Q&A Sessions
George Hawkins, Jr: April 4 - 19, 2000
Page 1

Hi Mr. Hawkins! I read from your biography here at The Penguin that you have had a wonderful career and have worked with many talented artists over the years, including the absolutely wonderful Billy Burnette. What is he like? Has he changed much over the last 20 years? (He certainly has not aged at all!) Best wishes to you for continued success with your career! (Michele Mategrano, Burbank, Illinois, USA)


In response to your question about Billy Burnette...He's a creep. Never ages!?!?! HAH !!!!!! Oh yeah, right. He's mostly made out of face putty, collagen, and neck staples! I'm kidding of course. He's one of my very closest friends; a genuinely kind and loving person. And the thing about him never aging.........? Yeah. All his friends hate that about him. He must have a deal with the devil ........or Dick Clark.

Hello George Hawkins. I remember watching you sing and play with Christine McVie on an MTV special back in 1984. During that concert, you sang the lead male parts to World Turning, Don't Stop, and One in a Million. At one point, while introducing the members of her band, Christine described you as a man with a "lovely voice." I got the impression you were a bit shy about singing and she was boosting your spirits. Is this true? Why didn't you sing some lead parts on her solo album? Thanks. (Tony Leuzzi, Rochester, New York, USA)


No, I'm not shy at all about singing. I can't imagine why I would act coy unless I had just sung terribly and then Chris said the "lovely voice" thing. I think the only male lead parts on Christine's record were sung by Steve Winwood. I did sing a lot of backgrounds and the duet stuff like on "Got A Hold On Me".

Hi George, thanks for doing this. A few questions: What was your first impression of Christine McVie when you met her? (Ali, Montgomery Township, Pennsylvania, USA)

When I first met Chris she was coming off stage and I was in the wings, watching, and Mick, whom I'd already met, stopped and introduced me to her. My heart began to pound and I couldn't speak cuz I'd just watched this girl play and sing better than anything and she looked amazing, as always, and I was totally smitten.

What was your favorite song off of the album you did with her? (Ali)

I think my favorite songs on Chris's solo record are "Who"s Dreaming This Dream" because it was the perfect blend of Todd Sharp's masterful guitar voicings and de-tuning, and Christine's melodic and lyrical vocal; I also love "Got A Hold On Me" cuz it's so up and funky, really fun to play. There are so many great songs, it's hard to choose; but those two come to mind.

Who are your influences? (Ali)

My influences are a wide spectrum - from The Beatles (McCartney ) to Jaco Pastorius. I listened to Cream and Zeppelin, and Jimi; My favorite band is The Band. I used to listen to a lot of jazz guitarists - Pat Martino and Joe Pass. I love pianists Oscar Peterson and Chick Corea. Composers - Randy Newman, John Prine.

What are you currently listening to? Thanks again. (Ali)

These days I mostly listen to classical, old delta-style acoustic blues, and gospel music.

Hi George,

What was it like working in the studio with Peter Green during Mick's album "The Visitor" in 1981 ? Peter at that point in 1981, still seemed to possess his great guitar skills and voice despite his own personal problems that he has experienced. The album itself, was way ahead of it's time (i.e. Paul Simon's "Graceland"). (Steve Elliott, Arlington, Virginia, USA)


Peter was living in a walk-in walk-out facility then and could be signed out for periods of time. He seemed lucid and played and sang great. He was a bit to himself, so there wasn't a lot of conversation.

Hi George, thanks for taking the time... I just have one short question for you - being a Dane I´m interested in how you got involved in playing on an album by Danish singer Thomas Helmig??? (Kim Abrahamsson, Skovlunde, Denmark)


I'm sorry to say that I don't have a clear recollection of working with Thomas Helmig. Can you please refresh my memory?

Hey Handsome! I've had the biggest crush on you ever since I saw the MTV documentary on the making of Christine's solo album. Todd Sharp was supposed to warn you about me. Christine was so right when she introduced you as George "the Body" Hawkins! What did you think of Christine when you first met her? (Christine, Mississippi, USA)

Hi Christine, You're great for my ego, girlfriend. When I first met Chris McVie I thought she was an angel straight from heaven. I still do. That was in '78, I think, when I was with Kenny Loggins and we were opening for The Mac.

Was Eddy Quintela added to the touring band before or after he became Christine's main squeeze? (Christine)

We met Eddy in Montreaux while we were doing Chris's solo record in '83. So yeah, he and Chris were already together when we started the tour in '84.

