Mick Stevensnew bassist of Brand X.

 

 

 How all was began?
 I was born in Croydon (London), England in 1956 but spent my schooling in the USA (California Pennsylvania and NYC) and Europe.  I decided to return to the UK in the early 70's and then became a roadie/sound engineer for various bands. I toured for about 3 years throughout Europe and the UK.  I returned to the USA in the mid-70's and lived in NYC until I moved to California in 1990.

 Do You have a music education?
 I have no formal education, but my father the musicologist Denis Stevens was the world's authority on Renaissance composer Claudio Monteverdi so music, especially classical music - was a big part of my childhood.

 Your first bass?
 A 1980 Fender Precision fretless.

 
When at You the desire to play on fretless bass has appeared?
 Apart from my very first home-made fretted bass, I've always played fretless. I don't play fretted bass at all, in fact I play fretted really badly!

 Who has affected You (bass players)?
 My four influences in order of importance are: Percy Jones, Alphonso Johnson, Ralph Armstrong and Jaco Pastorius.

 With whom You worked as the sound engineer?
 I was sound engineer with Soft Machine,
Ronnie Lane (The Faces), Manfred Mann, Fusion Orchestra, Curved Air. I participated in the infamous 1973 Star Trucking European tour with: Lou Reed, Soft Machine, Curved Air, Wishbone Ash, Mahavishnu Orchestra, Renaissance and The Climax Blues Band.

 Your present basses?
 I now play only one bass: a custom 1984 Tobias "Basic" 5-string fretless w/Fishman piezo bridge & GraphTech GHOST modular
MIDI pickup system.  I recently sold a Bolin "NS" 5-string fretless which sounded amazing but
wasn't comfortable to play for extended periods.  The Tobias suits me perfectly because it has a very narrow neck. One day I'd like to own a Wal 5-string, but they're so expensive!

 You were a sound engineer in 70, maybe You work as sound engineer with Jaco, Percy Jones?
 No. Luckily, I've seen both Jaco and Percy perform: Jaco once with Weather Report around 1975 in NYC, and Percy several times from the late 70's to the mid 90's, in NYC and
Los Angeles.

 Your amp & equipment?
TC Electronics FireworX Studio Effects Processor
Digitech JamMan (Looper)
Behringer FCB1010 MIDI Foot Controller                 
self-designed MIDI-merger/controller
Yamaha G-50 Guitar MIDI Converter                                        
EMU E5000-Ultra Emulator sampler
Carvin R1000 Amp Head
Carvin RL410T 4x10" Cabinet (x 2)
Carvin RL115 1x15" Cabinet (x 1)

 Favourite strings?
Rotosound RS665LC 'Swing Bass 66' strings: 040, 060, 075, 095, 125

 As You began to play in Brand X?
 I joined Brand X in the summer of 1998.  In the mid 80's, I had an improv-fusion band called "The Avant Gardeners".  I went to see John Goodsall perform with his local LA band Transcendental Medication to ask him if my band could be a "warm-up" act for him at some gigs.  So I gave him a copy of my CD and a few months later he called me back and asked me to join Brand X.  This was pretty "cosmic" situation; like a dream!  Especially because I wasn't expecting any kind of offer and also because Brand X was my favorite band when I was a teenager.  I like to think it was because John saw that Percy was an big influence in my playing style - although I wouldn't classify myself as a Percy Jones "clone".

 As You record a bass in the studios - is it a line, or a microphone, or 1 and 2?
 I always record with line-out (DI) from amp and also loudspeakers mic'ed

 As You sound (equipment, line or mic) a bass in concerts of Brand X?
I try to do both.

 Who from today’s young bass players is pleasant to You?
 I haven't really had the time to listen to any young players, but I'm sure that there are some good ones out there!

 Tell please about present structure of Brand X
 The most recent incarnation of Brand X has been on hiatus for a few years because several members got involved in side projects. When we finally got back together in 2004, we decided to inject some new "blood" into the band by recruiting a new drummer/percussionist, and we now have the very talented Brock Avery on board.  Since he joined we've been writing material for a new studio CD.

 Your creative plans?
 My immediate creative plan is to simply concentrate writing and practicing for the next Brand X studio CD, which we hope to record this summer and release by the late 2006/early 2007, initially on the band's website (http://www.brandxmsuic.org ).  My long-term creative plan is to keep Brand X active, to tour to support the release of the CD and to improve as a bassist.

 Your wishes to young musicians?
 First learn phrasings from your favorite bassists, and then gradually try to expand on them to beign to develop your own style.

 

 

 All the best to You Mick and Brand X!

 

 

  Mick Stevens photo by Crystal Kelly

  http://bashkov2.narod.ru/mst.jpg

  

 

  Valery Bashkov

   valbash@tut.by  All rights reserved

 

 

  first publication on BassBel  www.bassbel.com

 

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