Band of the Week: Freekbass

Meet the band: Freekbass (bass, vocals)

Bass in your face: Freekbass started off as a drummer when he was a kid and then moved to guitar. When he saw the bassist in the Oberlin College jazz band perform, he knew he had found his instrument of choice. "The first time I heard the tones coming out of that thing, I knew I wanted to play that instrument," he says, recalling a concert he saw as a youth. "In Cincinnati, there was always a big bass scene. As a kid, all my friends were into Nirvana and Green Day and that stuff. I was always leaning toward early Dr. Dre and Snoop. Even now when I play bass, I mentally think I'm a drummer who can play notes. I think of the beat of the rhythm first and the melodic aspect second."

Bootsy call: Freekbass met funk icon Bootsy Collins a few years ago as he was working on a song for a Jimi Hendrix tribute album. "We went to Bootsy's studio," he says. "I was excited about that. He brought me out there and it was like driving to the Bat Cave for the first time. We met and he produced and engineered the track. He was digging what I was doing on the bass. He called me up to write some songs together and that's how the whole thing started." The two have become friends and frequent collaborators. "His whole thing is that if you can record in this business, you can survive," Freekbass says. "His whole thing is about teaching a man to fish and he'll fish forever. He would do that rather than just give him a fish."

Why you should hear him: Freekbass's new album, Everybody Feelin' Real, kicks off with the anthemic "Rise" and never lets up. Funky bass riffs dominate the mix. "Funk is my wheel house and that's my comfort zone," Freekbass says. "As much as P-Funk and Bootsy Collins are influences, Sly and the Family Stone have been a huge influence. Not that I'm trying to cop Sly but I remember those songs like 'Stand' that really got me into music. Whether it's dubstep or reggae, funk always stays around. It's always been a cult kind of thing. It just won't go away. With this album, we kept referencing albums like Sly's There's a Riot Goin' On and Fresh. They were really raw but they were tight and it was about creating the groove and everything."

Where you can hear him:

Where you can see him: Freekbass performs with Particle and Octopus Prime at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 15, at the Grog Shop.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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