WAS THIS IN A STORE? It was at I guess a precursor of what's become the NAMM shows and it was in McCormick Place in Chicago. And Gary and I in fact had been hired by the Musser vibraphone company to demonstrate and it was just like a NAMM show and everybody had a booth and everybody had somebody exhibiting their instruments. So Gary and I had a kind of schedule where we'd play 20 minutes and then break for 40 minutes, and play 20 minutes, break 40 minutes, for two or three days running. And the breaks were getting pretty tiresome and I kind of worked my way through every booth I felt I wanted to go to, including all the Gretsch drum booth and all the booths that seemed to have sort of jazz cachet. And I resolutely ignored the electric guitar booths until finally just my boredom got the better of me, and it was like going to a dirty movie or something, you know, I lurked at the door of the Gibson booth and kind of looked around furtively and made sure nobody saw me and then dashed inside and picked up a Gibson EB2 semi-hollow-bodied electric bass and that was it.
And that was in fact the instrument that I ended up playing for the first, I don't know, two or three years of my life as an electric bassist. I played it in the booth and then asked the Gibson people if I could take it to the hotel overnight because this was I guess toward the end of the first day of this show. And after that, I had one of those experiences in the hotel room where I took it out, started playing it and I thought about 20 minutes had gone by and I raised my head and saw that I had missed dinner and I had been playing it for three or four hours. I was entirely the victim in the situation and not the perpetrator, I swear.
AND WAS THIS A FOUR-STRING OR—IT WASN'T A FIVE-STRING AT THAT POINT I WOULD IMAGINE. No, it was just four-string.
AND IT WASN'T LIKE YOU EVER THOUGHT AT SOME POINT, "WELL I SHOULD JUST BE A GUITARIST AND NOT A BASS PLAYER"? BECAUSE YOU TALK ABOUT LOVING JIM HALL'S MUSIC AND CHARLIE CHRISTIAN, ET CETERA, BUT IT WASN'T LIKE YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE ON THE WRONG INSTRUMENT OR SOMETHING. No, no, that never crossed my mind, and in fact I never saw it either that, "Okay, now I'm an electric bass player: I must be a rhythm-and-blues musician or I must be a rock-and-roll musician." I had no desire to change the orientation of my music or my place on the bandstand. I still loved Wilbur Ware and Percy Heath and Paul Chambers and Doug Watkins. I was just really apprehensive about what this switch would mean in terms of the people I'd be playing with and, you know, deeply hopeful that at least a few of the people that I loved to play with would understand and continue to play with me as if nothing had changed.
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