Melbourne bassist and teacher Craig Strain takes 5 to chat about his online teaching website, Bass Lessons Melbourne and all things bass…
Who were the biggest influences you chose tap whilst learning bass?
I started out as a metal-head when I was getting into bass, listening to bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Sepultura, Testament, Pantera etc; and had a few garage bands with my friends where we ‘tried’ to play a bunch of these tunes. But it wasn’t really until my bass teacher at school gave me a tape of a BBC radio documentary series about Jaco Pastorius called ‘Punk Jazz’ that I started to really check out individual bassists. After Jaco there was Stanley Clarke who I thought wrote the most amazing songs that took you on a journey that had bass at the centre, Marcus, Victor Wooten and Garry Willis were also early inspirations, but I never really put in the time to learn their style too much, I just mainly absorbed through listening. I also spent a lot of time listening to Tower Of Power and Chic, Bernard Edwards had a phenomenal pocket and Rocco’s playing just brings a smile to my face.
What album can’t you stop listening to right now?
Cory Wong – Cory Wong and the Green Screen Band. Cory plays guitar with Vulfpeck but his solo album is much more in the style of Minneapolis/Prince style funk and features some of Prince’s band members. So. Funky.
What does basslessonsmelbourne.com offer bassists?
At Bass Lessons Melbourne website you can find free transcriptions, video lessons, gear reviews, backing tracks as well as finding out more about booking private lessons and also my ‘Player Profile Podcast’
In your opinion, what are the best and worst things to happen to the bass-world in the last 10 years?
YouTube and YouTube! There is SO much amazing information out there, not to mention access to world class performances by musicians and even full albums, but there is also a lot of not so good stuff. I always recommend finding a good teacher to assist and maximise any online learning platform you may be undertaking, and also keep in mind that it’s one thing to watch a video lesson, but it’s a different thing all together to really implement that information into your playing.
What’s next for Bass Lessons Melbourne?
I’m working on a pretty comprehensive series of bass compressor pedal videos which should be out in the next couple of months as well as some other cool bass gear related videos. As always I’m working hard on lining up guest for the BLM Player Profile Podcast with some amazing bass players locked in for the New Year as well as some already recorded waiting to be edited and uploaded. Apart from that, just trying to hit the shed and get to work on my own playing as well as developing my private teaching practice.