DANNY LILKER (Brutal Truth) – ..practice if you think you need to
Hvis man skal nevne en bassist som har vært med i extreme metal scenen siden starten og som fortsatt holder koken, så må det bli Danny Lilker. Danny var med og startet opp Anthrax i 1981 sammen med Scott Ian og 3 år senere dannet han Nuclear Assault sammen med blant andre John Connelly. Han har vært med i flere forskjellige band siden den gang. Men det er som bassist i Brutal Truth han er mest kjent som nå i dag. Vi forsøkte å få til dette intervjuet under Hole in the Sky i 2008, men grunnet masse folk i backstageområdet og kort tid til konsertstart, fant vi ut at det var bedre å ta det via e-mail senere. Så, her er det endelig; Danny Lilkers bidrag til The Down Below Series.
When did you start playing bass? Who/what inspired you to pick up the bass?
I started playing bass when I was 14 years old, I liked the deep tone when the bass came in at the beginning of "Whole Lotta Love" by Led Zeppelin. Yes, I'm old!
What kind of role do you think the bass should have in a band; Primus, AC/DC, or a bit of both?
That really depends on the style of the band of course, I try to hold down the bottom while at the same time keep things interesting, Brutal truth is not "normal" music so I have a pretty unique perspective.
What would you say characterizes your bass playing, technically and musically?
Technically – I can play very fast, which suits our music, and our riffs can be very demanding at high speeds, so you have to be good at what you do to keep up!
Musically – I try to sometimes present a counterpoint to the guitars by playing different riffs that complement the guitar overall . I also play very aggressively, again, this fits the music.
Do you have any formal music training?
Only on piano, which I learned when I was very young. When I took up bass, I knew what all the notes were, but I never had any lessons on bass.
Any tips for developing and maintaining technique and musical creativity?
Try to learn to play some Rush songs! Geddy Lee is the master… as for musical creativity, that's a hard one, but I would say listen to a lot of different styles of music to expand your palette.
Tips on how to give a bass riff that extra cool sound or groove?
Well, I use a lot of distortion to achieve my tone, it fits our music very well, in fact, when grindcore was invented, one of the signature aspects of it was distorted bass! As far as groove, put away the click track and follow the drummer.
How do you prepare for a gig?
I honestly do not warm up backstage or anything. I realize this doesn't make a very good example, but it works for me.
How about touring, any tips on how to keep delivering through weeks on the road?
Take care of yourself on the road, get plenty of sleep; don't start drinking too early in the day and practice if you think you need to.
Is the right musical gear important for you? What kind of gear do you use?
My distorted tone comes from my SansAmp GT-2 guitar pedal, it's my secret weapon. This pedal is very important to my sound, I can play any decent bass rig on tour as long as I'm using that pedal. At home I have a Gallien-Kruger 800 RB head and an Ampeg SVT cab. Right now I'm playing my B.C. Rich Warlock bass from the 90s.
How would your dream rig look like?
I'm not concerned with having a huge bass rig, it's too much to drag around. I know it's boring, but I'd be happy with a nice new SVT head and cabinet, I already have my "dream" pedal. I hope to be endorsed by Warwick basses soon!
How many strings on the bass, and why?
Just 4 please, I'm an old school dude and I'm just used to 4 strings. If you can't play everything you need to play with 4 strings…play guitar!
Pick or fingers? Why?
Pick. For the speed of our music, I need a pick to keep up. It works well with the distortion, it's almost like I'm playing a guitar tuned down a whole octave.
Any tips for aspiring bass players?
Listen to classic rock like Rush, Cream and Yes for inspiration, these guys are some of the best.
Mention three bass players within metal that has a style you like, and what you like about them.
Cliff Burton! He had a very unique style with his wah-wah and distortion pedals. Kev Riddles from early Angelwitch, he did some really interesting counterpoints to the guitar playing of Kevin Heybourne. And of course, Steve Harris from Iron Maiden, whose aggressive and upfront style was very inspiring for me.
If you were to choose three bass players (not necessarily within metal) who's inspired you, who would that be? Tell a little on how they've inspired you.
Geddy Lee of Rush, simply the master. You just have to listen to Rush to see how he inspired me, it's hard to put into words, but I can say that NO ONE plays like Geddy Lee. Lemmy, from Motorhead was an inspiration for his aggressive tone and technique. And Chris Squire from Yes, who played in a very technical style and blended very well with the guitar playing of Steve Howe. Ha, they all play Rickenbackers and I don't!
Which bass player would you like to see in this series?
Shane Embury from Napalm Death, I think his playing is much underrated!