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Trip Wamsley - July 2003


Trip Wamsley
Biography: I started playing in April of 1982. My father was a band director whose school had a Peavey T-40 bass and TNT 100 bass amp that weren't being used. He brought them home and got me some lessons with a family friend, and I was off from there. My first bass heroes were Paul McCartney and John McVie. From there I went on to: Geddy Lee, John Taylor, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears, Brad Lang of ABC, Del Palmer, Tony Butler, John Giblin, Mick Karn, Percy Jones, Steve Harris, Martin Turner, John Entwistle, Tony Lewis of The Outfield, Steve Swallow, Jerry Peek, Anthony Jackson, Sting, Guy Pratt, Tony Levin, Michael Manring, Jimmy Johnson, Abe Laboriel, and tons of non-bass players like Alex de Grassi, Will Ackerman, Arvo Part, Tuck Andress, and others.

I immediately realized that I was playing a BASS GUITAR and that I had all of the guitar techniques available to me. So playing solos seemed like a good idea. But having no chops, no time, and no idea what I was doing, I really just made noise. I had some kind of a fuzzbox, and I was glad that I could make the bass feed back like Hendrix. It was fun. Then one day after NEVER getting any calls for gigs I realized that I didn't know how to play bass. I learned. I get gigs now. I have played everything from jazz (badly, I might add) to punk to prog-rock to funk and pop and R&B.

About style and the solo thing: I don't see chops as art. Chops are tools. That's all. I see tunes as colors and shapes, and I actually try most of the time to use as few notes as possible. I try not to use forty-five where three will do. Whether I succeed or fail is up to the listener.

As for my style, I have been playing for about twenty-one years. I am still in the shadow of my influences, and I am still searching for my voice. So in other words, I haven't been playing long enough, nor do I know enough or have I had enough life-experience to discuss "my style." The listener must be the judge.

Gigs: Currently I am playing with Sean Ardoin and Zydekool. Playing Zydeco takes stamina, space, and timing. They like loud bass, so I never suffer in the mix at all. It is a wonderful music that most folks dismiss as simple and moronic. I can tell you that it's not. It's been quite fun, and I get travel all over the nation and the world playing with Sean. I also do solo bass gigs as well.

Recordings: I have three solo recordings out. They are: Dancing About Architecture, The Difference Engine, and It's Better This Way featuring Michael Manring on two cuts.
With Sean Ardoin: Pullin'

Gear: I've worked for and used GK rigs. They were really nice rigs. Since they didn't want to pay me anymore for working for them, I went elsewhere. I now use a Glockenklang Soul head with Glock 212 and 115 cabs. Both have tweets and this rig is PHENOMENAL. Really. I practice into a mixing board and headphones with a disappointing sound so I can (hopefully) sound ok through any rig. Traveling with Sean, I am at the mercy of some rather wretched and sometimes wonderful rigs du jour.

Basses and Testimonials:
1 Zon Legacy Elite Special fretless. Great Bass. It is wonderful in recording and live performance. Reliability and playability are second to none.
1 Zon Sonus Special super custom fretless. My touring workhorse. This bass has three magnetic pickups and a piezo bridge. It has fantastic tone and is 200% reliable.
1 Alembic Orion fretless with Europa electronics and Cocobolo top. The most open and dynamic fretless that I have. It is unreal in recording and live work.
1 Alembic Epic 4-string fretted. Just a great and super-funky bass.
1 Alembic 8-string. It's like a 6-string with two strings higher! Useless in a rock band. Multiple outputs for plugging into different sound sources. Fun bass. I use it to make "soundscapes."
1 Status S2 Classic fretted 4. My main bass for just rocking out. It has fantastic tone and playability. A real winner.
1 Aria SB 1000. It's red and has a most unique tone. I use it all the time in my home studio. I always have a ball playing that thing.

Contact Information: You can reach me on the web at TripWamsley.com.