BILLY SHEEHAN Offers Tips For Playing Bass - "Speed For Speed’s Sake Is Useless, A Dead-End Street"

August 24, 2017, 4 months ago

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BILLY SHEEHAN Offers Tips For Playing Bass - "Speed For Speed’s Sake Is Useless, A Dead-End Street"

Bass legend Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Sons Of Apollo, Talas) is featured in a new interview with Music Radar offering up some tips for being a better bassist. An excerpt is available below.

Speed Is Only A Tool

Sheehan: “My playing can get real fast, because once you get accurate and strong, it’s like running… you won’t always jog, sometimes you’ll sprint! It’s nice to pick it up a bit and see how quick you can get to the end of the corner there. Why not? Speed is just one of many tools you can use to create music.

I listen to a lot of classical music and there are a lot of quick passages that have a lot of emotional impact because there’s a musical reason for it. Some people have lost that, and look at it as a competitive thing, which is a sad state of affairs. The speed of notes can determine their emotion. Fast and aggressive can be exciting, while slow is beautiful and introspective.

People lose sight of that and only go fast - I would urge them to understand it’s a musical tool. It shouldn’t be a competition; that’s not how you speak to people. Music is art and sometimes a bunch of rapid notes can actually get your attention and make you focus more on the lyrics or story behind it. Speed for speed’s sake is useless, a dead-end street.  

Some people might be taken back by me saying that - I can imagine a YouTube commenter would say, ‘All this guy does is solo all the time!’ But really, they’re only watching a three-minute clip from a two-hour show. People might think I’m guilty of being a speedy player, but to be honest it’s just one of many things. Concentrate on speed if you want, and make sure you are accurate. If you do it in time, you can get away with absolutely anything!  

There’s nothing I can do that no-one else could do. If you see me doing some seemingly impossible piece, you can do it if you dissect it piece-by-piece, note-by-note. It may take you a while, but there’s nothing you can’t do. I’m a firm believer of that.”

Go to this location for the complete interview.

Apollo: The ancient Greek and Roman God of music and poetry. Sons Of Apollo: The new supergroup featuring members of Dream Theater, Mr. Big, Guns N’ Roses, and Journey.

For the past few months, rumours have been circulating about a new secret project including former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian. Now, the time has come to make the grand and highly anticipated introduction to their new band, Sons Of Apollo.

Reuniting to form Sons Of Apollo, Portnoy and Sherinian have joined forces with Ron "Bumblefoot" Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen's Rising Force). Their debut album, Psychotic Symphony, will be released on October 20th via InsideOutMusic/Sony Music.

Bassist Billy Sheehan recently spoke to Full Throttle Rock about his new musical endeavour; an excerpt follows:

"It was kept under wraps very effectively, right up until it was ready. We’ve made a pretty loud record, it’s top stuff. It took a lot of work to get this exactly right; it’s complicated but enjoyable music. It took a lot out of all of us to perform it really well, but we are very pleased with the record and very happy. I knew Jeff Scott Soto from when Talas opened for Yngwie J. Malmsteen in the summer of ’85 and he has been a dear friend of mine ever since and I’ve always wanted to work with him. I’ve known Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal for many years, turns out he’s a big Talas fan, he knows all the old Talas songs, and Mike Portnoy, Derek Sherinian and I have, of course, worked together on several projects. So coming together was an opportunity for all of us to play the type of music we love and for Mike and Derek to play together for the first time in a real band since Dream Theater; and they’re enjoying it very much. For me, any opportunity I get to play and perform live with guys of this stature is a good thing, so we’re very excited about doing live shows next year and the album Psychotic Symphony is due in October."

To read the complete interview, visit this location.

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