Alberto with the Bass

“Alberto with the Bass, Alberto with the Bass, Alberto with the Bass”, they shout. I nod. We build suspense, we create the vibe, we await instruction, the crowd await the sound. Rodney taps his feet as he sits at the piano. Jackson taps the sticks: one, two, three, four….BOOM. Omar hits that special note, it’s a pre-crescendo, a tease, a warning that it’s about to ‘go-off’. Get your senses ready and get your mind engaged. Alberto with the Bass, Alberto with the Bass… it’s my turn. The excitement each time is real, tense and free at the same time. A flick of a finger is all it seems but what the audience don’t know is it came from the bottom of my foot, up my leg, through my spine, out into my shoulder and BOOM, a flick of the wrist, a note so deep, so earthy, so true. I’m Alberto with the Bass, I’m Alberto with the Bass. 

On Sundays we just Jam, from 2pm – 10pm, me and the guys, in the pub, Jamming. There is something so pure, so honest, so musical about it. People come and go, but we’ve been the core group since day one. We do something different each time, I’m usually on the Bass, or the guitar or occasionally I sing. Generally though, I save my voice for the street, for when I’m busking. I’ve got three slots a week and it provides me with enough money to enjoy my life. I’ve released singles, I’ve got a house full of demo’s, but really, for me, I just enjoy singing. There is a freedom that comes with it that I haven’t been able to realise anywhere else.

I desperately wanted a condenser microphone when I got my Marshall Amp and my PRS e-guitar. It wasn’t because I think I have the greatest voice, although the enhanced tracking of lower frequency sounds is perfect for me. Neither was it because I wanted the best quality microphone for my home studio setup. It’s just because it felt right, it looked right, it sounded right. I’m the same with my equipment as I am with my clothing. Yea, there may be elements of my persona that are cliche. And yea, I’ve borrowed some style ever-present from the past… but for me, I don’t overthink it. I buy things that feel right. If it hasn’t got that ‘boom’, that ‘shake’, then I don’t want anything to do with it.  I don’t need layers of psychological understanding as to why I like my hoody with the cut up teddy – I just like it. At the moment that I bought it it summed up my feelings. I was the teddy, all the musicians i know are the Teddy, my listeners are Teddy’s and we all need to realise that nobody can cut our heads off. We’ve got soul, we’ve got fire and we’ve got the ability to simply stitch it all back up, start over, refresh. It is like a symbol for me to stop searching and start believing. We are all musicians at heart, even the humblest of Teddy Bears. There is a fusion there that I cherish, a fusion of pain and hope. I just want the best, for me and for everybody else. My issue isn’t about what you might feel when you look at me and see a decapitated teddy on my chest. I challenge you to hear my sound, feel my beat, because that Teddy has got a huge heart on its chest and it’s only a thread or two away from being whole again.

Main image credit: Tania Alieksanenko (Unsplash)

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The Good Sole

Curated for the curious.