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Geek Out With 'Geddy Lee's Big Beautiful Book Of Bass'

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This message comes from NPR sponsor xfinity some things are slow like a snail races other things are fast like xfinity X. by get fast speeds even when everyone is online working to make WIFI simple easy awesome more at xfinity Dot com restrictions apply those were soaking into my you know adolescent brain and and you know lodging themselves they're so years later when I realized who he was playing and that is James Jamerson can you tell us a little bit about him and why he is so important well James Jamerson was unaccredited they're all great bay mountain and paying off that was my way of paying off the money she loaned me to buy my basis so my first base of course was grand total of thirty James Jamerson and these baselines that were so integral to making those songs move and also work in a melodic sense that if you book another part encyclopedia there's memoirs there's a anecdotes there's wonderful interviews it's really a complete package so this is a little bit of different a little bit different for us and put a name to the to the sound he became sort of an icon to me nice well let's listen to let's listen to a little bit of one of his songs where we can the idea it is a giant book it's almost like it's the size of a record sleeve it's it's beautiful it's heavy it's four hundred pages with beautiful photography and it's one part you're in a small town of Newmarket Ontario and on Saturdays and during the summer I used to drive out with her and work in the shop five dollars so it didn't take too long to pay that off but anyway we would be listening to the radio constantly driving the forty five minute drive from my home to this story that my mom owned and I was listening to James Jamerson at that time on so many songs without real obey Sketti it's nice to meet welcome to the CAC thank you nice to be here yeah so I I congrats on the book it is it is absolutely gorgeous into to give our audience at home sort of a bit of leising who he was so I was listening to my girl Shotgun Junior Walker and the allstars four tops and all these guys what they had in common was cafe we gave you homework which you so graciously completed for us so thank you my pleasure fun yeah we should put together a list of some great bass players some of his great base work in any particular from the list that you send us that we we should should get out there that you well ain't no mountain high grade if if you have that we have everything will be a need call me no matter a half SORTA house bassist for motown and all in the days where I was growing up I would be working in my mum's variety so you know you know this style of playing face he would you know what basically played on this I think he had one base the I think he played jazz bass that's where they played on songs you considered iconic and we're going to seek out and listen to some of these together the first person is a name people might not know but they certainly know his base the Japanese main base which I guess was sort of a knock off of the early fenders and Alex my friend Alex Lisin who a subterranean melodic content which I think is is a really important role of the base for someone who doesn't know that fray subterranean melodic content can you can you not only the rhythm of the song but it's also supporting what's being sung let's bring that for somebody who's never picked base in their life okay so you're listening to the song right now on your hearing the singer's right Marvin Gaye so beautiful he supplied that drew helped Meld with the with the drums and supply the groove and also I liked this compare it to you know being a Canadian liked to compare it to being a goalie like nobody really wants to be the goalie but somebody has to be legally isn't that was his instrument and so his brilliance was sort of being able to play in all of these different groups and songs and find a way to sort of fit can noise we tried imitating other bands and then we had a guy was supposed to be our bass player at the time and his mom wasn't too keen on him hanging around with us it in yeah no he I mean I don't know what it was like in the studio I would love to have been a fly on the wall but and how much was just you know James just go for that madness We tried to imitate the instruments that were owned by Jack Bruce of cream and and Eric Clapton cream they had there instruments painted by these famous pop artists and they were really cool and very psychedelic totally apropos for the times and so we to the Palette of rock and roll for the base that didn't exist before very bright very aggressive and he was always playing and his his yeah we were a bad influence so he got pulled and they had a vote of the other two people in the room and voted me to be the bass player your first band guitarist well I wasn't really it was really a band was just a bunch of guys sitting around bedroom dreaming of being what's the word pioneer he created a whole different style of of rock and roll based playing and and he introduced a tone excited and borrow beg my mom to loan me thirty five bucks and and what was then what was the first base that that you bought without thirty five dollars it was Kamera on world cafe the new book is getting these Big Beautiful Book of Base you know we talk about you are basis but some people may not know gas and this one John Entwistle of the WHO this guy was just the epitome of cool yeah he was the ox as they call him was was the man Bandon and I had a guitar I had a Beautiful Acoustic Guitar that had palm trees painted on it and so we tried in the effort to doing it just to wanting to put it on your guitar emulating your heroes and stuff like that I wish I had that still I don't know what happened to there are a few so you get voted to be the goalie I got voted to be the bass player which suited me just find it were to less strings on the Bass Guitar and I got even though he didn't play guitar he collected them and they hung on his wall but he was a collector and he was just a ended up spending his whole life with me she is she also had a base in a fit of due at here but there's analogy going on down in the basement and nat melody on the Bay in the basement is coming from the Bass Guitar and it supporting not quite as brittle but he uses that opportunity just to supercharge song uh now so what happened was I guess he was you know the WHO smashed a lot of gear famously so Peter Townsend like smash gear Frankenstein base for just a moment what was his Frankenstein face okay so the legend is a it's a legend it's and it's it exists I played the Bass Bama helped me a family really striking is the real me he's just like oh so would that wasn't being done by electric Bass Guitar Place that the time it can be Getty Lee here on world cafe one of the things that you pointed out you talked about his is player in if one the middle comes up you'll hear of just trading solos that especially gave birth to the phrase Frankenstein which in the in the vintage guitar parlance is is a is a not is a guitar or Bass always busy bass players I come from a fine tradition busy based you know the Fredbord Yeah but you know he's the king you know he was the king and Eh Getty Lee is our guest tried imitating those two instruments painted them ourselves didn't quite have the same panache as the ones that they owned but it's it's all about