Jazz, blues, folk, rock, Bill “GS” Bass can play it all. He grew up in a musical family where if you had an instrument you played it, and if you didn’t have an instrument, you improvised. Bass took to bass guitar as a kid growing up on Long Island. He liked it so much he took the name of the instrument as well.
While Bass first started strumming in sixth grade, his passion for bass guitar has stood the test of time. He’s had a CDL trucking job since the 1990s. Today he drives part-time for Roehl Transport and spends his home time jamming with other musicians at clubs in Phoenix, Ariz.
“Every song you play is not going to be perfect,” Bass says. “The goal is to have a good time onstage and hopefully that energy spreads to the audience.”
When he’s in his element, the audience can see Bass’s passion unfolding in real time. To be good, you should understand music theory, have the right timing and have a good ear, he says.
Bass strives to bring all of that to his own performance whenever he plays. If he succeeds, the audience will feel it as much as he does.
“You want to be able to feel the music in time and be an ensemble player,” Bass says. “For a bassist, the drummer is usually your best friend onstage. You tend to play off of those rhythms.”
When it comes to shining moments, one special moment especially stands out for Bass. He was jamming at Pho Cao in Scottsdale, Ariz., when a special guest stopped by. It was legendary drummer Jerome Teasley, who made a name for himself playing with Jimi Hendrix, Tina Turner and Motown greats.
“That was a proud moment for me,” says Bass of jamming with Teasley. “As far as having a moment where ‘Oh my gosh, it can’t get any better than this,’ that would definitely be it.”
Bass has played in several bands over the years. They’ve run the gamut from jazz to rock. But those days are over. Bass prefers to cut loose in jam sessions and get caught up in the revelry of the moment.
“My friends are my mentors,” he says. “They’re exceptional players, and I aspire to play like them. A lot happens in jam situations. You play onstage with three or four other people, nobody knows what’s going to happen.”
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