The International Institute Of Bassists
Bass Courses Video Lessons Bass Lessons Subscribe Interviews News Links Advertise About Contact Archive Home




Frode Berg - April 2004


Frode Berg
Biography: I was born in Oslo in October, 1971. My father worked in the seamans mission since I was 4, so I grew up around the globe, in Australia, Belgium, France, and England before settling back in Norway when I was 11. After a couple of years in Norway, my family moved to Lier, a small community a 40 minutes drive west of Oslo. After 6-7 years of classical piano lessons and a few years on the trumpet, I joined some friends at school in an instrumental rock band. We rehearsed on the weekends and whenever we could at school during the week. We all subscribed to Guitar Player magazine in the 80's (era of guitar shredders) and soon got into a contest of who had completed the most practice hours during the weekend. Youthful eagerness coupled with no particular musical vision came later. My friends eventually dropped heavy metal for fusion records. I thought they sounded crazy and chaotic but decided after a while that I wanted to give them a chance, so I got a tape of the Mahavishnu Orchestra records from about 1984. It had Jonas Hellborg on bass and Danny Gottlieb on drums and percussion. After forcing myself to listen to it over and over for a week, I got it! I was hooked on jazz and fusion. Funny then when I recorded two albums and did three tours with Danny Gottlieb 12 years later! That was a special feeling!

I studied classical double bass at the Norwegian State Academy under professor Knut Guettler from 90-94. I studied hard and was accepted as a sub in all the major orchestras in Norway, including the Oslo Philharmonic. However, in 1993 I got a call to sub in Donna Summer's European band. Donna Summer's musical director at the time was Norwegian, and they wanted to try to use Norwegian musicians for their European concerts to save some expenses and to make it easier on the MD. I was thrilled. This was my first real pro gig in Oslo, and I was going to Monaco for a week with Donna Summer! Wow! We flew first class, stayed in the best hotel, were driven in limos, etc. Flying start! After this it could only go one way. When I got back, the phone started ringing because of word of mouth, and I've been busy ever since. At first, I got lots off calls from the older jazz guys, and I often did 4-5 nights a week playing standards in dark jazz clubs throughout the eastern part of Norway. This was a great school and shaped my jazz playing. It also kept me on my toes. Generally no real books around, and the older cats had a habit of counting off tunes that I had barely heard the title.

I have been involved in countless live television shows, benefit shows, jazz tours and recordings, as well as teaching. I was the bass teacher in the jazz department at the State Academy in Oslo for 5 years, until I decided to focus on my solo album and own music. I recorded my debut album, Dig It!, in May 2003, financing it myself and shopped raw mixes around the world to different labels. After receiving very encouraging words and having several labels interested in releasing it, I decided to go with Nagel-Heyer records of Hamburg, Germany. They are really nice people and have an impressive catalog of international artists signed to them, many from the U.S. This means that Dig It! should be available anywhere from New York to Sydney! It's all very exciting!

I have been a DR strings endorser since 1995, an SWR endorser since 1998, and also an endorsee for Yamaha basses through Yamaha Scandinavia.

Gigs: I have played a lot of different type gigs since 1993. I have played with all the orchestras in Norway including playing as a chamber musician/soloist with the Oslo Philharmonic under Andre Previn (that was intense!). I was a regular member of the Donna Summer European band from 1993-1996. I have also held teaching positions at the State Academy with guest master classes at Trondheim Jazzlinja, Kristiansand Conservatory, The Institute for Stage and Studio in Oslo, and others. I have also been involved in many television shows and series'. Currently, I lead my own group, Dig It, with some of Norway's best jazz musicians. I just released my debut solo record and will tour with my band in support of this. I also play in the Norwegian Grammy-nominated trio, Helge Lien Trio. We have released three albums, two on the Japanese label DIW, leading to a trip to Tokyo last year. I am a first-call rhythm section bassist for several pro orchestras including the Norwegian Broadcasting Orchestra. This has lead me to playing with people like: Sir Paul McCartney, Luciano Pavarotti, Jose Carrerras, Victoria Tolstoj, Peter King, Eddie Daniels, Phil Woods, etc.

Recordings:
Dig It! - Frode Berg
Anno 96 - Oslo Groove Company (big band)
Crazy Energy - Crazy Energy Quartet
Get Crazy! - Crazy Energy Quartet
Jacques Tati - Knut V�rnes
8:97 - Knut V�rnes (with Danny Gottlieb)
Super-Duper - Knut V�rnes (with Danny Gottlieb)
What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life - Helge Lien
Spiral Circle - Helge Lien
Assymetrics - Helge Lien
Finger Magic - Erik Smith Trio

Plus around 40 recordings ranging from children's records, pop music, and jazz cd's.

Gear:
Basses:
Yamaha TRB 6-PII
Yamaha TRB 5-PII
Yamaha TRB 5-PIIF Fretless
Yamaha TRB 5IIF Fretless
Yamaha TRB 4-II
Yamaha BB2000
Fernandes 8-String Fretless
Fender Precision 1969
Fender Precision 1976 Fretless
Fender Precision Hybrid 5-String
German Upright from Markenkirchen Anno ca 1880

Strings:
DR Handmade Strings Hi Beams .030-.125 (on 6-string, .045 as G-string on 5-string)

Amps:
SWR Interstellar Overdrive Preamp
Yamaha P3500S Power Amp
SWR Baby Baby Blue Combo
Epifani 1X12 Cabs

Effects:
Assorted pedals from Line 6, Boss, and EBS

Contact Information: Visit my web site at FrodeBerg.com for more information.