the it's all about the dedicate I mean he and he was the first real collector of basis he was a fanatical collector of electric basis and of guitars for him it was appointed pride and he put it together and it sounded amazing and a couple of years ago when I was passing through Los Angeles US Brian K who who works for the WHO knows the guy who currently owns Frankenstein who had bought it at the auction whoa after John Entwistle passed away all these instruments were auctioned and and this fellow had purchased it and owned it and he said I can arrange for you to go and play it yeah it's it's a great instrument and it is the Frankenstein and it's a product of John Entwistle's brain so the derogatory term well that's a Frankenstein that's not that's not authentic so but he was making this thing for himself deep in this on the real me hear him jamming out and this is quite different from my generation because his tone has evolved a bit and it's it's a little deeper first time I heard my generation along with every other bass player of my era I mean incredible as listen to just a little bit of it Getty Lee here on world cafe we were talking about Getty Lease Big Beautiful Book of base in talking about destruction and guitars when in your interview with Robert Trujillo of Metallica in high schools at that time and and in you know waiting to be old enough to play in bars and stuff I saved up my money advanced I went and I bought a rickenbacker and that became my number one and I slept with that was that was a huge one night he took all the bits of some of the smashed guitars and he put them together and what he called the Frankenstein and that sort of and so and he played a rickenbacker four thousand one so my dream base at that time was to be able to afford a four thousand one so with that I and I went to buy this fender precision bass and so the guy at the store said you should buy the P. Base because you know it is a workhorse it will really good base I ever bought Woods in one thousand nine hundred sixty eight fender precision bass and I had gathered enough money and I was playing so we went and that's a no brainer for you yeah that was a no brainer I had to go play that thing and so that was a special moment one of those better than the sum of the parts kind of thing take and then the other son whereas aggressive Mrs just unity necessary no experience needed so and this the first time I heard Chris Squire play my friend played for me at his home and four when we signed with mercury records by that time I was a fanatical fan of Chris Squire and yes down it's really aggressive town coach Oh yeah and it has a Bass Solo in the middle of the song is the Basal who does Ed pop record I mean this was a pop record and here's the will a workhorse it's sturdy and they sound great and and you in the sound is also flexible you can you can do whatever on on roundabout was at that point in his career was he still using a rickenbacker four thousand us four thousand one s a four thousand one he sunburst P base in my hands and that was my base for a long long time so when I got my first record royalty my first advance in one thousand nine hundred seventy I'm sure there are a few white whales in your base collection for sure we're talking about his new beautiful book of base and time for another great basis than and Bass player you're not a bass player if you haven't destroyed one so how many how many have you destroyed well I've only really destroyed one I guess the first in sometimes John entwistle join in to the fray so he was in San Francisco apparently and staying at the hotel and he he was in his room what was going on well you know you you can never sound like you heroes you can try but my theory is that the cows we do there is in the background it's incredible song sounds Bass tone just blew me away I've never heard anyone play so aggressively do you want with it totally which is all true it's all true so I bought this sixty eight p base and if you see any pictures of me playing the bars in my early years there's this short period of time and you know musician would come into the room and say okay here's a track from Jimmy page I wanNA sound just like you is that isn't all original right it's made up from bits and pieces like the headstart comes from you know it's it's actually used eh one creates one's own sound by trying to emulate the artists that you love and our influence that's why it's it's great to try to emulate these guys but on that journey you find out who you are yeah was one of the first few guys to use one I think the first track I ever heard by Swiss from album called time and a word and the song was no option has been and I said I don't have a jazz bass in the you know so haggled with the guy for five minutes he wanted to hundred dollars for it so for moving pictures I was having trouble getting tone out of Out of my ricky for the Song Tom Sawyer and I pulled that one out and we got chemistry chemistry comes your tone and your own personality so it's you know I used to produce bands John I don't I don't care because I'm sure it's something very nice and whatever but I am curious what's your favorite steel guitar that you found shot that was twenty dollars that later turned out to be I didn't use it very often you know for a number of years it just was sort of a spare gesturing room base that kind of thing and then during the recording of Getty Lee is our guest on World Cafe New Book is getting these big beautiful book of in the search of all these instruments during the midst of my obsession I came across all so he said well why don't we go to the pot shops we walked into this pawnshop and hanging on the wall was blonde neck seventy two we're talking about his new beautiful book of Base It's World Cafe I'm Kalaheo you know I'm sure people want to know what the most expensive guitar in your collection tone for it right away from that day forward it became a number you say about his why but failing at that so you the combination of confidence in your own playing and the failure to emulate your heroes is what somehow in that in this is that based in Italy in the late fifties early sixties by gentlemen name wandering and he was sort of a legend and I didn't know much about him until a fellow had brought one of these like to start with get for me so Chris Choirs and other artists that you mentioned is a great basis than influential basis with plenty of moments including there was inspired by to shop yeah apparently he was he was in the bathroom doing Doing Business and thinking looking in the toilet bowl in base for the last fifteen years my nine thousand nine hundred seventy two jazz bass was one of exactly one of those because I didn't use a jazz bass in Sir basis to me at a Gig I think it was in two thousand thirteen maybe and these are incredible looking pieces of art I mean yeah hundred dollars no case so I walked there he threw in a cardboard case. I walk out with this this jazz bass and yeah seventies because I was a hardcore rickenbacker man and my tech at the time skip said we had a day off in Kalamazoo Michigan these guys right yeah those guys that's INCR- incredible they're they're absolutely incredible looking this one on the right looks like a piece of art and true love of yours that you have any hidden gems in your collection that you're like Whoa I can't believe I got that yeah well my my what was my what was my number one now and so you go

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