Paul Davis (Dep Bass and Dep Keys plus Harmonies) [Covers & Original, Dep Musician]
Bass Station23 Feb 2019Bass Station A gigging first for me last Sunday whilst at The Horns in Watford, standing in on bass for The Swanvesta Social Club.Anyone on nodding terms with the “Swans” will appreciate that they're not your typical drums, guitar and bass configuration.Their Cuban-influenced sound relies upon three percussionists, keyboards, flute, sax, trumpet, guitar and bass, plus their own sound person.And anyone on nodding terms with The Horns will know that while it's a very desirable place to play whenever you get the opportunity, the stage isn't the most capacious for such a large outfit.Nine people in fact.By some happy coincidence, my guitarist friend David Palfreman loaned me his Line6 Relay wireless system to try out at some real-world gigs.Naturally, I get a bit nervous at the prospect of having to look after other peoples' kit, but thought the Swans' gig was a perfect place to test this out for an entire set.The role of bass guitar in this band is somewhat different to the rockier, funkier or more melodic styles I find myself playing, so a general thick-but-smooth sound was all that was really required.Being one of those cool venues with their own sound system and operator, the decision was made to place my bass signal straight through a P.A. mixer channel, so I only had to plug in the jack lead transmitter into my bass, take the output of the wireless receiver through my Digitech BP-50 multi-fx, and the output of that into one of the onstage D.I. boxes.The Tannoy bass bins could easily handle level of band necessary, so I wouldn't be to blame if the bass was “too loud”, as the sound engineer could turn my sound up or down!Due to the existing number of singing people in the Swans, my harmonies weren't needed, so I didn't need to be close to a microphone either.As someone who has so far relied on physical cables to connect to amps for my gigging life, I did feel odd to be “unplugged” with a bass.I have often felt wireless systems for instrumentalists to be a bit of a gimmick, and more suited to the exhibitionists! However, I still like the concept of being able to escape a main stage for more boring and practical reasons like space, monitoring and breaking down the barriers of “us and them.I've seen loads of singers with wireless mics, so that doesn't seem to register anymore, but cordless instrumentalists still catch my attention when then leave the stage. Mainly guitarists, but there's no reason why this freedom shouldn't extend to bass players!For the first set, I will admit that my brain hadn't cottoned on to the fact that I didn't have to remain in the one spot, so it was only the second half that I grabbed at the chance to do a walkabout.And thankfully, Jane (the venue manager) captured the moment on her camera for me to savour:www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PlX6MgsRTQI decided to sleepily saunter rather than jump on tables or dance about (in the interests of the tables and the people watching me), but it got me a shout-out from the band's singer and some applause, so a little morale lift was the first bonus (yes, bass IS an instrument)!As for the most overriding experience, it was how much the sound of the bass varied as I walked through the room. It was odd to hear the bass sound from a punter perspective too, so probably a good idea to repeat the wireless experience at another venue, just to see how I can improve the bass sound I produce.You have to be able to hear what you're playing in my experience, and standing in front of those bass bins was crucial for me. I certainly began to feel a little detached from the sound the further away from the band I stood!I will say too that I like being next to the other musicians in general, purely as a human experience.You can be too remote otherwise and keeping near to the sound sources just feels better, especially if those instruments produce an onstage sound before any amplification.Glad I tried it though, and I still would like to try it again, even if there is enough space on a stage.As for the system itself, I was quite impressed at the price (around £99) and the simplicity, although I would never want to rely totally on such systems, so would always still bring traditional cables.I've seen so many acts using wireless mics that still have a another mic connected by an XLR cable, just in case, so it's a bit like driverless cars – great technology, but still the fear that something could go wrong!= = = = = =PUBLIC GIGS THIS WEEK:SATURDAY 23rd FEBRUARY 2019 – 9pm startPlaying keyboards for THE FAITH STEALERSTHE CRUSADERS S&SC, Potters Bar(A social club gig, but non-members are welcome for a nominal fee)=SUNDAY 24th FEBRUARY 2019 - 9pm to 11pmPlaying bass for STEVE OAKMANTHE FARMERS BOY, St Albans(PEP's singer/guitarist Ed is poorly, but you can still catch the PEP rhythm section backing the talented and entertaining Steve)
