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Rick Suchow: News

Full Circle - January 10, 2017

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My first foray into music journalism was way back in college. I was attending Hofstra University and figured I'd take a shot at writing for the school's newspaper, the Hofstra Chronicle. It was a cool experience. I got to write reviews and do a couple of interviews, and it helped me to eventually land a writing position for Good Times magazine, which was the biggest local music-only paper at the time.

At the Chronicle my very first interview assignment was with bassist Percy Jones of the fusion band Brand X. Percy-Jones.jpgIt was at the height of the jazz-rock fusion era, Brand X was on fire, and Percy had already established a reputation of being one of the most innovative and influential bassists in that genre. I went backstage after the show with no mic or recorder, just a pen and a pad, and chatted with one of my personal bass heroes. It was a bit surreal for me, and obviously a sign of things to come. I have no recollection of how it all went, but I did write the article.

Fast forward to late 2016. This time I had a recorder when I got to interview Percy for a second time a few months ago, not to mention a bit of experience under my belt. Amazingly, Brand X is back together for a reunion. Deja vu all over again! The results of our interview are in this month's January 2017 issue of Bass Player, which, by the way, also features a great cover story interview with Metallica's Robert Trujillo.

 

 


You're Hired - November 9, 2016

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Like everyone else, I watched last night's stunning, shocking, historic election results. I'm not sure what to make of it all, but I think we learned a little bit more about America's values. Time will tell what to make of a President Trump in the White House, but let's hope he doesn't put his last name in big gold letters on the outside of it.

Starting January 20th, Trump voters can spend the next 48 months evaluating the great improvement in their lives and watch how their country, which they no longer see as great, returns to its former greatness. Or they can decide they were duped. When the 48 months are up, I suppose our celebrity BP-_Hammond.jpgobsessed nation can look forward to the 2020 race between Trump and Al Franken.

Speaking of presidential history, have you seen the Broadway show Hamilton? I'll take you under the stage where the real action is. Check out my interview with NYC bassist Richard Hammond, who plays in the pit for the mega-hit hip-hop musical, in the November issue of Bass Player and online here.

 

 


Fifteen Years Ago - September 9, 2016

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A few months ago I was on a rare long break during a gig, and was chatting it up with one of the guys in the band. He had been looking at a website on his cell phone, so I asked him what he was checking out. Although he told me the site name, I don't recall what he said it was, but essentially it was a website that promotes various conspiracy theories. He was looking at pictures of the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks on the site, and explained to me that many people believe it never happened; that it was a series of projected images that created the illusion of the buildings being hit by planes and then falling. I listened to him explain the theory, reminded myself that he was a young impressionable guy in his 20's, and asked him what his opinion was. He said he wasn't sure if the attacks actually happened. I then calmly suggested to him that it was no illusion and that I saw it with my own eyes and watched both buildings collapse into rubble from my window. Perhaps I swayed his opinion, perhaps not; that's the thing about conspiracists and the people who believe them: facts are not always relevant.

It's hard to believe that Sunday is fifteen years since that day. I used to write about it every 9/11 anniversary, and then gradually I stopped as the day became a distant memory. But there are things that will always stay with me, as they will with all New Yorkers who lived here at the time: the experience of a city in lockdown on the day of the attack-- no traveling in or out, virtually no cars or taxis driving, and an eerie silence I had never "heard" before or since in this city. I remember people just wandering around the streets, dazed with the day's news and scared at the horror of the event, fearful there might be more to come, nervous with every plane that flew overhead. I recall our sense of community and reaching out to each other. Although we were strangers, we became brothers and sisters in the weeks to come, as people openly cried on the street and desperately posted signs and pictures of their missing loved ones, desperate for someone to offer a glimmer of hope. I'll also never forget the horrid smell of burning rubble that permeated the city for weeks after. I don't think anyone at the time was fully aware of what a world-changing event the day would become; two U.S. wars would follow as a result. So this Sunday we once again say a prayer for all Americans who lost their lives on September 1, 2001 and in the wars that came after.BP-Oct2016.jpg

Back to my insignificant little world of bass... for fans of Weather Report co-founder and ECM recording artist Miroslav Vitous, check out my interview with him in the new October issue of Bass Player, on newsstands now. Miroslav's new album Music Of Weather Report is quite a listening experience, and he talks all about the making of the record, as well as his time as a member of the group.

