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the studio! But playing live with them, especially at the sort of blitzkrieg volume that
we get on stage? You can't do it. It’s an impossibility with two kick drums and vintage
Marshalls. I’ve seen people use them live, and they're on the verge of feeding back all the
time. They go out of tune under the lights as well: you’ll tune up for one song, and by the
time the next song starts you need to do it again. In a recording environment, though,
you can't beat them.”
Looking back over his career. Lewis explains that the multiple jobs he does -
performer, songwriter, remixer and much more
all stemmed from an unusual source.
T got my start in the business as a DJ, playing at clubs in London.” he recalls. 'I was Blur’s
support DJ on the Parklife tour, and got into the showbiz end of being in a band arse-
about face in the sense that I wasn't a performer, although I was going out and touring
with a band that were playing Alexandra Palace. That was the first time I encountered
touring at that level, and the kind of equipment you need when you’re playing those
places. It was the 1990s, which isn't that long ago. but it's amazing how much times have
changed with the quality of the onstage sound now you’ve got digital desks and so on.”
"I make my own music too.’’ he says. Tve been putting a lot of stuff out on
Bandcamp. which gives you all the fun of instant audience feedback and makes you a
few quid without all the hassle of having to impress a record company. It’s like busking:
you never know what you’re going to get out of it. You might get a little, you might get
a lot. I’ve been doing a lot of remixing for a French soul band as well. There’s another
band called the Soul Naturals that I did a similar thing for, and last autumn I remixed
a track for Lisa Stansfield. They asked me to make it sound like an authentic Northern
Soul record, which I did. Taking new records and making them sound old is what I’m
becoming good at!”
So how has Lewis evolved as a bass player, we want to know? ' When I first joined
Paul’s band it was a bit of a baptism of fire" he recalls, "but over time you get to know
the material and the different styles of playing. You
get out of youi comfort zone and try something
different. Just being a good bass player isn’t enough
to make it as a musician. You have to be versatile
it
helps if you can play keyboards or drums and know
a bit about Pro-Tools. When you find yourself in a
situation where a musician is needed, you'll be able to
step up and make yourself useful. It’s a case of filling
holes where they’re needed.”
Another useful bit of Lewis advice? Be there on
time.
.. "Some of the greatest musicians have difficult
personalities.” he says diplomatically, "and although I’m
not the best bass player in the world, I’m probably the
most punctual. No one’s ever been kept waiting for a
flight by me, or had to put up with the ego problems
of the bass player whose luggage hasn’t turned up at a
foreign airport. You just get on with it.”
"When you’re a bass player, you shouldn’t have too
much of an ego,” says Lewis as he gets up to head back
to the stage, "because playing bass is not about you
dominating something, it’s about you making a song as
good as it can be. As long as you've got something you
can make a noise with - you’ve got a gig!”
Saturn's Pattern
is out on 18 May. Info: www.paulweller.
com, andylewisuk.bandcamp.com, @andylewisuk.
Thanks to Roger Nowell.
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