Alcatrazz is back and will release a new album after 30 years. In an exclusive interview with Rock and Roll Garage bassist Gary Shea talked with Rafael Polcaro about his favorite bassists, basslines and also revealed his favorite Alcatrazz song. Besides Shea, the other two founding members on the band nowadays are: Graham Bonnet, and Jimmy Waldo.
“I always loved John Entwhistle of The Who. He was the first to make the bass roar like a mighty beast. Greg Ridley from Spooky Tooth and Humble Pie was an inspiration in holding down the low end. David Brown of Santana was amazing in holding down the groove while everyone else went wild. So simple but so effective. No more than a half dozen notes sometimes but seriously solid.”
“Tim Bogert of Vanilla Fudge was the first to go way over the top and elevate the bass into a more lead instrument. Jim Fiedler of the original Blood Sweat and Tears was so musical to me. I got to see all of these guys do it live and up close. I just tried to meld all of that talent and influence together. There are dozens of great bass players I have enjoyed that I still listen to with great respect. If I were to overplay in Alcatrazz though we would lose the strength of our songs. We leave the flashy bits to the guitarists and keyboards,” Gary Shea said.
“I like the bass in “Mercy and Painted Lover” for their feel with the rhythm of the drums.”Stripper” was wild and fast. Also I really like “General Hospital” and “Too Drunk to Live”. The baseline in “Will You Be home Tonight” is about the death of James Dean. The bass plays a heart beat throughout the song. Simple but throbbing.”
“My favorite song is “Desert Diamond”. What’s heavier than the pyramids? It starts off quietly and turn into an epic ending. I think the song has great emotion and cool lyrics. We tuned down to low C where the strings were flopping off the neck but it super heavy.”
“Fun Fact: there is a part in the song where we drop a beat. Bobby Colomby who was the drummer for Blood Sweat and Tears and the producer of Jaco Pastorious stopped by the studio to visit our producer Eddie Kramer. Bobby made the suggestion about dropping the beat for effect and we kept it in,” Gary Shea said.
I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG