Getting to First Bass

When Frank Peabody invited me to join, scratch that, convinced me to beg for a bass for my next birthday so I could join his band, Tyrant, I wholeheartedly accepted my fate and did just that. It was the first time an opportunity to be in a real band had ever presented itself. Up until then I was banging No. 2 pencils on my make shift drum set, artfully crafted out of books, pads of paper, plastic trays and the translucent red dust cover of my turntable. Granted, I was in a pretty serious air-band with Paul and Chris, we had gigs nearly every day, but this was different, this was real.

The Peabody’s had a garage with amps, an actual drum kit and serious aspirations. They had spare instruments around, so until my fateful 13th birthday hit I was able to get started with Stevie’s guitar strung like a bass… it was weird, it had four strings spread across the bridge to simulate bass spacing, and it was definitely not in tune. I couldn’t care less. I plugged it in, turned it up and had my first taste of the electric. Game over.

There was a bunch of stumbling around on Doors, Kiss and AC/DC with that first “bass” and ultimately, it was more of a spiritual lever than an instrument. It gave me access to Frank and Stevie Peabody. That weird, shitty guitar gave me proximity to the dream they were laying down. Music was vital and important to them, they were serious, determined and specific. The goal was a sick rock show right there in the garage, at the end of their dead end street, with lights and fog and costumes. It was going to be epic.

I loved hanging out with Frank, he was into KISS and Al DiMeola. Frank introduced me to Anesthesia (Pulling Teeth) . He knew that if I was going to be a bass player, I needed to listen to important shit like Cliff Burton and Jaco Pastorius. Frank implored me to think of myself as a real musician, he insisted we needed to believe in ourselves and that we could not take music for granted. It wasn’t just a fun thing to do on Saturdays, it was a lifestyle, it was a calling. He was deep and earnest in the way only a precocious fourteen year old can be. Eventually, thanks to Frank’s inspiration and some savvy birthday politicking, Dad found me a Montoya and a partially working amp in the WantAds, it was my first bass.