I've seen your name on several cd liner notes, but have never seen any of YOUR material. Do you have any cd's floating around out there? How about a new one? (Christine)

I do have a solo CD titled "Every Dog Has Its Day" and it will be available through this web site in a week or so.

Todd says you two live near each other, so obviously you stay in contact. Have you remained in contact with Christine and/or Steve Ferrone? (Christine)

I do stay in touch with Steve Ferrone, although not as often as I'd like. He lives on one coast and I live on the other; we both have busy lives, plus, being one of the greatest musicians on the planet keeps him constantly in demand and on the road or in the studio. Miss ya Steve.

I haven't spoken to Chris for a while, but we've always been very close and when we see each other, it's like no time has passed since our last get together. I love you, Chris. Hope to see you soon.

Will you send me a photo of yourself? It doesn't have to be autographed. Thanks George! (Christine)

I guess you could download a picture from this site, right? If that's not good enough, write us again and we'll figure out a way to get a photo to you, K?

Thanks for your letter, Christine, and keep your eye out for Delbert McClinton coming to your town, Todd and I are both in his band and he's awesome.

Me again George, I'm not crazy or anything, so don't be afraid. ha ha ha. I am going to see Delbert McClinton at the House of Blues pretty soon and was wondering if you will be in the band. Thanks again! (Christine)


Yeah, Todd Sharp and I will both be there. I'm not sure which H.O.B. you're talking about, but make sure you say hi to us. See ya

Hi George! I wish I could say something worldly...but truth is I don't know much about you...I read some of the answers to some previous questions and thought I would ask...since you worked with Kenny Loggins...were you around for the recording of his duet with Stevie..."Whenever I Call You Friend"?..If so ... anything remarkable?...Also...I totally adore "Got A Hold On Me" is funky and up beat..and if FM ever tours again..I think it would be interesting to hear their take on it =) Thanks Bunches! (LauraTN, Tennessee, USA)


Yes, I worked on "Whenever I Call You Friend"..........played bass and sang backgrounds. That was a great period for the Loggins band; we all had alot of input in the music. That was the "Nightwatch", or "Keep the Fire album. I was good friends with Stevie then cuz our bands were still touring together. We hung pretty regularly. She was such a dish and had great energy. All she thought about was music. She would show up at our other gigs sometimes just to sing "Friend" with Kenny.

I have a cool picture of she and I singing on the same mic that I cherish. I'll scan and send to this site. Look for it.

Mr. Hawkins, thanks for your time :) I understand that you worked with Stevie Nicks and Kenny Loggins on "Whenever I Call You Friend". Can you describe what the recording session(s) were like? How long did it take? Were changes made to the song during recording? Were Stevie and Kenny romantically involved? How did you get along with Stevie? Thanks again! (Rick, Hinesville, Georgia, USA)


I think I answered some of your questions in my last response to Laura. The recording went smoothly; as it should have with the well-oiled machine, so to speak, that was the Loggins band at that point. We had it worked out in advance, arrangement, tempo, length, etc. Stevie came to sing on the pre-recorded track having received a demo sometime earlier. She was very professional, well-prepared, and in good voice and spirits. She can take your breath away, Bro.

As far as I know, Stevie and Kenny were not romantically involved. Kenny was happily married at the time to a spectacular Nordic goddess named Eva Ein.

Hi! Thanks for doing this Q&A. I'm sure everyone will want to know what it was like to work with Christine, Lindsey, and Billy, so I won't ask. I'm also an Eagles fan, so what was it like to work with Don Felder? I love his guitar playing. The intro to Hotel California, and the end solos are amazing. I think he's totally underrated. Thanks!! (Heather D., Binghamton, New York, USA)


I worked with Don all too briefly, but it was cool. Super-pro, ya know? No messin' around. I was pretty much in and outta there. We didn't hang. Sorry I don't have a more fun story; but this is one of the few times that will happen.

Hi, George, thanks for your time & patience. :-) Any horror stories from the making of "The Visitor" with Mick that you could relate (other than just the fact of having to spend all that time with Todd Sharp, I mean!)? (Steve Denison, Long Beach, California, USA)


That's very funny, dude. About Todd, I mean.

Anyway........... Firstly, Ghana, West Africa is hot ! Secondly, the food was awful for the first several weeks cuz we had a house boy who drank Todd's gin (Todd's been sober for twelve years, by the way) and he also drank the local beer Mick and I had managed to lay our hands on, and stole our underwear, couldn't cook, caught the kitchen on fire, and didn't have the connections we thought he had with the local hunters, fishermen, farmers and elders.

