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William Maxwell - September 2003

William Maxwell
Biography: I began my musical studies on classical guitar at the age of six. My interest in electric bass began at age 12 when a "friend brought over this guitar with really fat strings." What drew me to the instrument was the sound. Bass is, to me, a wonderful combination of power and beauty. My early influences include Chris Squire and Geddy Lee (I still often play keys with my bass pedals!), but it was a 1977 Weather Report concert with Jaco that really opened my ears to the possibilities of the instrument. Since then I have played in a wide range of ensembles including orchestras, jazz ensembles, rock, celtic, blues, metal bands, pop and country groups, various duets, and even as a solo bassist.

I produced three albums, Remembrance, Horizons, and Q in my own studio before embarking on a two year stint as engineer at Estudio Morelia in Mexico. I returned to attended Humboldt State University, completing a degree in music composition in 1999, putting myself through school, in part, with classical guitar gigs during the day and bass gigs at night. While in school I focused on orchestral composition (Rachmaninoff was my mom's favorite and a big influence in my earlier years). I had the good fortune to have many pieces performed by various groups and soloists around the U.S. including the HSU Symphony, Wind Ensemble, and Chamber Orchestra, the Las Vegas Academy of Performing Arts Orchestra, and as a national composition contest winner at the MENC national conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

Recent solo productions include Cardinal Points (with Michael Manring) and my latest release The Picture Show. I am first and foremost a bass player, but I often utilize keyboards as well as other instruments to include many of the textures of my orchestral days. Probably my favorite combination of sounds includes "orchestral" textures, a fretless bass guitar, and world percussion. This is especially evident in The Picture Show, which included selections inspired by the paintings of Jim Gandee.

My main line of work has been as a session player for live and studio work, playing on any number of projects in a given week including work with Tempest, Groove Mob, China Crisis, The Modors, Michael Manring, The Steve Trembley Band, Nick Vigarino, Doug McGrew, GreenManGruvin, Larry Lampi, The Skagit Symphony, and dozens of others.

Gigs: Gigs are mostly freelance and average about 20 concerts/studio sessions a month, mostly centered in the Pacific Northwest (Portland to Vancouver B.C.). The repertoire is broad from Bach to Tower of Power.

Solo Albums:
The Picture Show
Cardinal Points
Works 1
Orchestral Pieces
Dual Personality

Current projects in progress with others include work on solo albums by Doug McGrew, Pat Azzarello, and Dan McInerney.

My next project is "Music for Solo Bass."

Keith Roscoe 5-String Fretless (E-C)
Tobias 5-String Fretted(E-C)
1959 Fender P Bass
Fernandez 8-String (B-D)
Steinberger 4-String
Ovation Acoustic/Electric
Christopher Carved Upright
10-String Chapman Stick

Live Setup:
Raven Labs MDB1 Mixer
ART Tube Preamp into Ampeg Power Amp
1x12 + Horn, 2x10 + Horn Boxes
DOD D12 Looper/Delay
Rat Distortion Pedal
SWR Wokingman's 10
Solo shows also include an Electrix Looper with midi controller

Contact Information: You can reach me through my web site at