Interview- Timothy Lefebvre
Timothy Lefebvre needs no introduction. A exceptional bass player who’s work has never gone unnoticed. Timothy has played with many artists such his current band Rudder, Chris Botti, Sting, Wayne Krantz, John Mayer and many more. We caught up with Timothy and asked him about the new Zoom B3 Bass Multi-Effects Pedal that he worked on and more.
BPU:When did you get your first bass?
TL:I got my first bass in middle school.It was a bad sears dept store bass.
BPU:How did you start playing, and where did you study bass, or self-taught?
TL:I am more or less self taught. Took lessons in my local area in southeastern MA for the first year or 2, just to learn hand position stuff. But I mostly played along with records.
BPU:What where your inspirations and trials you ran into?
TL:I liked the mid 50′s to late 60′s miles and Trane records, as well as tower of power, Van Halen, The Police, and Jaco Pastorius. I also continued to absorb a lot of the rock radio Sounds of the 80′s like The Cars, U2, and The Cult. My dad bought me a plywood upright bass somewhere there in early high school. It was pretty messed up for years; it had a broken neck so it made the string tension incredibly high! I had a really hard time playing it for years, so it stuck with me.
BPU:Who influenced you most?
TL:In terms of strict bass playing, Darryl Jones was a big influence. Also Victor Bailey, Geddy Lee, Michael Anthony, Sting, John Entwistle, Ron Carter, Charlie Haden, Bob Hurst. Wayne Krantz taught me the most conceptually. I played with him for years. He taught me about time, phrasing (a HUGE part of what I do) and playing with originality.
BPU:What kind of gear do you have?
TL:I have a whole bunch of gear. A 65 jazz, 77 jazz and P, Moollon p and J Classics and Tele, sadowsky 5, callow hill 5, De Armond Star Fire, Ampeg b25b, Aguilar TH 500, a quite a few pedals, and quite a few cabinets. I am now with Aguilar so I request their stuff on the road. In fact i carried their TH 500 in my backpack on every plane and train ride, what a great amp. I also endorse Jim Dunlop USA, Moollon, D’Addario, M Audio, Izotope and Ableton.
BPU:You’ve played with some great musicians such as Chris Botti and Sting! Can you tell us about that?
TL:I’ve mostly played with Chris. Sting has sat in with the band numerous times, so I have played with him through that channel. I’m scheduled to do an official hit with him and Botti this Spring. Playing with Chris is great. First of all, what a great musician he is. The guy blows his face off 300 plus times a year, so you know his chops are ironclad. He also is acutely aware of nuance, so you have to be able to play dynamically and have a large toolbox of ideas to draw from. He allows me to do my thing quite a bit, which I think enhances the show and makes the band react in different and hopefully positive ways within his music.
BPU:You played with the Billy Childs Quartet! Can you tells us about that?
TL:That was the first time Billy and I had played outside the Botti sphere. He put a group together for A New Year’s Eve NPR broadcast featuring Gary Novak, Bob Sheppard, and myself. We played some oldies and newies. Really Challenging music, played by some insanely great musicians.
BPU:You sound-designed the Zoom B3 Bass Multi-Effects Pedal which was released at NAMM. Can you tell us about the design and a little about what it was like sound designing this pedal?
TL:It was fun! It has a lot of cool little gadgets in there. The amp modelers, compressors, distortions and filters are all really well done in this thing. It was easy to put together stuff that I would hope the user would find useful. I made a patch called “Meshugger” that I felt emulated a good rock/metal bass sound, assuming one uses round wound strings. It’s a great unit for programmability and usefulness. You’ll DEFINITELY find something you can use in that unit. It’s super easy to program,it’s interface is simple, and it has a nice looping function in there.
BPU:What is your favorite piece of music?
TL:I Really like a lot of different pieces. Off the top of my head Verdi’s “Otello” (thx Uri Caine), “This is the Life” by Living Colour, “Gingerbread Boy” off Miles Smiles, “God Lives Through” by A Tribe Called Quest, “Straws Pulled at Random” by Meshuggah.
BPU:What is the biggest thing to recommend any bass player at any level?
TL:Be committed to every note you play. Explore.
BPU:What do you look for in a bass?
TL:I like basses that have an alive feel and sound without being plugged into an amp. Generally speaking when you plug a bass like that into an amp it should sound like fire. For acoustics, it just have to have that elusive combo of sound and playability. Sometimes it takes a while to figure that out, that’s why it’s best to try out a bass for a length of time.
BPU:What types of strings and fingerboard combinations do you like?
TL:I’m a fan of flats, especially because 90% of the time i use passive 4 string basses, and especially P basses. I like rosewood and maple, they both have their uses and particular sounds. On upright, I like synthetic guts, velvet garbo’s or the d’addario upright strings.
BPU:What are your current projects you are working on?
TL:I’m working on quite a few things right now. A lot of studio stuff coming up. A bunch of movies will be released in the next couple of months that I have played bass on. Tours with Mark Guiliana’s Beat Music, Donny McCaslin, Chris Botti, Rudder, Louis and Genevieve are in the works. Seeking the elusive high paying gig that I would be perfect for.
Photo Credit Featured Image Lisa Margaroli-www.lisamargaroli.com