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Graham Ryall

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Posts posted by Graham Ryall

  1. On 06/07/2010 at 20:53, Linus27 said:

    I was lucky enough to get a short interview ex Simple Minds and Propaganda bassist, Derek Forbes including asking some of the questions some on here had asked. Below is his answers.

    1. Who influenced you as a bass player when you were learning to play?

    Jimmy Page. Strange answer? Well, I started life as a guitarist, and very quickly became a Lead Guitarist. The answer is technically correct, as Jimmy Page played bass with the Yardbirds, as well as Lead Guitar. I loved Andy Fraser from Free, and Jack Bruce from Cream, and last but not least Paul McCartney...these guys for me are great exponents of the melodic bass line.

    2. What was it that drew you to the bass rather than any other instrument?

    Fate, and the theft of my Gibson Les Paul Sunburst Deluxe. I was working in Lloret de Mar in Spain, as a guitar player and singer. It was early 1977. I played acoustic in the 'Corner Inn', and after a few weeks, I was 'poached' to play with a band who had just arrived from Leeds, minus their Lead Guitar player. We rehearsed from 2pm till 6pm every day, except Sunday, and played every night from 10pm till 4.30am. The bass player couldn't sing and play bass at the same time, so he played rhythm with his Gibson Les Paul Goldtop, and I played bass for the first 3 or 4 hours, every night, including Sundays. This was my 'Hamburg'. As a consequence of this, I arrived home for my 21st Birthday as a double agent, playing Bass and Lead Guitar. I joined the 'Subhumans' from Glasgow, and was asked to fill in the Bass spot. Later I filled in for Simple Minds, but I had the full intention of carrying on life as a Lead Guitarist, until that fateful night in Glasgow when my Les Paul was stolen...I said yes to the offer of joining Simple Minds permanently.

    3. Your bass playing in Simple Minds was very unique and very prominent. Was there any other bassist’s from the 80's, for example, Paul Webb of Talk Talk, Mark King of Level 42, Pino Paladino who stood out and impressed you?

    Great players all. Mick Karn was a tremendous player at that time, and still is, although he is not well at the moment. I send out get well wishes to him, if I may. Sting has written a lot of incredible bass lines, and my old pal Adam Clayton has certainly made himself irreplaceable with U2. Peter Hook is awesome, to use my kids vernacular. Paul Raven from Killing Joke is sadly missed , and an incredible talent on Bass.

    4. Who impresses you now as a bass player?

    I love Flea as a player. Gail Ann Dorsey from David Bowies band is superb, and Tina Weymouth will always get my vote. Gordon Moakes of Bloc Party is a legend too...and he was born on the same day as me, 22nd June, albeit he is 20 years my junior.....Great Minds think alike eh Gordon?

    5. What was your very first bass guitar?

    It was a Fender Precision copy, by some obscure maker. I quickly moved on to Guild basses and the I had an Ibanez Explorer, followed closely by Fender Precision and a couple of Wal basses, fretted and fretless,( both Fender and Wal).

    6. How did you create your unique bass tone? Was it based on any other player or your own creation?

    I loved the sound Jean Jaques Burnel had with the Stranglers, but my sound came from me twiddling around, coupled with advice from studio engineers whilst recording parts. I have only used 2 effects. An MXR Flanger and an Octaver.

    7. When creating a bass line, do you have a set formula or whatever comes into your head?

    I hear the line in my head before I play it. This may sound strange, but that's how it works for me. I just know what I want, and go for it.

    8. You are more commonly seen playing your red Fender Precision. What year is it from, is it a standard US model and has it had any modifications done to it?

    It is an early 80's model, (80?). I bought it in New York from Mannies. I also have a Fretless, which I bought in Las Vegas with a rosewood fingerboard, also (80?). The only modification is the Seymour Duncan 1/4 pounders in the fretless.

    9. Was there any reason why you stuck with the same red Precision?

    A love affair with that guitar. You can't get better. I played that on all of the albums from Empires and Dance onward. There is also the fact that it looks really cool too.