We all had dysentery the whole time, and one guy, who shall remain nameless for obvious reasons, had dysentery, malaria, and that good old potent strain of West African gonorrhea all at the same time!!!

Add to that, intermittent electricity, no hot water, no air conditioning, and no phone service (not to mention a regular diet for the first month of something called "rice cutter" which turned out to be some kind of field rat) and you'll begin to get an inkling as to how removed it was from our usual existence. It was beautiful, though. I'll never forget it. Thank you, Mick, my dear friend and mentor.

What was the process for choosing the material that was done on the Zoo's "I'm Not Me" album? How many tunes did you record that didn't make the final cut of the album? Thanks, more in the coming days, I'm sure. (Steve Denison)

I don't remember exactly how the material was chosen for "I'm Not Me". Plus, I was in and out of town all the time with Jarreau. Billy, Mick, and co-producer Richard Dashut handled the logistics of that record.

Say hi to southern Cal for me, Steve. I was born and raised there and miss it like crazy. Come see Todd and I at the House of Blues in L.A. Friday, June 2nd with Delbert McClinton. Make sure to introduce yourself. See ya there, I hope.

Wow I forget what an extensive career you have had. It seems like I have followed you through most of it. So glad you are still playing. Best wishes. (Cameron Knight)


Thanks, friend. I couldn't have done it without you.

Hi George, I have enjoyed your work since THE VISITOR with Mick Fleetwood. I'm only sorry I missed your album from 1996. I can't find it now.

I read in your biography that you worked on the Rickie Lee Jones tour for THE MAGAZINE, and this was the same year you toured with Christine. I love that record.I didn't catch the tour however, but did see Christine's. Did you work on THE MAGAZINE or did you come on later for the tour? That period, I think, was a high water mark for her.

Todd Sharp mentioned in the Q & A that he too is touring with Delbert McClinton. You both seem to really enjoy this gig. What do you see yourself doing in the future, after this? Or do you think you'll stay on for quite a while? You worked on Billy Burnette's new upcoming album. Will you play some shows with him also? If you know where I can get a copy of your album let me know, OK? Thank you very much! (Timothy Kee, North Huntington, Pennsylvania, USA)


No, I didn't have the privilege of working on "Magazine". Patrick Rains & Assoc., whom managed Al Jarreau, David Sanborn and others at the time, acquired Ricki in '83 and hired me for her up-coming tour as bassist. It turned out that there was no band leader, and as Ricki had more eccentricities and artistic qualities than workman-like characteristics , I was gratefully assigned musical director duties so she could concentrate on her art unencumbered.

I love working with Delbert. He's the best at what he does. There's no question about that. I'll hang for as long as everything's cool with our mutual experience. It's very convenient, the way they do it in this town (Nashville). We're home for four days, then go out for a long weekend and I'm back by Sunday night or Monday, usually. Plenty of time with the kids. It's great.

In the future I'd like to spend more time writing and recording my own stuff. That's the most satisfying musical activities for me these days. I will work toward spending more time with my family: First priority.

I'm not sure about doing shows with Bill. I know we'll play together again cuz we're such great friends and Todd, Billy and George have always been a dynamic event. But right now Billy is presenting and promoting a very specific sound that includes an acoustic up-right bass, for example, and a certain style of guitar playing that suits and supports his current identity; which, in my opinion, is the closest thing he's ever done to acknowledge being the rightful heir to the Rockabilly throne.

Long live the King.

You'll be able to get my record from this web-site in a week or so.


Hi George.... I've been following your career for some time and I last saw you way back when you were with Dan Fogelberg in the late 80's. Now that I know you're with Delbert, I'll be looking for him to come into Atlanta. I have just one question....Are you married? (Elizabeth, Atlanta, Georgia, USA)


Yes, I am very happily married and have four beautiful children.

As you noted, 1984 was a busy tour year for you. I saw you in the spring of that year play bass for Christine McVie in Los Angeles, then again that winter on the Rickie Lee Jones tour for her third album.

Do you remember who in the McVie band was responsible for that charming call-and-response vocal arrangement on "Spare Me a Little" used on the tour? I always prefer to hear older songs recast in interesting new ways, and this particular performance was a perfect example. Mick Fleetwood sat out front that night at Universal Amphitheater. What great memories many of us have of Chris, you, Todd and Steve tearing it up on "One in a Million" and "World Turning"! (David, Los Angeles, California, USA)


Although I don't specifically recall the exact arrangement on "Spare Me A Little", I suspect that, as were all the arrangements, it was worked up cooperatively in rehearsal: one person gets an idea, then someone else interprets that, and so on. The result of that process is a continuously evolving framework within which the music itself grows and changes and settles into a comfortable life for a while before it surprises everyone again with it's unpredictable magic.

