Canadian Musician

JAY WALKING

Jason Raso


The Legendary Tony Levin

Photo by Jerome Brunet

Photo by Jerome Brunet

Tony Levin is an absolute legend. His tone and creativity on the electric bass and Chapman stick are unmistakable. He has toured and recorded with the likes of Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Paul Simon, King Crimson and many more. His DISCOGRAPHY is mind boggling!

We are honoured that Tony took a few moments to chat with us before he heads to Canada for five shows with Stick Men this week…

Apr 27   Cafe Campus / Montreal, QE
Apr 28   Le Cercle / Quebec, QE

Apr 29 Mavericks / Ottawa, ON
Apr 30   Mod Club / Toronto, ON
May 1   Cork Hall Live / Kitchener, ON

Photo by Thierry Weber

Photo by Thierry Weber

JR: When did you start playing bass and who were your early influences?

TL: Started young – about 10 yrs old, having played the piano first. It was the ‘upright’ bass I played then, only switching to electric when I was in music school.

JR: At what point do you feel like you came into your own as a player?

TL: I don’t often look back at my career to decide things like that — like many musicians, I spend my time kind of buried in the music I’m doing at the moment, and don’t have much perspective on seeing it as a whole. I’d say that in the 70’s, when I was working as a studio musician, and had the chance to play with Peter Gabriel, both on record and on tour, that was when I began settling into the kind of music I wanted to be playing, and have continued playing since then (what I would call progressive rock.)
I still do a wide variety of music, though, and I’m always happy when I can lend a decent bass part to what’s going on musically.

JR: Which non-bass player has had the biggest impact on your playing?

TL: Many names on that list — I’m influenced by the drummers I’ve worked with (Steve Gadd, Bill Bruford for example) and the singers (Peter Gabriel, Paul Simon, David Bowie) and, well all the excellent players and performers.

JR: We are excited that Stick Men are coming to Ontario – how would you describe the band?

TL: Stick Men is a pretty unique band – with two ‘touch guitar’ players… I play the Chapman Stick which has 12 strings, bass and guitar output, and Markus Reuter plays a touch guitar he designed himself, with 8 strings. So we can trade off bass parts, or both play both bass and guitar parts. Meanwhile Pat Mastelotto (like me a King Crimson member for many years) plays unique drum and percussion parts with loops, samples, and other …well, ‘progressive’ approaches to playing.

We play a lot of our own music, both new and from past albums, and we usually do some King Crimson pieces for the fans who come expecting to hear that. We also improvise a lot, and try to challenge ourselves with our music, while making it an enjoyable experience for the audience.

Visit Tony at papabear.com

and be sure to check out Stick Men on tour this week in Quebec and Ontario!

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