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Head to Head
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Nathen Maxwell
Flogging Molly

How would you sum up your bass style?
I’m really big into reggae, so I’ve got that bounce—but then again one of my biggest heroes is Sid Vicious, so what does that tell you? Ha Ha!

What gear do you use?
I play and Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay through an Ampeg Classic SVT head and a 4x10 cab. I started playing Music Man back in 2000. Before that I played a Fender, but the tone I got from combining the active pickups of the Music Man with the all-tube SVT was really, really powerful. I just fell in love with it. I go straight in, I don’t use any effects, although once I did use a crappy little Roland keyboard amp, just to get an overdriven sound. I like a clean sound live, because there are so many mid range frequencies going on in my band that I like to fill out the bottom end. I’m pretty picky about my tone—if I don’t get the right sound on stage it’s hard for me to lock into the pocket, because it feels about a centimeter wide. If I have the right tone though, it feels like a football field.

Who are your bass heroes?
Definitely Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett—I could probably listen to his basslines for the rest of my life and not get sick of them. Paul Simenon of The Clash, too; not only his bass playing but also his style. He’s an older generation to me but he’s been a huge influence. Matt Freeman of Rancid, he’s got to be one of the best punk rock players around today. Also Justin Chancellor of Tool is amazing.

What’s the secret of playing well?
You know, less is more, and I think you push air around more efficiently when you’re playing less. Then you leave the room for the space to create a deeper pocket.
Joel McIver



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