I found the Rickie Lee gigs I saw that year unsettling--even disturbing--but strangely moving and ultimately satisfying. I remember all of the intricately planned show very distinctly--a mix of jazz, beat poetry and performance art. Do you remember your spoken parts (the scene in the fox hole, the scorpion that stung itself to death)? Your comments in a previous question that Rickie Lee had more eccentricities than grounded, workmanlike qualities fascinates me, George. You were the musical director, so was the underlying "groove" of the show your idea? Also, did Vonda Shepherd (who penned the "Ally McBeal" theme) play in the band? I thought it was she, but I lost my program years ago. All in all, an absolutely bizarre and extraordinary evening. Are you glad you did it?

Thanks for your patience, George. Among Mac fans, you're certainly "one of the family." (David)

The Rickie Lee tour was disturbing, yes, and unsettling, as you correctly observed, thereby fulfilling at least part of her mission as an artist, as I i interpret her. She is a very unique individual and artist and doesn't just play her songs and go home. Every song is multi-layered musically and emotionally; I'm definitely not saying I understand or comprehend the depth and breadth of her vision, but she always tried to impart to the band the importance of accentuating a certain phrase or figure to more accurately describe the moment, emotionally speaking.

In that light, consider the spoken word parts of the show: the actual dramatic, although very stylized portrayal of events in her life. My character was Rickie's father. Vonda was Rickie's childhood self (I think ) and who knows really what else was going on. She's deep. It was cool, though, wasn't it?

I was assigned the post of musical director by management. Any one of the band could have done the job. The band was amazingly talented. My only responsibility was to help run rehearsals by making sure the band knew what specific sections of specific songs Rickie wanted us to work on. At that point the band would work up their own ideas. And ,yes, by the way, that was the disturbingly beautiful and talented 21 year old Vonda Sheppard on her very first tour.

I'm very glad I had the privilege to work with Rickie. She is a singular, one of a kind artist and a piece of American culture never to have come before in any way, shape or form; and never to come again, I dare say. Thanks for your thoughtful questions.

Delighted to talk to ya...I 've always been fascinated by your "walk a thin line " cover - did you personally have a fondness for the track or was it Mick's choice for "Visitor" inclusion? (Ollie O'Gorman, Dublin, Ireland)


Mick loved "Walk A Thin Line". He is a particularly sensitive man. Sometimes he would be profoundly and unexpectedly moved by the smallest event or remark. I can't say for sure why "Walk..." was chosen by Mick, other than to guess that he might have thought it to be an unusual but appropriate piece to bring to the African players for his vision of what he wanted the record to feel like, and that it was, to Mick, to be sure, a powerfully soulful piece, and of great beauty.

The Visitor album sleeve is great with a brilliant head shot of you - you look like you're having 'a ball. What were those days like ? Was the industry more fun back then or do you enjoy the scene as much today ? Any words on Richard Dashut ? Nice Guy ? Better let you go man, You're a great bass player, Jaco P. was the man. Peace. (Ollie O'Gorman)

We had so much fun, I don't know where to begin. Rather than try to recall instances and events to describe our adventure and why we look the way we do in the album photos, let me offer this :

The Ghanaian people were so beautiful and warm that one couldn't help but feel better after being around them for a certain period of time. Even though they were basically destitute, they were happy. Printed on the sides of a dilapidated old bus or the wall of some shop would be, for instance, "Be Happy, Life is Long", or "Don't worry", or "All Good Things Will Come". They were full of spirit, and God, and all the higher qualities of humanity were nearer the surface. They had no reason, and no capacity, really, to be phony or pretentious. They live simple, biblical, so to speak, lives: Farmers, drum makers, mothers, fathers, fishermen, elders, sons and daughters. I was very happy there, Ollie.

Extremely happy.

The industry was cooler in many ways back then. There wasn't the extreme pressure to produce mega-hit music. There were opportunities for artists to stretch and be creative and experiment. The "Visitor", for example. Can you imagine any record company today going out on that limb? Plus, it didn't sell hardly at all, which is the the point, really. It was an artistic endeavor. But at the same time, when Fleetwood Mac was literally the biggest band in the world, Lindsay was doing extremely innovative material that challenged us as listeners, with exceedingly gratifying results for us. There were such diverse and unique bands and artists during that period. It was great. Today, all popular music sounds the same to me. ( I really THAT old?!? ).

