Spotlight on Influences, Musical Roots

5 Jan 2024 Simon

I hope this newsletter finds you well and in good musical spirits!  In this first newsletter for 2024, I want to take you on a journey through the roots of my musical path that began with the piano and ultimately found its way into the deep, groovy vibes of the bass guitar.

I believe that the mentorship of teachers and the collective inspiration derived from other artists contribute significantly to a musician's growth, refining their skills, and influencing the unique musical identity they ultimately carve out for themselves.

At the age of 7, I embarked on a musical adventure that started with the piano. For several years, I  studied the keys, learning the fundamentals of music theory and honing my skills. However, as much as I appreciated the beauty of the piano, something was not right.

It was around the age of 13 when I discovered the bass guitar. The moment I plucked those first notes, I felt an undeniable connection. The deep, resonant tones seemed just right and I knew I had found my instrument.

Soon after I leapt into rock music by joining my first band, "Hangover." The energy, the camaraderie, and the sheer joy of making music with like-minded individuals fueled my passion for the bass, performing and music in general. The members of that band, namely Pierre Falzon on guitar, Kevin Galea on vocals, and Joe Gabriele on drums hold a special place in my musical journey. At that young age, our music was very raw but full of energy. They were the first fellow musicians with whom I had the privilege of sharing a stage, and the experience planted a seed that never ceased to grow. My sincere gratitude goes to Pierre, Kevin and Joe. Similarly, I am grateful to all the musicians I have met and played with over the years.

Of course, my musical journey has been greatly influenced by some legendary bass players who have left an indelible mark on the world of music. James Jamerson's soulful grooves, Jaco Pastorius's innovative approach, Francis Rocco Prestia's funk-driven lines with Tower of Power, Verdine White's infectious basslines with Earth, Wind & Fire, and the groundbreaking slap technique of Larry Graham – these luminaries have all played a pivotal role in shaping my musical identity.

A special mention goes to my father, Joseph, an accomplished bass player in his own right during his younger days. I had the privilege of receiving lessons from him, and his guidance not only strengthened my technical skills but also instilled a deep appreciation for the art of bass playing.

As my musical journey unfolded, I found inspiration in the styles of Mark King of Level 42, John Patitucci's virtuosity, and the modern, versatile playing of Janek Gwizdala. Each of these bassists and so many more added unique influences to my style of playing.

Stay groovy, stay tuned, and let the music play on!

Leave a comment