Thursday, December 12, 2013

6 Things You Never Knew About Bassist Philip Bynoe

Philip Bynoe and I have had a long musical friendship. I’ve known Philip for over 16 years. We met during the first G3 tour in ’96, we both moved to LA at the same time, and we have been playing together for over 13 years. Philip played on my 2002 release King Friday.

He’s my first call, go-to bassist with a great feel and groove that pushes the music forward. So it was a no-brainer to include him on my new album, Tone Poet. I must say, tracks that he plays on really benefited from his superb bass playing.

Philip Bynoe brings to the record both world-class bass playing and experience from years of touring and recording for artists such as Steve Vai, Kevin Eubanks, Slash, and Ring of Fire.

I recently caught up with Philip, who is on the road with Steve Vai. We discussed his musical influences, working with Steve again, the new album, and more.

You've played with some amazing artists from Steve Vai, Tony McAlpine, to Kevin Eubanks. But who are your musical influences? Do you have a favorite bass player or one that impressed you growing up?

As a bassist I have to say my father and older brother were my first big influences. When I was about 14 a friend introduced me to Stanley Clarke and that was a big day. I bought everything he released and learned it and from there to Weather Report and Jaco. Larry Graham was next as I was just listening to everybody.

You're back on the road with Steve Vai, how is touring with Steve different now than when you played together in the mid-late 90s?

Steve as a band leader and friend has developed his skills in the way he motivates the members of the band, which has us working together and growing musically in ways that none of us expected. The things we focus on are relaxing, being in the moment, phrasing and being musical. All things we did before, but now we work together to support each other, it's wonderful.

You tracked a handful of songs on my new album, Tone Poet, and you've been playing with me on and off for about 13 years... what have you noticed is different about my new material compared to say, "King Friday"?

As you have matured as a writer, the choices you make in creating music have grown also. Instead of forcing ideas into songs it sounds to me as if you're allowing the music to speak through you. As with all of us you have your signature sound and you have enhanced that.

Can you tell readers about the bass(es) and gear used to record your tracks on Tone Poet?

For this recording I used my Music Man Bongo 6 string basses, with the double humbucker pick ups. For my direct sound I went through a Digi 003 Black Box pre amp and used my SSL channel strip plug in. For live amp I used a 1200 watt tube amp with a 4/10 cab and a 421 mic on the cabinet.

Speaking of gear, what basses, effects, and amps are you touring with now?

My live rig and basses are, the a fore mentioned Music Man Bongo basses I have one with 2 humbuckers and the other is a single coil/humbucker set up. A 5 string Bongo fretless and a Kala ukulele bass that sounds like an upright.

What advise would you give aspiring bass players who may want to pursue a professional career in music?

As I tell the bass students at the LA Music Academy where I teach, it is a long road to be a musician. There are also many ways to be in the music business, if you start out with a plan of where you want to be and allow yourself to find your way, though it might take longer than you think, and your goals and dreams can change as you go along, if you allow that to happen you will find your way. Also don't get hung up in the game of "I wish I was doing that gig", enjoy what you are doing, do your best where you are and don't compare your life to others and you will have more fun and probably be more successful.

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