Richard Dashut. Sadly I haven't spoken with Richard for a couple of years. But let me say this : He's a very talented producer and engineer; but more importantly, he's one of the coolest, funniest, most even-tempered, reasonable and generous human beings that I've ever had the privilege to call my friend. In our long friendship he has been there for me again and again and I would trust him with my life. Love you, Richard. Miss you, Brother.

Thanks, Ollie. Best

Hey George... What are your thoughts on John McVie's work ? Do you like his style? Lindsey once said in an interview that he felt himself and John clashed because he considered John's bass parts "too busy". Listening then to "trouble" your work is quite simple in style. Would you consider the bass as your favourite instrument? By the way,if you ever come to Ireland I'll bring you on one of our world famous pub crawls man ok ! Thanks man and Take care. (Ollie O'Gorman)


O.K. ...........first things first. I'll definitely take you up on that pub crawl, Bro. Looking forward to it. You are in my address book.

I love John McVie's playing. I've copied him for years and I'm not about to stop. He's an innovator. He invented that style. One of the things I like is his simplicity. Maybe Lindsey meant he was more active melodically than he might have wanted on occasion. McVie has a beautiful melodic sense; one that seems to be more common among English bass players, particularly of a certain era : McCartney (certainly), John Paul Jones, Entwhistle, Jack Bruce, McVie. I can't imagine Lindsey thinking John was too busy; but, who knows, right? Hey, I gotta go. Kids, ya know? Write again if you feel like it.


Hell-o George--

Do you ever see Steve Winwood in Nashville? I'm going to be seeing you on 04-22-00 will the lovely Bekka Bramlett be singing with the band? I'm looking forward to saying hi to you and Todd. When is the best time before or after the show? Thanks George. (Bill Seamens, Buffalo, Minnesota, USA)


The best time to hook up in Medina is at sound check, 5-ish. There will be no problem backstage, everybody there is cool. Just say your a friend of Todd and George. Find the bus in back of the venue and go in the nearest door. If that time is not convenient for you, come to the bus half an hour before showtime.

See ya

Why didn't you ever ask Stevie out? Was she with somebody at the time? If so, who was it? What is your fondest memory of Stevie and have you spoken to her recently? Did you see the Mac on the reunion tour or Stevie's Enchanted tour? And finally, how do you think Stevie looks and sounds today compared to how she did then? Thanks. (Melissa, Hemet, California, USA)


A gentleman never kisses and tells. I'm kidding. With all the masters of the universe pursuing Stevie at the time, why would she even give a second glance to li'l ol' me, now, hmmmm?


My fondest memory of Stevie is getting to sing "Whenever I call You Friend" with her on the same mic. She was Queen of Everything at that time and the world was in the palm of her hand, she was one of the most vivacious, breathtaking, sought after women on the planet, and I got to look into her eyes from three inches away and sing directly into her smiling face, as she sang back at me.


The last time I spoke with Stevie was over a year ago. She was warm and gracious as ever.

No I didn't get a chance to see the Mac or Stevie's solo tour. I'm always gone when she or the band has been here. My wife and my two teen-age girls went to see the Mac, though when they were here. Christine is very close with my wife, Melanie, and I, so they were looking forward to seeing Chris; and Mick is godfather to my oldest daughter, Molly, so knew they'd get to spend time with him. As it turned out Mel and the girls got to hang with Stevie for quite a while after the show. She made a point to talk with both my girls, who were thrilled. Thanks Stevie.

I think Stevie looks and sings better now than she has for years. Now that she is healthy and happy, she glows like she did when we all first fell in love with her.

Thanks Missy.

Hi George, and thanks for answering our questions:-) I had read in your biography that you played in Deana Carter's band. Did you happen to play in that band with Michael Ramos? I am familiar with his work with the BoDeans, and if you worked with him, I was curious as to whether or not you enjoyed it. Keep up the good work! (Stephanie, St. Louis, Missouri, USA)


Hi. I've never met Michael Ramos, but I love the BoDeans. Maybe someday I'll have the pleasure of playing with him. Thanks for your question. Write again.

