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

Rob Gourlay - December 2004

Rob Gourlay
Biography: I was born in Seattle, Washington but spent most of my early years in the green mountains of Vermont. There was always a lot of music in our home. My sister played piano, and my brother played drums. My dad had a part-time vending business, and we often had a jukebox blasting music in the kitchen. Music was everywhere, and I was blessed with incredibly supportive parents. I started playing guitar in 6th or 7th grade and loved it immediately. There was never a question about what I wanted to do with my life. My first lessons were uninspiring and taught me more about how not to teach than how to play. This would be a huge motivator to try and inspire my own students in later years. Thankfully, I had a much better experience with some great guitarists including Pete Henault and Dick Easter. I had an opportunity to work on a variety of rock and jazz/rock music by artists such as Jeff Beck and Stanley Clarke and was also introduced to Jaco Pastorius and Weather Report. My older brother was always in bands, and I was the kid hanging around wanting to somehow be involved. My big chance came when my brother's band, Tank, needed a bass player for a big New Year's gig. I had always learned their tunes, and that really paid off when they gave me the chance to play bass. The supposed one-shot-gig turned into a steady gig with great musicians on a new instrument. I was playing a Rickenbacker 4001 through an Ampeg V4B as my first bass rig. I never put the bass down after that show.

In my junior year of high school, I began doing gigs often playing four or five nights a week. We played everything from Elvis Costello to Yes and a lot of originals. I was able to shed on the bass, write songs, and get paid! It was a great learning experience, and I had the opportunity to network with other musicians. One gig has always led to another, and I have found it all to be about relationships. My next groups were Champlain with blues man Nobby Reed and a life-changing gig for me with Crossfire. I learned so much about professionalism and had the opportunity to play in front of crowds as large as 20,000 people. Most importantly, it was the first gig I had with my future wife and musical soul mate, Jody. She is an amazing singer who epitomizes the phrase "the show must go on." The following years have been filled with over 4000 performances at clubs, colleges, concert halls, and radio stations throughout the U.S. and Canada with various groups and on stage with artists such as Hall and Oates, Extreme, Johnny Lang, Patty Griffin, Joe Jackson, Joan Osborne, John Hiatt, Eddie Money, Southside Johnny, Kasey Chambers, Five For Fighting, and many others.

I have studied at Berklee College of Music and been fortunate to study electric and acoustic bass privately with Jeff Berlin, Charlie Banacos, John Hunter, and Jim Stinnett. My studies with Jim included massive amounts of transcribing the great jazz masters. It was without a doubt the hardest work I had ever done! In addition to completely changing me as a player, it also led to the release of my Walking In The Footsteps Of series of books. Since 2001, I have been blessed to be teaching with Jim at The Bass Workout (3-day bass intensive workshops) and also at clinics and college seminars. I have worked with Jim on several of his book and recording projects including our soon-to-be-released duo recording, Two Low, and also a quartet recording called Afrizona. Both projects include Terrence Blanchard/Herbie Hancock guitarist Lionel Loueke and Arizona's drummer extraordinaire Dom Moio.

Gigs: My current gigs include playing regularly with my pal and amazing guitarist Tim Theriault along with a host of drummers such as Jamie Decato, Travis Barton, Matt Luneau, and Jon "The Rooster" Rousseau with occasional added lead vocals from my wife Jody. I also record and perform with singer/songwriter Michael Landgarten and a wide variety of jazz and rock groups in addition to a busy schedule of freelance performing and recording work. Several times a year, I perform at concerts with Jim Stinnett in a variety of different group settings including Two Low and ACEG (all cows eat grass).

My teaching activities include The Bass Workout with Jim Stinnett and various clinics, seminars, and master classes including performances at Berklee College of Music 2001-2004, Berklee College of Music Bass Days 2003 & 2004, and The Music of Paul Chambers 2004. I teach privately at the Bell Center for Music & the Arts as well as at Brewster Academy.

Two Low: Jim Stinnett & Rob Gourlay
Different Girl: Michael Landgarten
Afrizona: Lionel Loueke, Dom Moio & Jim Stinnett
Slap Bass Workout: Stinnett Music
Another Seven Days: Hank Decken And The Hardline
Voices For Children: Various Artists/Tim Theriault
Sooner Or Later: Michael Landgarten
Ode To Joy: Thanks To Gravity
Centrifuge: Ring
Crossfire: Crossfire

Walking In The Footsteps Of... Paul Chambers
Walking In The Footsteps Of... Sam Jones

Rob Allen Mb-2f 5-String (EADGC)
Fodera Matt Garrison Imperial 5-String
Musicman Sterling
Pedulla Buzz Fretless
100-year-old German carved string bass with David Gage Realist pickup

SWR Mo Bass
Epifani T-410
EAW 2x15, 4x7
GK 200MB
Mesa Boogie 2x10
60's Ampeg B18

SWR Mo Bass
Boss RC-20 Loop Station
EBS Octabass
Digitech Bass Synth Wah
Boss T-2 Tuner
Zoom BFX 708

D'Addario Slow Wound
D'Addario Pro Steels
D'Addario Helicore Pizzicato
La Bella Deep Talkin' 760N

Contact Information: Visit me online at