a month or so ago, I just picked up my Thumb. Once again, I am still blown away with how they sound.

    And I've had this Profet 300w amp and 211 cab for a while, which is another bonus, because I feel the growl is even more amazing through the amp and cabs.

    You don't use Warwick amps, right, Mr. LoMenzo? Have you tried any and compared them to your current setup?
     
  11. Nachobassman

    Nachobassman Bass, Tapas, and Rn´R!

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    Greetings, Señor Lomenzo!

    I didn´t know about the existance of this thread. I´l like to thank you for taking your time to share all that stories, knowledge and experiences.

    Besides White Lion, BLS, and Megadeth, I discovered few months ago that you were playing with Slash in the Slash´s Snakepit "It´s 5 O´Clock somewere" tour. I saw two videos: one from a gig in some festival in Italy where you were playing a very rare bass, and the other from the ´95 Monsters of Rock, where you used a red Dolphin.
    Those Snakepit songs are just amazing. I know the bass lines from that record were recorded by Mike Inez (another Warwick player), and I think those lines are very groovy and heavy, and rock, at the same time, and I think you did a great job playing them live. What was your aproach for those songs? Did you get the freedom to play the lines your way, or Slash asked you to play them the way they were recorded? In another thread in the forum, we´re talking about how flexible we, bassists, have to be when playing in a band, so I would love to know your point of view.

    Thanx for reading and welcome, again, to this great forum.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 9, 2010
  12. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Hi Nacho,

    Playing with Slash and the whole Snakepit band was a great experience.

    The reason it came about? Brian Tichy, my buddy from Pride & Glory had joined on in the absence of Matt Sorem. Two Weeks before the tour started, Mike Inez suddenly joined Alice In Chains. Since I was down the road from where they rehearsed Brian thought it might be a good idea to ring me immediately to see if I could do it. I thought a week and a half was a little tight to learn a set of unfamiliar material but non the less I thought it would be great fun. Brian and I had jammed at an event a year earlier with Slash and I liked him very much so I definitely wanted to give it a go. Anyway, I stopped in that evening, chatted a bit and left with the Snakepit CD in tow. I then proceeded to learn three or four songs for each day of rehearsal and it all went well. To answer your question though? This was a case where the time constraint was so tight that I just had to grab on to as much as I could. I didn't necessarily worry about putting my stamp on it. Slash didn't seem very worried about it anyway so it really put me at ease. Fortunately, having Brian there made it real easy cause we had been playing together for 2 years prior. I didn't concern myself to much with my approach. If something sounded like it was played with a pick then that's what I went for. Ultimately, the closer you get yourself to the origin of the recording, the easier it is to get it to gel. The song "Lower" I think was a song with a key line that Mike Inez really shined on so I definitely remember double checking that one with Slash so as to do Mike proud. As you can see in those clips, it all went well. I subsequently became friends with all the members, went on to work up stuff with Slash and Brian for the next year and hung and did some stuff with Gilby. I used my Custom Red Dolphin which has since been retired a few years back into Hans Peter's collection. I also used my favorite Natural Buzzard. The "rare" bass that you saw in Italy clip was likely a Status bass if memory serves which would have been the only non Warwick bass I would have had with me at the time.

    Thanks again for all your kind words and another great question,

    James
     
  13. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Regarding the Thumb, that's still one of my favorite basses. The amount of sheer "concussion" you can get out of them is just crazy! Ant the top end? You can cut glass if you've a mind to.

    Warwick Amps? Well, I've been using Ashdown's for years now, they have a raunchy sound that I really love. I have had the pleasure of playing through Warwick's line though. So for my money, I like the Tubepath series. Real versatile with good power. The Helbourge's are really amazing, they're in a class all by themselves. Kudo's to Jonas for their design! Seemingly expensive but based on their design and construction, probably worth every penny.
     
  14. lasteffect

    lasteffect Forum Nudist

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    I just read your reply to CaracasBass' question and it just hit me: Have you had the pleasure of playing a Status Buzzard and, if so, what is you opinion of the Status model vs the Warwick?
     
  15. Pedro

    Pedro

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    This thread is amazing! Can't really think of any questions so just gonna say a massive thanks to Lomenzo for his insights into such an exclusive industry!!!!
     
  16. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    Mr LoMenzo, out of all the various groups and musicians that you've worked with, who would you say was the most inspiring to work with and how?
     
  17. Mr Bassman Sax

    Mr Bassman Sax

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    And here's that lovely red Dolphin, haven't got a comment yet as I'm still listening to it. But that bass sure does sound nice.

    [video=youtube;lqTBjVMYSHE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqTBjVMYSHE&feature=related[/video]
     
  18. Nachobassman

    Nachobassman Bass, Tapas, and Rn´R!

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    Thanx for your answer, James, that was a great story. I agree with you, the bass line in LOWER its just amazing.

    This is a clip from the gig n Italy we were talking about:
    [video=youtube;5DiHeC-DbZw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DiHeC-DbZw&feature=related[/video]
     
  19. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Everyone of them inspired me to one degree or another, I like to think in some ways that I may have brought some inspiration to them as well. To me, that's always the benefit of playing with different musicians, when it goes right, the mutual admiration society strips away to healthy creativity and in some cases, good natured competition. The things that really stay with me more are the way these great personalities know themselves so well and are able to amplify their greatness at the proper time. David Lee Roth stands out most in my mind because he's able to expand to "bigger then life" status on a dime. No one I've ever played with could command a stage like Diamond Dave!
     
  20. BassMonsterJLo

    BassMonsterJLo Warwick Endorser

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    Sat with one for a while a NAMM. Mark Gooday at Ashdown had one of John Entwistle's original ones. It felt pretty light to me. I'm sure it sounded cool but it was my understanding that John was planning on going back to using Warwick's because he missed the sound of wood. Having played carbon fiber basses before, I can tell you that there is a demonstrative difference, not necessarily bad but very different from wood.
     
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