Hi George, Thank you for the informative answers. All of your vocals on THE VISITOR were wonderful. And the songs aren't dated. I still love that album. How did George Harrison get involved on "Walk A Thin Line"? What was it like having him playing guitar and doing backing vocals? You seem to genuinely care about other people and it's such a credit to you that your family is your primary concern. God bless. (Timothy Kee, North Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA)


George Harrison was Mick's ex-brother-in-law, or maybe current brother-in-law at that time. Mick was married to Jenny Boyd, the mother of his two beautiful daughters; Jenny's sister, Patty, was a famous English model who was married to Harrison, and then later to Eric Clapton. We were recording at Jimmy Page's studio in some idyllic little shire, I believe it was called Cookham. The guest quarters were built directly over a tributary to the Thames. It was awesome.

George lived in nearby Henley (I think). Mick called and he came over. Freaky, isn't it, just to think about it : "Yeah, sure . I'll be right over." Wow!! So anyway, he came over and was totally cool and nice and we played him the track to see what he heard on it for him to do. He said he thought it was all together except maybe some slide. Our eyes lit up and Richard Dashut had him set up and ready to go in about ten seconds, before he had a chance to change his mind. So he played, then sang backgrounds with Sarah Fleetwood. It is one of my private vanities to look at the credits for that song : piano, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, lead vocal : George Hawkins.

Slide guitar and backing vocals : George Harrison.

"Yep.......(imagine Barny Fife hiking up his pants) George Harrison sang a little back-up for me. You know, over at Page's place. Workin' with Mick, yeah".

Talk about dreams coming true.

Thanks for your kind words, Timothy. Best of everything to you and your

Great to get your answers. Nice one on that score. Damn tootin' in sayin there'll be no Visitor Pt 2 ...the industry has become utterly homogenized, formulaic. The men in suits have seemingly won ! They must be sending accountants into the studio to produce half the acts out there!


Come back with some killer cuts and redefine quality !!!! Actually, Dublin is really jumpin at the moment and as a result there are a lot of diverse bands recording & gigging here. The Stones, Bryan Ferry, Elvis Costello, The Cranberries, Van Morrison, etc all record around town. So, get on the good foot and record a couple 'o tunes here someday eh ?Actually, I heard Mr McVie played here a few years back presumably on a solo tour to promote his album with Lola Thomas - I missed the bloody gig though ! Argghhhh ! One final question - Any memories to share regarding the recording sessions for Lindsey's Law and Order album ? Incredible being able to chat with you, - there's a pint of Guinness sittin down the local with "George Hawkins - bass player supreme" written all over it. Peace brother, delighted to know you're out there jammin with Todd. (Ollie O'Gorman, Dublin, Ireland)


Good to chat with you, too, Bro.

I only recorded one tune (that I was the early 80's, after all.......wasn't it?!?) on that record : "Trouble". It was just Lindsey, Dashut, Mick and I. Mick and I played to a pre-existing track Lindsey had already recorded with machines and wanted a "live" rhythm section on it. I believe that's how it was.

That's about it for that story; except to say that any time Dashut and I got in the studio together, the first hour would be spent laughing convulsively. We were each other's best audience. He would kill me with these really intelligent but totally twisted and irreverent observations and lightening-quick come-backs that would devastate the poor victim, which was usually me , and I would astound him with the depths in crass tastelessness and vulgar depravity to which I would descend. I think I even made him gag once. Now that was funny. An alternative comedy team for the 80's, I tell ya. We could have been huge!

Good talking to you, man. Hey, Ollie, I tried to send you some stuff I thought you'd get a kick out of, but I got a mailer-daemon back saying your e- address didn't exist with that server :

Write back when they work it out. Down the

Hello George! Thanks for allowing me to contribute to the numbness in your hands from so much typing. I have the album 'I'm Not Me' and I am in awe of your bass work on the song 'Tear It Up'. I have been playing the bass for 2 years now (old guy - started late!). I mostly play be ear or will write the note above the lyrics so I know what to play. I'd like to become a 'good' player and feel like I should begin with the basics. I enjoy playing but I feel limited because I can't read music. Do you have any suggestions for someone in my position? Thanks again for taking the time to respond. (Tony S., Wellman, Iowa, USA)


Don't bother to learn how to read music. Learn how to play it. My suggestions are to listen to your favorite stuff and copy what you hear. Learn how to play simply, but with feel. As you learn more music, figure out the key, and the chords. Start with simple stuff; and ideally, you would have some kind of keyboard to reference to. The piano keys are laid out in black and white and for that reason are really helpful in learning to recognize chord progressions by ear, figuring out ideas, and applying those things to your bass.

Thank you for your kind words. Good luck, and write back if you have any more questions you think I might be able to help you out with.

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