It’s not often that you get to take time out of a music legend’s day – particularly Steve Bailey of six string fretless bass fame.
You wonder what questions you could ask the musician that musicians after him should strive to become. He has lead a successful career, collaborated and performed with a musicians you’d be starstruck by, and even into his fifties he has been fortunate enough to know only the title of “bassist” and “musician” for the entirety of his professional career. More recently, toting his decades of experience, he has added “teacher” to his resume, backed by the philosophy, that as a musician, “education is key. We worked all our lives to perfect our craft, or to try to make it better.” In turn, the least he can do is to give back.
The 80s and up to the new millennium compared to 2011 are two entirely different environments. The younger generation has taller hurdles to leap over, while the distance between hurdles shorten and the frequency increases as new technologies are spit out on a daily basis. But surprisingly Steve offered invaluable advice, and was cognizant of current technologies – evidence to his adaptability and lifetime of success.
Admittedly, he concedes that “glad” is one way to express his thankfulness for not having been born among what he calls, the “millennial” musicians – or as we know them, the social media and Youtube generation. “You definitely gotta have a more varied skill set these days. You just can’t just be a good musician and expect what everybody else expects,” Steve informs me. Of course, dedication comes into play. “I’ll tell you what, spending six or eight hours a day on video games, like I see some young people doing. You develop some good thumbs, but that’s not going to help you play the bass, much.”
He remembers the day that he attempted to perform on a five string fretless bass with Dizzy Gillespie at the trumpet. “That’s when I was playing with Dizzy Gillespie and I took it on stage that night and found out real quickly that it was not easy to play. Even though I’ve been playing four string, the five string added a whole new dimension to it and confusion. And he told me, on certain terms, never to bring that on stage again until I learned to play it.” Despite the slight admonishment, he has gone on to pioneer the six string fretless bass.
To Steve, he wakes up everyday to admit that his music career is a blessing. To those looking at him, he’s a model for musicians who want to transform music into a lifetime career.
Steven Bailey will be hosting and holding clinics for Bass Player LIVE! at SIR Studios on October 22 and 23 and will be hosting an the All-Star Jam at Key Club on the night of October 22. Doors for the concert open at 7PM. You can purchase tickets through this link.
You can listen to our conversation about Bass Player LIVE!, the differences between today’s musicians and yesterday’s musicians, music marketing, Lady Gaga, work ethics and education, below:
Interview With Steve Bailey by Musefy