AW: W hat was your first bass?
: I remember working in a factory for like six weeks,
10 hours straight and starting at three in the morning,
and I bought my first Rickenbacker, the black and
white stereo, and I didn't have money for a case so they
wrapped it in paper. I remember having that and a little
Fender amp and a self-made cabinet, and I had it four
weeks - and then it got stolen. I was really into Yes, real
progressive stuff, and jazz, all kinds of weird stuff, so
when I met Wolf and I got introduced into Accept for the
first time, my whole life changed. They had a full room
of Marshalls and were really loud: none of this stuff I
had ever experienced before. When I started playing,
they all looked at me, like, 'What the hell, you're playing
all the notes there are! How about playing one and just
pedalling on it?' I was like, 'What?' That went totally
against my thought of what music should be and it took
me a little while get into that. But later that became what
I'm known for, it's a weird life.
in t o
a c c e p t
m y
w h o l e
l if e
c h a n g e d
AW: I was going to ask you about the pedalling that you do: it's kind of a signature
thing, the way you propel the band. Even when the guitar is playing something with
a bit more space, like leaving it kind of open, underneath you're propelling it. That's
one thing I've always really liked about your playing, it's constantly pushing the
band forward.
One of the reasons for that is because I'm a guitar player too, so when I play my bass
I'm basically hearing the riffs. I hear constantly what the guitar is playing, and ahead of
time I'm anticipating because I know there's a space, I know what he's doing there. It just
became second nature, you know. Wolf and I, we're attached at the hip, pretty much. I
play very, very hard, like every note is my last: I hit it as hard as I can. In the old days I had
three SVTs and six cabinets, all to the max - we were crazy! But I had to battle 24 Marshall
cabinets and 12 Marshall heads, so that's where that came from. And then Accept's style
of riff-based music left me a lot of room too.
AW: 'Dark Side Of My Heart', which comes from Accept's new album Blind
has that
steady pedal tone that you're known for. It reminds me of songs like 'Turn Me On' from
Balls To The Wall
or 'Up To The Limit' from
Metal Heart.
When you're writing the lines,
how do you decide between playing a pedal tone or something closer to the guitar riff?
You know what's funny? I think I've never written a line in my life! I don't know what
it is. I just hear the riff and then the drums come in. I go with what comes natural, pretty
much. I know this is a part in the song that just needs pedalling, it just needs to groove,
because we're trying to hit the stomach of the listener, of the audience, it needs to get
them moving, you know? It's hard for me to play anything except steady and standard,
[with] my legs straight in a V shape with my arm down, and that's it. I think it just comes
naturally, to be quite honest.
AW: W hat was your first amp?
: I had a little small Fender, a Bassman I think. It was a 50-watt or 100-watt amp and
I built a cabinet with my dad, it was about six feet high, it had two 15s in it. I couldn't
carry it: it had no wheels. I never painted the cab - it was just the wood. It had that little
tiny kid's amp on top, and that was my rig for the longest time. And then from there, I
had Hiwatts for a while, and from there I went to SVT and I never looked back, almost
through my whole career. I tried Marshalls once, [but] I was an SVT and P-Bass guy. That
combination has always been the best.
AW: It's funny that after all these years, two of the original things for bass guitar still
work so well: the Precision and Ampeg.
I know, I know! And the interesting thing is over the years technology evolves,
companies evolve, companies get sold, you know, and stuff is manufactured so well, but
as that progresses, you're never really guaranteed that the sound will progress or become
better too. In the case of the old SVTs, you can't find anything that sounds like them.
AW: That's true.
You looked in the back, and all the tubes were lit, and if one of them was not working
right you hit it on the top and there it was. I mean, I don't want to sound nostalgic. You
know they had a certain noise to them too: it was like a generator when you turned them
on. You heard this rumble. We never realised how much noise we had back then.
AW: After the P-Bass, which basses did you play?
PB: Over the years I had some other basses that I played, but I always stayed with the
P-Bass. I had one of the first Schecters, and I had one of the first Foderas. I went to the
garage in Brooklyn, they were making them in the garage. We invited them to come to a
video shoot and they hooked me up with a really cool Fodera bass, one with the butterfly.
Then I had the old bass that I played on
Balls To The Wall,
that was a Fender, but not an
original Fender, a Squier. I had a Peavey endorsement once, but that was more because I
needed gear shipped all over the world and sometimes you know, that's half the reason.
And two years ago I started working with the Warwick company.
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