Finally, a quick thanks to those who came to the Bitter End gig in July that I mentioned in my last news item. I used my new Sire V7 Vintage Marcus Miller 5-string, and now, after two months and playing more than 20 gigs with it I'm happy to report that it's quite a killer bass and holding up nicely. I'd be happy to answer any questions about it, and plan to post a small snippet of video from the Bitter End gig. Feel free to email me via my Contact page.

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Maybe You Don't Have To Change Your Evil Ways After All - July 3, 2016

Is it 1973 again? Iconic Latin-rockers Santana have just released Santana IBenny-BP2016.jpgV, which reunites original members Carlos Santana, Greg Rolie, Neil Schon, Michael Shrieve and Michael Carabello. Original bassist Dave Brown passed away in 2000, but longtime Santana low man Benny Rietveld lends his talents to the Santana fold once again. Benny and I got to talk all about it the day before Santana and Journey co-billed for a loud and raucous night at Madison Square Garden (double duty for Neil Schon!). It's always great to chat with Benny, and it was a blast to see the show at the Garden. Check out my interview with him in the July issue of Bass Player, or read it online here: Benny Rietveld Rockin The Return Of Santana.

On July 21st I'll be playing at the Bitter End on Bleecker Street with the Tate Simms Band, so if you're in the area come check us out! The band will be tTateSimmsBitterEnd.jpegop notch. My own Bitter End story... years ago I was playing with the opening act for guitarist Arlen Roth, who at the time had the legendary Jerry Jemmott on bass in his band. I don't remember the circumstances, but minutes before we were set to go on stage to open, Jerry still hadn't shown up. Arlen asked me if I could play bass for him in the event that Jerry didn't make it. I don't recall what my answer was, or what shade of pale white my face turned, but I think I muttered something along the lines of, "yeah, I guess...". I didn't know any of his material, and had never heard it. What's that phrase they use? Oh yeah-- scared shit. Fortunately Jemmott showed up at the last minute and Arlen's band went on without a hitch and did their thing after we were done.

Writing for Bass Player is a blast, but time-consuming as well, so I haven't had much of a chance to add much to this site lately. I do plan to pick up the pace if possible though. I really appreciate people coming here to read my stuff, and I still get email via the Contact page all the time. Every now and then I'll get a nice message from someone who just wants to show their appreciation. Here's one I got back in May from a reader named Jeff Kramer, which I liked so much I asked him for permission to reprint his comments, and he did so. Thanks Jeff!

Here's his message:

Rick,

First of all congrats on such a great career of your own, and secondly thank you so much for providing this website for musicians and fans who truly appreciate the finest in bass playing. I was thrilled to find your site yesterday and have been reading virtually every article on here. It's almost as if you've created an on-line museum we can visit from our homes!

I was born in 1964 and grew up listening to CKLW and Motown. My very first records I ever owned were the Jackson 5 when I was merely 7 or 8 years old. At age 16 I became a drummer and have played many styles of music over the last 36 years. People ask what my favorite type of music is or who my fave drummers are, but honestly, the bass and drums must be "one" so I have grown to appreciate the best bass players in the biz. I love them all from Paul McCartney, Sting, Flea, Nathan East, Mars Cowling, Jaco, Geddy Lee, and on and on. And even though I've played some heavy rock in my day, my heart and soul is with Motown. James Jamerson is in my book one of the best bassists who has ever played the instrument. It's an absolute shame that we may never truly know the entire scope of his discography.

BTW, thank you for your work isolating bass lines of many of these greats. Your website is amazing and I am already forwarding your link to my musician friends! I noticed a Password is required to listen to some of the isolated tracks and that you graciously provide this as a service to the music industry, and NOT to profit from it. It is a joy to know that people like you can provide all of this historical video, audio and articles without trying to make a buck from it. Cheers to you, Rick and thank you again for your fantastic web page! -- Jeff Kramer

 


Older news posts... - June 25, 2016

... prior to July 2016 have been moved to the Archive page.

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