basses and total p
10 3 4
i i u u i u i
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e're just about to release our
fifteenth album,
My God-Given
Right
How many other bands
get to make 15 albums? Kiss, AC/
DC.
.. not so many! I remember
when we played at the
Donington festival in England in
1988: I was playing Warwicks at the time, and after
that I went to Fender. I've still got my old Jazz basses
and a couple of old Precisions, but live I mostly play my
Sandberg basses. They make pretty good instruments
- good-looking basses that sound great and work on
tour really well. I play them live all the time.
When I started out, all the punks played Fender
Precisions, like Sid Vicious and the others. Glenn
Hughes played one with Deep Purple at the California
Jam in 1974, which is my favourite rock video ever.
He's a great bass player and singer. My oldest Fender is
a '62: a few years ago I wanted to buy a bass that was
older than me, so I bought that one. I thought that was
cool! It's in very good shape although it has scars here
and there, like I have. But most of the time I get along
great with the Sandbergs, live and in the studio. I have
a five-string but I can't play every Helloween song on
it: if you try to play 'Eagle Fly Free' on a five-string,
you suddenly get confused. I only play the five when I
really need it. That song has a tapped solo, it's nice.
As for amps, I like old Ampegs, although I don't need
to take them to festivals because there's Ampeg stacks
everywhere, which makes it easy. Ampegs sound great
live, they always sound good. Any technician can
make an Ampeg SVT sound good. I personally prefer
the SVT 2s from the 70s and 80s. On the new album
I didn't use amps: we used a Kemper and it sounded
great. You don't need to set up a massive stack and get
on people's nerves! It sounded good so I thought I'd
save the amps for the live shows.
I don't use effects, apart from a booster for the
'Eagle' tapping section, but even that can be done by
the sound guy, so I just plug in and play. It helps if you
don't have the same sound guys at each gig, because
you don't have to explain tons of technical stuff to
different people. I just tell them to get me the Ampeg
sound and that's enough.
I organised a side project in 2008 called
Bassinvaders, and we released an album called
Hellbassbeaters.
Now that was a lot of fun. It was only
bass guitars. I organised it all myself, so it was a lot of
work, but I got in touch with all my heroes like Rudy
Sarzo and Billy Sheehan so I had a great time. But I
don't think I'll do it again, it's a lot of work! I was so
happy to get Lee Rocker on there, because when I was
a kid he was a hero of mine. For an experiment that I
was trying out, it worked out really well.
One of the secrets of keeping a band going this long
is that when you hit the bottom, which we have done
a few times in our career, you just refuse to quit. We
said, 'Shall we just give up and let everything go, or
shall we keep going?' We had the band name, after
all. We lost a lot of money with some companies here
and there, and we had to pay those bills, so we decided
to keep writing songs and going on tour, to show
ourselves that we could do it. And here we are.
My God-Given Rightis
out now on Nuclear Blast.
Info: www.helloween.org.
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