Originally I was a guitar player. However, when I started playing in bands, none of the bass players would play the bass lines I wanted to hear, and so I became a bass player. I loved playing the bass. So much in fact, that I decided to become a professional bassist.
From 1984 through 1989 I studied electric bass at the Hilversum Conservatory, and in 1989 received my degree from the Amsterdamse Hogeschool voor de Kunsten. Basically a jazz and fusion oriented school, it introduced me to some incredible music that I had previously not been aware of. Thank you, Theo de Jong, Jan Hollestelle and Marcel Schimscheimer!
Upon graduating, my first real paying gigs were with a Dutch boogie woogie piano player called Jaap Dekker, who had had enormous success with a couple of hit singles in the early seventies, and was still going strong. He had a pretty good band, a large repertoire of songs, and no wish to rehearse, so this became a very useful education in playing by ear, guessing song structures, memorizing changes, and entertaining audiences at the same time. Daunting but very rewarding.
After leaving Jaap Dekker in the early nineties, for some reason I still kept playing lots of boogie woogie, with Eric-Jan Overbeek, Dirk Jan Vennik, Anke Angel, Lisa Otey, and many others. But also I got involved with a wonderful jazz band in the Django Reinhardt tradition. This was the first band that had me playing acoustic bass exclusively. Another fantastic experience and education. Thanks Capolino!
With Jaap Dekker, Eric-Jan Overbeek and Capelino we would do so many concerts every year that there was not too much time left to play with other bands. But around the time the new milennium arrived, it became harder for bands to become a full time occupation. This left me with more time to explore other musical directions. Since then I've been playing bass (both electric and acoustic) with numerous bands and projects, including 3Js, Rob Agerbeek, Julien Brunetaud, Change Of Key, Eddy Christiani, Do, Lo van Gorp, Danny Hendriks, Leoni Jansen, Lady A, Little Willie Littlefield, Karen Lovely, Michele Lundeen, North Sea Guitars, Ricky Nye, Pinetop Perkins, Frans Poptie, John Primer, Edwin Rutten, Harry Sacksioni, Mathilde Santing, Janne Schra, JJ Thames, Kenny BB Wayne, Dana Winner, and many others. Also I have been teaching bass at various music schools. I've written short instructional articles for the short-lived Bass Magazine, and in 2011 received the Best Dutch Blues Bassist award from the Dutch Blues Foundation.
Here's a few videos of me playing bass in a variety of styles:
My main instruments are a Russian acoustic bass of questionable origin, and a few electric basses, including a 5-string Fender jazz bass, a 4-string fretless Yamaha BB-1000, and a 4-string Sadowsky jazz bass. I use Glockenklang amp and speakers and a small Polytone for acoustic bass gigs in small venues.
Some bass players have been influential in getting me to improve my technique: I have spent many hours studying the music of Jaco Pastorius, James Jamerson, Rocco Prestia, Anthony Jackson, John Pattitucci and others. For sound and creativity I think James Jamerson (again), Willie Weeks, Chuck Rainey, Bernard Edwards, and Jerry Scheff are probably the players that I admire the most. But the ones that first inspired me to pick up the bass were Rick Danko, Jerry Jemmott, and Charlie McCoy. Of course my teachers also played a huge part in developing my sound and approach to the bass: thank you, Theo de Jong, Jan Hollestelle and Marcel Schimscheimer. Then there's the influence of bass players that I often get to work with, especially Aad van Pijlen and Peter Wassenaar.
The bass (acoustic or electric) is such a beautiful and versatile instrument! Here's a Spotify playlist of my heroes as well as an example of me playing the bass. Enjoy!
First four acoustic bass masters, slapping, plucking, bowing, and soloing up a storm.
1. FLAT FOOT FLOOGIE - SLIM & SLAM
Slam Stewart on acoustic bass.
2. JOGGIE BOOGIE - MEMPHIS SLIM & WILLIE DIXON
Willie on bass, obviously.
3. LET YOURSELF GO - TONY BENNETT
Bass, Paul Langosch.
4. FREE FALL - THE HOUDINI'S
From the Netherlands, with Stefan Lievestro on bass.
Electric bass heroes. Lots of soul.
5. MEMPHIS SOUL STEW - KING CURTIS
Jerry Jemmott I presume?
6. HOME COOKIN' - JR. WALKER
James Jamerson of course.
7. VOICES INSIDE (EVERYTHING IS EVERYTHING) - DONNY HATHAWAY
Early heroes, not very complicated but a very important contribution to the song.
8. AS I WENT OUT ONE MORNING - BOB DYLAN
Harmonica virtuoso Charlie McCoy is the real McCoy, playing bass in a very melodic fashion.
9. COME TOGETHER - THE BEATLES
Paul. No further introduction is necessary.
The bassists that greatly influenced me in my formative years.
10. KID CHARLEMAGNE - STEELY DAN
11. I WANT YOUR LOVE - CHIC
12. WHAT'S THE BUZZ - JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR SOUNDTRACK
Don't know who plays bass here; Herbie Flowers maybe? Anyway I played this over and over when I was about eight years old.
13. SCHOOL DAYS - STANLEY CLARKE
14. HAVONA - JACO PASTORIUS
SUBTLE AND HARMONICALLY RICH
15. CARIBE - MICHEL CAMILO
Bass, Anthoy Jackson.
16. REFUGE OF THE ROADS - JONI MITCHELL
Jaco Pastorius again. Beautiful.
MELODIC PUNK INFLUENCED BASSISTS
17. I LOVE THE SOUND OF BREAKING GLASS - NICK LOWE
Andrew Bodnar on bass. In the seventies a lot of great melodic bass players surfaced everywhere, in disco, funk, punk, new wave and symphonic rock recordings.
18. LONDON CALLING - THE CLASH
19. AROUND THE WORLD - RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS
Flea also came up with many great bass ideas.
20. UNDER CONTROL - HARM VAN SLEEN
Steely Dan influenced, I rather like this bass part, but I would like to redo the mix and the vocals...