The Real "Better Offers"12 Feb 2019The Real "Better Offers" A few days back, I saw an interesting post on one of the online music-related forums I frequent, about the whole business of “better offer” situations with bands accepting gigs, then reneging on a booking because of something more tempting.I will admit that I was briefly guilty of this in my very early days of depping, even if only on the less “enforceable” contracts, but quickly found that it's really not a wise strategy at all if you intend to be on people's contact lists in the long term.With depping, I've found most bands don't want flashiness or big talk, but simply reliability, flexibility, a modicum of musical flair and the minimum of fuss!!Having tried running acts myself, you are at the mercy of so many different situations, personalities and outside variables, so if you can offer simple stability to others as a dep, as someone who will simply turn up and fit in with sound, that is one less headache for any act organiser.There might be some wonderfully exciting gigs that you have to say “no” to, and I've had many such situations!But the “better offer” might actually be the benefits of having acts approaching you in the long term, rather than the extra £80 you might make more immediately.Even the bands you say “no” to will respect you don't just jump ship, and you appreciate the rewards with all the more enjoyable gigs you hopefully get to play as a result.Put bluntly, if I accept a Saturday gig in Scotland for £30 (as someone living on the Herts/Cambs border!), that's what I have to honour.Of course, it's actually a bit of a wake-up call to only accept gigs that you really enjoy doing if money's not the prime incentive.And if money IS the only thing getting me through a booking, then I really need to do something about that!!= = = = = =PUBLIC GIGS THIS WEEK:FRIDAY 15th FEBRUARY 2019 – 9pm startPlaying bass for SHAKEN NOT STIRREDTHE NORTH WESTERN, Wolverton(Originally a gig for The Valleys, but due to David's bad back and the last-minute intervention of Huggy Flares' Susanne Emery, it's now a 4-piece extended line-up of Guy's & Susanne's duo, with Paul Campany & myself as the live rhythm section)=SATURDAY 16th FEBRUARY 2019 – 9pm startPlaying bass for RESONANCETHE PLOUGH & HARROW, Harpenden(Have played keyboards for this act a few times, but first time on bass)=SUNDAY 17th FEBRUARY 2019 – 4.30pm startPlaying bass for THE SWANVESTA SOCIAL CLUBTHE HORNS, Watford(Don't know how we'll all fit on the stage, but a great place and act to play to play at and with)= = = = = =
Back In My Day5 Feb 2019Back In My Day Made a wonderful online discovery a couple of days ago, that I thought I'd share with the readers of this blog, especially if like me, they spent some of their spare cash on the various music tech magazines in the 1980s and 1990s.I remember buying my first ever music publication (shown in the picture) from a Cambridge newsagents on the way to school in early 1983, a copy of “Electronics & Music Maker” (which later became “Music Technology”).I seem to have unwittingly entered the fray at a pivotal moment, as one of the synths being reviewed in that particular issue was the Sequential Circuits Prophet-600, one of the very first MIDI-equipped instruments.Not that I could afford any of this of course, but flicking through this magazine seemed like a really exciting world that I hoped to be able to inhabit (and buy into) when I was in a position to earn money!Going forward 36 years, I was delighted to find not only details of this magazine, but the whole magazine scanned and converted to text, along with tons of other older and more recent content from similar publications.The website is called:www.muzines.co.ukThe only trouble with this site is that once you start looking through its pages, you can easily find yourself addicted.Not that I mind, as it's a more pleasing experience than most social media postings and the current depressing news channels!But you don't have to be over 35 to find this interesting, as it also makes you realise how much cheaper the technology has become.I used to drool over the synths, the recording machines and the effects unit, all of which would have cost a pretty penny to assemble at home. House prices? Not that far off in all honesty.And now, practically anybody with a laptop or tablet has similar technology available for known-down prices, or even free of charge.All the same, it can't simply be nostalgia, because looking through some of those issues seems a lot more exciting than modern music magazines are.I presently buy around two a year to keep updated, and although I appreciate that computers play a huge part in the process (for me too), pages and pages of news about updates and images of screenshots aren't that inspiring to me!Whether it's endless “studios” which seem to be nothing different from a display in the Apple Store but with moodier lighting, thirty-something men with baseball caps sitting at pristine workstations, Grammy-winning engineers talking about there favourite character compressor or a gorgeous filter response, it's all a bit samey.There was still technical stuff in those older mags, but there seemed to be a more human side to the articles with artists. Their motivations away from just the equipment they bought, and when studios weren't afraid to be a bit more quirky in design.Of course, there's plenty of modern-day content like this on current websites, so I'm not claiming that you can't find present content written with a more interesting approach than a glorified computer magazine. There are, and the Internet is wonderful at uncovering the best of the new.However, the MUZINES website has been a joy of a discovery for me and can see myself visiting it plenty of times.I remember many of these articles first time around, so nice to be reminded and excited by it all again!