It’s not uncommon for bass players to be overlooked. Few four (or five) string low end practitioners seize the spotlight like Chris Squire or Geddy Lee, and that makes sense given the stealthy weaving of elements that resides at the heart of really fine bass work. However, observant fans can often locate the beating heart of a band in this role, and that’s never more true than with Marillion’s hopping, always right-in-the-pocket Pete Trewavas. Set aside a smile that instantly makes one adore this music and the man making it, Trewavas possesses the wicked combination of crazy range, varied tastes & textures, and perhaps most importantly, the humility and wisdom to know when to keep things simple or let others shine while holding down his part of the enterprise.
As complex as Trewavas’ basslines can be (and given the 30 minute range of some epic pieces he can get out there sometimes), his playing remains steadfastly immediate, a presence felt, particularly within the larger structures (though there in a more taut version on singles and shorter material) that one can grab onto (or perhaps allow themselves to be grabbed by). A healthy measure of the richness of Marillion’s sound comes from Trewavas, whose bass inflections and harmony singing are often the ingredients that bind the whole together.
His bass voice is a fine mixture of schooled braininess and gut instinct that hunts down hooks with a tenacity and regularity that’s downright impressive. Take any given tune, not just the signature pieces – DI recommends close listens to Marillion.com’s “Go!” or Marbles’ “Drilling Holes” – and Trewavas is doing something interesting that serves the song in the larger sense. His skills could easily make him a showboat solo hero but he’s more interested in playing to the tunes, building muscle so they leap with strength and agility, comfortable sometimes being the invisible man in this gang just so long as they are delivering the best songs possible.
So, in an effort to make sure this particular bassist gets some part of the credit he’s due, Dirty Impound is raising the flag for Mr. Trewavas, who was kind enough to offer some insights about what he does.
Marillion’s new album, Sounds That Can’t Be Made, arrives October 2nd and can be pre-ordered here.