Hey Shredder (bass edition)

7 questions for the low end

Brad Houser

The Dead Kenny G's, Critters Buggin

Comments Off on Hey Shredder (Bass): Brad Houser

Brad Houser

Brad Houser is a truly lethal musician, but this can sometimes get missed given the company he keeps. Often sandwiched between howling, gesticulating wildmen Skerik and Mike Dillon, Houser comes off, by comparison, as almost professorial. But watch closely and you’ll see his eyes glint with the same weirdo lightning as he sizes things up and strikes with unerring accuracy. His rhythm sense in The Dead Kenny Gs and Critters Buggin is a cool mix of traditional groove and way-off-script instincts that draws from Mike Watt-ian punk, electric African pocket playing, 60s avant-garde jazz, the best part of 70s fusion, and far more. He’s also been the rock low end theory in Seattle’s Two Loons For Tea and The New Bohemians with Edie Brickell, amongst various diverse studio gigs, so you know he’s got mad range. The man can also play a mean baritone sax, too, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it. What’s perhaps most acutely pleasurable about Brad Houser is how after 25 years of plying his instruments, he’s still an x-factor whose style is so personal and unpredictable that he remains a near-constant happy surprise.

You can bend your ears to his undulating goodness on his studio debut with the Dead Kenny G’s, the perversely tasty, make-ya-dance-like-Mummenschanz-on-crank Operation Long Leash (released March 15 on The Royal Potato Family), and you can catch him with the DKG’s on Jam Cruise in January followed by gigs in Florida and the Carolinas (peep tour dates here).

We’re chuffed that Houser took a few minutes to to answer our bass guitar queries.

Favorite effects pedal? Why?
Moogerfoogers – all, especially low pass filter and freqbox.
Tastiest bassist — i.e. not just soloing but also overall playing — currently working four-strings?
Pino Palladino or Me’Shell NdegeOcello
A bass solo I never get tired of listening to is:
Havona by Jaco Pastorius
Preferred brand of axe?
Lakland. It’s all about the hollow body.
John Paul Jones, Paul McCartney or James Jamerson – which one gives you the biggest bass boner? What makes them SO sweet?
Gotta give it to Jamerson the father, but those two sons did pretty well.
Some lesser-known bassist folks should check out is:
Colin Greenwood from Radiohead. Jesse Murphy’s work with Brazilian Girls. The late, great, Gene Kurtz , who co-wrote “Treat Her Right”, a hit in 1965. I played on a gig with him once about five years ago. He was like Buddah playing country bass. Amazing feel and presence.
What aspect of being a bassist always makes you happy?
When I’m in the zone.