My main amp for the past 20 years has been a Mesa WalkAbout Scout 1x15 combo. It’s a very versatile amp. The three band perimetric EQ is great for dialing out feedback for double bass. I’ve only had to have it serviced once about ten years ago when it started making a cracking sound. Well, it started cracking again last week.
It’s not terribly common for a band to stick together for a whole decade, let alone two! This year, the Bottom Dwellers celebrate our 20th anniversary! We even threw a big ol’ block party. I figured this would be a good occasion to share a few stories.
I don’t believe citizens should be allowed to have guns. Not to buy, not to inherit, not to have in any capacity. Because efforts to sufficiently regulate them in the United States have been unsuccessful, I think applying a severe social stigma to having one might be the most effective option at this point.
I played 100 shows last year, and I’m on track to play at least that many again this year. These aren’t back-to-back touring shows with the same band every night. There is no tour manager, itinerary, or even a single set list to memorize. This is by far the busiest I have ever been, and it’s really quite challenging to manage a schedule like this. I get asked quite frequently how I do it. This is the answer.
Starved for live music during the pandemic, Kristyn and I stumbled upon Kassi Valazza one evening as we desperately scoured social media to find artists streaming online. We were instantly lost in the somber, delicate delivery of her songs, punctuated by the most tastefully haunting electric guitar. It would be three more years before we got the chance to catch her live.
I’ve been studying the art of tube amplifier design for about ten years now, and actually repairing them for about five. I love analizing schematics, pouring over the inside of an amp chassis, and studying the layout choices made by the designer. It was only a matter of time before I took a crack at it myself. That time finally came.
Bell Witch has been one of my favorite bands since I discovered them some six years ago. Seeing them live has been a huge priority for me. They came through my area a few times prior to the pandemic, but each time, I was booked myself. And then there was the pandemic, of course.
A number of Tuesdays have passed since Julianna Riolino’s incredible first full-length solo record, All Blue dropped (and 188 Tuesdays have passed since I last shared new music with you!), but this record is just so good that I had to break the silence.
Longtime visitors to my website will remember that I once worked my ass off to land a job in the town where I live that was only an 8-minute bike ride from my house. That job moved to a neighboring city at the start of the pandemic, and has been the cause of much turmoil ever since.
I was looking up some directions the other day and couldn’t help but notice the footprint of our local Target Distribution Center. It’s HUGE! After a quick scan of the surrounding area, I determined that not only is it the largest building in town, but the largest in the county, and the greater Sacramento area as a whole.
I got sucked into a Twitter thread this week via Madeleine Bonsma-Fisher (@mbonsma) that referenced a Mr. Money Mustache article entitled The True Cost of Commuting. I hadn’t seen this article before, but as someone who regularly sweats the details over how much of my life (and wallet) my commute costs, it found it soberingly gratifying. It’s been a while since I revisited this topic, and a lot has changed since then. We’re due for an update, I think.
Rob Weychert, a Philadelphia-based designer/web developer I’ve been following for decades goes deep on the article layout framework he put developed for ProPublica:
Our articles are built on an underlying grid structure, which varies depending on the size of the reader’s device or browser window. On most mobile phones, the layout is based on a narrow four-column grid. On a tablet, it might be six or eight columns. And in a large desktop browser window, there’s enough room for 14 columns, the largest version of the grid.
We’ve built all of these layout options into our content management system so they don’t require our producers to have any coding skills to use them. But for code-savvy power users who want to extend the system, it’s built with Column Setter, the open-source tool we developed for grid-based editorial design. We recently updated it with a variety of new features.
As someone who has to revisit this exact issue periodically, it’s really cool to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of how it works at one of your favorite news publications, and to hear one of your heroes go deep on fundamentals like this.
I don’t really get asked this too often, likely because the genres of music I specialize in aren’t necessarily known for great bass players—in the sense of flashy playing. On the contrary, flashy playing is what usually makes a poor bass player. Here are players that inspire me.
I’ve written before about my love/hate relationship with my K&K Bass Master Rockabilly Plus. In short, the sound is phenomenal, but the execution is awful. After suffering with its flaws for the past 15 years, I finally decided I’d had enough and modded it.
When we last left our hero, we had a broken neck joint and a splintered heel cap. I’m happy to report the surgery was successful and the patient has fully recovered. Ah, but friends, there is even more to this adventure.
I dropped my bass the other night. It was in its heavily-padded bag, but it took a pretty solid hit to the back of the scroll on the cement. The glue line at neck joint is cracked, and the heal cap is splintered a bit, but it still holds tension. I can’t move the neck even when the string tension off, so I don’t think it’s super bad, but I plan to have it checked out before I play it again.
I lost and old friend this week. We hadn’t been very close for quite a while—the last time I even spoke to him was a few years ago now. He was a pretty important person in my life for a good decade or so, though. Since funerals and celebrations of life aren’t really an option during a pandemic, I sort of feel the need to say a few nice things about a guy who frustrated, hurt, and offended, but also loved a lot of people. And a lot of people loved him back. To me, he was a compassionate and genuine friend.