= = = = = =PUBLIC GIGS THIS WEEK:WEDNESDAY 6th FEBRUARY 2019 – starts 7pmPlaying keyboards for KIRSTA JOHNSTONCAFE ROUGE, St Albans(Music for the diners admittedly, rather than a public performance, but worth mentioning)=SATURDAY 9th FEBRUARY 2019 – starts 9pmPlaying keyboards for HUGGY FLARESTHE JOLLY BUTCHERS, Enfield(A new one to me, in terms of venues, but at least a band I've played with many times)= = = = = =I'm available for dep gigs on bass or keyboards this Friday 8th and Sunday 10th for paid gigs.For those who haven't encountered me in a depping sense thus far, I have more details of my recent depping adventures plus videos here:www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLbUsbTGeCTrMxYNDVH-BNF0eodWreadpHAs an aside, somebody last week asked me what my “depping rates” were, and I explained they were basically an amount that covered the gig distance plus the time and effort involved.In general terms, at least the same as everybody else playing that gig.If it's a venue that's just around the corner for most of the band, but the dep has to travel a much longer way, it's not unreasonable in my opinion to make sure that extra distance is covered financially, especially if they don't choose to go for a more local dep to the gig location.I'm still amused/bemused at some of the extreme distances some enquirers expect a dep to travel for lowly paid gigs in their locale.And it should never be less money – I turned down work with one act several years back because the singer at the time thought deps shouldn't get as much as the “full-time” members because I was “just a dep”!!! >:(All the same, I don't think it's a good idea either to make general price lists for dep services, as all gigs have plus and minuses, away from the payment aspect.When musicians I meet ask me for advice on serial depping (being one thing I actually do have some real world experience with for a change!), two of the things I often suggest is to accept as much work with as many different people, genres, places as possible, but whilst also not being afraid to say a polite “no” to other offers that you just know are going to be more trouble or grief than they're worth.Focusing on the positive part of this advice means it's important to be realistic and an attractive proposition to bands that are good enough to employ the services of deps.There have been plenty of gigs in my past where the money has got me through the gig, but never lose that excitement that you get from others which may not pay as much, but enhance your life and produce nothing but enjoyment.Some might disagree, but I'd still rather play two fabulous enjoyable gigs for the same money as one completely underwhelming experience.It can sometimes lead to a few gigs that are fun AND well-paid, which is a good depping goal to strive for :)
"Sick And Tired Of You Hanging On Me"1 Feb 2019"Sick And Tired Of You Hanging On Me" January's always a slightly surreal month for anyone who likes to gig.The madness of Christmas (a.k.a. October, November & December) may be over, but it still seems to be a bit of a limbo month.The tax returns, the catching up on work and the general cold seem to put a lot of lives on hold, so always happy to welcome February when it arrives.Many venues that take January off for gigs seem to reinstate them for the second month of the year, which makes the things a bit easier if you're looking for dep work.Incidentally, I often think months like January would be a great opportunity for places that fancy dipping a toe in the water of hosting live music. This might be a naïve view, but my take is that real music fans don't lose the willingness to see live music and if there's less competition, there's more chance of attracting an audience that hasn't gone elsewhere.But don't quote me on this!On the other hand, it's a good chance to work on all those other leads and jobs, and there's often the spirit of the new year resolution with many musical friends, so January has its pluses, especially for interesting new projects.= = = = = =Available to dep on bass or keys this Saturday (2nd February), for any reasonably-paid offerings.I'm based in Royston, on the Herts/Cambs border and have depped a lot (for people who don't know me personally)!= = = = = =PUBLIC GIGS THIS WEEK:FRIDAY 1st FERUARY 2019 – Starts 9pmPlaying bass for MR RAINMAKERTHE BULL'S HEAD, St Neots(A last minute gig covering Ron (get better soon), alongside my good friend Gary Brown)=SUNDAY 3rd FEBRUARY 2019 – Starts 7.30pmPlaying bass & keyboards for PEPTHE BOOT, St Albans(A PEP duo format gig, featuring Edward & myself)=WEDNESDAY 6th FEBRUARY 2019 – Starts 7pmPlaying keyboards for KIRSTA JOHNSTONCAFE ROUGE, St Albans(Not a public gig in the conventional sense, but providing background music for the diners)= = = = = =
To embed blogs into your own website, simply copy and paste the HTML below into your own page. Modify the iframe HTML to make the information fit.
<iframe style='width:600px;height:600px;border:none;overflow:scroll' src='https://www.lemonrock.com/blogfeed.php?tag=pauldavis'></iframe>
Please note: the blog feed is cached by the browser for up to 10 minutes. Your site visitors will therefore not see any changes you make to your page's blogs for up to 10 minutes following the changes. However, if you or your visitors are logged into Lemonrock, your changes will be visible immediately.