Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Fuss On The Buss

DVD Review
Fuss On The Buss - Various Artists
Genre: Music

For our review this time, instead of looking at a solely musical album, I decided to review a DVD music documentary. This is the DVD that celebrates the 30th Anniversary of Warwick basses (well, 30 years of ALL products, but it’s all about the bass, right?)

According to Warwick, Fuss On The Buss 2 was:

Some of the world's most famous bass players join on the Warwick bus for jams and interviews and simply a good time.

Featuring Jonas Hellborg, Steve Bailey, Lee Sklar, Robert Trujillo, Mike Inez, Ralphe Armstrong, Bootsy Collins, TM Stevens, Divinity Roxx, Larry Graham, P-Nut, J├Ącki Reznicek, and Verdine White.

We open with a montage of introductions of the players, and some Warwick publicity shots near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. After that, we join a three-way chat session by Verdine White, Bootsy Collins, and Larry Graham. Steve Bailey is present as well, but the main focus of the chat is the reminiscing between Graham, White, and Collins. These chats turn out to be the tie-together between outrageously potent jam sessions, and form the backbone of the whole trip. You listen to the men as they share stories, then take off for a bass jam from differently grouped participants from among the roster.

The first chat includes some stories about past gigs and finding the funk… then feeling it and make it your own. White speaks from the heart, Graham nods and rumbles the air with his big, slow baritone, and Bootsy - well, Bootsy is Bootsy, excited wild-child whose energy about the bass and music in general raises the roof on the bus.

Then we get a funky, almost rappy improv with Divinity Roxx leading the boys through their paces about staying on the ONE!

Another round of chat follows with our “Godfathers of Bass” trio, and, of course, Steve Bailey, as they engage us with more of the past. What’s best about these chat vignettes between jams is that they become more and more involving as we learn from the previous clip. Each session adds more to the conversational theme. Larry Graham seems to be the head of the class here as the others begin to single him out as the real leader of the pack. The effect he has had on the rest of them begins to take centre stage. Larry is quiet and thoughtful about these praises, and you can see him turning inward to the emotional and spiritual side of receiving praise.

After this comes Hellborg on a hollow-body, fretless Warwick. Beautiful instrument. Beautiful sound. Oh yeah, that’s another thing about this documentary: you’ll never see so many gorgeous basses on one bus. Be prepared to be dazzled!

The chat that follows this jam is about Larry Graham’s involvement with Sly and The Family. Bootsy gives us a taste of what it was like to hear Graham on “Dance With The Music, which - if you follow Thunder Row - everybody knows is what brought me on board as a fan! As they talk, Larry actually does the line... well, I won’t spoil the thrill for you.

Next up is the biggest, baddest jam by Robert Trujillo on his chrome ax. All fuzzed out, he shows us a different side of funk. On the upper registers is Steve Bailey, and the two of them really tear it up. P-Nut joins in and the jam is on! Watch Trujillo’s face as he feels the groove and really gets into it - you can’t help but notice that he positions his bass so the plucking takes place directly over his crotch. There can be no denying that this looks like some kind of stand-in manipulation of what lies behind the bass. Am I looking for trouble here? Not really, because who can deny that playing the bass can be a very sensual experience?

More conversation follows. What is the FUNK? How do you get it? How do you convey it. This segues into Sklar and Bailey turning it out in a powerful jam. Reznicek joins in after a bit. The great thing about jams is that anybody who feels the groove can just plug in and grab a chair.

Listening to the chatters talk about Graham’s invention of the slap technique is a history is one of the most coveted skills in the world of learning to play. Not everybody likes slap, or feels they need to learn it, but few can deny it is a playing method that took the bass to new heights in music.

After this chat, we get a real party from TM Stevens, Hellborg, Bailey, and P-Nut as they create the song that was used to open the documentary. Improv and groove, and bass. Ain’t no party like a Warwick party, ’cuz a Warwick party don’t stop!

We finish up with the chatters again, tying up the conversation with Graham telling how humbled he is that people study his work. Then the boys get together for some bass-ish acapella, which leads us out with more posed shots and horsing around near the bridge.

Oh, by the way... did I mention you don’t have to go out and buy this one to enjoy it? Warwick features the full documentary on YouTube! Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

© 2013 CL Seamus for Thunder Row

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