    10. What strings do you use?

    I have used Rotosound Swing bass for years. Guages are 45, 65, 80, 105. I tried Dean Markley 'Blue Steel' which were also great, and I have tried Vigier strings too, which are superb.

    11. What are your thoughts on all these new lightweight neodymium bass cabs?

    Anything lightweight is great for an old Rocker like myself. When I have a chance to try them, I will give my opinion on them. I am sure my Tech would be delighted though.

    12. A lot of bassists in the eighties were using Stingrays, Status and Warwicks . Have you tried any of these basses and what are your thoughts on them?

    I have used Vigier for years and years, and I can't see by them . If they could use the exact dimensions of a P Bass, then that would be the ultimate. The Status never appealed to me, because of the missing headstock, although it is a wonderful bass to play. I haven't tried the Stingray, and the Warwicks are like a piece of quality furniture, with beautiful wood and workmanship, but not as cool as Fender Precision in my opinion. Sound great though..

    13. Where you ever approached by a bass manufacturer to have a signature model, for example Fender?

    Vigier made me a few basses, and had my name on them. Fender would be a dream come true for me. They could make me a 'Tartan' one. Seriously if they made another one of my Red sunburst P basses, then I would be delighted..

    14. Do you still have your Alembic Spoiler?

    Yes, and I have bought some mother of pearl and fine saw blades for cutting shell etc, to replace a missing dot on the third fret. It is a beautiful guitar, and still sounds fabulous.

    15. Recently, you have been playing Vigier basses. Tell me what you like about these basses?

    The tonal range is superb, but the best thing is the action. These are really fast guitars. It is like tapping your fingers on the fretboard, as opposed to pressing down strings. Incredible design, and the power of the active 'pups' is legendary. These are truly wonderful guitars. I was recently given a Vigier Excess fretless with Delata metal neck. It looks like it has just come out of Tutankhamun's tomb, with all the Gold plating and shiny black body. Beautiful.

    16. What are your settings on your MXR Flanger?

    It's a secret....

    17. Why was your bass mixed so low in Sparkle in the Rain when on previous albums, your bass parts were such a prominent part of the song?

    I didn't think it was that low. It could just be a Producer thing. Maybe Steve Lillywhite likes to mix it that way. I know the parts inside out, so I imagine I am hearing them loud...I may be wrong...'who said that?' Derek Forbes..News at Ten..School for the hard of hearing...

    18. What Simple Minds/Propaganda track(s) out of all of your recordings are you proud of most?

    'C Moon Cry Like a Baby and P Machinery

    19. Did any of the songs on Once Upon A Time first come about when you were still in Simple Minds?

    I was involved in the writing of at least 5 of the tracks. I have the recordings to prove it. Ghost Dancing, for instance, was first played in 1984 at the Barrowland in Glasgow, as an alternate version of 'I Travel', I was still in the band at this point.

    20. Do you think you will ever play with Simple Minds again?

    If the offer was right and fair to all members, then that would be the only time I would agree. All for one and one for all.....

    21. Any hidden gems among the Simple Minds catalogue from when you were in the band that have never seen the light of day?

    Yes, and they may well see the light of day soon.

    22. What do you think of the bass players playing along to your bass lines on Youtube?

    I am flattered, and they are Stars for doing it. I am just glad that I made an impression on bass players all over the World. It is indeed an honour...

    23. Have you enjoyed playing a bunch of Paul Simonon bass lines in Los Mondos Bongos?

    To be honest, yes, although they aren't too challenging. The best bass line for me is a tie between 'Rudi Can't Fail' and 'Rock the Casbah', the second song being played on record by Norman Watt Roy from the Blockheads...

    24. How does it feel to be voted Scotland ’s Greatest Ever Bassist?

    Pure Magic.so it is

    25. Most important question of all, favourite Whisky and favourite beer?

    Whisky is Bunnahabhain and beer is Erdinger Weisse Bier mit Hefe

    Great interview which I have just discovered. really pleased Derek mentioned and sent his best wishes to the now sadly departed Mick Karn. 


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