bassist Ricardo Rodriguez
Interview by Robert Urban for GAY GUITARISTS WORLDWIDE
NYC-based, extraordinarily talented gay bassist Ricardo Rodriguez is one of the most sought after live/session players on the scene today. Ricardo's bass guitar sound is huge and he excels in any number of rock styles. This guy tours & records non-stop and plays for a wide-variety of projects for musical artists, arts organizations and music companies.
Ricardo's influences include bassists; Ricky Minor, Meshell Ndegeocello, Richard Bona, Will Lee, Nathan Watts, David LaBruyere, Pino Palladino, Nathan East, Tony Levin and Tony Franklin. Some of his fav bands are: Jamiroquai, Maroon 5, Sade, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Massive Attack, Portishead, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, John Mayer, Sarah McLachlan, Keane, Muse, Sting.
You can catch RICARDO live-in-concert:
September, 27 2006 at Crash Mansion (CD RELEASE PARTY FOR DAN TORRES)
199 Bowery @Spring Street, Manhattan New York City, NY , NY 10002
- What brand/model/year instrument(s) do you record and play out with?
2005 Sadowsky 5 String Ultra Vintage Jazz Precision Bass
2003 Fender American Deluxe 5 String Jazz Bass
1975 Fender 4 String Jazz Bass ri
1951 Fender 4 String Tele Precision Bass ri
1983 Fender Elite Stratocaster Guitar
1995 Ernie Ball Music Man 4 String Sterling Bass
1996 G&L L-1500 Fretless Bass
1994 Yamaha 4 String Attitude Precision Bass EADG
1999 Yamaha 4 String Attitude Precision Bass BEAD
- What brand/model/year amps & effects (if any) do you use?
In the studio I am a big fan of the Neve 1073 preamp type of sound so I picked up a Chandler LTD1 which is essentially a Neve clone. I also use a Furman PQ3 for dirty sounds and an Alembic Superfilter for further sonic shaping. For Compression is use a Focusrite Compounder and a Chandler LTD2 which is a Neve 2254 2264 33609 compressor clone. For the dirty sounds I use an Ashley CLX-52 Compressor.
Live I am a big fan of Eden preamps and power amps as well as Hartke, Peavey and Danelectro Nifty 70 Amps. I use Ampeg and Eden cabs loaded with JBLís and also an Aguilar cab for smaller gigs. For dirty sounds I love a lot of the Tech 21 products and also use a late Pearce BC1. For special occasions I also use a Servo Drive Sealed Motor Driven 2x15" + 2x18" Sub which I use with Roland PK-5 Midi Bass Pedals and a Synth Module. Currently I am looking into Mesa Boogie and Sadowsky amps which have impressed me recently. The search for the holy grail never ends with me ?
- Who are your main influences as an instrumentalist? Which artists? Which bands? Instrumentalist? Which artists/bands were your favorites in your youth?
My favorite musicians and or bassist are; Ricky Minor, Meshell Ndegeocello, Richard Bona, Will Lee, Nathan Watts, David LaBruyere, Pino Palladino, Nathan East, Tony Levin, Tony Franklin, Michael Hedges and many others.
My favorite bands are; Jamiroquai, Maroon 5, Sade, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Massive Attack, Portishead, Goldfrap, Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, John Mayer, Sarah McLachlan, Keane, Muse, Sting, East Village Opera Company, Amr Diab, Tarkan and many others.
I generally get turned on by any meat and potato musician that puts the song first and focuses on the groove.
- Tell fans about your luv for your particular style of music, as opposed to other styles - how it became your favorite style of rock, etc
When I first started playing I was obsessed with technique and chops as most young musicians are, but as I got more comfortable with playing as many notes as possible in a measure, I then became more aware of the space between the notes which is why I love R&B, Soul, Motown and any other style of music that has a great groove. Playing fast is easy making people move to your music is the hardest thing you will ever learn in my book.
- Do you play/compose/record only your own original music? Do you do any other work in music - e.g. teaching, recording session work, hired gun, producing, etc? Does your playing appear on recordings of any other artists?
Currently I do not have enough time to sit down and work on my own original compositions or to teach. As a live and studio session bassist I work with various original Artists in several genres of music. I strive to be as versatile as possible. My first priorities are always towards working in the studio and tracking bass lines for the artist I am working with.
Current releases include;
Corey Andrew ( We are stars ) Xcaliber Records
Jody Shelton ( Rise ) Kitchen Sink Records
Soon to be released;
Dan Torres ( Where I stand ) ( Self produced Indie )
Primo Kasper Gomez ( Debut ) ( Self produced Indie )
- Is there a particular favorite solo or part you played on a recording, or a certain piece of composed music you wrote, that you feel represents your finest work?
I put my best into everything I do and I am constantly growing as a musician. The most recent release I worked on I feel is my best to date. This would be Dan Torres ( Where I stand ) which will be released September 27th with a CD release party at the Crash Mansion in NYC.
Any special thoughts on your instrument, and what it's meant to you in your life?
I hope someday music will pay my bills but even if this never happens, I truly love and enjoy performing. It is my therapy and helps me keep a healthy mental balance in my life. Coming from a music family at birth I learned a long time ago that no matter what you do in life just be happy and don’t focus on money for happiness.
Can you relate any special feelings or experiences about being a glbt player in the mostly straight music world... especially regarding your formative/learning years on your instrument?
I grew up in a touch neighborhood. If anyone had a clue I was living an alternate lifestyle I would have been crucified. As a result I hid from everything and used music as my escape. If it was not for my guitars I would have had a nervous breakdown. I feel music helped save my life while I figured out my true glbt identity.
- For a glbt player - how does the overall music scene differ today
from years ago?
I think the internet and social networking sites like myspace has helped enormously. The new generation today has it much better. I think there has been a lot of progress but I feel there is still more progress to be made. Overall I think the future looks very good for glbt musicians. I feel much more comfortable telling artist that I work for that I am gay. I feel these days it is not as much of an issue as it was 10 years ago.
- How is the overall music scene in your locale?
The New York City music scene is better than in many other spots in the country. I feel there are many opportunities out there. I have learned that you just have to be a go getter to make those opportunities happen.
- Any advice for young glbt players?
NEVER STOP BELIEVING IN YOURSELF!!!
- What are your current and future musical projects?
Currently I am recording and performing with the following artists; Dan Torres, Greg Bucking, Primo Kasper Gomez, Lavender Light Gospel Choir, Corey Andrew, Alvin Mac Ray, Jerry James, Josh Zuckerman and Souvent Records DJ Remix Producer Reeplee. Previous live and recording projects; Jody Shelton, Kim West, Eric Himan, FL Jones, Monstah Black, Violetta, Ironia, Josh Walker, Shuana Park and Mother Earth Funk Machine.
As for the future I want to continue working and growing with all the new Artist that I am fortunate to work with in hopes of becoming an A list session and live bassist. I feel as a session bassist you have more chances of finding that dream gig that might catapult you into the stratosphere. You just have to be persistent and never give up hope.
Thank you for the interview. Please feel free to contact me at Alotabass@aol.com
Warm Regards - Ricardo Rodriguez
More on RICARDO RODRIQUEZ at: http://ricardo-bass.com and http://myspace.com/ricardobass
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