SW: I hear some of that again with your playing on the first Niacin Record. You locked in with Dennis Chambers.
BS: Having been playing for so long, I've been into many different things. At several points in my life I would get into something and learn it, then move on to something else. So it's easier to go back to that. Like, some of the Niacin is somewhat progressive and I was way into the first wave of Progressive like Genesis and King Crimson and also Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra and that whole era. But at the same time I was into Fathers & Sons with Mike Bloomefield and all these older blues guys like Muddy Waters etc. I played that record non stop for like two years. So, it's easier for me to draw on that than If I never had that background.
SW: How did the Niacin project come about?
BS: Well Guitar World was doing a compilation and I thought I'd throw them a loop and do a track that had NO guitar. I'd never done anything with a B3 player before so I thought it would be cool to do a thing with just Bass, Drums and a B3 Organ. So we did a recording with Pat Torpe on drums and called the track Niacin you know, Niacin is the Vitamin B3, get it? It was so easy doing this, I suggested to John Novello (B3, vitamin guy) that we do a whole record. I've always been a huge B3 fan. The Rascals, Vanilla Fudge were big B3 bands, (bassist) Tim Bogert is one of my biggest influences ever. Then we hooked up with Dennis Chambers.
SW: How was it playing with Dennis?
BS: Oh man, I mean, I know how to keep in time and lock in with the drummer. My standard procedure is to lock in with the drummer as I've done since the very early days. But Dennis does such unique things with time. In the beginning he would sound like he was off, a little behind or something but then I figured it out and it really enabled me to learn so much more about bass, rhythm, time and grooves. It was like getting a doctorate degree in Grooveology. He's so easy to get along with too, such a nice guy. With Dennis it was a whole new education. I feel so much more confident in areas of music that I had touched on but didn't quite understand. He's changed my playing a lot. Of all the musicians I've ever worked with on any instrument, Dennis is the best.
SW: There's a new Niacin record called Hi Bias?
BS: Yeah, Chick Corea came in and played on a track. He played the Fender Rhodes. It was funny cause we're sitting there working something out and I realized "Whoa, that's Chick Corea!". And we're working out some changes on a song that he had written which I had learned off the tape, so he wrote out the changes on sheet music and I thought "Oh, boy.." cause I don't read, but he played it out a few times and I just listened and figured it out and managed to fake my way through it. I got nervous when he pulled out this notation paper with squiggly little lines on it.
SW: You mentioned you're working on a solo record which is highly anticipated.
BS: Yeah, I've been talking about it for a while. I thought to do a solo bass record I might as well not try to make a hit with it but design it to be completely nuts. Do all my wacky Schtick and go berserk. I don't want to try and do something where one song has singing or tone it down to try to appeal to both sides of the crowd. I've given up on that. I want it to be dark and rippin', show my dark side. Some of it might be done with loops and other electronic rhythms and a few might be more in a live setting with other players. A lot of times I just go up to my roof top and play so I'm gonna try to record this and see what I like and build stuff from that. I want to try and do it in a very non traditional way.
SW: Sounds very organic.
BS: I want to take advantage of the technology of recording in my own house with my home studio. It's something that wasn't really available 10 years ago so I'm just gonna go completely nuts with it.
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